The debut of Elihu

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-third in a series

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Chapter 32 introduces a new character, Elihu, a young man with a keen interest in theology and in the heated exchange between Job and his friends.

Commentators differ widely on his person and contribution to the scene. “Because he appears, dominates all discussion and then abruptly leaves, some modern commentators think that he wasn’t really part of the story and was inserted into the account later by the author or another editor.” (ref)

He does not abruptly leave, but is cut off when God begins to address Job. However, for six chapters Elihu is given the stage, an interminable monologue from the standpoint of all, but particularly for Job.

Job has remained standing in spite of the loss of his children, servants, herds, and health; despite taunting by disrespectful ruffians and gentry alike —not to mention his enemies; notwithstanding successive reprimands and insults from his three friends to convince him to repent, while enduring satanic and demonic attack on his emotions and mind as he suffers through the loss of his relationship with God. Now, must he also suffer confrontation by a manic underling?

This shows us that no matter how long a trial may go on, it can continue even longer. God's timetable is behind a veil. But his purposes are always right.

In Job, God is at work to create a new man and let nothing stand in his way. Job must be brought to birth, and he is now in his ninth month, a long and weary month to bear. Remember though, in this analogy, our triune God is the mother and Job is the unborn. Which one has the more difficult time? God is with us in our trials, not forgetting our confusion and need for answers and light. He groans with us. (Rom 8:26)

Job 32:1-3 NIV Elihu sees his opportunity to shine when Job’s friends stop arguing with him because they see him as incorrigible. He enters the fray of the discussion from a dangerous motive: anger. Who kindled his wrath? Well, probably, Satan.

We find out he may be related to Abraham as the son of Barachel the Buzite. Abraham's brother, Nahor, had numerous sons (Gen 22:21-22) and Buz was one of them (but he was not the only Buz in the Bible).

One commentator has noted that Elihu is the only man with a genealogy, proving he was not a fictional character. His name means My-God-Is-He and is termed by scholars as a Hebrew name.

Job 32:4-9 NIV Elihu makes a mistake in polite dialogue by stating that Job’s friends are very old (Job 32:6 KJV). Why not simply say, “older”? He further states that great men are not always wise — another insult. But he is angry, and wants all to agree that young men can receive God's wisdom.

Without a doubt John the Baptist's elders saw John as an upstart without sufficient credentials. However, Age is no just measure of wisdom. There are beardless sages and greyheaded children. (Trapp)

Job 32:10-14 NIV Elihu adds new insult to injury by challenging Job’s friends not to think that it must be left to God to convince Job simply because they have had no success. Elihu plans to answer with actual wisdom, not by parroting their speeches. He has not been defeated in debate by Job, but they have!

Job 32:15-18 NIV It was not clear to Elihu that Job was unreachable. He was convinced he could make an inroad to Job's stubborn heart. He felt he MUST have his say!

Job 32:19-22 NIV We shall see what the fermentation of a young mind will bring to the table. We are already sure, though, that it will not flatter — anyone!

As wonderful as youth is, many better endowments come with age.

Job has paid his way!

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-second in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 31:1 NIV Job was a perfect and upright man. Chapter 31 details how his behavior showed his understanding of God’s law and his obedience to it. Commentators have noted that it is his Sermon on the Mount.

Job 31:2-4 NIV Job is determined to prove his innocence, answering each charge against his character, real or imagined. Except for Chapter 38 when the Lord begins his discourse, it is the longest chapter of the book.

Job 31:5-8 NIV Job went further than simply averting his gaze to avoid lustful desires. He made a firm decision that he would not do so, so the temptation never occurred. He knew that God would severely judge men who entertained such thoughts. What hurts is that he still met with calamity and disaster!

Job 31:9-12 NIV Sexual sin with a married woman, or committing it in the heart (Mat 5:28), or of watching his neighbors’ routines for opportunity, would never enter Job’s thoughts. He understood that adultery was the ruin of man.

Job 31:13-15 NIV Job did not consider himself superior to his servants. He understood that the servant’s right to justice was the same as the master’s. He believed God would confront him for such sin.

Job 31:16-23 NIV Job was diligent to help the poor and the widows, knowing that God required it. He never took advantage of the fatherless for he feared God, in fact, he was as a father to them.

Job 31:24-28 NIV Neither the lying god of wealth nor the idolatry of the heavenly bodies enticed Job from the worship of the true God.

Job 31:29-34 NIV Job was never a man to gloat over the misfortunes of his detractors or call down a curse on any man who wronged him. He provided hospitality to strangers; he was unafraid of judgment by the community— no one held him in contempt, proving his statements.

