31st January 2018

Job: Week 13 (Wednesday, January 31 2018)

 

Chapters 32 & 33

 

Chapter 32

Elihu prepares his speech

Elihu’s reaction to the other speeches

v1 So, these three men did not continue to answer Job. They saw that Job did not consider himself guilty.

v2 Then, Elihu became angry. Elihu was the son of Barakel, who belonged to the people called Buzites. He belonged to the family of Ram. (This is why Elihu was angry:)

·     Job had said that Job himself was right, rather than God. So, Elihu was angry with Job.

·     v3 And Elihu was also angry with the three friends. They had no reply. But they still said that Job was an evil man.

v4 Elihu waited until Job finished his speech. Elihu waited because the other men were older than Elihu. v5 But Elihu realised that the three men could not answer Job. Then, Elihu was angry.

Chapter 32

Verse 1

Job had finished his speech. And his friends were silent. But a young man called Elihu wanted to speak.

People have different opinions about Elihu. Some people say that Elihu was foolish. And, they say that his words merely repeat ideas from the speeches of Job’s friends. We do not agree. We think that Elihu was wise. His speech was fair and accurate. And in the end, Elihu introduced God himself.

Elihu’s main idea was that God is fair. Job’s other friends said that they believed this. But they themselves were unfair to Job. However, Job was not always sure that God is fair. If God was always fair, Job could not explain his troubles. But Job felt sure that God would be a fair judge.

Job wanted a friend who would act like a lawyer (Job 9:32-35; Job 16:19-21). Job probably thought that God himself would be this lawyer. And today, we know that Jesus is such a friend. Jesus, of course, is God himself.

In the Book of Job, Elihu acts like this lawyer. It is as if Elihu arranged for Job to meet God. Elihu was just an ordinary young man (Job 33:6). But his words were special because he spoke by the Holy Spirit (Job 32:8; Job 36:4).

Verse 2

Job protested that he was innocent. And he blamed God for his troubles.

In fact, Job was a good man. His behaviour was right. But nobody should accuse God. Job should have insisted that God is good.

We do not need to prove that we are right. Instead, we should trust God. God is a fair judge. And in the end, God will give to each person whatever that person deserves (1 Corinthians 4:3-5).

Verse 3

The three friends blamed Job for his own troubles. They were being cruel to Job. They had no evidence. But they still accused Job.

Jesus warned that we should not act like judges. Of course, there must be real judges in the courts. And the Bible gives great honour to these judges. But many people who are not judges pretend to be like judges. They accuse other people. Jesus warned such people that God would be their judge (Matthew 7:1-2).

Verses 4-5

Elihu was polite. He respected the older men. He did not interrupt them.

Elihu thought that the other men should be wise

v6 So, Elihu (son of Barakel, who belonged to the people called Buzites) spoke. He said:

I am young. You are old. So, I was afraid to tell you what I know. v7 I thought that an old man would be wiser than me. I thought that you would teach wisely because of your age.

v8 But God gives men wisdom by his Holy Spirit. v9 Great men are not always wise. And old men do not always know what is right.

Verses 6-9

Older people are usually wiser than young people. Older people have learned many valuable lessons in their long lives.

But there is a difference between human wisdom and God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 1:27). So we need God’s Holy Spirit to teach us about God (1 Corinthians 2:9-12). Job had complained that his friends were not speaking by the Holy Spirit (Job 26:4). So their statements about God were not always accurate (Job 25:6).

Elihu did not want to copy their error. So he would speak by the power of the Holy Spirit. Elihu would only speak the things that God taught him (Job 36:3).

Elihu asks the three friends to listen carefully

v10 So, I will speak. Listen to me! I shall tell you what I know.

v11 I waited while you spoke. I listened to your speeches, while you tried to say the right words. v12 I listened carefully. But you did not prove that Job is wrong. You could not answer his words.

v13 Do not say, ‘We are wise!’ Do not say, ‘God, not man, will prove that Job is wrong!’

v14 But Job has not accused me. And I will not answer him with your words.

Verses 10-14

Elihu spoke like a lawyer. He had listened to the other speeches. He thought carefully about them. But the three friends’ arguments did not impress him. He saw that they had no evidence to accuse Job. He believed that Job’s speeches were better than theirs.

