Vs. 2, “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.” Question: Why would Elihu ask the audience to bear a bit longer? Probably because he saw others eyes rolling as he boasted of having such great knowledge (vs. 1-4). Though God is mighty, that does not mean that He does not care for the downtrodden (vs. 5-14). How often we feel like Job and think God has forgotten us. These were truths, but not seen from the right perspective. Elihu challenges Job to respond with repentance (vs. 16-25). Everyone assumed Job is being stubborn and just not wanting to admit the obvious; he sinned to bring such trials. In the latter section of our chapter (vs. 26-33), Elihu looks to the greatness of God through nature. The clouds, lightening, and thunder are testaments of God’s power of the earth.
Regarding application…Having Resentment. Vs. 13, “The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.” Question: Do you harbor resentment in your life? The definition of resentment is when we have anger for being treated unfairly. The very premise seems unfair for the onus is upon the victim to respond righteously. The victim becomes the perpetrator. As a believer who has been extended forgiveness, holding onto resentment is not an option. It’s far more difficult than I suspect we realize. I imagine resentment being a virus or cancer that spreads within our soul. It is a silent but deadly killer. Fortunately, there is a cure! Let the love of Christ cover over a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).
Vs. 13, “Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it.” Elihu had thrown Job into the bucket of all the other wicked sinners who cried out to God and never receive an answer. Elihu asserts that Job’s cries to God are not with the right intention. While Elihu attempts to grasp the grandeur of God, he is unable to get it right. God’s nature isn’t going to change because of us, but our actions or lack thereof can move the hand of God. Elihu appealed to prayer for Job, but may not have been privy that Job already cried out to God.
Regarding application…Waiting on God. Question: Why doesn’t God answer prayer? This is an aged old question that has been asked over all generations. I would surmise that God indeed answers them far more often than we realize. We’ve all heard this response to prayer; God says yes, God says wait, God says no. Question: How do we know which one? That is the million dollar spiritual question. I don’t have a right answer. Prayer is still a mystery to me. But I do know this: stay in His presence. We may never get a satisfactory answer this side of heaven, but we can faithfully walk with Him. No matter what questions, trials or circumstances infiltrate our lives. Like Job, let us be able to declare, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Vs. 36, “Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!” Indeed, Job has been tested to the utmost! Elihu started out with calm intentions, but his emotions are beginning to get the best of him. Like Job’s three friends before him, Elihu appeals to the justice of God. Question: How could Job cry out for justice? Surely Job was getting what he deserved. Elihu shares really nothing new on the matter. Yes, their defense of God’s justice is right, but they still lacked a full perspective. No one was privy of God’s testing of Job from the very beginning. No one was privy that though God is just, He is also a very loving and compassionate God. They couldn’t conceive Job was innocent of wrongdoing when all the supposed evidence showed otherwise.
Regarding application…Godly Perspective. Vs. 35, “Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.” I shared this in my message today to Roots Ministry from the book of James. We are limited in our knowledge and insight. Elihu was too quick to slander and judge Job’s character. Though Job’s friends claimed wisdom, their pride was their downfall. The enemy uses pride as his weapon of choice. Job was a man who endured tragedy that we cannot imagine. And his friend’s lack of perspective was throwing salt at his wounds. I wonder how often our own words of supposed encouragement have hurt others we intended to help? Brothers and sisters let us not be too quick to make a hypocritical judgment of others.
Vs. 1, “But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say.” Having been introduced to Elihu from our previous chapter, we now see him address Job directly (vs. 1-7). Elihu realized that he too was simply one of God’s creation formed of clay (vs. 6). Elihu did not want Job to feel like he was condescending towards him. We know Elihu must have listened well for he was able to quote what Job had lamented earlier (vs. 8-11). Having thought about Job’s assertion of God, Elihu confronted him to tell him Job was wrong (vs. 12-13). Elihu sees God as someone who does speak to His creation through dreams/visions, suffering, and angels (vs. 14-33). Elihu shares some wise words as he perceives that God does use suffering for a purpose. Suffering gets our attention so that we do not go into the pit of sin and despair. Earlier, Job had cried out for a mediator and Elihu pictures that mediator as an angel.
Regarding application…Sincere Speech. Vs. 3, “My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know.” I believe Elihu did speak sincerely from his heart. Throughout this speech (Job 32-37), Elihu directly addressed Job three times and mentions his name seven other times. Quite a stark contrast when you compare it to the three friends who never mentioned Job’s name once. There is power in a name. Psychologists will tell you that everyone likes to hear their name spoken. When I worked at the bank, we would coach the personal bankers to mention their clients names at least 3-5 times throughout the opening of accounts. There is something about sincerity if we speak and know someone’s name. Try speaking the name of people you talk to directly over the next week (Family, friends, servers at restaurants, etc.). You will notice that there will generally be a better response!
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.