Let’s turn to the book of Job, chapter thirty two. As we have a new character introduced to us in the book of Job, who takes a different line of argument than the three friends that had come to comfort Job. The book of Job is an interesting book. It is one of the oldest books of literature, and it examines one of the oldest problems of man. That is, why do good people often suffer, and ungodly people often prosper.
Job was as good as they come. God testified of Job that, “he was a good man, a perfect man who loved good and hated evil”. Satan challenged God, concerning Job, declaring Job was only a mercenary, he only served God for personal profit and benefit, that God had blessed Job so much that anybody would serve God with those kind of blessings. For Job was a very wealthy man, and considered one of the great men of the east.
So God allowed Satan to strip him of his wealth, at which point, Job knelt down and said, “Naked I came into the world, naked I’m going out; the Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”. In all of these things he did not curse God, nor charge God foolishly.
So Satan then said, “Skin for skin, a man will give everything he has for his life. You haven’t let me touch him physically. Let me physically afflict him, and he will curse you to your face”. So God gave to Satan the open door to afflict Job physically. Job lost his health, became a miserable loathsome creature. At this point, his wife, in seeing him suffer said, “Job why don’t you just curse God and die? Get it over with!”
His three friends came to comfort him, but rather than comforting him, they sought to understand his dilemma. They could only come up with the solution that somehow Job was guilty of heinous sin, and what he was experiencing was the judgement of God, for his sin. Job maintained the fact that he was innocent of the charges that they were making against him. That he was not hiding some horrible sin in the closet someplace. That he wasn’t a hypocrite. That he was sincere before God, and this only angered Job’s friends. They began to turn against him, and it turned into quite a vitriolic type of a uh, charges and countercharges between Job and his friends.
Finally Job made his last, and longest appeal, and he declared, in the end of verse, uh chapter thirty one, “The words of Job are ended”. You know, “I’ve said all I can say on the subject. I’m innocent from the charges you guys have made, I maintain that I am innocent, I maintain that I have been honest, I maintain my integrity, and I will not capitulate to your charges of hypocrisy, or some horrible evil. So we read chapter thirty two, that…
These three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes (32:1).
They could not convince him that God was judging him for some horrible evil. So there was a young man that was sitting, listening to this whole series of arguments. This young man’s name was Elihu. These friends of Job, were at, no doubt, older men, in fact he speaks of their age.
And so was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, [Now back in Genesis, twenty two, you’ll find that the brother of Abraham, whose name was Nahor, had probably twin sons that he called Huz, and Buz. You know you like twins, for their names to rhyme sometimes. Larry and Jerry, and all. So he called them Huz, and Buz, and from Buz, the son of Nahor, who was the nephew to Abraham, came a tribal group of people called the Buzzes. So this fellow Elihu was from this descendant of the nephew of Abraham, and that will give to you really sort of a timing for the book of Job. The book of Job historically goes way back. Close to the time of Abraham, this story of Job from a historic standpoint took place.] of the family of Ram: [And you will find that this is Aram who was the nephew of Buz, in Genesis twenty two. This young fellow was stirred up. He’d been listening to these older men, and, and he’d been listening to the accusations made against Job, and Job’s protesting of his innocence. Now finally, when Job has made his final speech, and they haven’t been able to put Job down, or to silence him, he gets angry. The guys have nothing more to say, and he,] his wrath is kindled against Job, [he said,] because Job justified himself rather than God (32:2).
Job was questioning why God allowed all of these things to happen, and did intimate that God was not dealing fairly with him, because of all of these calamities. He really didn’t know why the calamities, for he said, “I am innocent”. So in a sense, this is correct that Job was justifying himself, rather than seeking to justify God.
He was also angry at Job’s three friend, because they had not found any answer, and yet they condemned Job. [They were condemning a man for whom they could not make any positive charges. All of the charges they were making against Job were supposed charges. They had not really brought any evidence of any real guilt.] Now Elihu had waited until Job had spoken, because they were older than he. When he saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his anger was kindled. And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and you are very old; [Now at that point, they should’ve put him down. You know, you don’t mind being called “old”, but you don’t like to be called “very old”. I will admit to being old, but I will not admit to being very old! But it’s amazing when you are a young person, how old sixty years seems to be. Job was about seventy years old when this whole thing was taking place, so, “I am young, you are very old”] wherefore I was afraid, and dared not to venture my opinion (32:3-6).
