"Good morning, Job. I am glad you indulged me once again by letting me tell you my story. I feel so comfortable with you Job. Your suffering has given you such a big heart, such an understanding heart, that I feel free telling you everything. I have not found anyone else that I can talk to like this, Job. Just coming to you every morning both relieves and instructs me. Sometimes I glean insight from things people say, but usually I don't gain much. I never am disappointed with you, however, Job. You have taken my measure, and you have something insightful to say to me every day. For that I am deeply grateful, Job. I love you, man.
Back to you. I am wondering, Job, what you were thinking when God bombarded you with his speech in 38-39. You had finished your words in 31:40 and then listened to Elihu for 6 chapters. I contend, differently from all scholars that I know, that Elihu actually was the one who finally "got through" to you. The only one who could ever reach you was the son of Barachel. That is my thesis. You could easily dismiss the other three, even though you bear some of the responsibility for the conversation's breaking down. But, why were you able to hear Elihu while you ignored the others? I think there may have been two reasons for this, Job. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that you listened to Elihu because he is as self-centered, as bombastic, as wordy as you. I didn't come to this realization until today. You know, Job, that all the "scholars" who study your book, almost to a person, don't like Elihu. I don't want to go through all their theories because it is a waste of time. You know, Job, if someone says something dumb it is just something dumb. But if a roomful of scholars say dumb things it is scholarship. So the scholars don't like Elihu, for whatever reason. As Casey Stengel used to say, if you don't believe me you can "just look it up."
But I think you listened to Elihu because he was like you. As he said, "I am full of words" (32:18). Sound familiar, Job? And what is the nature of his words? He is so sure that he is giving the truth, that he is going to improve on what the friends say, that they are flowing from a pure heart, that he says, "My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely" (33:3). He sounds like you, doesn't he? You big guys need a person of like-sized ego to get through to you, don't you? Maybe your other three friends were just other "big guys" but of lesser status in the community than you. You can easily ignore them because you are the unique "big guy." But Elihu brings you something that you didn't meet in the other three--an obnoxious, self-centered, angry windbag. I think you took to him immediately and recognized yourself in him. That is why you were able to listen to him.
But, there is another reason you heard Elihu, I think. He was the only friend who faithfully repeated your words. Oh, Zophar twisted them slightly and Bildad zinged you with a few of them, but here Elihu actually quotes some of your words, especially from the last part of ch.13. Check out his words in 33:9-11, especially. I don't want to take the time to show you how it is true. You know it is, don't you, Job?
So, here is what we have in Elihu. He is a person who not only is obsessed with self-centered garrulity, but is someone who knows how to listen. Where do you ever find those two characteristics in the same person? I think, Job, and correct me if I am wrong, that when Elihu began to speak you probably said to yourself, "My God, this guy is just like me." Then, when he got to 33:9-11, you probably said, "This guy has heard what I said." Then it dawned on you, "Oh my God, this guy may have something to say." You had thought all along that no one could reach you, that nobody could understand the flow of your heart and the way that your life had been creased with pain. But then Elihu entered. What a boob, but what an insightful one. He fools all the scholars, and he may have fooled you for a while, but you are too wise, too insightful, to let this guy pass. You realized that Elihu had some things to say that might reorient your life.
Well, I have gone into some of those things he said to reorient you in other talks already, haven't I? In any case, we are back to how you heard God's speech in 38-39. You weren't pleased at all with what God said, and so you gave Him a noncommittal response in 40:3-5 when he told you that you "must respond" (40:2). Noncomittal. That was you, Job. You lay your hand on your mouth, and you shut up. I think you are still harboring a lot of resentment at this point. I think God also perceives that you are doing so. That is why God has to keep clobbering you in 40-41.
Well, we are out of time again, Job, but thank you so much for allowing me to return to my calmness as I speak with you.