Introduction: After falsely claiming to speak for God, Elihu continued with his merciless attacks against Job. Satan was using Elihu to try to cause Job to give up his faith. From Elihu’s attacks, the Bible reveals seven signs for identifying Satan’s attacks. These include: (1) public mocking, (2) lies, (3) misrepresentations, (4) cruelty, (5) half-truths, (6) discouragement, and (7) hatred.
First, Elihu mocked Job and tried to publicly shame him. Mocking, shame, and ridicule are tools that Satan uses against God’s people. Satan will turn public opinion against believers to try to discourage them and turn them against God. Second, Elihu lied about what Job had said by twisting his words to condemn him. Satan also uses lies to try to pull you off of your walk with God. Third, Elihu misrepresented God in his efforts to condemn Job. Satan also misrepresents God’s Word to pull you off of your walk with God. Fourth, Elihu then made cruel comments about Job. Satan also uses cruelty to try to pull you off of your walk with God. Fifth, Elihu then took half-truths out of context to condemn Job. Satan also uses half-truths to pull you off of your walk with God. Sixth, Elihu then tried to discourage Job. Satan also uses discouragement to pull you off of your walk with God. Finally, like Job’s estranged friends, Elihu spoke with open contempt for Job. Satan also uses hatred and contempt to pull you off your walk with God.
Elihu mocked Job and twisted his words to shame him. After Job failed to respond to Elihu’s first lengthy speech, Elihu proceeded to mock Job and try to turn others against him: “1 Then Elihu continued and said, 2 ‘Hear my words, you wise men, and listen to me, you who understand. 3 For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. 4 Let us choose for ourselves what is right; let us understand among ourselves what is good. 5 For Job has said, ‘I am righteous, but God has taken away my right; 6 should I lie about my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without wrongdoing.’” (Job 34:1-6). Each of Elihu’s comments twisted Job’s words. He hoped to publicly shame Job into repentance.
Elihu suggested that Job’s words tasted like rotten food. Job complained to Zophar that his condemnations without evidence came across as terrible food to his ears: “Does the ear not put words to the test, as the palate tastes its food?” (Job 12:11). Elihu parroted Job’s words by stating: “For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food.” (Job 34:3). Elihu was in effect mocking Job by throwing his words back at him.
Elihu again misquoted Job as claiming to be sinless. In his prior speech, Elihu misquoted Job as stating: “‘I am pure, without wrongdoing; I am innocent and there is no guilt in me.” (Job 33:9). Here, he repeated his charge: “For Job has said, ‘I am righteous, . . .” (Job 34:5). Job had stated that he was “blameless.” (Job 9:21). But God had twice affirmed this to be a true statement (Job 1:8; 2:3). Job had never claimed to be without sin. Indeed, he repeatedly admitted to being a sinner: “Why then do You not forgive my wrongdoing and take away my guilt?” (Job 7:21). “But how can a person be in the right with God?” (Job 9:2b) “For that reason my words have been rash.” (Job 6:3b). “For You write bitter things against me and make me inherit the guilty deeds of my youth.” (Job 13:26). “Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty. . . I am afraid of all my pains, I know that You will not acquit me. ‘I am guilty, why then should I struggle in vain?’” (Job 9:20, 28-29). Elihu again sought to publicly humiliate Job. But this was not from God.
Elihu twisted Job’s words to mock him1
Elihu again quoted Job out of context as alleging that God had taken away his rights. Elihu also quoted Job as complaining: “. . .but God has taken away my right;”’ (Job 34:5). In a low moment, Job had told his friends that God had taken away his rights: “As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has embittered my soul,” (Job 27:2). Job, however, made this statement under the misunderstanding that he had been wrongfully found guilty of a serious sin that he had not committed. Like his friends, Job did not understand that even the righteous can be tested through trials: “Far be it from me that I should declare you right; until I die, I will not give up my integrity. I have kept hold of my righteousness and will not let it go. My heart does not rebuke any of my days.” (Job 27:5-6). Thus, he claimed to have lived a righteous life: “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a headband.” (Job 29:14). Therefore, he claimed that he would ultimately be vindicated in God’s Court: “Behold now, I have prepared my case; I know that I will be vindicated.” (Job 13:18). If Elihu were speaking for God, he would have encouraged Job in private: “Now if your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matt. 18:15). Most importantly, Elihu spoke without the love of God.
