Job And Elihu

INTRODUCTION: I have started to read through the Bible this year using a chronological schedule obtained over the Internet, and with the book of Job recently completed, a broad overview of some selected major points has become the foundation for this MPN.

NOTE: Bible text is taken from the 1769 KJV.


A - Job 1:1, 8

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

COMMENTS: God has declared Job to be worthy of recognition, and by considering how far I would be from such honor, I begin to contemplate the mercy and love of God in his extension of salvation to even me. In the intervening verses from the one above to where we resume below, we are told how Job loses all of his children and all of his material wealth. The closing verses then provide his response, with the last verse of the chapter providing a comment of critique, which sustains Job in his integrity.


B - Job 1:20-22

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

COMMENTS: Could I lose as much in the material world and still not accuse God of betrayal, or abandonment, or unfairness?


C - Job 2:3

3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

COMMENTS: Scripture tells us that the events that happened to Job were without cause, and God commended him for maintaining his integrity. The New Testament passage below suggests another type of circumstance, which presents Christians with the opportunity to maintain their integrity, and the upcoming chapters of Job bear some similarity to circumstances between fellow believers. This provokes me to seek the strength from God to endure, when circumstance seems unfair, and especially if I have not first suffered to the extent of Job prior to unjust personal attacks from unexpected quarters. May I safeguard this thought in my mind and treasure it for any future time that I might need it. 1Corinthians 6:7 "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"


D - Job2:7-10

7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

COMMENTS: Now Job has added, to his grief and physical pain, the discouragement from his wife: but she also has suffered the loss of children, property, and the health of her husband. We have been told twice by the text that Job had not sinned with his lips. For the next 29 chapters, Job and his three friends discourse alternately, and those who had intended to bring comfort completely fail in that endeavor. Then we come to Elihu in chapter 32.


E - Job 32:1-3

1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. 3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

COMMENTS: This man Elihu seems to be the only one of the five who speaks rightly of God. He describes for us the error of Job in justifying himself, and the error of his friends in misunderstanding Job's plight. The sequence of events of the alternating discourses among the four men, or variations along the same theme, is played out even to this day with Christians and their failed comforters.


F - Job 33:27-28

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.

COMMENTS: The above verse in contrast against all the triumphs and troubles of our lives, provides great reason for glory and praise to our LORD, and in fact it carries the gospel of salvation! The text continues then, to help our understanding of how and why this applies to Job.


G - Job 34:5-9

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.

COMMENTS: I doubt that I could ever have arrived at the above evaluation of Job as I read through all the earlier verses of discourse back and forth, and identified with the seeming injustice to a righteous man. Elihu brings the discourse to a correct conclusion for us, before God himself speaks.


H - Job 35:2-3

2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's? 3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? And, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

COMMENTS: What a shocking statement when I place myself in Job's position, and think of the above comment as being directed at me. How little we truly understand of ourselves as the creature, and of our omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and holy, creator God!


I - Job 36:20-24

20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place. 21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction. 22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? 23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? 24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

COMMENTS: This thought too, of God's work being magnified in me, and that I should be very careful to reject any thoughts of desiring to see life's end come before God's appointed time, despite any degree of suffering, is most sobering.


J - Job 37:23-24

23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. 24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

COMMENTS: Elihu now ends his speaking by making it clear that God is totally incomprehensible to man using all of his inherent wisdom. This now prepares us for the next chapters which present the most fearful of all confrontations, yet will result in the greatest possible comfort for one who places complete trust in only Him!


K - Job 38:1-2

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

COMMENTS: Careful study of the description provided by the LORD himself through the passages in these latter chapters of the book, would provide a valid way to cross examine the poetic descriptions of god from any of the previous chapters, which do contain some very important qualities. That vast storehouse of information for understanding God, however, is not within the scope of this particular study, so we move on to the closing passages.


L - Job 40:1-4

1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, 2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it. 3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

COMMENTS: When I try to identify with this scene, I am reminded of Daniel, and how he was so overwhelmed by the vision of chapter 10, that he had to be strengthened even before he could stand or speak. And I find it extremely difficult to think of myself in the company of either of these men in a discussion with the almighty, but I am again reminded in my thoughts, that his righteousness imputed to us, is the only righteousness which could ever stand before him.


M - Job 42:1-6

1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

COMMENTS: Even extended contemplation does not remove the incomplete state of understanding of the vast difference between our creator and us. Grant me LORD, a heart like that of Job, from this precious moment in time herein recorded.


--- Reflections in prayer ---

Dear Lord, whether I have little or much materially, may I always hold those things loosely, and use resources as you open opportunity to help others in need. Thank you Lord, for blessing me with the sure comfort of your love as the underpinnings of all else. When trouble enters my life with finances, family, or personal health; guide my thoughts back to the very first and the very last responses of Job so that I may model my response after his attitude of heart.

Sometimes it seems that Christians cause more damage within the body of Christ than any external circumstance. Again Lord, guide me to be most careful in giving comfort to others, and to be constrained by love, in my response when poor counsel or poor comfort comes from other Christians, as directed to me or to a third party. Neither wisdom nor good works can produce perfect knowledge of the whole counsel of the True and Living God. There is none righteous, no not one, but for your righteousness O God, applied to the believer by grace through faith. Grant me the power to follow after the apostle Paul, by learning to be content in whatever state I am. Amen.

Published 1 June 2004, first issued 12 February 2001