This is an excerpt from my introduction to the Elihu speeches. I have been wrestling with this text for weeks. Here are some things I think I have learned.
I have been thinking and praying each week trying to figure out what these texts mean. As I pondered over the big picture yesterday, I thought again how hard the speeches were to understand. Much of the difficulty comes from the fact that the speeches were written in Hebrew poetry, but not completely. The other main reason for struggle is that people are complicated, especially when we are hurting. Job’s pain and suffering cause confusion because these things cloud his mind with darkness. He oscillates between hope and despair. We can’t remember our own discourse with people much less all that they say. Our memories fail us no matter how young and smart we may think we are. We begin our argument and find that we lack adequate resources to debate so many words. From chapter 3 to the end of 32 we have about 12,000 words exchanged. The human element is obvious. It’s not a matter of whether the writer of Job can write for us words that are comprehensible. Rather, he seems to let stand the difficulties of conversations among men. I say all of this because I want to understand what Job says. I want to understand so that I can make clear to you what Job is saying. It’s hard to apply God’s word if we don’t know what it’s saying. Yet, I think that is a point in Job (the difficulty of the speeches). Understanding this helps me. I hope it helps you. I asked this question of the text because I realized the YHWH speeches are not so hard to understand. They are written in Hebrew poetry too. So, I conclude that God is far more clear than man. And we are to see a contrast between the speeches of men and the speeches of God. I’m looking forward to walking through those next week!
Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” May this be so of us!