Elihu knows that God is righteous, even when people are not. He knows that God does not dole out punishment unjustly, but instead speaks to people in many ways to warn them of their behaviors. Elihu also knows that the righteous have advocates that speak to God on their behalf, as Elihu would like to do for Job.
An advocate can be quite a blessing – someone who speaks to God on our behalf, who prays for our benefit. An advocate can also be a gift when they are willing to speak directly to us about the ways in which we have failed. All of us ought to have someone in our lives who loves us enough to correct us when we stray.
I have a mirror-holder in my life. Through gentle conversation, they hold a mirror up so that I can see my behaviors that are difficult to see on my own. They help me see how my behavior affects others, and how it affects myself. It is sometimes difficult to look into that mirror, because I don’t always like what I see. But the experience always helps me grow into a better person. Though painful, the growth is also beneficial. It helps me not to make the same mistakes twice, to learn from my mistakes, and to continue to grow to become the person I truly want to be.
“But now, hear my speech, O Job, and listen to all my words. See, I open my mouth; the tongue in my mouth speaks. My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely. The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me, if you can; set your words in order before me; take your stand. See, before God I am as you are; I too was formed from a piece of clay. No fear of me need terrify you; my pressure will not be heavy on you.
“Surely, you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words. You say, ‘I am clean, without transgression; I am pure, and there is no iniquity in me. Look, he finds occasions against me, he counts me as his enemy; he puts my feet in the stocks, and watches all my paths.’
“But in this you are not right. I will answer you: God is greater than any mortal. Why do you contend against him, saying, ‘He will answer none of my words’? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though people do not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on mortals, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens their ears, and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn them aside from their deeds, and keep them from pride, to spare their souls from the Pit, their lives from traversing the River.
“They are also chastened with pain upon their beds, and with continual strife in their bones, so that their lives loathe bread, and their appetites dainty food. Their flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen; and their bones, once invisible, now stick out. Their souls draw near the Pit, and their lives to those who bring death. Then, if there should be for one of them an angel, a mediator, one of a thousand, one who declares a person upright, and he is gracious to that person, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the Pit; I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.’ Then he prays to God, and is accepted by him, he comes into his presence with joy, and God repays him for his righteousness. That person sings to others and says, ‘I sinned, and perverted what was right, and it was not paid back to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down to the Pit, and my life shall see the light.’
“God indeed does all these things, twice, three times, with mortals, to bring back their souls from the Pit, so that they may see the light of life. Pay heed, Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”