Jan 12 (Daily reading: Job 32-34) Today’s reading comes totally from the words of Elihu, who claimed that God had given him a special understanding despite his youth. He therefore spoke lengthily and eloquently (it required an entire chapter just to introduce his speech!). Elihu said some compelling things about God but he was also very judgmental in his words about Job. He said that Job’s words were without wisdom, sinful and rebellious (34:35-37). He was wrong, because God said that Job’s words about Him were “trustworthy” (42:7).
What was it about Job’s words that God found trustworthy? Job expressed confusion, doubt and even some anger. He felt God had abandoned him. But he was honest. He was honest in what he said about himself, and he was honest in what he said about God. He knew in his heart where he stood before God, and he knew that ultimately, he could depend upon God’s verdict.
God is not impressed by the length or eloquence of our words. Solomon warned that “fools multiply words” (Eccl. 10:14). I am reminded of what Jesus said about the prayers of the Pharisees: “They think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Mt. 6:7). Jesus also denounced the Pharisee who prayed with many commendable words about himself, while his companion in the temple, the tax collector, simply said, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Mt. 18:13). May we choose today the simple but powerful words of Isaiah: “Here am I. Send me!” (6:8).
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