Elihu also misquoted Job as blaming God for his illnesses when he was without sin. Elihu also alleged that Job had attributed his illnesses to God when he was blameless: “6 should I lie about my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without wrongdoing.’” (Job 34:6). Not knowing that Satan was his tormentor, Job had blamed God for his illnesses: “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, my spirit drinks their poison; the terrors of God line up against me.” (Job 6:4). “His arrows surround me. He splits my kidneys open without mercy; He pours out my bile on the ground.” (Job 16:13). Yet, as stated above, Job never alleged that he was without sin. He was also not the only man of faith to complain to God about his health. Jeremiah made a similar complaint: “Why has my pain been endless and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?” (Jer. 15:18). What Job needed was compassion. When others are hurting and lash out against God, will you show them love and teach them God’s Word when they are ready?
Jesus understands the pain you feel when you are mocked. You can turn to Jesus when you experience public mocking and shame because He endured these things for you when He was without sin: “And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and put a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!”’ (Matt. 27:29; Mk. 15:17-18; Jo. 19:2-3). If you gossip about others or publicly shame them, you are not speaking for God.
Elihu accused Job of blasphemy and keeping wicked company. Elihu also falsely alleged that Job walked with the wicked and casually discouraged others from walking with God: “7 What man is like Job, who drinks up derision like water, 8 who goes in company with the workers of injustice, and walks with wicked people? 9 For he has said, ‘It is of no use to a man when he becomes friends with God.’” (Job 34:7-9). These were complete lies. None of Job’s wayward friends had ever accused Job of keeping wicked company.
Elihu falsely accused Job of enjoying evil. Elihu claimed that Job was someone who “drinks up derision like water,” a reference to someone who delights in evil (Job 34:7). Eliphaz made a similar charge: “How much less one who is detestable and corrupt: A person who drinks malice like water!” (Job 15:16). Zophar had also made a similar charge: “Though evil tastes sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue,” (Job 20:12). But there was no merit to these claims. Thus, Job lamented “I am a joke to my friends, the one who called on God and He answered him; the just and blameless man is a joke.” (Job 12:4). Elihu acted under Satan’s influence to further discourage Job. Having failed in his other attacks, Satan wanted to convince Job that keeping company with allegedly religious people was not worth it. Thankfully, Satan failed in his attacks.
Elihu falsely accused Job of blasphemy and keeping wicked company2
Elihu falsely accused Job of keeping company with wicked people. As part of his charge that Job enjoyed evil, Elihu falsely accused Job of keeping company with wicked people and walking the path of the wicked: “who goes in company with the workers of injustice, and walks with wicked people?” (Job 34:8). This accusation went farther than anything that Job’s friends had previously alleged. The closest his friends ever got to such a charge was Eliphaz’s claim that Job must have walked on the same path as the wicked: “Will you keep to the ancient path which wicked people have walked,” (Job 22:15). If Satan could make other believers appear repulsive, he hoped that Job would reject God. Job proved that he was a hero of the faith by ignoring these relentless attacks against him.
Elihu falsely accused Job of alleging that there was no point to seeking God’s fellowship. In another cruel attack, Elihu alleged that Job had denied any value in God’s friendship: “For he has said, ‘It is of no use to a man when he becomes friends with God.’” (Job 34:9). When Job had nothing left but his faith, this was Elihu’s cruelest attack. Job lamented his perceived loss of fellowship. Thus, he cried out when he felt as though God would not answer him: “I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me; I stand up, and You turn Your attention against me.” (Job 30:20). Job had said this in response to Zophar’s allegation that God would punish the wicked who state: “Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we plead with Him?’” (Job 21:15). Thus, accusing Job of blasphemy had to be torturous for Job to hear.
