The sad admission I need to make is that the first time I really sat down and read all the way through Job was in my freshman year of college. My immediate reaction to Elihu's speech was, "Finally! Somebody with a brain is talking!" I was so glad to see someone moved by the Spirit to look at the situation honestly and boldly. Here he was, a young voice serving as the embodiment of wisdom with the courage to deliver His divinely appointed message!
It was quite awhile before I realized what a self-righteous jerkwad Elihu (and I) really was.
Elihu professed a fundamental assumption that for Job to be right, God had to be wrong. And for so many of us in countless similar situations, we arrive at the same conclusion when addressing someone else's behavior or disposition. We might say it, we might think it, but somehow we arrive at the conclusion, "God must be right, so you must be wrong." But that isn't what we really mean.
Our stubborn hearts actually stand on a much more arrogant belief. We don't say it. We don't even think it. But deep down our fountain of so-called righteous rage spews up from a well of pride. The conclusion we are really coming to is, "I must be right, so you must be wrong." Because I know. I know about God, and you don't. My conclusions are from the Spirit. God put it on my heart. Well, here's a warning from one corrupt heart to another:
Don't ever blame God for the fact that you're a prick. That's on you.
There are some warning signs from Elihu's discourse that we all should look out for. Repeatedly telling people to listen to what you know: bad sign. Claiming your opinion comes from the breath of the Almighty: a tad risky. Warning people you are full of words: Proverbs 10:19 sheds some light on your heart. Lips moving: a red flag should go up. Saying that you are impartial and unflattering for the sake of escaping divine judgment: better make sure you're not just being a jackass.
And now that I look at my word count, I'm just going to stop here be silent.