The three friends had failed to prove that Job was guilty. But they were still accusing Job (verse 3). They did not say, ‘We were wrong.’ Instead, they said, ‘God will prove that Job is wrong’ (verse 13). Elihu thought that they were unfair to Job. But Elihu would not be unfair.

Elihu’s thoughts about his speech

v15 Now, the three friends are unhappy. They have no answers. So, they are silent. v16 But I cannot wait while they are silent. They stand there. And they have no reply. v17 So, I myself will answer. I will speak my opinion.

v18 I have so many words to speak. The Spirit forces me to speak. v19 I need to speak. Otherwise, I feel as if I would burst! v20 So, I must speak. I need to answer.

v21 I will be fair with everybody. And I will not speak well about anyone unless my words are true. v22 God would punish me for such evil behaviour. And I would soon die.

Verses 15-17

In Job 2:13, the three friends were silent because Job’s words upset them. But now they had argued with Job. And so nobody wanted to speak, except Elihu. He had waited patiently during their long speeches. And he was desperate to speak.

Verses 18-20

In the Bible, many holy men are called prophets. These men did not merely speak their own ideas. Rather, they spoke by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). They described their experience in different ways. Sometimes the Spirit felt like a wind that was blowing through them (John 3:8). In fact, in the original languages of the Bible, the words ‘wind’ and ‘spirit’ are the same.

Sometimes the need to speak felt like a heavy weight (Nahum 1:1; Malachi 1:1).

A workman needs to put a heavy weight on the ground. And a prophet needed to speak the words that the Holy Spirit had given.

Verses 21-22

Elihu spoke like a lawyer. He promised to be fair to everyone. So he realised his own responsibilities.

Elihu would not lie to try to prove his ideas. His words would be sincere. He knew that God was listening to his words. And God was not merely Job’s judge. God was Elihu’s judge too.

 

 

Chapter 33

Elihu speaks to Job

v1 Now Job, listen to me! Listen to everything that I say! v2 Soon, I will begin my speech. I am now ready.

v3 My words will be honest. I will speak clearly the things that I know. v4 God’s Spirit made me. I live because God allows me to breathe.

v5 Answer me if you can! Prepare your reply! v6 I am a man like you. God made us both from the earth. v7 So do not be afraid of me. And I will not be cruel to you.

Chapter 33

Verses 1-3

Elihu was ready to begin his speech. He would be sincere and honest. He was a good adviser. He would not try to confuse anyone. And he would not lie in order to make his ideas seem more impressive.

Verse 4

In the original language, the word ‘spirit’ also means ‘breath’.

The Holy Spirit is essential for our lives. God’s Spirit gave to us the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). Elihu did not want to use his own ideas when he advised Job. Instead, Elihu would speak by the Holy Spirit (Job 32:8; Job 32:18).

Verses 5-7

Job’s three friends acted as if they were wiser than Job. But Elihu was humble. If Job replied, his words would not upset Elihu. And Elihu would not be angry if someone proved him to be wrong. Elihu wanted to know the truth.

Elihu sympathised with Job. Elihu reminded Job that they were both ordinary men. The Bible says that God made man from the earth (Genesis 2:7).

Someone may say, like Elihu, that they are speaking by the Holy Spirit. But we should not just agree with their words. We should remember that people may also speak by evil spirits. Or a person may make a genuine mistake. That person may think that he is speaking by the Spirit. But really, his ideas might come from his own mind. So, we need to use the Bible to check the person’s words. We need to check that such a person believes the truth about Jesus. And we need to pray about that person’s advice. See 1 John 4:1-3.

Job should not accuse God

v8 But Job, you spoke. And I heard your words.

v9 You said, ‘I am honest. I am not evil. I am innocent. v10 But God accuses me. God acts as if I am his enemy. v11 I am like a man in prison. And God watches everything that I do.’

v12 But you are not right. God is greater than we are. v13 Do not accuse God! Do not say that he never answers our words. v14 God speaks in many different ways.

But we do not always hear him.

Verses 8-11

Elihu did not repeat Job’s actual words. Instead, Elihu chose words that would emphasise Job’s main ideas. Job argued that he was innocent. And Job blamed God for Job’s troubles.

Verses 12-14

Job blamed God. And Job thought that God might never help him (Job 24:1). But God is always good. Even when Job was suffering, God was helping Job.

God had a message for Job (chapters 38-41). But while Job was complaining, he was not ready to hear God’s message. So Elihu taught Job about God. Elihu used his speech in order to prepare Job to meet with God.

