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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Old Testament Survey and Spirit Formed Life | Discussion Post | What's Job really about? The Prophet Elihu's Mediator

FORUM 4-2 

Name the three general categories and list the major themes of the Psalms. Assigned to: Group 8

REFLECTION on Job: How can the information gleaned from the book of Job be used to comfort someone who is suffering? Give your opinion. Assigned to: (Optional)


Psalms is composed of lyrical poems and wisdom statements by several authors, including David, Asaph, Solomon, and the Sons of Korah, among others.[1] It is comprised of mostly laments, praise, and thanksgiving.[2]

Kingship is peppered throughout the Psalms, many of which refer to the Davidic King to come, Messiah.

Nature and Creation are often foreign to modern dwellers of concrete forests; however, they were readily available to the agrarian societies of the Ancient Near East. They are used to explore the nature of God, power of God, and his amazing glory of his creative ability as well as Man’s place within it.[3]

The Retribution Principle states that the righteous prosper and the wicked suffer. While its corollary states that the prosperous must be righteous and the suffering must be wicked. This ideology is explored throughout Psalms and Job, both for its correct and incorrect conclusions.


Note: Job is my favorite book in the entire Bible, Old and New Testament combined. I read it devotionally for three years straight. This is long but worth it.

Job is a polemic against The Retribution Principle common not only in the Ancient Near East, but in our society today. While in general it is a strong theme throughout the Bible that God will bless those who keep his covenant, Job serves as a warning against overuse of that principle. Suffering and prosperity both come to the righteous and the wicked.[4]

The section of the Prophet Elihu is the most contested and misunderstood section in the book of Job, possibly in the whole Bible. Many scholars dismiss the section as a late add-on that adds nothing to the debate.[5] The opposite is true, Elihu is the key to understanding the book of Job and its purpose and message. While Hill and Walton observe that The Mediator is a theme in the book of Job, they incorrectly conclude that no mediator appears and that none is needed.[6] Stan Rock rightly observes that Elihu’s speech takes the largest section besides Job’s and it ushers in the speech of God, who echoes and builds on Elihu’s themes.[7]

The point of Job, the comfort of Job, is to show that we may not always understand the struggle we face, but God is still good, and we will see his goodness if we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on his greatness.

In the meantime, we have a Mediator, Jesus, who has come to be God With Us, just like Job asked for. We have a Mediator between God and Man, and his primary Job is to help man understand God for who he really is. 


The Key: Elihu as Mediator, and his prophetic announcement of THE Mediator to come.

The key to understanding the core of Job’s struggle is the key to understanding humanity’s struggle, and our own. Throughout the book, Job asks God for a trial and a mediator, an attorney. Job pleads his own innocence and questions God’s goodness, as do we when we suffer.[8] The Prophet Elihu arrives speaking the wisdom of God into the void left by Job and his three friend’s empty words. Elihu begins in righteous anger because Job justified himself rather than God.[9] Although Job is cited as blameless and upright before God; no human is perfect before God, yet Job continues the list of his good deeds as proof he does not “deserve” this fate.[10]

Then Elihu makes the statement that is the KEY to the entire narrative (emphasis added, shortened for brevity): “If there is a messenger beside him, a mediator, one of a thousand, to declare to a human (note: not to God as Job requested) his (the mediators’) uprightness… ‘I have found a ransom’… he prays to God and he accepts him…”[11]

Elihu goes on to show that God sustains all living beings, and that our sin means little to God and our righteousness means little to him as well. Our goodness, regardless of how good it is, is not “helpful” to God.[12] God is so much bigger than our minds can comprehend. When we try to prove to God that our good deeds (our better working of the Knowledge of Good, which is the wrong tree) justify our anger at our misfortune, we miss the point of all things. God is bigger than we can understand. His goodness is bigger than we can comprehend. He will repay all at the resurrection and final judgment. But on this planet, during this season between Eden and Resurrection, we will have trouble.

