Monday, May 10, 2010

Being Angry

Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Job 32: 2 NRSV

Elihu is not one of Job's friends. In fact, it is unclear where he comes from or really why he is there. Perhaps he is an opportunist that sits at the city gates: when he heard about Job's troubles and saw his friends going to see him, he may have thought this was a great opportunity to perhaps take Job's place in the honor of the people.

Elihu is young. He has not learned to dampen his anger. He probably sees his anger here as righteous anger. His anger at Job stems from the fact that Job keeps trying to justify himself. Job keeps saying he is innocent, which Elihu doesn't believe for a minute. Job also keeps saying he wants God to come talk to him and explain why he is suffering so deeply. Elihu finds this to be insulting. On top of this, Job's friends cannot seem to counter Job's arguments. Even though they disagree with him, Job's friends stop trying to convince Job of the error of his ways. Elihu thinks this is worse than Job's blasphemy.

So now Elihu will try to put Job down and defend God. This will be worse than inserting his foot in his mouth as his words will prompt God showing up and focusing his anger at Elihu.

Anyone else out there have a temper?

I have a temper. I can get very angry at the drop of a hat. I also have a really hard time keeping my mouth shut when I get angry. Age and experience have dampened that tendency, but it it still there when my temper rises. God's never shown up like in the Book of Job but there have been those persons in my life who have been God's soothing presence in face of my anger.

God, keep my temper in check! Guard my mouth -- and my thoughts -- so that I do not provoke your anger nor lose my self-respect. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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