"You wise men... you who give knowledge... you men of understanding," (verses 2, 10, 34). The young and brash Elihu's sarcasm, chest-beating, and disrespect are on in earnest. In verse 16 (see also verse 35) he reveals the fact that he didn't really mean in the earlier verses that these men he was addressing (including Job) were wise, "If you have understanding." Obviously he does not speak under the influence of the Holy Spirit, because, among other errors, the God of the Bible is not one to upbraid, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and UPBRAIDETH not." James 1: 5.
Also, another indication of his self-proclaimed inspiration is Elihu's reckoning of God’s justice, which isn't much unlike how many possibly see it today, (if we're honest). By Elihu's strict definition however, God would never have allowed Jesus ("who knew no sin" - 2 Cor. 5:21) to die in our stead. But obviously God's view of justice is not limited to human thinking; there's always a bigger picture (the Great Controversy, love, grace, mercy) that we often miss.
As noted with other speakers, listen to Elihu's diatribe in another context and you may be convinced that he makes some valid points. After all, which of us today does not expect divine protection in our undertakings (marriage, career choices, business investments, living locations, and the list goes on)? I believe that's a major part of why we pray and ask for prayers - desiring to remain under the wings of God's protection, "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings." Ps 17:8. Besides, the fifth commandment is one that comes with a divine promise. The challenge with Elihu is that he didn't understand the bigger picture of the Great Controversy however, and so couldn't factor the undue delays God's children sometimes experience in receiving His promises. At length however, all will be fulfilled.
Father, please help us to understand the context in which we live and operate as Your servants; that at length all your promises are true, and that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," (Rom 8:28). Amen.
This reading is based on Job 34. To read and/or listen to Job 34 and to read other related blogs, please click here.