19 “[h]Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,
And with unceasing complaint in his bones;
20 So that his life loathes bread,
And his soul favorite food.
21 “His flesh wastes away from sight,
And his bones which were not seen stick out.
22 “Then his soul draws near to the pit,
And his life to those who bring death.
23 “If there is an angel as mediator for him,
One out of a thousand,
To remind a man what is [i]right for him,
24 Then let him be gracious to him, and say,
‘Deliver him from going down to the pit,
I have found a ransom’;
25 Let his flesh become fresher than in youth,
Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor;
26 Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him,
That he may see His face with joy,
And He may restore His righteousness to man.
27 “He will sing to men and say,
‘I have sinned and perverted what is right,
And it is not proper for me.
28 ‘He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit,
And my life shall see the light.’
29 “Behold, God does all these [j]oftentimes with men,
30 To bring back his soul from the pit,
That he may be enlightened with the light of life.
31 “Pay attention, O Job, listen to me;
Keep silent, and let me speak.
32 “Then if [k]you have anything to say, answer me;
Speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 “If not, listen to me;
Keep silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”
As Elihu begins to trot out the same tired arguments, lets look a little deeper and find the underlying principles. There is one though, that Elihu wasn’t aware of, and to be honest, I don’t know if this applied to folks that preceded the coming of Jesus. But Elihu mentions the idea that one might have an angel be a mediator for them, and even then, that might be one out of a thousand.
But we have something even better! That is, Jesus himself is our mediator, and that is not up to chance. He is always standing before the throne answering any accusation that our enemy might throw our way. We can trust that his grace and love are not capricious, but everlasting.
Elihu touches on one other important idea, which is that God disciplines those he loves. Not that he says it in quite those words, and his implication is that if bad things are happening, then you’re being disciplined because you disobeyed God. That’s an impossible line to draw, as God also puts us through the fire to make us more like him.
And so the best thing we can do, truly, is when we are facing adversity, is to ask God. Just as Job has been doing for many chapters, appeal to God and ask him to show you how you can be more like Jesus. Look for what you can learn from the trial you are experiencing. Don’t let the opportunity be wasted. Though it can be hard to see the silver lining, look to God and let him shine a light on where you should go and what you can learn.