Continuing Elihu’s criticisms of Job.
They aren’t straw men. These aren’t cartoons of people’s views about God, they are deeply felt, complex and beautifully expressed.
Today Elihu posits a God who is too big for tiny granular justice, and that is why the arrogant prosper.
Considering the vastness of the heavens, he says the consequences of our sin won’t damage God. We only hurt others by sinning.
Since Elihu’s time mankind has developed the power to perhaps completely wipe itself out, with weapons of war or environmental mismanagement on a global scale.
But God would survive our nuclear holocaust, and you have to think the fate of the planet is ultimately in his hands, despite our best efforts.
On a personal level, it jars when David’s sinned against Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed, and then says ‘against you (God) only have I sinned’.
It’s so prone to being taken the wrong way I urged the Salvos take a reading of psalm 51 out of the service of repentance for the wrongs done to children in their orphanages, and elsewhere, exposed by the government’s enquiry into child abuse.
I could imagine the victims of abuse feeling left out of the equation, the opposite of the point of the whole service.
We left it in because I couldn’t find a better expression of repentance. And you just have to accept that our sin does matter to God, even more than the victims of its earthly consequences.
After all our good does. Jesus revealed that giving any random hungry person food is like giving God food.
Anyway it’s an interesting, if flawed, idea, but then he pushes it too far when he says people don’t cry out to God in their oppression under human sin… They do, unless Negro spirituals are without precedent in human history. Mind you, lots of people don’t blame God for their suffering as well.
And he says God doesn’t listen to them or care. Everything we’ve read in the Bible so far contradicts that.
So what according to Elihu does God do for us?
Gives us understanding higher than beasts and birds, gives us songs in the night.
See what I mean? Even when he’s wrong, but he takes these beautiful paths there. Songs in the night!
Anyway I’ve been surprisingly messed up emotionally since my job interview Wednesday. Getting it would solve a lot of problems simultaneously: job security, a financial boost, most likely, and give me a strong sense of a purpose that matched what God made me for. But it is in God’s hands, God’s plan.
Things looked promising on Friday when they got me to send in referees they could call. I asked if that meant I would be offered the job, and the recruitment guy wouldn’t commit, but said it was ‘a good sign’. I almost cried on the phone later as I told Kelly… I get myself to the mindset of accepting it’s all in God’s hands. But then the stages of waiting kills me.
Sigh, first world problem, there is a job for me…