“You fellows are old, you’re supposed to be wise, and I’m just a young man, and so I didn’t want to give my opinion.”
I said to myself, Days should speak, [That is, men of years, men of experience.] and the multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty [who] that gives them understanding (32:7-8).
So that when God speaks to a person, age is of no account. God can speak to a young person, as well as to an old person. Inspiration can come to the young, as well as the old. So he is in a sense, intimating that his declarations are going to be inspired by God, and that inspiration doesn’t know age. It is true, that God can speak to young people, as well as speak to older people. The Bible tells us that in the last days, God would pour His Spirit upon all flesh, “And your sons and daughters will prophecy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams”. So it speaks about God, in the latter days, speaking through young people. So Elihu here declares that, “There is the inspiration of the Almighty and it is no respect of age”.
Great men are not always wise: [That’s a very astute and remarkable statement, and surely I have found that to be so. Great men are not always wise. The psalmist said, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God”. There are many men today considered great men, who have taken the position of an atheist. They have declared, “There is no God”. They are not wise, the Bible calls them fools.] neither do the aged always understand judgement. Therefore I said, Hearken to me; and I will give to you my opinion. [“I venture to offer now my own opinion on this matter.”] Behold, I waited for your words; I listened to your reasons, while you were searching out what to say. Yes, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that gave an adequate answer to his words: Lest you should say, We have found out wisdom: and God has thrust him down, not man. Now he has not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches (32:9-14).
Job had answered his friends, he had called them windbags, and counselors of no value, and he had called them a lot of names. He said, “He hasn’t called me any names, and I’m going to give a new opinion on the subject”. Truly he does offer a whole new slant. Basically these friends of Job, had taken the position that the suffering of Job had come as the judgement of God, against his sin. This is the position that people often take when a person is suffering personal calamity. It is not a correct position always, it may be, but it is wrong to always assume that personal calamity is a judgement of God for a person’s wrong doings.
We were pastoring in our early years when we were young, in Tucson, Arizona. We had a man in our church one night make a request for prayer, for his wife, who had had the flu for a couple of weeks. In requesting prayer for her, would you please pray that my wife will confess whatever sin she’s guilty of, so she can get over the flu? She’s been sick too long. If I were her, I would’ve killed him!
But it is the opinion that many times people take. That if a person is sick, it’s because of some sin in their lives. This is the general tact of the friends of Job. This was their conclusion of the matter. “No one could suffer as Job suffered, except it be a punishment from God, a judgement of God, because of the man’s sin.”
Elihu is offering now a different suggestion for this. He is suggesting that God does not always punish a person in judgment, but that often God uses calamity as a reproof to turn man back in the right path. That when a child of God is going astray, that often God will bring things into their lives, that will stop them on that path, and cause them to turn from the path of destruction, that the judgements of God are corrective, rather than punitive. This is closer to the truth.
The Bible tells us that, “Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth”. And that, “We’re not to despise the chastening of the Lord. It is true that when we begin to walk a path, that is opposed to the ways of God, that God will sometimes allow calamity to come to turn us back unto the right path. Often times God uses pain, or suffering in our lives, in a corrective way, to turn us back to Him. Thus is the argument that Elihu will follow. So he said that he would offer his opinion. “So I will not answer him with your speeches. I’m not gonna take the same tact that you did.”
They were amazed, [He is saying, concerning Job’s friends.] they answered no more: they left off speaking. When I waited, [He waited for them to answer. “Come on, you know, get him again.” So, “I waited”,] they spake not, but stood still, they answered no more;) So I said, I will answer also my part, and show you my opinion. For I am filled with this matter, the spirit within me is constraining me (32:15-18).
Paul the apostle spoke about, “The love of Christ constrained him”, he had to speak. This fellow felt so full of this whole matter with Job. He felt forced to offer his opinion. He said…
Behold, my belly is as wine which has no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles (32:19).
