If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people. Job 35:7-8

I find Elihu is the most annoying of all Job’s friends! His language is arrogant and uncaring (33:3 and 36:4). His concept of God falls so far short of the Biblical picture of a caring Father who is interested in the lives of those he created. Elihu doesn’t think of God as a personal God so he hasn’t considered that it’s possible to act out of love for God.

Elihu is like those who believe the reasons for unanswered prayer are because we don’t have enough faith, we have unconfessed sin in our life or we have wrong motives. If the requirement for answered prayer is abundant faith, pure lives and pure motives, it’s unlikely that any of our prayers would ever be answered.

Yet for the Elihus of the world, it gives them a reason for God’s inaction without disturbing their theology. Ultimately it suited Elihu to think this way even though it made him insensitive and arrogant. He was more interested in having correct theology than in helping suffering people. He didn’t want to wrestle with the mystery of a loving Father who allows suffering.

For six chapters in Job (32-37) Elidu was allowed to spout his supposed wisdom, then we hear nothing more of him. Job didn’t respond to him and neither did God. He wasn’t mentioned when God tells Job to pray for his friends (42:7-10). Perhaps this tells us that arguing with the Elidus of this world is pointless.

And the lesson for us is: don’t use your theology to hurt people.