God may speak to a man in a dream

v15 God may speak to a man in a dream. It is late, during the night. The man is asleep in bed. v16 Then, God speaks to him. Perhaps God frightens the man. God warns the man. v17 God tells the man to stop his evil behaviour. Such a man must not be proud. v18 So God will rescue that man from death. God will save that man from the sword of his enemy.

Verses 15-28

‘God speaks in many different ways. But we do not always hear him’ (verse 14). Elihu used two stories to explain this idea. The first story is in verses 15-18. This sounds like Eliphaz’s strange dream (Job 4:12-21). The second story sounds rather like Job’s life.

In both stories, the man was not expecting God to speak. But God had an important message for each man. Each man’s life or death depended on his reaction to God’s message.

Verses 15-18

This dream is like Eliphaz’s dream (Job 4:12-21). But there are important differences:

·     In Elihu’s story, God spoke by the dream. In Eliphaz’s dream, a strange spirit spoke.

·     In Elihu’s story, the message was that the dreamer himself must stop his evil behaviour. But in Eliphaz’s dream, the message seemed to be that Job must stop his evil behaviour.

Perhaps Eliphaz’s dream really was from God. Perhaps God was warning Eliphaz to stop his evil behaviour. But Eliphaz had his own ideas. Eliphaz became proud and he even accused Job (Job 22:2-10).

Perhaps God was speaking to Eliphaz. But Eliphaz did not hear God’s message.

God’s servant may rescue a man

v19 Or, another man might be ill in bed. His whole body is painful. v20 He even hates food. He refuses the best meals. v21 He is so thin that his bones stick out. v22 And he is almost dead.

v23 But a servant of God, who is one among thousands, speaks on behalf of the man. And the servant of God tells the man the things that are right for that man. v24 And the servant is kind to the man. So he says, ‘Save this man’s life. Someone else has paid on behalf of this man.’

v25 Then the man will be well again. His body is as strong as a young man. v26 The man prays, and God is kind to him. The man will see God’s face. And that man will shout for joy. So God will help the man to become a good man.

v27 The man will tell other people, ‘I was evil. But God did not punish me in the way that I deserved. v28 God saved me from death. I will live. And I am glad to be alive.’

v29 God does all these things. And he will do these things again. v30 And God does these things to save a man from death. Then that man will be glad that he is alive.

v31 Listen carefully, Job. Be silent! I will speak.

v32 Or, if you have anything to say, answer me! Speak! I want to prove that you are right. v33 But if you do not speak, then listen to me. If you are quiet, I will teach you about wisdom.

Verses 19-22

This man sounds like Job. But we are not sure, because of verse 27. The man in the story was evil. But Job was not evil. And Elihu was angry about people who accused Job without evidence (Job 32:3).

Verses 23-24

This servant may be an angel. Angels are God’s special servants from heaven. But Elihu may be describing a person who brings God’s message.

This servant is very special. He is one among thousands. And he chooses to speak to God on behalf of the man. Job had spoken about such a servant (Job 9:32-35; Job 16:19-21). He described this servant as a lawyer or a friend.

This servant prays to God on behalf of the man. And the servant asks God to save the man’s life. The man could not save himself. But someone else has paid the price to save that man.

These verses remind us about Jesus. We all deserve to die because of our evil deeds. We deserve God’s punishment. And we cannot do anything to save ourselves from that punishment. But God is kind. He sent Jesus. Jesus’ death was the price to save us from our punishment. God forgives us if we confess our evil deeds to him. And God becomes our friend when we invite him into our lives.

Verses 25-28

God has changed this man’s life. The man is grateful. He praises God. Job wanted to be like this man. Job wanted God to hear his prayers. Job wanted to meet God. And Job was happy to confess his errors to God (Job 42:1-6).

Verses 29-30

Job had argued that God never spoke to him (Job 30:20). But Eliphaz insisted that God had a message for Job. Perhaps Job was not yet ready to believe God’s message.

The man in verses 27-28 did not argue, like Job, that he was innocent. That man only wanted to give honour to God. But Job insisted that he himself was right. Job should have insisted that God is always right (Job 32:2).

Verses 31-33

Elihu was humble. If he was wrong, he wanted to hear Job’s reply. But if Elihu was right, then he wanted to continue. He had more wisdom that he wanted to teach to the other men.


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