Never use the devil’s tools to win an argument. Elihu could not have spoken for God when he said these lies because God can never lie. “God is not a man, that He would lie, nor a son of man, that He would change His mind; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Nu. 23:19). Those who use lies and deceit act under Satan’s influence: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). Thus, even though Elihu spoke many true words, he was not speaking on God’s behalf. If you want to offer advice or win an argument, never use lies to win your argument. If you are telling lies or trying to deceive others, Satan is using you to mislead others.
Elihu offered Job false condemnations that confused the ultimate with the immediate. After accusing Job of blasphemy, Eliphaz accused Job of reaping what he had sown: “10 Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, and from the Almighty to do wrong. 11 For He repays a person for his work, and lets things happen in correspondence to a man’s behavior. 12 God certainly will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. 13 Who gave Him authority over the earth? And who has placed the whole world on Him? 14 If He were to determine to do so, if He were to gather His spirit and His breath to Himself, 15 humanity would perish together, and mankind would return to dust.” (Job 34:10-15). What Elihu stated was partially true. Because God is just, each person will one day be rewarded according to their deeds. But God’s timing is not our timing. God’s plans may require the righteous to suffer and the wicked to prosper on Earth before receiving their eternal judgment.
God is just. Elihu echoed Job’s estranged friends when he stated in his attack that God is just (Job 34:10, 12). Bildad made a similar charge: “Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?” (Job 8:3). Moses made a similar proclamation about God’s perfect justice: “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and just is He.” (Dt. 32:4). The psalmist also stated: “To declare that the LORD is just; He is my rock, and there is no malice in Him.” (Ps. 92:15). Paul also made a similar statement that God is just: “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? Far from it!” (Rom. 9:14). But it was a logical fallacy to use God’s perfect justice to accuse Job of being punished for some alleged sin. Elihu spoke presumptuously in claiming to speak for God.
The unsaved will be repaid according to their deeds. Elihu also stated that each person will reap what they sow: “For He repays a person for his work, and lets things happen in correspondence to a man’s behavior.” (Job 34:11). Eliphaz made a similar statement that “ . . . those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it” (Job 4:8). This is also a foundational statement in the Bible. The Apostle Paul also stated: “ . . . for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8). “Who will render to each person according to his deeds” (Ro. 2:6). Solomon also quoted a variation on this statement in Proverbs: “He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish.” (Prov. 22:8). The prophet Hosea also quoted a variation of this statement as well: “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” (Hos. 8:7). Even Jesus stated: “For the Son of Man . . . will then repay every man according to his deeds.” (Matt. 16:27). This also applies to believers: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). Elihu’s error was in confusing the ultimate with the immediate. He also had no right to speak on God’s behalf to attack Job.
Elihu stated that because God is just, Job must be a sinner subject to His judgment3
God sometimes allows evil people to prosper. Even Jesus observed that God the Father “ . . . causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45). Although God may also allow sinners to face judgment on Earth for their sins, that is within His discretion and subject to His greater plans for good (Ro. 8:28). God will one day judge each person according to their deeds. But this will happen in heaven. For believers in Christ Jesus, He has taken the penalty for our sins. If we were all judged by our deeds, none would be found worthy (Ro. 3:10).
God also can allow the innocent to suffer. Elihu suggested that God does not allow the innocent to suffer: “God certainly will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.” (Job 34:12). Eliphaz made a similar claim when he said that a just God would not allow the innocent to suffer: “‘Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed?” (Job 4:7). God may allow the innocent to suffer when it is necessary as part of His greater plan. The best example of this was Jesus. He died without sin so that mankind’s sins could be cast upon Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Thus, you should never look only to your circumstances to discern God’s will. You should be praying and reading the Word to allow God to direct your path.
Elihu accused Job of failing to fear God. Elihu warned Job that God would kill him at any moment if his insults continued: “14 If He were to determine to do so, if He were to gather His spirit and His breath to Himself, 15 humanity would perish together, and mankind would return to dust.” (Job 34:14-15). Job had agreed with his statement: “In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:10; Ps. 90:3; Ecc. 12:7). He also agreed that he would one day return to the Earth like dust: “Remember that You have made me as clay; yet would You turn me into dust again?” (Job 10:9; Gen. 3:9). “Without God’s sustaining hand, all creatures would fall back into nothingness. And man shall turn again unto dust, either Elihu refers here to Genesis 3:19, or else he has a traditional knowledge of man’s origin, handed down from a remote antiquity, which is in entire conformity with the Hebrew belief.” (Pulpit Commentary on Job 34).4 In other words, Elihu alleged that Job had failed to fear God’s power and wrath.
