By Theodore Epp
The great principle underlying Job’s spiritual problem was given centuries later by our Lord: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23,24). Job was trying to hang on to his reputation and his past victories. If we want God’s best, we must be willing to lay aside everything that might be counted dear to us so that God can really do for us what He wants to do.
I can almost see Elihu as he listened to the various speeches, getting a bit warm on the inside. “Why don’t they get down to the facts? Why don’t they speak the truth? Why does Job seek to justify himself? Why doesn’t he see himself as God sees him?”
Elihu sized up the matter very clearly. The reasons given for his anger (Job 32:2,3) are of more value than what was said in the 29 chapters of discourses. He recognized that Job was trying to justify himself rather than God. Then he pointed out the problem of the three men: They had condemned Job instead of leading him to condemn himself.
When we justify ourselves, we condemn God. But when we condemn ourselves, we “justify” God. We do this by admitting that God is right in what He is doing and praising Him for it.
“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4).