Elihu is the last friend to speak to Job. His discourse is different than the others in that he focuses primarily on who God is rather than what Job did to deserve his suffering. In many ways, Elihu helped to prepare Job’s thinking for what God was about to ask him. The next three chapters will open Job’s eyes to see God clearly. Elihu’s words caused Job to remember that God was his creator and Job did not have position to question His actions.
Question: Do our words prepare people to experience God? Do we speak truthful and encouraging words that turn thoughts to God? Every encounter with another can serve as an entrance to an encounter with God. Our words should lead others to obedience, service, repentance, or commitment. Every conversation can be turned to God and a divine encounter may result as we make ourselves available to God. Choose your words wisely!
“Therefore men fear Him; He does not regard any who are wise of heart.”
One can sense at the core of Elihu’s musings a discontent with what has come to be regarded as wisdom. Elihu looks at the cumulative thinking from each perspective, and he doesn’t see much that’s promising. He basically says, “None of you has got it right.” He himself doesn’t claim definitive insight, but he finds the ideas of his elders – Job included – to be deficient in dealing with the questions that arise from Job’s plight. This young person doesn’t say, “Get out of the way so we can do it my way.” He does say, “I haven’t heard true wisdom yet, so let’s keep seeking.” That’s the kind of youthful passion that can soften hardened positions and set a people up for God’s revelation.
Wait for me a little, and I will show you That there is yet more to be said in God’s behalf. 36:1
Of all the advice given by Job’s friends, I have always considered Elihu to be closest to the mark. Close, but not quite on target. I appreciate that he gives deference to age and wisdom. He waits his turn and listens. I also appreciate that he doesn’t let his youth ultimately keep him from speaking. When he asks Job about the characteristics of God in creation it comes very near to how God ultimately responds.
There are, however, some flaws in Elihu’s logic. He continues to contend that Job is deserving of his suffering. It stands to reason that, following Elihu’s logic, God will not do violence to justice, so Job must be unjust. It must be nice to live in such a binary sort of world, but it doesn’t take too many days on the earth to realize that isn’t how suffering works. Secondly, he says that God is not accessible. Again, according to Elihu, God is exalted and once he set the world in motion he stepped away. Third, God needs an interpreter.
Friends, this isn’t how we approach the Almighty. Our suffering is not unknown to the Lord. He hears our pleas for mercy, and God, his Word, and the Holy Spirit are sufficient. Stop looking for the “fix” and continue to search for Jesus in the storm.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us throughJob 32:1-10; 33:2-4, 22-30; 35:9-10; 37:14-24 in our Spring Re:Verse Series: “JOB – Through the Storm.”
I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. vs 20b
I was “today” years old when I realized this idiom was from Job. As with other popular lines found in the Bible, this phrase has become a part of our cultural vernacular. In Job’s instance, he might have literally escaped by the skin of his teeth (his gums were likely the only part of his body that escaped affliction), but when we use this phrase today, we are referring to barely managing to do something. “He passed his exam by the skin of his teeth.”
For how many of us is this more than vernacular? We find ourselves moving so fast from one project to the next that we do barely enough get by. When this rhythm becomes the norm, it begins to bleed into our spiritual walk. We do barely enough to check our boxes and move on to the next thing. God promises so much more to us when we put in the intentional effort to abide with Him. Don’t just try to get through it by the skin of your teeth, dwell in and with Him, and watch what He does when you put in the work to abide. John 15:1-11
Pastor Scott is absolutely right! Undergirding Job’s proclamation is a worldview; a set of convictions that help him make sense of God and the world around him. Part of Job’s story is that experience of indiscriminate suffering threw some of what he had previously believed about God out the door, but other things remained.
One of the things that remained in Job’s worldview, we see echoed loudly here too, and that is-God cares. Job is convinced that God has NOT abandoned him, nor is he distant and aloof, unaware and unconcerned about his suffering and his words (Job 19:23).
In Job’s mind, God is more than knowledgeable about situation, he cares about him, his well being, and about justice; so much so, he can leave everything in God’s hands, and not take matters into his own.
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” (emphasis mine)
At some point, enough counsel will have been imparted and enough differing opinions and perspectives will have been shared. Then, it will be up to each one of us to determine and declare what we believe, who we believe. The conclusions of our experiences, knowledge, and feelings will result in personal convictions and confession- some sort of worldview. At the end of the day, the deepest question that should be answered is not, “Do I believe in God?”, but rather “Do I believe God?” Do I believe: What he says about Himself, What He says about humans, What He says about salvation, sin, suffering, love, and grace. The Spirit and scriptures clearly communicate God’s character and promises.
Notice the individual question. Do I.
What is your conclusion?What is my conclusion?What is our confession? For each of us, it will matter for eternity.
“For I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
What a man of faith! Even while Job laments his suffering, he says unashamedly, “my redeemer lives.” Job, in faith, says ‘in the end, God will still stand.’ Job recognizes and knows that God will be there no matter what. Whether all of his possessions are gone, all of his family and friends are gone, or all of his flesh is gone, God will still care for him.
Paul wrote similar words many years later. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, not principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We have the promise from God of His constant, never-ending love and care for us that can never be taken from us. Satan would have us believe that God will fail us, but Job understood this to be a lie. Nothing can separate us from God!
“Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?”
The old joke, “If you can’t be an example…be a warning,” becomes poignantly real here, and it’s not in the least funny. Job’s life had invited people to aspire to all that is honorable, lovely, and noble. Now, his life invited people to castigate him as one who had it coming all along. No wonder Job dives headlong into a burst of defiant longing: “I know that my Redeemer lives.” If he were to discover otherwise, it would mean that no one is listening, and in the end, no one cares. Such a fate would destroy him. Therefore, he holds fast to the declaration that it cannot – must not – be. One might say his hope is wishful thinking. The Bible says otherwise: “My hope comes from the Lord.”
“Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!
This is a statement of absolute confidence without any petition on his own behalf. The duality of these words are incredible; he is sure of two things: his body will be wrecked and destroyed, and he will see God. Where does this faith come from? Remember Job is a man from the East. He is not living in a strong faith community, and he is most likely not of the nation of Israel. Yet he has discerned the incredible reality of a living God whose ways were great and indisputable. How does that inform your faith journey? We have the Word, we have the example of Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our journey. Even with those evidences and assurances we sometimes struggle to bear up under the burden of circumstance. May we gain a measure of strength from the example of Job today. May we say with the same confidence that surely our redeemer lives, and we will see him face to face.