But we do have a mediator. Elihu was Job’s mediator, interpreting God to Job. He played the role and prophesied the coming of The Mediator, Jesus, would come for the same purpose. To interpret God to Man, God With Us. Job repents of his attempts to justify himself and relents that God is bigger than he can understand. That is enough to have him justified and restored. Simple acknowledgment that we cannot justify ourselves before God and that God is bigger than us, is the change Job makes in his mindset.

At the end, Job is given double the sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys; but, the same number of children. He is given ten new children. Yancey observes, “Could the author have been silently hinting at the eternal perspective? From that view Job did indeed receive double, ten new children here to go with the ten he would one day rejoin.”[13] The ultimate restoration of Job took place after his death, though a partial restoration was made during his lifetime.

The point of Job is that God has overcome the world’s evil, he will ultimately repay evil and good, but in the meantime, we have a Mediator, Messiah, who will teach us to walk with God, not under or over him; not for him or from him, but with him.[14] Only, we must stop trying to justify ourselves, earn or prove our right to be blessed. On the contrary, we must accept life on life's terms, praise God for his goodness even when life turns upside down and walk WITH God no matter what comes. If we will hold tight to him, we will be more blessed in the end than in the beginning. Even if that end is after the resurrection of all things. 


DQ7: Life WITH God

Prepare: Read Jethani, Chapters 6 & 7and listen to "The Treasure" video

Participate: Describe what Jethani means to live a Life WITH God and how our relationship WITH God gives us a new/fuller understanding of living WITH faith.


Jathani builds on Brother Lawerence’s observation that only those who experience life with God can comprehend what it means.[1] A desire for Life With God is kindled by a vision for who he really is, which is made possible by the revelation of God in his Word, and ultimately through the revelation of Jesus as God With Us.[2]

J.R.R. Tolkein’s phrase “eucatastrophe” which is a sudden intervention of good, can be seen throughout the narratives of the Old and New Testament.[3] We see this play out in the book of Job.

Throughout his trials, Job begs for an audience with God to plead his case as before a judge. The Prophet Elihu arrives on the scene to show Job his error. Job had spend the entire narrative trying to prove his innocence before God, and that his fate had not been “deserved”. Job lived in a broken mindset of Life From God, and he assumed his right actions should have earned him peace. Elihu steps onto the scene to become The Mediator Job requested. In a reversal, Elihu does not plead Job’s case to God; rather, he pleads God’s case to Job. He shows that man’s right-actions do not benefit God and that all the uprightness of man does not earn him a life without trials. Rather, it is the role of Mediator to make man aware of God’s greatness and make a ransom to allow man to live a Life WITH God. Job ceases trying to be right in his own eyes, gets a vision for God’s greatness, and then submits his fate to God. In doing so, his fortunes are turned. Job stops seeing God as provider or judge, and begins to see God for his greatness. Upon catching that vision, all he needs is God and God alone.

Job is an example of the Principle Jethani described in concentric circles. Danger > Fear > Control are turned on their head by Submission > Faith > Safety.[4]



[1] Jethani, 98.

[2] Jethani, 110.

[3] Jethani, 99.

[4] Jethani, 124.


[1] Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 3rd ed (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Publishing House, 2009), 420–21.

[2] Hill and Walton, 429–32.

[3] Hill and Walton, 432–36.

[4] Hill and Walton, 414.

[5] Hill and Walton, 403.

[6] Hill and Walton, 416.

[7] Stan Rock, “Elihu, the Forgotten Prophet of Job,” Blog, Stan Rock, Quiet Theology, October 23, 2014,

[8] LEB, Job 9:15; 23:7.

[9] LEB, Job 32:2-3.

[10] Key Word Study Bible NKJV, Job 1:1; Chpt 31; Romans 3:10.

[11] LEB, Job 32:23-26.

[12] LEB, Job 34:14-15; 35:6-8;

[13] Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1997), 264–65.

[14] Skye Jethani, With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011).


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


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