After condemning Job for his mistrust of God in affliction, Elihu begins to point to the greatness and majesty of God. His approach should teach us that it is never enough to condemn sin alone. Such leads to legalism, works, failure, and hopeless despair. Rather, it must be followed by a witness which exalts Christ, his goodness, and his grace. It is one thing to recognize sin and see our need for a savior. It is another to recognize sin’s solution, see the Savior for who he truly is, and know we can trust him despite our sin.
And Elihu continued, and said:
2 “Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.
3 I will get my knowledge from afar
and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
4 For truly my words are not false;
one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. ~Job 36:1-4
Elihu begins by assuring Job that he is speaking for God. He begins with an apology of sorts, which doubtless proves as a great encouragement. Spurgeon notes, “We admire the courtesy which moved him to say, ‘Suffer me a little.’ It shows some little consideration for his audience. It is to be feared that under our preaching our people suffer greatly and we do not sympathize with their sense of weariness – otherwise we might often apologize in the terms of Elihu, saying, ‘Suffer me a little.'”
In his plea to gain Job’s trust and understanding, Elihu starts by comforting Job with the sure presence of God in this discourse.
God is with you, Job, and I know him so listen to me. Or, perhaps, I hear and know God and I am with you, therefore, listen to me.
In this, Elihu proves compassionate and wise. He is not there to blast Job for his failure or downplay his suffering. Rather, Elihu displays his earnest intent to correct in love through humility, confidence in God, and comfort at the front of the matter.
Elihu goes on to correct Job’s false statements concerning God’s lack of concern for him. He exalts God as full of power (not impotent), perfectly good (not untrustworthy), just judge (not unfair or unjust), and merciful Father (not raging arbitrarily against men.)
In light of these realities, Elihu sternly urges Job to submit to his affliction with great faith and full trust. He pleads with Job not to turn to sin in an effort to escape suffering. Such is a great and foolish temptation for those who have suffered long and hard and have become lonely, hungry, doubtful, and afraid.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. ~Matthew 4:2
Here is our example. Jesus answered his accusing tempter this way: Trust the Word of God; Trust God; Worship God alone.
Elihu concludes his admonition by reminding Job of the promised deliverance for those who trust God.
Elihu was sent to humble and prepare Job’s heart for the soon appearance of God himself. What care the Lord took in giving Job such a one! If you should suffer and find that the Lord sees fit to send you an Elihu before he sends deliverance, give thanks and know it is a sign of his great love for you.