July 7 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.” ~Job 36:5

Elihu hopes to have the final word and clinch the argument in this debate on human suffering. He is more eloquent than the other three friends, but his elegant counterblast really is more of the same. Job has sinned against God and he needs to repent. Further, he has no right to ever question God or to wonder what He might be up to. “But if men are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, he tells them what they have done—that they have sinned arrogantly” (Job 36:8-9). In other words, God has already answered Job’s question. The punishment he is enduring is the answer. Sinners suffer. Job is suffering. So Job has sinned! Here is God’s reply, Job. What more are you wanting from Him? 

As we have already noted, Elihu’s discourse contains a lot that is true. God does, in fact, punish the wicked. He does bless the righteous. He is awesome and powerful and mysterious. Elihu is so close to the whole truth and yet so far away. There is a big hole in his tightly woven argument—the unknown. He does not have all the information because he was not privy to the conversation between God and Satan. But Elihu doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

While God is good and wise and just, sometimes, for His own reasons, He does not tell us exactly what He is doing. There is much about God we can affirm in suffering, but we must be cautious in our explanations of particular events and situations.

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.