Vs. 2, “But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God.” After patiently waiting for all four to end their conversations, Elihu son of Barakel enters the scene. Question: Who is this guy? Elihu was a Buzite which meant that he was also related to those who were from the tribe Uz. Abraham was from the tribe of Uz. Elihu opens up his dialogue with much indignation (vs. 1-5)! He is exasperated that the three friends were unable to prove Job wrong and upset that Job was justifying himself before God. Elihu is an interesting character in the drama of Job’s life. I’m not quite sure what to think about his role. He claimed he was inspired, but really didn’t bring much more to the table. In fact, when God finally speaks later (Job 38), the three friends are mentioned, but Elihu is not. However, Elihu does share some insightful thoughts on the mystery of God’s work over the foolishness of His creation.
Regarding application…Patience. Vs. 11, “I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words.” While Elihu is passionately indignant when he finally speaks, much props to his great patience. Because he was younger, he took the time to respect Job and his three friends. He listened intently on what they had to say. Question: How is your patience in conversation? We are often so quick to share what we have to say, we don’t take the time to listen properly. I would love to say that I have this type of patience! However, I am humbled. As James reminds us, “be quick to listen and slow to speak” James 1:19.
Vs. 4, “Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” Job was on trial by his friends of being guilty for the horrific tragedy that beset him. This is Job’s final defense as he confirms with “if” and “then” statements. Job takes inventory of all possible transgressions and boldly invites the consequences if he is guilty. Job mentions three of the greatest stumbling blocks: lust, deceit, and adultery (vs. 1-12). And yet he claims before his friends he is innocent of such things. I’m impressed for God indeed chose a righteous man! He then made a defense for how he treated others (vs. 13-26, 28-34). He also defended himself when it came to his relationship with the Lord (vs. 24-28). And in the latter section of our chapter (vs. 35-40), Job makes is as clear as possible that he is willing to suffer any additional consequences if he is guilty.
Regarding application…God Hears Us. Vs. 35, “Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.” Job was rightfully an exasperated man as he cried out for justice! He isn’t quite sure if God is on his side or his adversary. We can’t blame Job for being in such a confused state. Question: Why is this happening to me? Like Frodo in Lord of the Rings, we may wonder why tough times come our way. I like Gandalf’s response, “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Job did not get to decide his circumstance, nor do we. Take comfort in knowing that when we cry out to God, He absolutely hears us! I might add, He also answers according to HIS timing!
Vs. 9, “And now those young men mock me in song; I have become a byword among them.” Our chapter today mirrors the previous one as Job compares and contrasts his life. Having just recalled the glory of his past, Job now faces the harshness of his present. Rather than respected Job is now mocked (vs. 1-15). But to add insult to injury, the young men were children of those who were outcasts and despised. Rather than blessings pour out to Job, it was suffering for what seemed endless days (vs. 15-23). He turned to others for help, but no one would come to his rescue (vs. 24-25). Any hope in Job’s life was fading as he was suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually (vs. 26-31).
Regarding application…Don’t Stop Believing. Vs. 16, “And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me.” My heart goes out to Job for he just cannot understand why this suffering has come his way. Yet, we can find solace in knowing what God had in store for Job. Jesus set the ultimate example of suffering before glory. You are not alone. There is something comforting in knowing that there are others who have gone before us. And there are others who are going through similar circumstances. Over the past year, I’ve had opportunities to sit down and speak with other Pastor’s. It is quite encouraging to hear testimonies of others who are struggling with like-minded things. That’s why community in God’s church is so very important. Don’t stop believing!
Vs. 2, “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me.” Question: Isn’t it true? We love to reminisce about the good old times. Sometimes, we have a distorted perspective on the past and tend to remember only the good. For Job, he had already lamented about his life and wished he had not been born (Job 3). But as he closes out his defense, Job remembers the many blessings God had bestowed upon him. Job’s relationship with the LORD was intimate and rich (vs. 2-6). Wherever he went, he would receive much respect from others (vs. 7-11). Job had done much to bless others as he gave and provided for the poor (vs. 12-17). No wonder why Job has assumed life would get better as the years pass (vs. 18-20). The words that came out of Job’s mouth encouraged many in those days (vs. 21-25).
Regarding application…Predicting the Future. Vs. 18, “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand.” Whether or not we realize it, we all tend to be prognosticators of our own dreams. There was nothing for Job to assume otherwise. His relationship with God, family, and others was in the right. Yet, Job’s life is an example for all of us who see such days. Thank the Lord that there will be a glorious end, but the tests of life will come our way. Question: Will Job pass the test? Will we pass the tests of life? Take heart today as you consider your own present circumstances. It’s okay to remember the past, let’s just make sure we live in the present and hope for the future!
Vs. 12, “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?” While Job’s friends had knowledge, they lacked wisdom. Question: Where can wisdom be found? Job pictures wisdom as something that is mined like gold, silver, and precious stones (vs. 1-11). It takes great effort and time to collect such metals. Once you find these precious metals, they must be refined. Unlike possessions, wisdom cannot be bought (vs. 12-19). It may be a shock to the rich that money cannot buy everything. Job ends this chapter (vs. 20-28) with giving us the perspective that ultimately wisdom comes from God.
