"If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness is for a man like yourself, and your righteousness is for a son of man." (Job 35:6-8)I have known people who sin out of anger towards God, thinking they are punishing God by their sins. I have also known people who believe that their righteousness endears them to God. Both groups of people see their righteousness, and/or wickedness, in relationship to God alone. They view righteousness in terms of how it effects God. To be sure, God is grieved when we sin. But God is not lessened by our sins, nor is He increased by our righteousness.
Elihu shows us that righteousness is for man. What he means is that, God's ways of righteousness were meant to benefit man. When someone is righteous, they benefit themselves and others. When someone is wicked, it is themselves and others who are harmed. Righteousness is not arbitrary. God did not wake up one day and decide to come up with a bunch of laws for men to obey. But rather, He embodied in those laws the way He created us to live. In other words, when we live righteously, we are living the way God created us to live. When we sin, we are living contrary to the nature to which God created us. Righteousness is the right way to live because God created us to live that way. That is why there is greater peace and prosperity in our lives when we live righteously. King Solomon said, "the way of transgressors is hard." (Proverbs 13:15) It's hard because we were never meant to live that way. God calls us to righteousness, not because He likes bossing us around, but because He wants the best for us and for those around us.