Then sweet Elipaz speaks again. I’m not sure if he is tempering Zophar or defending him. I really wish I could have been the fly on the wall and heard the tone of what was being said.
But what he says does seem to be a response to both Zophar and Job. It feels as if he’s trying to deescalate the situation. He starts with another series of questions, but I can’t see who he is looking at, Job, Zophar or both.
Are you the first man who was born?
Or were you brought forth before the hills?
In other words, “Are you all powerful, eternal, all knowing God?”
Have you listened in the council of God?
And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
In other words, “Why are you so certain you are the only one who know right?”
What do you know that we do not know?
What do you understand that is not clear to us?
In other words, “What do you know that we don’t know?”
As I take a step back, those aren’t bad questions to consider when we’re in a heated debate.
First, our ego, our need to defend ourselves, may be taking over the conversation, affecting the relationship. In the moment of defending ourselves, we honestly believe we are the defender of truth…and that is God’s responsibility.
Second, there are lots of truths in the world. Some of them even seem to contradict, yet we know they are still true (ie. we may die, yet we shall live).
Third, every person is limited in their comprehension by their experience of what seems to be true as they have observed life.
I hear this lived out in our current situation – political parties who feel they are the ones to defend truth, contrasts in right and wrong which are hard to reconcile, people groups who minimize other groups in their pain because they have not personally experienced a truth. We’re escalating our arguments when we need to calm down, get perspective of who we are, who others are, and how none of us have the total truth.
Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself,
For emptiness will be his payment.
It will be paid in full before his time,
And his branch will not be green.
Conflict sucks the life out of relationship. If we feel we have a corner on truth, we deceive ourselves. And even if we “win,” we’ll be empty.
Go Elipaz – I’m starting to like you!