2016 4th Quarter
Lesson 10, November 26-December 2, The Wrath of Elihu
Sabbath, November 26
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” KJV, Isaiah 55:9
I recall a time when I was sick. Outwardly, I looked fine. But something was affecting me in a way that drained me of energy. My extremities were very weak. Tests revealed severely elevated CPK levels. Doctors were puzzled as to the reason why after a muscle biopsy, MRI, and other tests failed to reveal anything of the serious, but otherwise routine diagnosis. My weakness went on for months, even with steroid therapy, because I tried to continue working as an assistant financial auditor.
One night I received a phone call from friend who was doing nursing for a wellness institute. She asked how the family and I were doing. When I told her of my illness, the next words out of her mouth were, “Are you living faithfully?” While many times there are links between illness and lifestyle choices, this particular case was not so easily identifiable. Still, I am no righteous Job. Even so, I found the directness unsettling–offensive, even.
Job had some friends who kept insisting that he had committed some specially heinous and unrepented sin to have “the judgments of God” fall upon him so violently. For the moment, all we can conclude about their critical homilies is that they must have thought that God’s judgments in this life are sufficient punishments for sin. Their language is almost similar to the universalist’s viewpoint: “We suffer the just penalty of our sins in this life; and we therefore expect to claim heaven, as a matter of right.” (James White, “A Universalist Sermon,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 7, 1862.)
This week we are introduced to a new character in the story. Elihu is not happy with what he has been hearing from Job, or his three friends. He has sat through the conversations, holding his peace because he is the youngest of the five present. Yet he will take the three self-righteous friends, and the one self-justifying sufferer, to task for misrepresenting God.