Now when the wine is in the process of fermenting, it gives off a gas, and when they would pour the wine into these bottles, which were actually leather skin, and if it was still in the process of fermenting, it would give off this gas, and these skins would stretch. With this gas, the pressure would build up inside, and if the skins were old, they would break the leather. They just pop, and the wine would go everywhere. That’s what Jesus said, “You don’t put new wine into old skins”, because the gasses let off, will just create the pressure, and they’ll finally pop. They even often pop new skins, new bottles. So he’s saying, “I’m like, my belly is like wine that’s been poured into a skin that has no vent, and the pressure is building up. I’m going to burst if I don’t say something!” You ever feel that way?
I will speak that I may be refreshed: [Or, “relieved from this tremendous pressure within.”] I will open my lips and answer. Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, [Now, “You fellows are older than I, and, but, I don’t want to be a respecter of persons.”] neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away (32:20-22).
David spoke against flattering titles, as did Solomon, in the book of Proverbs. Flattering titles is something that I can’t really abide. I, I grew up in a denomination where they loved to give flattering titles. Well, I could say a lot, but I won’t.
So he said…
Now listen Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words. [You see he hasn’t really said anything yet. He’s just telling about what he’s gonna say, and why he’s gonna say it. He waits awhile to get to what he’s gonna say. So, “Listen to me, hearken to all my words.”] Behold, I have opened my mouth, and my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life (33:1-4).
So he is saying, “Now look. Listen to me, hearken to me. I’m going to speak from the uprightness of my heart. I’m gonna explain things clearly to you. The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty has given me life.”
And if you can answer me, set your words before me, stand up. [“If you have an argument with me, go ahead and challenge what I say.”] Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: but I also am formed out of the clay (33:5-6).
This guy’s pretty stuck on himself in a way. Earlier, Job had said that, “He wished there was someone that could stand between him and God”. He could not appeal his case directly to God. “God is so great, the consciousness of the greatness of God”, and “What is man that he can justify himself before God? There is no daysman between us who can lay his hand upon us both”. So Job was wishing for someone that could stand in God’s stead, so he could plead his case. He said, “Hey, I’m your man. I am what you were wishing for. I will stand there in God’s stead, and yet I was made out of the clay. I’m just in a body also, I’m of the dust of the earth as you are, so I can relate to you, but I will stand in God’s stead”.
Behold, my terror shall not make you afraid, [Now Job said he was terrified of God. He didn’t understand God, and therefore he was terrified of God. He says, “Look Job, you don’t have to be terrified of me. I will, I will be here as God’s counterpart, and my terror shall not make you afraid”.] neither shall my hand be heavy upon you. [Job had complained about the heavy hand of God upon his life. Behold, uh he said,] Surely you have spoken in my hearing, [“I heard you say this Job.” But he does not quote Job exactly. He misquotes Job, or he takes inferences from what Job said, and declares them as Job’s words. Though Job, he’s not really quoting in a verbatim way.] I have heard the voice of your words, [“I’ve heard you say this Job.] I’ve heard you say that, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; [Job really didn’t say that. Job confessed that he had sinned.] neither is there iniquity in me. [Now Job was saying, “I’ve not done anything to deserve all that I am experiencing”.] You’ve said, Behold God finds occasions against me, and he counts me as his enemy, [Job did say words to that effect.] He puts my feet in the stocks, and he [makes, and he] marks all my paths. Behold, in this you are not just: [“You’ve been making statements that are wrong. That you are innocent, and that God has put your feet in the stocks, and He’s found occasions against you, and he counts, that is not right!”] I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. And why do your strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters (33:7-13).
“Job, God doesn’t owe you any answers. God doesn’t have to give you an accounting of His ways.” This is very true. Paul the apostle, in talking of the sovereignty of God over man, and using the figure of God as a potter, and man, as the clay that is formed, by the potter, that the clay has no power over its destiny. The clay is in the hand of the potter, and the potter has the power to make of that clay, anything he wants! He can make a spittoon, or he can make a vessel to carry water, or a vessel to hold food, or a vessel to hold flowers. That God has the sovereign power over the, over man, to make of me whatever He wants! A vessel of honor, or a vessel of dishonor. That the clay has no right to say to the potter, “Hey! Why did you make me like this? Why did you make me a dumpy looking thing! Why didn’t you make me long, and slim, and beautiful!” Ha, ha! “Why did you make me so tall? Why didn’t you make me taller?” The, the clay has no rights to challenge the potter. So this is the direction that Elihu is coming from with Job. That, “God is greater than man, and why do you strive against God? Because He doesn’t have to give an account of any of His matters.”
