I have to admit that reading today’s portion with Elihu was a challenge for me. I had to read it in several versions plus a couple of commentaries before things began to click. God brought to mind a scripture in Daniel which clarified much of Job for me. The verse I read was Daniel 9:21 (NIV)
“As SOON as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:”
I was reminded of the bigger picture. First, we have a God who loves us more deeply than we will ever be able to comprehend this side of heaven and HE wants to restore each of us. Second, there is a HUGE spiritual battle happening around us. There are things happening in the heavenlies that we can’t begin to comprehend but Job 1 opens our eyes to the ongoing warfare happening between good and evil, the temporal and eternity, God and satan (Sorry, I simply refuse to capitalize that name, I know the grammar is incorrect).
The scripture from Daniel reminded me that God and HIS team heard Daniel’s prayers from the moment he first uttered them. However, there was a delay in the response due to spiritual warfare …. The same kind of warfare that Job is a part of… The same kind of warfare that EACH of us encounter daily. The same kind of warfare that will exist until Jesus returns again.
And third, we have Jesus Christ who gave his life for us and rose from the dead so that we would have eternal life with HIM as well as abundant life here on earth. Job and his friends didn’t have the Scriptures, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. We are so blessed to have each of these things to bring us comfort, peace, love, and more moment by moment. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!
I was also reminded from Isaiah 55:8-9 that:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”
It is our CHOICE and responsibility to ask HIM into our heart, obey Him, trust Him and submit to His will, even when we don’t understand. (ok… so I didn’t say this was going to be easy, but the results will be greater than ANY greatness we can possibly imagine!!)
Chapter 32 – Enter Elihu. Job’s three friend’s had stopped answering Job “because he was righteous in HIS OWN EYES.” Job 32 verse 1. I am grateful they stopped, but their reason for stopping really caught my attention today.
Elihu is not a happy camper. He was quite angry. He was angry with Job for comparing his righteousness with God’s righteousness (pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, and Elihu mentions possibly rebellion …. OUCH). He was also angry because the three friends had not come up with an answer, nor proved Job wrong. The young man had waited for everyone else to stop talking and then he lost his temper. He tells all of them that he thought wisdom came with age, but he had been wrong and in verse 8 he stated: “BUT IT IS THE SPIRIT IN A MAN, THE BREATH OF THE ALMIGHTY, THAT GIVES HIM UNDERSTANDING.”
Yes, Job was being prideful, possibly a touch of self-righteousness with a bit of arrogance the longer he spoke. Elihu maintained that Job was NOT suffering because of sin; he was sinning because of suffering (go ahead read that again … it is not original, but I can’t remember where I read it and I had to read it a couple of times before it’s importance sank in :-)). I am not excusing Job or dismissing Elihu’s points because they are both God BREATHED. However, I do have great compassion for Job who had lost EVERY thing in a day and suffered for a YEAR … who wouldn’t be going through all the stages of grieving (toooo many opportunities for sinning with that one…. argh).
It was pointed out in the study I did last year that the word BREATH was used 3 times (maybe you counted more). In the verse above, in Job 33:4, and in 34:14. God BREATHED life into Adam and Eve. He BREATHED life into each of us. If anyone out there has challenges breathing, or is around someone who does … you know how precious each breath we take really is. And ONLY God gives us BREATH.
Chapter 33 – Elihu rebukes Job in verses 8-12
“But you have said in my hearing—
I heard the very words—
9 ‘I am pure, I have done no wrong;
I am clean and free from sin.
10 Yet God has found fault with me;
he considers me his enemy.
11 He fastens my feet in shackles;
he keeps close watch on all my paths.’
12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right,
for God is greater than any mortal.
OOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHHHHHHHH!!!! How many times have I had my own pity party … “I don’t like it, it’s not fair, I’m not the worst person I know…blah blah blah…. “ Elihu certainly puts things into perspective doesn’t he? Then, Elihu began saying that God was trying to answer Job’s question as to why things were happening to him, but Job was not listening. The “Life Application Bible” states: “Elihu misjudged God on this point. Job was listening. However, if God were to answer all our questions, we would not be adequately tested. What if God had said ‘Job, satan is going to test you and afflict you, but in the end you’ll be healed and get everything back?’” IMHO I think we’d STILL be asking “but God… when will it end.. and WHY is he testing and afflicting me???” The BOTTOM line is that it is ALL about TRUST even though we don’t understand why our lives are going a certain way (Isaiah 55:8-9).
In verses 13-23, Elihu is telling Job the ways God speaks to men (in dreams and visions, through suffering, and through mediating angels). In verses 24-28, Elihu is telling Job to repent. A few things I find interesting in these scriptures because they are all foreshadows of JESUS are:
- an ANGEL on our side/MEDIATOR (Jesus)
- flesh is RENEWED like a child’s, RESTORED as in the day of his youth (Resurrection)
- found a RANSOM for him (Jesus)
- He is RESTORED to GOD in his RIGHTEOUS STATE (because of Jesus)
- He REDEEMED MY SOUL from going down to the pit (Jesus is our REDEEMER)
Verses 29-30 .. “God does all these things to a man twice, even three times to TURN BACK HIS SOUL FROM THE PIT that the LIGHT of LIFE may SHINE ON HIM.”
Chapter 34 – Elihu is speaking directly to the friends. The important thing he points out is that “GOD DOES NOT DO EVIL” in verse 10. We are reminded that each man spoke nuggets of truth buried under layers of false assumptions based on their own paradigms (which were not based on God’s wisdom).
I know I said this earlier, but I am JUST so GRATEFUL to have Jesus Christ in my life, the Holy Spirit living in me, and to be able to freely read and write about the Word of God. LORD KNOWS I am a sinner and it is ONLY by his mercy and grace that I can SHOUT TO THE LORD AND SING PRAISES TO HIM!! HOW awesome is it that HE loves us so much that HE doesn’t want to give us what we deserve. (PHEW!!)
FAITH… TRUST… Job had both of these, even in his pride he still NEVER took his eyes off God Almighty.
What do you all think? What stood out to you?
Sharing HIS love,