Job immediate reaction to God’s appearance is repentance. He doesn’t try to defend himself. He doesn’t try to explain. He just accepts that he crossed a line and repents, apologizes, corrects himself. Yes, God is talking through a whirlwind here, so probably pretty easy to humble yourself before a tornado, even a little one, but still. What is your first response when you are convicted? Challenged about something you are getting wrong?
Then God gets onto the three friends and tells them they were wrong about him and that Job was right. I mean, that’s wonderful.
And, okay, I did not read Elihu correctly. My reading comprehension failed me, and looking back, with the help of a few external sources, I understand some of his ranting better. He was right to condemn Job for his attitude of righteousness. Perhaps he did not deserve the entirety of his calamity, it was not a judgment, but he was not faultless either, and Job had sort of been pushed to the point of claiming just that.
I’m going to claim emotional reading. I was tired of the whole back and forth, indignant on Job’s behalf, and fairly convinced he would not have sinned as he did had his friends not provoked him the way they did. I still feel that way. However, it does seem to have put me a bit on the defensive for Job’s sake, and I missed the import of Elihu’s message.
So take a lesson from that, I guess. We can’t be impartial. It isn’t in our nature. We get attached; we get emotional; our emotions affect our perception. All we can do is be aware of our weakness and put forth our best efforts to consider, to truly consider what is being said by those we disagree with, those we believe we disagree with, and, always, be willing to revisit our opinions, to reconsider them.