For God speaks once, yea twice, yet man does not perceive it. [God often speaks to us in the situations of life, but we don’t see it, we don’t perceive it. There are often times, when God is dealing with a person, and the person isn’t even aware of it. Calamity begins to come in their lives, but they just aren’t aware that God is seeking to get their attention, or seeking to deal with them. So, “He speaks once, He speaks twice, and yet a person doesn’t perceive that God is seeking to speak to him.”] He speaks to man in a dream, or in a vision, a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in the slumberings upon the bed; [This is a subject we’ll be taking up on Thursday night, as we deal, “How God speaks to man”. Speaking to man through dreams, through visions, the various ways that God speaks. He is telling us some of the ways that God speaks. Throughout the scripture of course, we can find many places where God spoke to men in dreams.] During that time, he opens the ears of men, and he seals their instructions, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man (33:14-17).
God deals with us in order that He might change us. Change our direction. We decide we’re gonna do something, we plunge into it, and God will put something, an obstacle in the path, to turn us away from a path that maybe is destructive to us. “Change our purposes, and to hide us from pride.” To keep us from being lifted up in pride.
He keeps back his soul from the pit, [God is actually protecting you from the destruction that awaits.] and he is keeping him from perishing by the sword (33:18).
I happen to believe, that God does work in our lives, on many occasions, when we are totally unconscious of it. I believe that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. I do believe that God often keeps us from danger, through things that we often look at as irritating. We come out to go someplace, we jump in the car, we’re a little late, and we have a difficulty backing up, and we hear this, “thump, thump, thump”, and lo, and behold, there’s a flat tire! “Oh of all the times to have a flat tire! Oh Lord!”, so we, we change the tire, and it takes us ten, fifteen minutes. We get the tire changed. But, I happen to believe that God is possibly sparing you from some accident on the freeway. Here we are moaning and groaning about this delay that’s forced upon us, but yet God could be protecting us from something we don’t even know.
I’ve learned to look at interruptions this way, as God sparing me from some kind of pit, from some kind of danger, and that His timing is perfect. Now, that surely changes your attitude towards these kind of disturbances. For when you consider that God may be in fact, keeping you from some kind of harm or danger, you then don’t curse the disturbance, but you bless the Lord for the disturbance. “Thank you Lord, that you’re watching over me. Thank you Lord that you’re protecting me. Thank you Lord that you love me, and you’re taking care of me.” It gives you a total different attitude towards these things that would maybe upset you, and get you all angry.
When you arrive, you’re just fit to be tied, you know, and everybody’s in your way, and you’re blasting your horn, and you’re angry. You’re up tense, and you’re uptight, and here all the while God is just protecting you. He’s gotta go through all this guff, because He’s saving you from some kind of a danger. So if you look at it, “Well listen, God knows. God’s hand is on my life, and God is guiding me. Thank you Lord for being so gracious, and caring so much, and watching over me, and keeping me!” So, “He withdraws man from his purpose.” He turns us many times from the path that we are on. “He keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.”
He is chastened [man is] also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: [God sometimes uses pain for His purposes of instruction in our lives.] So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. [You can be so sick, that you just don’t want anything to eat.] And man’s flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; [Through the prolonged illness, he becomes like a skeleton. His bones are now sticking out. His flesh is over his bones like a tight drum almost, and he describes really, probably Job’s condition.] his bones that were not seen stick out. [When a guy’s fat, you don’t see his bones. Fatness was considered a sign of health. Of course, you see a person whose bones are sticking out, you know they’re sick.] Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. [But, God is seeking to get a message to man through these things. Brings him right down to the grave many times. Almost to the point of death.] But if there be an angel with him, who can interpret for him the things of God [what God is seeking to say] one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom (33:19-24).
So if the man is corrected, someone can point out what God is seeking to say to the man, and the man’s path is corrected, he can be saved. He can be ransomed, and he is restored.
His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: [“Job, you know if you’ll just learn what God is seeking to teach you through this. I’m gonna be the one that’s gonna teach you what God is trying to teach you. I’m the interpreter for you. I am the angel who’s going to help you in this matter. And then his flesh shall be fresher than a child’s:”] he shall return to the days of his youth: [“You’ll, you’ll be restored again!”] And 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 (33:25-26).
