Elihu Speaks to Job’s Condition
Open Your Bible
Job 32:1-22, Job 33:1-33, Psalm 118:8, Mark 12:28–31
I recently had a conversation with a friend who is facing a trial at work. A co-worker spread a false rumor about her, and now my friend must defend herself and her character to her boss. We talked about how lonely and powerless the business of defending oneself can be.
At this point in Job’s trial, prosecutors Bildad and Eliphaz are winning. Although they have no evidence, they have made a strong case that Job has sinned and earned the punishment he is now suffering. Job has done his best to be his own defense attorney, defending his character to his prosecutors as well as to God. But his case is weak in the face of his dire circumstances, and the verdict seems to be leaning one way: Job has done something to deserve this punishment.
Enter Elihu. Young in years but wise in spirit, Elihu pauses the impending verdict and suggests another way: “If there is an angel on his side…to be gracious and say, ‘Spare him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’” (Job 33:24–25).
After reading those words, I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally someone is suggesting that Job doesn’t have to do anything to get himself out of this situation. He doesn’t have to plead with God or somehow correct the unrighteous behavior we still have no proof of. There is a third way in the form of ransom.
Elihu speaks of a gracious and loving God in these chapters, one who is willing to forgive, keep us from death, and ultimately restore us to righteousness (v.26). This is the God I have come to know through Jesus Christ, who is more than an angel—He is my Savior.
Whereas both Job and my friend were innocent, the case brought against me is true. I have done wrong. I have sinned. There is no defense I could muster against that prosecution. Yet, by the blood of Christ, I have received the same ransom Elihu suggests here. Jesus is my defender so that I don’t have to defend myself.
Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, Elihu’s hypothetical scenario is our everyday reality. We have a defender. We have a good Judge who has restored us to righteousness. Because of this, we walk in grace, not judgment. And we step forward without fear, knowing that when we one day see His face, it will be “with a shout of joy” (v.26).