After a few moments of stunned silence, Elihu, ancestor of Nahor, continued.

“The ear considers words like the tongue tastes food. Together, let the four of us determine what is good.

“Job, you plead a compelling case of blamelessness, but you take credit in vindicating yourself. In doing so, you’ve essentially agreed with the wicked by claiming there’s no value in delighting in God. When you say you’ve kept yourself clean in vain, in fact, you’ve offended God.

“You claim that the wicked go unpunished. Perhaps worse, you claim that you’re sinless yet punished.

“God is perfect Justice. Can a governor hate justice? God can do no wrong, for He is Shaddai, the Almighty. No one appointed Him to a court position. No one handed down a law book so He would know how to properly fan out the canvass of stars over the land and seas between the four pillars.

“If God decided to breathe in and take His Spirit back into Himself, all flesh would turn again to dust. Get it?

“In your discontent, you condemned God’s judicial proceedings.

“Will you also condemn a righteous man who calls a king a scoundrel? Would you condemn a righteous judge who shows no partiality between a noble man and a common slave?

“We’re all God’s creation, and we all die. His eyes watch our every step. There’s no place for the wicked to hide on the last day.

“He doesn’t have to deliberate long before His judgment is handed down.

“He obliterates the wealthy in the their nocturnal haven without a thought, because He knows them as He knows Himself. With onlookers gaping in horror, He strikes them down in their wickedness.

“The rich man amasses wealth by the blood and sweat of oppression, and the cries of the poor reach God’s ears.

“But if God remains silent while the innocent die of starvation, are you going to condemn Him? Can even an entire host of nations stand against Him if He chooses to remain hidden?

“What if you considered your punishment and sorrow as proof of our common trait of some hidden sin? I wish you could humble yourself enough to say, ‘God, show me what I don’t see in myself, so I may correct my ways and live.’ He wants you to be humble, not feel guilty.

“You think you’ve been tested to the limit. Don’t tempt God to press further. You heap rebellion upon your stain of sin, multiplying God’s justification against you.”

Zophar interrupted and said, “Job told us earlier, in the lamplight of his tent, that the wicked go unpunished, and that they jeer, ‘who is this God, and why should we obey Him?’”

Elihu turned again to Job, a look of disgust impossible to hide.

“And by saying such things,” Elihu condemned Job, “you’ve admitted that you’d be better off having followed the ways of the wicked.”

“I asked him,” Eliphaz interjected, “if he actually thought God can be affected by his righteousness.”

Elihu laughed.

“Look how high the clouds float above us,” he pointed at the breaking of dawn’s sky. “Eliphaz is right. What good is your righteousness to a God who’s higher than the clouds we cannot touch? For that matter, what harm would come to God if you sinned?

“Your wickedness or righteousness is a matter between those of us on the ground. And the oppressed don’t get an answer because, instead of humbly seeking God and trusting in His timeline, the suffering one, even you, Job, is quick to call for justice because of their evil pride. We don’t need justice. We need mercy!

“God can’t hear an empty cry, that is, a cry for justice. How much less will he hear the haughty case you’ve laid before Him. And as you wait for an answer, you dare to regard his slowness to anger as a license to sin.

“Job, by your mouth. you’ve opened up for yourself a gaping pit.”

Inspiration: Job 34, 35

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