So again, the idea is, “Learn the lessons. God is trying to stop you from something, He’s trying to turn you back. Learn what God is seeking to say, and you’ll be restored back to health”.
He looketh upon man, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light (33:27-28).
That is, “If you will confess, ‘Look, I was wrong, I sinned, but there was no profit in that sin. I wasn’t profited by what I did. I cheated, but it didn’t, it only made matters worse’, or, ‘I lied, and it just compounded the whole problem. I sinned, and it was not a profit to me’.” There are people who think that they have profited by their sin. But this man has made the confession, and he said, “God will deliver his soul from going into the pit, his life shall see the light”.
I know that God oftentimes [he says] works with man this way, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. Mark well, O Job, and hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I’ll speak (33:29-31).
Now, at this point, Job probably started to answer this kid. He saw that Job was getting ready to respond to him, so he said, “Wait a minute! Keep your mouth shut! Let me finish!”. Is basically what he is saying. “Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold your peace, let me speak now. You had your turn, let me have my turn. Let me speak!”. Then he probably felt bad for Job being the older man, and he’s, and all. So he said…
If you do have anything to say, go ahead and answer me: speak, for [I desire] I desire to justify you. [So, first of all he told Job, “Just be quiet, let me speak”, and then he felt better about the thing, or felt wiser about it, he says, “Well, if you have anything to say, go ahead. But I’m really wanting to get the answers for you”.] And if not, [“If you’re not gonna speak”, and probably gave Job, he probably was quiet for a minute, Job probably just shrugged it off, and so he said, “Okay, if not”,] listen to me, hold your peace, and I’m gonna teach you wisdom (33:32-33).
This kid, he’s pretty brash!
So Elihu now turns from addressing Job, and addresses the friends of Job. He said…
Hear my words, O ye wise men; give ear unto me, you that have knowledge. For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat (34:2-3).
Interesting kind of a thought, as, as your mouth is able to taste, and discern the various tastes, and enjoy some, and find some rather sour, and some bitter, so the ear. There are words that are sweet, there are words that are bitter. So the sense, sensory perceptions that we have, both from the mouth and from the ear. The ear acts in a, in a similar kind of a way, in that it weighs the words that are said, as the mouth tastes the meat, and the ears, the words.
Let us choose to us judgement: let us know among ourselves what is good. For Job has said, I am righteous: and God takes away my judgement. [“That’s what Job has said.”] Should I lie against my right? [Job said this. He said, “You guys are wanting me to confess my sin, and I maintain that I am innocent, and if I confess to a, to a guiltiness, I wouldn’t be telling the truth. So, should I lie against my right? Do you want me to lie, and say that I’m wrong?” Have you ever been in, I have been in that position (when a person is insisting) that you know, you’re not telling them the truth. I’ve, I’ve said this sometimes, I said, “Hey do you want me to lie? Would you feel better if I just lie about it, and tell you yeah, that’s what I was thinking? That make you feel better?” So Job, pretty much said, “You know, should I lie against what is right?” Job said…] my wound is incurable without transgression (34:4-6).
“I’ve been wounded incurably and yet I’m not guilty of the transgression.” So these are the things that Job had been maintaining. His righteousness, that God had taken away His judgement, that he, if he confessed to some guilt, he would be lying against the truth, that his wound is incurable. He said…
What man is like Job, who drinks up the scorning like water? [“I mean, you guys have been scorning this guy, and he’s just been drinking it down like water. I mean, you haven’t been able to affect him! Who is like Job?”] Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men. For he said, It profits a man nothing that he should delight himself with God (34:7-9).
Job really didn’t say that, but this is an inference from the things that Job did say. This is something though, that the psalmist did say, in psalm seventy three, as he was trying to understand why the ungodly prospered and he was suffering, when he sought to follow after God. He said, “I have cleansed my hands in innocency. I’ve washed my hands in it. It doesn’t pay to try and serve God.” This is what he is accusing Job of saying. “If profits a man nothing that he should delight himself in God.” Job didn’t say that, and of course that is not true. There is tremendous profit in delighting yourself in the Lord. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Therefore [he said] 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. For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. [God gives to a man that which he deserves. “As a man sows, that shall he also reap.”] Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgement (34:10-12).
