Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jun 11, Job 35-37

Today's readings are Job 35-37.

In Job 35, Elihu points out that Job's insistence that he is right and being unfairly treated is really nothing more than Job accusing God of being wrong. This elevates Job above God. In Elihu's eyes, this is wicked. 

In Job 36, we see Elihu's struggle. He feels he must speak "on God's behalf." He does a pretty good job of describing God but also describes Him the same way he describes himself. In Elihu's mind, both he and God are "perfect in knowledge" (Job 36:4; 37:16). Elihu apparently thinks highly of himself and his capabilities while having a low opinion of Job and his counselors. Ultimately, Elihu has the same problem everyone else has, self-righteousness.

This is the value Elihu brings to the Book of Job. As we read through it, we see the mounting self-pity and demanding nature of Job, who sees himself as godly and righteous. We also see the naive responses of Job's friends who view themselves as godly and righteous. Yet, Job and his friends hold opposing views on why Job is suffering. Furthermore, Elihu, who struggles to place himself above all of them, also sees himself as godly and righteous. 

Elihu demonstrates to all of us how easy it is to look at a scenario like this and assume, in our own self-righteousness, that we know more than any of the people involved. Isn't that exactly what Elihu does in these chapters? Does he not sit in judgment of all four men? 

There's a lesson in here for all of us. Did any of us read the last 37 chapters thinking, "I have the same problem these people have?" Or did we read them thinking, "These guys just don't get it!" I must confess, that's the way I read Job the first few times I went through it. The more we ponder all that's happened, the more we should see that we can, just as easily as Elihu did, fall into the trap of thinking we are godly and righteous while Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are not. 

Elihu's attitude clearly shows us that "...there are none righteous, not one." (Rom 3:10). Apart from the righteousness of Christ, we will wallow in our own sense of self-righteousness, driving us to misconceptions about God, ourselves and each other. We are incapable of generating any true righteousness in and of ourselves. By His grace, God counts the righteousness of Christ to us. Books like Job show us what an incredible blessing that is. We need it!

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