There Was No Answer

Today's devotion from Job 32.

A new voice enters the fray. Elihu, of whom we know essentially nothing, speaks now and will be followed by God's own reply to Job. Elihu is young. He feels uncertain in some ways and unworthy in others. He believed that these three friends, older and wiser than himself, should have been given his attention. However, after their failure to address the root causes of Job's situation, now he feels that he must speak...because nobody is right.

These are strong words. Does he really think that none of his elders are right in their assessments or pieces of advice? Apparently so. In Job 32, he begins a tirade in which he will rebuke all four of the previously mentioned men. That is a pretty bold thing to do for someone in his situation.

He felt the tension between finding his place and contributing to the conversation. Now he will open up to share his thoughts. Over the course of the next few chapters he will rebuke Job and his three friends. When God speaks later on in the book, He will also rebuke the previous speakers, but not Elihu.

It appears that Elihu is truly stirred by insight. He sees Job's unwillingness to admit to any wrong. No one is completely without fault, and now Job's defense has crossed the line to pride. These friends were missing the point, and Elihu will redirect their focus. However, here, in chapter 32, there is an ingredient that we often overlook when dealing with difficult conversations...respect.

This chapter outlines how Elihu has held his tongue out of respect. He has deferred to wisdom and allowed others to speak, but this is not the only way in which Elihu has demonstrated respect. He respects these men enough to speak truth plainly and without flattery. He is going to say simply those things which need to be said. Thirdly, his dialog will reveal his deep respect and reverence for God.

How much different could our culture be with just a touch of respect?