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Just and Right

“‘Must he then make repayment to suit you, because you reject it?’” (Job 34:33).

One of the main themes in the book of Job is that of God’s justice. Job is crushed because he believes it’s unjust for him to suffer all the horrible things that are happening to him. Job’s friends insist he must be guilty of some horrible sin, because what he’s suffering is clearly God’s justice. Finally, the younger man Elihu argues that God’s justice is too complex for people to understand. It’s not something we can pick and choose to suit us. God is far greater than us, and we must accept that He has the right to do as He pleases.

Elihu’s main argument throughout his discourse is that both Job and his friends are wrong because they have a skewed view of God’s justice. He is especially angry with Job for insisting on his own righteousness, which in his mind should lead to a life free of troubles. Elihu is upset by this philosophy that someone can barter with God. He asks, “‘For has anyone said to God, “I have borne punishment; I will not offend anymore; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more”?’” (34:31-32). The person speaking these hypothetical words is trying to use his own righteousness as a means to escape God’s wrath.

But the end of the matter, Elihu insists, is that God is far greater than people can understand. He does not exist to please us. He loves us, yes, and He goes to great lengths to care for us, but at the end of the day, He does not serve us. He has the right to do as He pleases with His creation, without consulting us first. We cannot bargain with Him. He always does what is just and right.

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