Too Angry For Theology?
Posted on November 10, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“Listen to me, you who have understanding. Everyone knows that God doesn’t sin! The Almighty can do no wrong.”
Job 34:10 (NLT)
Ya know, I was gonna title this one, “Another Long-Winded Monologue” but Chuck Swindoll has already used it. You can find it titling chapter 16 in his interactive study guide on the Book of Job as Swindoll begins his look into the four speeches of Elihu…the angry young man.
I can remember a time when I was an angry young man as well. As a matter of fact, at that time I got support for it from my FM radio after the anger had just settled in. Billy Joel and the rock band Styx had both put out songs that featured the title “Angry Young Man”. Where Styx would pen, “Why must you be such an angry young man, when your future looks quite bright to me”, Billy Joel would pen, “And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost, And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross, And he likes to be known as the angry young man” Even though I like both versions, it would be Billy Joels version that I would identify with. But that was then. Anyway…
Elihu shows up in the 32nd chapter of Job and apparently, he’s been ease dropping on about 29 chapters of four old windbags trying their best to surmise the will of YHVH. First, we’ll read that Elihu is angry with Job because he refuses to admit he sinned and that God is right in punishing him. Then he turns his attention to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar because they seem to make God appear to be wrong because of their inability to answer Job’s arguments. Now mind you, this all gets started by a little challenge when the LORD asks Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job?” (Job 1:8b) Next thing ya know, it’s all about total depravity and has little to do about sitting in an ash heap, scrapping oneself, simply because their faith is being tested.
Elihu spends about six chapters giving four speeches that have been described as part true wisdom (well that’s good), part error (go figure), part set-up for God to say “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge” (Job 38:2) and part comic relief—if verbatim regurgitation is funny to you then taking six chapters to express the ideas that should only take two is a riot. But for Job, this is gonna be another long-winded monologue, and since Elihu has the microphone Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are gonna listen to every word he has to say. But ya know something, it ain’t all negative.
Granted Elihu’s presentation wasn’t the greatest, I mean, he rambled on and on and on (and on) instead of just getting to the point. He came across as pompous, as if he was THE final authority (something I’ve either been guilty of or accused of, the jury is still out on this one). This junior to the theological stage saw himself as the teacher and Job along with his three friends as students AND he never gave any fresh insight on Job’s suffering. BUT, at last he concluded his ramblings with the right view on God’s majesty and His faithfulness to the righteous. Eventually telling Job that if God can handle all the mysteries of creation, He can handle all your suffering, all your problems and answer all your questions. Isn’t that really the crux of the moment?
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
Granted, Elihu may have been off the mark with some of his preaching but maybe he saw an older man deep in a pit of worry with a group of friends who couldn’t be the hand to pull him out and it angered him. But ya know what…Jesus saw the same thing while He was on the earth. A whole population of God’s children worrying about Roman rule and how to get them out. Worrying about paying Temple tax and having the right sacrifice when it was time for atonement. Raising children, earning a living, cooking a meal, the list goes on and yet folks couldn’t look up because they were too busy looking out. But Then Jesus!!
There ain’t nothing going to waste in Job’s story, there is much to glean from it. And I think the most important part of it is having someone popping up outta nowhere and making the attempt at being an apologist. Now we all know that eventually YHVH will come outta the whirlwind and rebuke what needs to be rebuked and Job will repent and be restored…just as we can if we can seek first the Kingdon of God and His righteousness. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis
The Daily Bible Reading: Reflection | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. -1 John 4:20-21