Be careful to never misrepresent God’s Word when you counsel others. God later rejected the advice that Job’s friends offered (Job 42:7-8). They misrepresented God’s holy character. When you give advice, you must also be careful not to misrepresent God’s Word. Are you studying God’s Word to ensure you will correctly teach it?
Elihu warned that Job’s prior privileged status would not earn him God’s mercy. Elihu next belittled Job because he had fallen from his position of power, wealth, and respect. Elihu argued that Job would receive no special mercy when God judged him: “16 But if you have understanding, hear this; listen to the sound of my words. 17 Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, 18 who says to a king, ‘You worthless one,’ to nobles, ‘You wicked one’; 19 who shows no partiality to the prominent, nor regards the rich as above the poor, since they are all the work of His hands? 20 In a moment they die, and at midnight people are shaken and pass away, and the powerful are taken away without a hand.” (Job 34:16-20). Before his testing, Job “was the greatest of all the men of the east.” (Job 1:3). This meant that he was the most powerful and respected person east of the River Jordan. Satan had taken Job’s wealth and power from him (Job 1:13-19). Now, Elihu argued that Job should not expect God to show him any special mercy simply because Job was once wealthy and important.
God is impartial regardless of a person’s wealth, status, race, origin, or gender. Satan’s most damaging attacks mix truth with lies. Elihu proclaimed that God “shows no partiality to the prominent, nor regards the rich as above the poor, since they are all the work of His hands?” (Job 34:19). This is a true statement. David also proclaimed: “The God of Israel said it; the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over mankind righteously, who rules in the fear of God,”’ (2 Sam. 23:3). This is reaffirmed in the New Testament as well: “But from those who were of considerable repute (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism)—well, those who were of repute contributed nothing to me.” (Gal. 2:6). Peter also said: “‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,”’ (Acts 10:34). He does not show partiality in judging sin (1 Pet. 1:17-19). But this advice had no application to Job. Job had never argued that he deserved God’s mercy and grace because of his prior wealth and status.
Be impartial in how you treat others, just as God is impartial to you. One of the many reasons why God honored Job was because he was just and impartial in how he treated others. Before his trials, the poor and the defenseless turned to Job for protection: “Because I saved the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one who was about to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a headband.” (Job 29:12-14). God wants His people to have integrity in their dealings with each other the same way He was and is with them (Dt. 1:17; 10:17; 2 Chr. 19:7). Believers are also warned not to favor people based upon their status, wealth, race, or gender: “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.” (Lev. 19:15). Do you give preference to those who are wealthy, successful, or good looking? If someone like John the Baptist came to you dressed in coarse camel hair (Matt. 3:4), would you listen?
As Jesus’ ambassador, walk with righteousness and integrity. You are Jesus’ ambassador (2 Cor. 5:22). You further represent His light (Matt. 5:14). Thus, like Job, He calls upon you to be blameless and righteous: “so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:11). Do your actions reflect fairly upon Jesus’ righteousness?
God’s judgment will one day come to the unsaved. Elihu then warned that God’s judgment upon the wicked would come the moment they died: “20 In a moment they die, and at midnight people are shaken and pass away, and the powerful are taken away without a hand.” (Job 34:20). Zophar had made a similar allegation regarding God’s sudden judgment of the wicked: “He flies away like a dream, and they cannot find him; like a vision of the night he is chased away.” (Job 20:8). Yet, God’s ultimate judgment upon unsaved sinners did not explain Job’s suffering. It was just another cruel attack. Many of the greatest people of faith started off as sinners facing judgment. When you meet a sinner, encourage them to turn to Jesus. It is for God to decide who is judged.
