I was needing to read the speech of Elihu the other day. It’s in the last part of the book of Job. I started a couple pages early and read Job’s speech. He’s aware of helping those in need. He describes practicing hospitality in powerful and thoughtful ways. I hadn’t looked closely at it, but I will again sometime soon. Not because if gives a magic formula for making God happy. Clearly it’s not about. (Though God was happy with Job).
But it does give a picture of a way to live, to use your life for others.
“If I have denied the desires of the poor
or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
if I have kept my bread to myself,
not sharing it with the fatherless—
but from my youth I reared them as a father would,
and from my birth I guided the widow—
if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,
or the needy without garments,
and their hearts did not bless me
for warming them with the fleece from my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
knowing that I had influence in court,
then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
let it be broken off at the joint.
For I dreaded destruction from God,
and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.
We know that Job is our shorthand for unrelenting misery in life. And so we seldom think, “I want to be like Job.”
But perhaps there is value in thinking, “I would like to live with the caring commitment of Job.”
Job’s summary of his life is in Job 26-31.