Elihu Sharply Reproves Job
35 Then Elihu continued and said,
2 “Do you think this is according to justice?
Do you say, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’?
3 “For you say, ‘What advantage will it be to [a]You?
What profit will I have, more than if I had sinned?’
4 “I will answer you,
And your friends with you.
5 “Look at the heavens and see;
And behold the clouds—they are higher than you.
6 “If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him?
And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him?
7 “If you are righteous, what do you give to Him,
Or what does He receive from your hand?
8 “Your wickedness is for a man like yourself,
And your righteousness is for a son of man.
9 “Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out;
They cry for help because of the arm of the mighty.
10 “But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
Who gives songs in the night,
11 Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
And makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
12 “There they cry out, but He does not answer
Because of the pride of evil men.
13 “Surely God will not listen to [b]an empty cry,
Nor will the Almighty regard it.
14 “How much less when you say you do not behold Him,
The case is before Him, and you must wait for Him!
15 “And now, because He has not visited in His anger,
Nor has He acknowledged [c]transgression well,
16 So Job opens his mouth [d]emptily;
He multiplies words without knowledge.”
There’s an interesting irony in this next section of Elihu’s (long-winded) speech. There’s also the fact that he accuses Job of being impatient while Elihu himself could not constrain his speech any longer… But the more interesting contrast is found when Elihu asks Job in verse 6, “If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him?” In other words, you can’t hurt God by your wrongdoing.
At the same time, Elihu rails against Job for questioning God, for daring to ask God why all this was happening. Certainly, God is not obligated to answer that question, and we often must be satisfied without knowing the “why?” in our tragedies. Yet I would say God would rather us come to him with questions than run the other way. Further, the idea that our sin does Him no wrong is just not true.
No, we can’t “damage” God, and so perhaps there’s some truth to Elihu’s words, and we certainly can’t fight against his plan. But when we disobey God, at the very least I think it causes him pain to see his creation rebel against its purpose and against his plan. At any rate, it is not God’s desire to see us waste our lives in wrongdoing, and He gives us every opportunity to turn away from that.
So, do not be afraid to take your questions to God. Don’t even be afraid to be mad at God. I can’t imagine anyone who can handle it better. He may not give you direct answers, but listen for his voice. Be sure to sit quietly after you’ve had your say, and be patient. God knows what is coming, and if you will trust him, he will prepare you to meet any challenge that life throws your way. Even better, God himself will walk with you every step of that journey, and will carry you through when you feel crippled by loss and tragedy.