Job 33:1

 

Elihu is speaking, and Elihu says in Job 33:1-12, “Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.[2] Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.[3] My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.[4] The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.[5] If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.[6] Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.[7] Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.[8] Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,[9] I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.[10] Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,[11] He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.[12] Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.” We get a real good idea of what this young man Elihu is all about when we look at the words he used in this passage that is an introduction to what he is going to say. In the first seven verses Elihu used the words “I,” “me,” and “my” twenty times. Elihu was filled with himself. He was puffed up thinking that he knew more than Job and more than the three friends. Elihu was also puffed up thinking that he was God’s mouthpiece. Elihu made the same mistake that many people make, thinking that because he knew a few things that were true, therefore he knew everything, and therefore all of his ideas were from God. We all know very little. That is one of the reasons that teaching the Bible is so important. The words of the Bible are truth. Our words may not be.

 

Elihu said in verse 6, “I am according to thy wish in God's stead.” Be very careful about making that claim. Many false teachers have made that very claim and that very boast. Once again: teach the Word of God by the enlightening of the Spirit of God, and then you will be delivering God’s message.

 

In verse 9 Elihu states that Job said, “I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.” But Job did not really say that. Job said that he knew that he did not deserve the sufferings that came his way. Job knew that he was not being punished for sin, and so Job did not know why God had brought these sufferings. And so Elihu makes the same mistake that the three friends made: thinking that all sufferings are reaping what you have sown. The truth is that some sufferings are reaping what you have sown, but others are not.

 

Notice what Elihu says in verse 12, “Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.” Of course, God is greater than man. Anyone who believes in God knows that. But Elihu uses that truth as a justification for condemning Job. And so Elihu uses twisted logic to turn any truth against Job.

 

Elihu continues to speak, and Elihu says in Job 33:13-33, “Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.[14] For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.[15] In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;[16] Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,[17] That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.[18] He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.[19] He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:[20] So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.[21] His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.[22] Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.[23] If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:[24] Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.[25] His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:[26] He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.[27] He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;[28] He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.[29] Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,[30] To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.[31] Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.[32] If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.[33] If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.” In verses 13 through 17 Elihu is saying that God reveals His truth to men, and of course, Elihu claims that God has revealed it to Eluhu. For example, Elihu said in verse 14, “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.” Elihu is saying all of this just to say that he got the answer from God. Then in verses 18 through 22 Elihu gives a list of numerous sufferings (all of which describe things that happened to Job.) And then starting in verse 23 Elihu is telling Job that Job simply needs to repent and turn to God and everything will be just fine. For example, Elihu tells Job to pray in verse 27, “I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not.” And then Elihu sums up his arrogant attitude by saying to Job in verse 33, “If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.” In other words Elihu is telling Job to be quiet and listen to Elihu because Elihu has all the answers.

 

Elihu continues to speak, and Elihu says in Job 34:1-15, “Furthermore Elihu answered and said,[2] Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.[3] For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.[4] Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.[5] For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.[6] Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.[7] What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?[8] Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.[9] For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.[10] Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.[11] For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.[12] Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.[13] Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?[14] If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;[15] All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” First Elihu sets himself up as the expert. He says in verse 2, “Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me.” And then once again Elihu shows that he did not understand what Job was saying, and Elihu did not understand what happened to Job. And so Elihu judges Job and is harsh towards him. Elihu says in verse 5, “For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.” And Elihu says in verses 7-8, “What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?[8] Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.” And so we see that Elihu is making all kinds of accusations against Job. Elihu claims that he has a different message than the three friends, but it sounds to me that Elihu has the same condemnations as the three friends: “God punishes sin. The wicked do not prosper. Job is suffering, and therefore Job must be wicked.” Of course, these four do not understand the love of God, and they do not understand that some Christians will suffer even though they do not deserve it. In verse 9 Elihu calims that Job said, “It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.” But Job never said any such thing. Elihu twisted Job’s meaning. That is what people do who are of a contrary spirit and who are determined to oppose you.

 

In verse 11 Elihu is making his point very clear: “For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.” Elihu states the general principle that we reap what we sow, and Elihu interprets this to mean that this principle is the only explanation for what Job was suffering. Did Jesus reap from His sins when He suffered the cruel death of the cross? No: because Jesus did not sin. Jesus suffered even though He did not sin. The same will happen to some Christians because the servant is not greater than his Lord.

 

Notice that Elihu says in verse 15, “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” This is an obvious truth: we are all going to die. That is the method of false teachers. They take some truth and mix it with some error, and the whole thing becomes error.

 

Elihu continues to speak, and Elihu says in Job 34:16-23, “If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.[17] Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?[18] Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?[19] How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.[20] In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.[21] For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.[22] There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.[23] For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.” These criticisms of Job are outrageous. In verse 18 Elihu is saying that Job is telling God, “Thou art wicked” and “Ye are ungodly.” In verse 20 once again Elihu states something that is true, but then Elihu applies that truth in the wrong way to Job’s situation. Elihu says in verse 20, “In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.” Anyone can die at any moment. That is true. God decides when we leave this earth and it can happen at any moment for any of us. It is also true what Elihu says in verse 22 that “There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” No one can hide from God. The wicked will not prosper. Their time will come too. But Elihu is saying this because he is applying it to Job, in effect saying that Job is wicked. I wonder if any of us will be condemned when we do the right thing but it does not seem to work out because it just was not God’s will to do things the way that we hoped? I wonder if any of us will be condemned because we suffered, but others say that we deserved what happened to us? Yes, it is possible. If not that, then something else will happen to break our heart. How do you get over such opposition? You must have singleness of purpose. You must be always ready to dismiss the opinions of people because you know who you are, and that is all that matters. You know that you are going to keep seeing the Lord and fellowship with Jesus no matter how much you lose or how much others think that you fail.

 

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Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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