I. The Setting
II. The Suffering
The Book of Job Message Ten
Imagine Job sitting and suffering, slowly scraping away the dried fluid seeping from the open sores that covered his body. The stench from his body would be almost unbearable and the men speaking with him would be sitting away from him, able to have a conversation but not too close. At least four men had spent much time with him, initially coming to comfort him, but had quickly become accusers.
How different from our wonderful Lord Jesus who would have embraced and comforted him.
The younger of the four, Elihu, had not come with them and may have been a family friend who lived nearby. Now that the older men had stopped speaking, we learn of –
III. The Sentiment of Elihu Job 32:1 – 37:24
A. His deference
Job 32:1-10 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram:
His silent anger –
,,,,against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
Job had declared that he had lived according to his promise to himself based on his knowledge of God. He had determined that he would live a life that would honour God, and if he sinned – he would deserve the judgment of God – but as far as he knew as we learned from Job’s declarations in chapter 31, he had not broken his promise to God!
Job 31 “…If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.”
Job was confounded by the affliction he was in and sought God desperately to discover the reason for this judgment. The answer would come in God’s time!
Elihu’s silent anger was –
Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
They presented no evidence other than the trials Job suffered. They could only assume the cause of his suffering to be some secret sin committed by Job as they had no documented evidence against him in the form of written accusations, nor did they have any direct evidence in the form of accusations declared by first hand witnesses. In other words, they had no proof of wrongdoing by Job!
He waited for all of them to finish speaking –
Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled. And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
Elihu told them that he had waited on them as it was the proper thing to do according to the Word of God –
Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
But Elihu added that he believed that God instructs the young also and gives them wisdom and insight that is valuable and should be considered by all.
I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
B. His disappointment (Elihu’s)
Job 32:11-14 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
Elihu claimed that he could be the voice of reason because he had been an observer only, not involved in the matter in any way –
Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
He was disappointed –
1. In Job because he justified himself instead of glorifying God.
a. Job had been unjustly accused and was compelled by this to defend himself. We often seem guilty when trying to defend ourselves.
b. Job’s thoughts were focused on himself instead of God.
He was disappointed –
2. In the three elders because they were not able to prove their allegations. It was just talk!
C. His desire. He was anxious to share his opinion!
Job 32:15-20 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
Have you ever been part of a group conversation, being present but not being asked for your opinion, not invited to add your thoughts, even though you knew that you had all the right answers? Then your opportunity came, those that had been speaking had no more to say, you would wait for a few moments to see if they would continue, but when they did not, you jumped in – “…ready to burst like new bottles.”
Notice especially 32:18-20
D. His decision was that which was according to what he believed. Job 33:1-37:24
1. Job was wrong in his conclusion.
Job 33:8-12 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths. Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
And that –
2. Job’s words should be examined.
Job 34:34-37 Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me. Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom. My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.
And finally –
3. Job should listen to Elihu’s justification of God
Job 35:2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?
Elihu misunderstood the words of Job as he argued against the accusations of his friends. Job was forced to defend the righteous actions of his life, even which God had attested to, and some could misinterpret Job’s intention to be that he claimed he was not a sinner and should not be punished by God instead of understanding Job to say that he simply did not know why he was being punished by God! He had examined himself many times and could not discover sins that had not been confessed and forgiven by God.
Elihu began at this point to remind Job, as if Job did not know, of the greatness of God.
Job 36:1-2 Elihu also proceeded, and said, Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.
He magnified the Lord before Job in order that Job might be humiliated by his own words when he argued with his friends.
Imagine a storm coming toward them as they spoke –
Job 36:26-29 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
Job 37:1-5 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
Job 37:14-16 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
We must note that Elihu was neither condemned nor commended by God for his discourse with Job. An interesting circumstance is that Elihu seems to recognize the supernatural aspect of the approaching storm –
Elihu’s words to Job and his friends came at the end of their arguments and the beginning of God’s revelation of His Person and purpose, which we will turn to next week. Let me encourage you to read the remaining chapters of the book this week.
Job had examined his life carefully, as is recorded in chapter 31. He was convinced that he was not being punished for an unconfessed sin!
The question we have before us this morning is this -“Have we examined our own lives in the Light of God’s Word”? Our nature is to focus on other people’s circumstances and imagine the reasons for the trials they are going through. We do need to be aware of others and be prepared to “rejoice with them that rejoice and to weep with them that weep”, but we must examine our motives – this morning, have I examined my heart – has the Holy Spirit brought anything in my life to my attention that I need to get right with God?
Will you spend some time on your knees before the Lord of Glory in prayer today, meditating on His Word, asking Him for wisdom and leadership that we all might be holy, ready for His use for His glory.
Again, How different from our wonderful Lord Jesus who would have embraced and comforted him.
We who may not have the stench of disease reeking from our bodies, but we do have the stench of sin which isolates us from all, except for our loving God who will touch us, cleanse us, restore us, clothe us in robes of righteousness and escort us into His very home.
Are you saved today?