Regarding application…Fearing God. Vs. 28, “And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Question: What does it mean to fear God? When we have the right perspective of who God is. When we don’t fear someone, we don’t respect them. We are wise when we give God His due. Yesterday, I preached from the book of James on the importance of being a humble servant. The opposite of humility is pride. When we are prideful, we do not fear God. “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).
Vs. 5, “I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity.” Job continued to defend his integrity (vs. 1-6). He went as far as to take a solemn oath; which was a very serious matter. Regardless of what Job’s friends thought, he would not cave into the pressure. I’m imagining an interrogation scene where an alleged suspect is grilled so hard that they admit fault even though they didn’t do it. Job curses those who would be relentless in their accusations (vs. 7-10). The latter half of our chapter (vs. 11-23) involves Job expound upon what happens to the unrighteous. It wasn’t that Job disagreed that sinners are punished; it was just that they were wrong in their assessment.
Regarding application…Bitter or Better. Vs. 2, “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter.” Question: How do you respond when trials and tribulations come? I’m reminded that James exhorts us to find joy in our trials (James 1:2). When life throws lemons at you, we can either become bitter or better. Don’t be too harsh on yourself when your initial reaction is bitter. That is why prayer, healing, and time is on our side.
Vs. 2, “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble!” I like Job’s response to Bildad (vs. 1-4)! If his words were from God, they would have benefited Job. Remember Job has been praying that God would respond. However, Bildad’s words were simply his own. Rather than blame God, Job praises the greatness of our Creator (vs. 5-13). Since God even knows the realm of the dead, how much more would he know the land of the living?
Regarding application…Don’t Assume! Vs. 14, “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” If knowledge is power, than I fear we must think we are quite powerful! We assume because we have been a Christian for many years or read the Bible that we have a fine grasp on God’s ways. On the contrary, Job shows us real wisdom to his know-it-all friends. We only see the outer fringe of His work. There is so much more to God than we could possibly imagine. While we do have the Word and the Spirit counseling us, we must be careful not to assume we have it all figured out. My biblical knowledge has grown vastly over the years, but an interesting phenomenon does happen; the more I know the more I realize I don’t know. It’s humbling indeed.
Vs. 4, “How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?” Bildad speaks to refute Job with the assumption that he knows more about God. This is the last of the three friends making any more responses. It seems they have run out of anything new to say. At this point, he was just jabbing at Job to confess that this was all because he had sinned.
Regarding application…Speaking Without Compassion. Vs. 6, “how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—a human being, who is only a worm!” Job’s friends spoke with little or no compassion. Because they were so caught up in their own judgment of Job, they couldn’t see the truth. Question: How many times has that happened to you? I would love to think I’m a compassionate person, but there are some areas of my life that need work. I have found that I speak with less compassion towards males vs. females. Let’s prayerfully discern how to encourage another before we speak words without compassion.
Vs. 1, “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?” Greed is good. This was the well-known statement of fictional character Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. The greedy practiced corruption as they took advantage of others (vs. 1-11). Question: If God was judging just the wicked, why were these others not being judged too? Job shares the harsh reality of a sinful world that operates in the night (vs. 12-17). There are people who commit crimes at night, and yet go unpunished. Yet in the end, Job denounces such people and realizes that their day of reckoning will come (vs. 18-25).
Regarding application…Justice Served. Vs. 23, “He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways.” That’s not fair! This is an unavoidable lesson that is learned early on in life. But the unrighteous of this world will have their day. Though Job had many questions and laments, he still held on to his faith. I think that is why we love our superhero’s so much (comic books, cartoons, blockbuster movies). There is a huge sense of satisfaction we get when we see the antagonist get their due justice. This is what Job had been hoping for. Hollywood wouldn’t make much money if they allowed the unjust to prevail. Thank the Lord that we have a righteous judge in Jesus!
Vs. 5, “I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me.” Despite the outpouring of negative responses, Job ignores his friends’ taunts and speaks directly to the Lord. While he lays out his grievances, Job’s heart and mind is ready to consider what God has to say (vs. 1-12). He sought after the Lord, but up to this point Job could not find Him. Consider when we are in distress. Question: Who do we turn to? We turn to the Lord. Poor Job felt like there was no alternative, for he feared the Lord greatly (vs. 13-17). He couldn’t figure out why such calamity had come to him.
Regarding application…Don’t Give Up. Vs. 17, “Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.” Job couldn’t see what lay before him, nor can we. Yet, he would not give up seeking the Lord. There are appropriate times to let certain things go in life (careers, possessions, relationships). Yet, Job teaches us the enduring faith of one who went through excruciating tribulations. Question: How would you respond? I have a tendency to fret about many things. I blow things out of proportion. Yet, when I reflect on the times where I had to exercise my faith the most; God provided slivers of hope to keep my faith afloat. The storms of this life try to shake the foundation of our lives. But, when are lives are built on the Solid Rock of Jesus, we won’t have to give up (Matthew 7:24-27). Jesus helps keep the house of our faith always standing!