July 6 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.” ~Job 34:3-4

What makes Elihu’s argument so convincing in these chapters is that almost everything he says about God is true! Yes, man is sinful. (Elihu even admits his own sinfulness.) Yes, God is a God of justice who shows no favoritism. Yes, God will forgive repentant people. However, the truths are spoken out of turn because Elihu’s application of them in this particular situation misses the mark. The fact that we are sinners and that God is just doesn’t mean that every difficulty that comes our way is our fault.

Elihu is both right and wrong here. His theology is accurate, but he isn’t applying it correctly. Yes, sometimes personal pain is caused by personal sin. That’s why the best thing we can do when we’re faced with hardship is to examine our own hearts and lives to see if there is anything that must change (Ps. 139:23). However, God may have other reasons for allowing pain and suffering, as He does in Job’s case.

Job’s friends, including Elihu, missed this. They’ve reduced the cause of all of Job’s personal suffering to personal sin. Their mistake—and it’s a big one—is a lesson for us in carefully applying biblical truth. Soon the Lord will speak and the men will know that they have erred. God is up to something in this situation, but He has not yet revealed what. He is mysterious; He cannot always be explained. But He must be worshipped.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.