Elihu warned Job that his hidden sins could not be hidden from God. Because no one could name Job’s actual sins, Elihu alleged that God knew the sins that Job was hiding: “21 For His eyes are upon the ways of a person, and He sees all his steps. 22 There is no darkness or deep shadow here the workers of injustice can hide themselves. 23 For He does not need to consider a person further, that he should go before God in judgment. 24 He breaks in pieces the mighty without investigation, and sets others in their place. 25 Therefore He knows their deeds, and He overthrows them in the night, and they are crushed. 26 He strikes them like the wicked in a public place, 27 because they turned aside from following Him, and had no regard for any of His ways, 28 so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, and that He would hear the cry of the afflicted— 29 When He keeps quiet, who can condemn? And when He hides His face, who then can look at Him, that is, regarding both nation and a person?— 30 So that godless people would not rule, nor be snares for the people.” (Job 34:21-30). Elihu also stated that a person could not hide their sins in darkness from God (Job 34:21-22). They ultimately face judgment (Job 34:23-30). He implied that God’s judgment had come upon Job for his secret sins. Zophar had also made a similar allegation against Job: “For He knows false people, and He sees injustice without investigating.” (Job 11:11). But Job knew that he was not hiding a serious sin. Half-truths are just as offensive to God as lies.
No sin can be hidden from God. Job previously asked God to “look away,” because he knew that nothing could be hidden from God (Job 14:6). He also asked: “Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?” (Job 31:4). Thus, Elihu was not offering something new or relevant to the discussion. God’s omnipotence is also repeated throughout the Bible. The prophet Hanani also proclaimed: “For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chr. 16:9a). David also agreed: “A Psalm of David. LORD, You have searched me and known me.” (Ps. 139:1). Solomon also observed: “For the ways of everyone are before the eyes of the LORD, and He observes all his paths.” (Prov. 5:21). The book of Hebrews further declares “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” (Heb. 4:13). Thus, you cannot hide your sins from God. Part of fearing the Lord, which Job did (Job 1:1, 8: 2:3) is knowing that there is no point in trying to hide your sins. Are you living your life knowing that God is watching everything you do in private?
Don’t employ half-truths about God to condemn others. Elihu also warned that those who try to hide their sins from God ultimately face His judgment (Job 34:23-30). He suggested that Job brought damnation upon himself by refusing to repent. Zophar made a similar claim: “That the rejoicing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless momentary?” (Job 20:5). Job agreed that the wicked will deny any desire to know God: “Yet they say to God, ‘Go away from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways.” (Job 21:14). Because he knew that he would be accountable for any sin, he had lived a life that God twice referred to as “blameless” and without major sin “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”’ (Job 1:2; 2:3). If you use half-truths against others, you are again acting under Satan’s influence.
Elihu called upon Job to repent. Elihu then told Job what he believed Job needed to say: “31 For has anyone said to God, ‘I have endured punishment; I will not offend anymore;
32 Teach me what I do not see; if I have done wrong, I will not do it again’? 33 Shall God repay on your terms, because you have rejected His? For you must choose, and not I; therefore declare what you know.” (Job 34:31-33). “Here, Elihu spoke the words of humble repentance that he thought Job should have said. Job was the anyone that Elihu had in mind. · He should have taken the chastening like a man. · He should have promised to offend no more, therefore admitting his previous guilt. · He should have humbly submitted, asking God to teach him. Elihu saw none of this in Job and it offended him and made him angry. He therefore pressed Job to do what he thought was right . . . Elihu criticized what he thought was Job’s arrogance.” (David Guzik Job 34).5
Elihu was restating the argument of Job’s friends for Job to repent. Elihu ended his first speech with a call for Job to repent (Job 33:26-30). Zophar had called upon Job to repent (Job 11:17). Eliphaz had also called upon Job to repent (Job 22:28). Thus, Elihu’s words were nothing new. He was simply calling Job to repent in a more bombastic tone. Satan was using Elihu and Job’s wayward friends to discourage Job in his walk with God.
