“It’s not fair!” Where have I heard that recently? It seems to be everywhere and anywhere. From the small child not allowed to eat sweets just before dinner to the older child whining that everyone else has it, from the person on the television whose life has fallen apart because of being wrongly accused to the thousands of starving and living in poverty. It isn’t fair.
Job’s complaint against GOD is about to be addressed. Job has made it very clear that all this suffering makes no sense at all and it is unfair. Job has said that GOD would have had the right to make Job suffer if Job had actually done anything wrong. Job was blameless and upright … what he had suffered was unfair! Elihu, the fourth and different friend, now takes the stage and begins his speech to Job.
8 ‘But you have said in my hearing –
I heard the very words –
9 “I am pure, I have done no wrong;
I am clean and free from sin.
10 Yet God has found fault with me;
he considers me his enemy.
11 He fastens my feet in shackles;
he keeps close watch on all my paths.”
12 ‘But I tell you, in this you are not right, Job 33:8-12
Elihu is a good friend in that he is able to summarise what Job has been saying, he has listened, but he knows that Job doesn’t have all the facts strictly correct. Job has led a good life, he has done all that he can to cover his own sins and even the sins of his family. Job now thinks he is GOD’s enemy, shackled and restrained. But Elihu tells Job that he is not right.
From my post, The Ugly Crown, we found that Job wasn’t, in fact, blameless. He was proud and had strived to ensure his own righteousness. When I looked at this little phrase, ‘But I tell you, in this you are not right’, I thought that Elihu was addressing Job’s comments about being clean and free from sin. Of course, I thought, Elihu was correct in saying that Job wasn’t right! He had messed up and was full of pride. I could have just walked away with that as my last thought. … But I wasn’t right.
14 For God does speak – now one way, now another –
though no one perceives it. (Job 33:14) ……
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword. Job 33:17-18
Elihu states that God doesn’t want people to perish, He wants to preserve them. This is not the attitude of an enemy. GOD is not Job’s enemy at all. But what about the feeling that Job was GOD’s enemy?
The thing is, I do things wrong and I don’t always turn from wrongdoing. I fall into wrong doing, wrong speaking, wrong thinking. I’m not perfect, I can never be perfect and neither will I ever be perfect. I make mistakes. I think that you can probably relate to that too! I don’t put GOD first in all that I do, say and think therefore I am not perfect. I mess up and I sin. When I sin I can easily look at myself and consider myself an enemy of GOD because of my sin.
Elihu then throws in this exquisite little verse …
I have sinned, and I have perverted what is right,
but I did not get what I deserved. Job 33:27
We don’t get what we deserve at all. The wages of sin, what we get paid for our involvement and activity in sin, is death. Elihu puts it like drawing near to the pit (33:22) where our lives are put to death. Our reward for being our own god is an eternity in the pit. BUT we did not get what we deserved! GOD’s desire is to preserve us from the pit. He spares us from going down into the pit because a ransom has been paid (33:24), He delivers from going down into the pit so that we shall live to enjoy the light of life (33:28), He turns us back from the pit so that the light of life may shine on us (33:30). The pit was our destiny until He stepped into the pit for us. And this is why my page shows me being rescued from a deep and dark pit. I am no longer destined for this place because He has preserved me from this place.
GOD doesn’t shackle Job (or us) but wants us to turn from wrongdoing. Job was incorrect in his assessment of who GOD was/is – this is what Elihu was addressing. GOD is not our enemy and we are not His enemy. We get all that we don’t deserve. I don’t deserve to live in and enjoy the light of life, I can’t claim to have done anything that makes it right that the light of life shines on me. It isn’t fair! I am incredibly grateful that it isn’t fair!