In this chapter, Elihu introduces a new insight to the purpose of suffering not covered by the other three friends. Elihu's main thesis is that God permits suffering in order to keep people from sinning and going to the "pit" (used five times in this chapter).
Elihu does quite a bit of quoting of what Job has already said, but he does not get it exactly right because he says that Job has said that he was sinless. Job never claimed to be perfect (9:20-21). He just claimed to have not sinned to bring on the punishment that he was now receiving. He was blameless in this particular situation.
Elihu was correct in quoting Job as saying that God is unjust (13:24, 27; 16:9; 19:7, 11). Job did ask God why and particularly why God had not given him his "day in court."
In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis said:
“God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
British Congregational theologian P.T. Forsyth said:
“It is a greater thing to pray for
Pain can be positive.
Pray to embrace the pain you are now experiencing in your life. Let God use it to humble you and bring you to a place of total dependence on Him.
My application is to put The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis on my reading list. I have never read it before even though I am looking at it sitting on my bookshelf as I type this entry!
2012 Update: I have still not read it, and it is three years later! I just finished an eight year reading goal. So, I will do it in 2012!
2014: I started it, and I did not finish it due to other pressing things going on. But I have read several of his other books! I need an audiobook. So I will put it back on my player! :)
Lord, we accept the pain and sorrow and want You to use it for Your glory. Help us to depend on You Lord. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.