I love the book of Job. It is one book of the Bible where the layers are peeled back and we see behind the scenes of the great controversy. We know that Job is upright and blameless because the Bible tells us that he is. But Job's wife and friends assume that Job has sinned because of the evils that befall him.
In the chapters for today, Job's friends have stopped "comforting" him because they realize Job is convinced he is innocent. But a passerby named Elihu proceeds to lecture Job and his three friends for several chapters. Talk about adding insult to injury!
My take-away from Job's story is the danger of judging a fellow traveler on this journey to heaven. Certainly there are many promises from God for blessings and protection for His faithful children. But we have to remember that right now we live in the land of the enemy, and God allows evil to touch us; He has to or we would serve Him for the wrong reasons. We do have His promise that EVERYTHING--even (or especially!) the evil--will work out for our good. It is our nature to look at someone, including ourselves, going through a hard time and to talk: they made a bad decision; they are reaping the results of _______; or, I wonder what they did to deserve that? In reality, God may know that He can trust them, or you, to remain true to Him through severe trial.
Prayer: Father, change my heart so that I do not indulge in judging my fellow travelers.
lives in Estacada with her husband and dog. She attends the Estacada church. She is a disabled RN who grew up in Hong Kong and Guam as an MK; she enjoys animals (especially dogs!!), music, writing, and knitting.
Elihu Contradicts Job’s Friends
1 So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. 3 Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
4 Now because they were years older than he, Elihu had waited to speak to Job. 5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was aroused.
6 So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said:
“I am young in years, and you are very old;
Therefore I was afraid,
And dared not declare my opinion to you.
7 I said, ‘Age should speak,
And multitude of years should teach wisdom.’
8 But there is a spirit in man,
And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.
9 Great men are not always wise,
Nor do the aged always understand justice.
10 “Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me,
I also will declare my opinion.’
11 Indeed I waited for your words,
I listened to your reasonings, while you searched out what to say.
12 I paid close attention to you;
And surely not one of you convinced Job,
Or answered his words—
13 Lest you say,
‘We have found wisdom’;
God will vanquish him, not man.
14 Now he has not directed his words against me;
So I will not answer him with your words.
15 “They are dismayed and answer no more;
Words escape them.
16 And I have waited, because they did not speak,
Because they stood still and answered no more.
17 I also will answer my part,
I too will declare my opinion.
18 For I am full of words;
The spirit within me compels me.
19 Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent;
It is ready to burst like new wineskins.
20 I will speak, that I may find relief;
I must open my lips and answer.
21 Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone;
Nor let me flatter any man.
22 For I do not know how to flatter,
Else my Maker would soon take me away.
Elihu Contradicts Job
1 “But please, Job, hear my speech,
And listen to all my words.
2 Now, I open my mouth;
My tongue speaks in my mouth.
3 My words come from my upright heart;
My lips utter pure knowledge.
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 If you can answer me,
Set your words in order before me;
Take your stand.
6 Truly I am as your spokesman before God;
I also have been formed out of clay.
7 Surely no fear of me will terrify you,
Nor will my hand be heavy on you.
8 “Surely you have spoken in my hearing,
And I have heard the sound of your words, saying,
9 ‘I am pure, without transgression;
I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me.
10 Yet He finds occasions against me,
He counts me as His enemy;
11 He puts my feet in the stocks,
He watches all my paths.’
12 “Look, in this you are not righteous.
I will answer you,
For God is greater than man.
13 Why do you contend with Him?
For He does not give an accounting of any of His words.
14 For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
16 Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
17 In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword.
19 “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,
And with strong pain in many of his bones,
20 So that his life abhors bread,
And his soul succulent food.
21 His flesh wastes away from sight,
And his bones stick out which once were not seen.
22 Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,
And his life to the executioners.
23 “If there is a messenger for him,
A mediator, one among a thousand,
To show man His uprightness,
24 Then He is gracious to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit;
I have found a ransom’;
25 His flesh shall be young like a child’s,
He shall return to the days of his youth.
26 He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.
27 Then he looks at men and says,
‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right,
And it did not profit me.’
28 He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,
And his life shall see the light.
29 “Behold, God works all these things,
Twice, in fact, three times with a man,
30 To bring back his soul from the Pit,
That he may be enlightened with the light of life.
31 “Give ear, Job, listen to me;
Hold your peace, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
Speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 If not, listen to me;
Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.”
Elihu Proclaims God’s Justice
1 Elihu further answered and said:
2 “Hear my words, you wise men;
Give ear to me, you who have knowledge.
3 For the ear tests words
As the palate tastes food.
4 Let us choose justice for ourselves;
Let us know among ourselves what is good.
5 “For Job has said, ‘I am righteous,
But God has taken away my justice;
6 Should I lie concerning my right?
My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
7 What man is like Job,
Who drinks scorn like water,
8 Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity,
And walks with wicked men?
9 For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
That he should delight in God.’
10 “Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding:
Far be it from God to do wickedness,
And from the Almighty to commit iniquity.
11 For He repays man according to his work,
And makes man to find a reward according to his way.
12 Surely God will never do wickedly,
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.
13 Who gave Him charge over the earth?
Or who appointed Him over the whole world?
14 If He should set His heart on it,
If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath,
15 All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.
16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
Listen to the sound of my words:
17 Should one who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn Him who is most just?
18 Is it fitting to say to a king, ‘You are worthless,’
And to nobles, ‘You are wicked’?
19 Yet He is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor;
For they are all the work of His hands.
20 In a moment they die, in the middle of the night;
The people are shaken and pass away;
The mighty are taken away without a hand.
21 “For His eyes are on the ways of man,
And He sees all his steps.
22 There is no darkness nor shadow of death
Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
23 For He need not further consider a man,
That he should go before God in judgment.
24 He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry,
And sets others in their place.
25 Therefore He knows their works;
He overthrows them in the night,
And they are crushed.
26 He strikes them as wicked men
In the open sight of others,
27 Because they turned back from Him,
And would not consider any of His ways,
28 So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him;
For He hears the cry of the afflicted.
29 When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?
And when He hides His face, who then can see Him,
Whether it is against a nation or a man alone?—
30 That the hypocrite should not reign,
Lest the people be ensnared.
31 “For has anyone said to God,
‘I have borne chastening;
I will offend no more;
32 Teach me what I do not see;
If I have done iniquity, I will do no more’?
33 Should He repay it according to your terms,
Just because you disavow it?
You must choose, and not I;
Therefore speak what you know.
34 “Men of understanding say to me,
Wise men who listen to me:
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge,
His words are without wisdom.’
36 Oh, that Job were tried to the utmost,
Because his answers are like those of wicked men!
37 For he adds rebellion to his sin;
He claps his hands among us,
And multiplies his words against God.”
An Earnest Appeal for Guidance and Deliverance
A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.
3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
7 Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.