Job hears from another of his “friends”. This is a younger guy, who evidently has withheld his comments because he is younger. There is something to be said here of respect. It is important that we consider those who are around us when we are speaking and give consideration to not only their age but their position. It is good to listen to those who are wiser and older than us, to heed the advice of those who hold different positions in life than us. However, age and position in life are not always guarantees of wisdom and sage advice. It is possible for one to be wise beyond their years.
Elihu seems to start out as one who might be a little wiser than his companions but eventually he falls into the same trap of misjudging Job. Elihu’s anger is expressed and it seems typical for those who are “younger” to be frustrated with the ways and thoughts, ideas and advice of those who are older. We all need to remember there are valuable things that each generation and all people have to offer. Insight and wisdom can be gained from hearing and learning from another’s life and story.
As we have seen in the book of Job though, none of these people have the exact right perspective. They all only see a portion of what is happening. We too must realize that our advice or wisdom is limited. Only God grants true wisdom. We must be careful when we start acting as the “voice of God” in someone’s life. Just because we have years of experience or have been down a road similar to someone else doesn’t mean that all the same principles apply. What God may be teaching someone who is in a similar situation could be completely different than what God wanted you to learn. So offer your advice and wisdom with caution and grace.
Even though Elihu and Job’s other friends have some insight to who and how God works, they still have a wrong picture of all that is going on for Job. Let us all be careful with how we judge other people and what is going on in their lives. This is common theme in the book of Job. God allowed this to happen Job’s life because of God’s glory and perhaps to even allow us to draw encouragement from it.
How would it make you feel to know that God allowed you to go through something for the benefit and lessons another could gain? Take a look at this verse:
4 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Romans 15:4
It’s good to remember that whatever is happening in my life is for God’s glory and to tell His Story. Others can be encouraged and learn from everything God does/allows if I will let Him use it.