Job 31:35-37 NIV Oh! What am I being judged for? If my adversary, whoever it is, would only state their case, I would gladly wear the indictment as a crown! I want to know my wrongs! What is my sin? Why has my life been ruined? Here is my signature! May God answer me!

Job 31:38-40 NIV And one more thing— I did not acquire my lands by stealth so that it accuses me in the place of its rightful owners. Now that is all I have to say.

Job has not explicitly accused God of wrongdoing, but there is an implicit ring to that effect in his words. Perhaps we may think that he is only begging for clarity or for restoration but when the Lord answers, he asks Job: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2) … Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” (Job 40:2) God saw what was in Job’s heart.

Job believed he could be acceptable to God by his deeds, yet that has never been possible for man, whether in Old or New Testament days. But was this truth discernible before the giving of the law and ordinances that pictured Christ to the Jews? We shall see.

Job thought he could engineer God’s judgment as shown by his practice of sacrificing burnt offerings on his children’s behalf following their celebrations of each ones birthday (Job 1:4-5). Yet they were of age, living in their own homes. Can a man stand in the place of his grown sons and daughters, or will God not require adults to answer for their own actions?

Can a man bargain with the Lord?

Tipping point

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-first in a series

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Bible stories give us glimpses of human nature that cause us to sigh or smile— knowing sighs and rueful smiles.

Job 30:1 NIV In Chapter 30, perhaps we can identify with Job’s wincing and his hurt pride, and with the devilment and gloating of the young men.

Bear in mind, though in this passage dogs are not viewed as laudable, the Bible does establish them as worthy creatures (Isa 66:3). They are helpers in watching over the flock, retrieve game for man, and help in many other ways.

The laughs of the young men are knowing laughs. They understand what it is to suffer and to be discounted by people who feel they are better. Now, it is their turn to scoff.

Job 30:2 NIV Commentators differ over the meaning of verse 2. Some have analyzed Job as a man who rejected the young men as unfit for labor. How could he benefit from these malnourished waifs? Who could?

Job 30:3-8 NIV These impoverished, homeless youth are banished from society, and to Job they have no value whatsoever.

What might we readers make of Job’s dim view of his fellow human beings? Did he not say previously that he delivered the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had none to help him? (Job 29:12) Did he not proclaim that he was a father to the needy? (Job 29:16)

Well, it is one thing to give a hand out to a poor person, but another to offer a job. It is one thing to view with sympathy the less fortunate, but it is another for these underdogs to view Job with derision, as though he is on their level or even under it!

Each person in any society is at a tipping point. That point is very near for some, and distant to others. If a man hires those who cannot advance his work, he will come closer to his own tipping point, sooner not later. Or, if the Lord vanquishes a man’s store, he will come upon his tipping point at once.

If a nation implodes, all citizens will reach that point swiftly. If Job cannot turn from his despair, he will tip over to a worse fate.

How can we avoid crossing our own point of downfall? Cling to the Lord for dear life!

Job 30:9-14 NIV Anyone, even the dimwitted, can see that Job is vulnerable. Why not jump on God’s bandwagon and hurt me even more than the Lord already has? The best is gone, why not take the rest? It won’t be hard.

Job 30:15 NIV Job keenly feels his demise and he is worn out.

Job 30:16-19 NIV But was it God who crushed Job? On the other hand, whether or not he is at the root of our dilemma, he does have the power to reverse the circumstances of our tumble or fall.

Job 30:20-23 NIV Job accuses God of cruelty. This is the lowest point of his life so far.

Belief in the goodness of the Lord is how we rise above our trials. This belief enables us to hold on. Without our voice and expression of love for God and our testimony of knowledge and trust of the Holy, we are cast off in a rudderless boat in hurricane waters. Say it: “There is no unrighteousness in him” (Ps 92:15) And if we should try to wait on the Lord without hope, it is the same as dreading him.

Can things be worse when you are in the worst time of your life? Yes, if you shrink back from your faith, they can be even worse.

Job 30:24-26 NIV Here, Job is saying that he has been a better friend to the downcast than God has been to him. Though he was caring and responsive to the ruined man, God disappoints and ignores him.

Job 30:27-28 NIV Job has not failed to cry out to God, as we have read over many chapters. He has addressed his friends and tried to answer their criticisms, but has rather presented his case before the Lord and entreated him for enlightenment and help. Nevertheless, his moment of release has not yet come. He must continue yet a while in misery and hopelessness, the latter which betrays his near loss of faith.

Job 30:29-31 NIV Job has not lost his faith, but he is overwhelmed by his reversals. He must be at this point before the Lord can show him his misconception. We will see in the next chapter that he has a deeper problem than his wreck and ruin: He is spiritually blind!

Attention Readers

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