Elihu’s call to repentance to solve his problems proved that he was not God’s messenger. As one commentator observes, Elihu had both misrepresented God and demonstrated his ignorance of the true reasons for Job’s trials: “Like the counselors, Elihu had a compelling desire to uphold the truth that God always does what is right (vv. 10-12). They saw this only in terms of black and white, God punishes and rewards . . . Elihu was convinced Job needed to repent over such a rebellious notion (vv. 33-37). He, like Job and the counselors, revealed no knowledge of the events in the divine counsel. So it appears Elihu was not an angelic messenger from God, for he had a limited perspective and presented, therefore, only a human estimate of Job’s spiritual condition.” (Frank Gaebelein, Elmer Smick, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, 1, 2 Kgs., 1, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job (Zondervan Publishing House 1988) p. 1010).
Repentance is normally the right message, but it did not explain Job’s suffering. Although sin did not explain Job’s suffering, every person should repent of their sins. Jesus began His ministry with a call to repentance (Matt. 4:17; Mk. 1:15). His disciples also began their ministry with a call to repentance (Acts 2:38). If you say that you are without sin, the Bible says that the truth is not in you (1 Jo. 1:8). Yet, if you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9). What sins do you need to repent of?
Don’t discourage others in their time of misfortune. Elihu knew that Job was suffering and in a weakened condition. He was also manipulating Job in his moment of weakness by piling on the threats of judgment that Job’s friends had falsely heaped upon him. If Elihu was representing God, he would have instead encouraged Job in the face of the unknown: “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11). If someone around you is suffering, you can best represent Jesus by offering them words of encouragement and help by directing them to Him.
Elihu accused Job of being stupid. Elihu then told Job that he was adding to the judgments against him with his willful ignorance and his unwise self-righteousness: “34 Men of understanding will say to me, and a wise man who hears me, 35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge, and his words are without wisdom. 36 Oh that Job were tested to the limit, because he answers like sinners. 37 For he adds rebellion to his sin; He claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God.’” (Job 34:34-37). Elihu accused Job of being in open rebellion against God with false claims of innocence. “The last line of this tristich condemns Job because he ‘multiples his words against God.’ . . . It is Elihu who has been multiplying words and who will continue to do so uninterrupted for three more chapters. The courtesy with which Elihu began his speeches has worn thin, and he has become nearly as confrontational and cruel as the other three.” (Robert Alden, The New American Commentary, Vol. 11, Job (B&H Publishing Group 1993) p. 342).
Job’s friends all viewed him with contempt. Job’s estranged friends had also spoken with open contempt for him. Bildad even called Job as stupid as an animal: “2 How long will you hunt for words? Show understanding, and then we can talk. 3 Why are we regarded as animals, as stupid in your eyes?” (Job 18:2-3). Zophar had also dismissed Job’s statements as meaningless words: “Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, and a talkative man be acquitted?” (Job 11:2). Eliphaz had further dismissed Job’s words as worthless wind: “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill himself with the east wind?” (Job 15:2). None of Job’s companions spoke to him with love.
Job’s friends unfairly ignored his words. Job previously asked his friends to back up their charges against him with evidence and not treat his words of grief as meaningless: “24 Teach me, and I will be silent; and show me how I have done wrong. 25 How painful are honest words! But what does your argument prove? 26 Do you intend to rebuke my words, when the words of one in despair belong to the wind? 27 You would even cast lots for the orphans, and barter over your friend.” (Job 6:24-27). At a minimum, if Job was accused of being a sinner, he was entitled to know what sin he had committed. In fact, Job was not suffering because of any sin. Instead, God allowed him to be tested.
Satan will cause the world to hate you when your stand for Jesus. Hatred and contempt are tools of the devil. When you stand for Jesus, Satan will make you the victim of public hatred, ridicule, or shame: “And you will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matt. 10:22).
Only confront an alleged sinner with love. Even if Job had sinned and needed correction, his companions failed to approach Job with love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Jo. 13:34). Moreover, even though Job’s friends felt as though Job had disrespected their views, their experiences and the wisdom of their age, they were still required to respond with love: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44). When you show kindness and love to your enemy or attacker, the Apostle Paul reveals that you “heap burning coals on his heads.” (Ro. 12:20). When others are hurting and in need of guidance, do you respond with Jesus’ love?