So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were older than he. But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he became angry.
By John Grimm
We can get angry for the most inconsequential items. We get cut-off in traffic–we have road rage. Our favorite team is done wrong by the referees–we abuse our children and wives. We are slighted at work for a promotion–we massacre our co-workers. Obviously, each of these situations can be handled in healthier ways.
Elihu had been silent, waiting to speak about Job’s situation. He had every right to be angry. Even though Job was distraught, it would have been possible for Job to justify God. Having friends declare Job to be in the wrong is also a reason to be angry. Job’s friends did not know the situation from the reader’s perspective, or from God’s perspective. Thankfully, Elihu did not rush to judgment against Job or his friends. The patience of Elihu helped Elihu present his case.
Maybe the Book of Job is about a young man’s patience. Maybe the Book of Job is about the rush to judgment of older people. Maybe, Job could have handled his grief if his friends had been patient like Elihu. It does give us pause to consider our patience when other people are going through grief. It does help us question how we treat our friends who going through unexplainable situations.
God, when we do not know the situation as you do, may we be like Elihu. Would you help us keep our tongues in check when we are ready to say what does not need said? Through your grace, we are looking forward to when we can become angry for those situations in which we need to become angry. May your Holy Spirit show us the times to become angry and when to remain silent, and may the former be less than the latter! In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.