Job 32: Running Out Of Answers
Job 32 provides us with an interesting narrative of what happens when we follow 1 Peter 3:15.
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
We have now been listening to this debate for over a month (in our time), and Job’s friends obviously just did not understand what was actually happening. They could not stand that Job continued maintaining his innocence. They thought that he must have done something terrible to get all of the problems that he did, and they kept trying to drill that point home.
That being said, Job always had an answer for them, and here is what happened.
Job 32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
Basically, they ran out of material to argue back with. Although the second part of that phrase is somewhat perplexing, I think that they basically thought that he was stubborn. They simply thought that he was too conceited; after all, he was claiming innocence which is very difficult to do in this kind of situation.
This approach did not work for the other people who were around them.
Job 32:2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
Job 32:3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
Elihu did not like Job because he was trying to justify himself about being innocent. It seems as if Elihu wanted Job to focus more on why God was just and fair rather than why he himself did not deserve punishment. However, he was also mad at his friends.
They could not find a way to successfully answer Job, but they continued to condemn him. They were being unreasonable, but they were perfectly content in that state.
I mentioned that original verse from 1 Peter because we can see that Job was very prepared to give an answer for his situation. He gave an answer that no one could successfully dispute, and even third parties who were not thrilled with Job recognized that.
Elihu saw the power of reason. He got angry when his three friends continued using bad arguments to justify their claim. We need to make sure that we are not being like his friends.
Although Christians are often accused of being anti-intellectual, that really is not true. There is a rich tradition of history, philosophy and even science to support our faith, and we need to embrace that. We want to end up like Job. We want people to run out of their own answers because then it might be more open to hearing our answers. I would hope that our answers would be Biblically-based and point people towards God.