Abraham said, “Shall not the Lord of the earth be just”, and Elihu is making the same kind of a claim, which is correct. God is absolutely fair. “He will not pervert judgement.”
Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world. If he set his heart upon man, if he gathers unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust (34:13-15).
All God would have to do is just withdraw from man, and it’d be over. God formed man out of the dust of the earth, and God breathed into man, and man became a living soul. The breath of God.
When Belshazzar had this great feast for a thousand of his lords, in the celebrating of the great strength of Babylon, and was drunk, but entertainment ordered that the servants go to the treasury of Babylon, and get the gold and the silver vessels that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, had taken out of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, that he and his mistresses might drink their wine out of these sanctified vessels from the house of God.
While they were drinking from these consecrated vessels that had once been in the temple and service of God, and they were praising the gods of gold and silver, suddenly there came a hand, writing on the plaster of the wall, words that they did not understand. When they saw this hand writing there on the plaster of the wall, “His knees”, it says “began to smite against each other”. He was frightened, terrified! He called for his wise men to interpret for him what that says. Strange words, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. What does it mean? None of them were able to help him, or were unwilling to help him perhaps. Because it was a judgement against him, and it could be that they were fearful.
So the queen mother came in and said, “During the reign of your grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, there was a Jewish young man who was very skilled in interpreting visions and dreams and all, and your grandfather used him. He can surely tell you what it says”. So they called Daniel into this feast, where this whole scene of debauchery was taking place.
Daniel, before he interpreted the writing for him, said unto him, “Belshazzar, when your grandfather was reigning over the kingdom, he was lifted up in pride, and God dealt with that, and allowed him a period of insanity, that he might know that God ruled. He made proclamations concerning God, but you have praised the gods of gold and silver, and the God in whose hand your very breath is, you have not glorified! God actually controls your breath! You depend upon God for your breath.”
Now, Elihu is saying much the same thing, “If God would just withdraw His breath from man, we’d all go back to dust. It would be snuff city for all of us! It’d be over! All God would have to do is just withdraw our breath!”.
Now, it is interesting that man has voluntary and involuntary muscles. The voluntary muscles are attached to the skeleton, and are controlled by the conscious thought of the brain. The involuntary muscles are not attached to the skeleton of the body, and are not controlled by conscious thoughts from the brain. Your involuntary muscles are your heart, and your lungs. Those muscles upon which your life depends. God did not leave them in your control. He knew better. You would get thoughtless and it would be over. Ha, ha! “The God in whose hand your very breath is, you have not glorified.” So, Elihu speaks here, about if God would just withdraw His Spirit, and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would turn again into dust.
The spirit of man is an interesting thing. The consciousness of man. When the brain ceases to function, when the consciousness of man goes, man is considered dead. The body begins to deteriorate. Interesting. What causes the consciousness to remain? What is it that releases? What is it that triggers the release of the consciousness? What is death? We know that we can keep a body alive with life support systems for a period of time. Keep pumping the oxygen in, the heart will continue to flutter. A body can be kept going, the functions of the body, be kept going artificially, for a period of time. This often takes place when a person is in the hospital, and has gone into a coma, and is in perhaps a terminal condition. They will connect up the life support system. They will keep the oxygen going into the body. They’ll keep monitoring the heart flutters, or heart action. But they also connect the EEG probes, and they watch the brain wave activity on this little monitor, well actually, it’s a little graph, and this little needle bounces on that graph, indicating that there is brain wave activity. But then, when the brain ceases, the line goes flat.
What causes the brain to cease? What’s happened? When that happens, the body then begins to deteriorate. Death. When God withdraws His Spirit, or His breath, man goes back to dust. Our lives are dependant upon God. God sustains our lives. The very fact that we are alive today, is due to the fact that God has sustained us. “The God in whose hand your very breath is.” Isn’t that interesting that many times, men use that very breath to curse God, who is sustaining them, and giving them the breath? What a tragedy! When God gives you that very breath that is sustaining you, that a person would use that breath to curse God. “If God should withdraw His Spirit, His breath, we’d perish together. We would turn again to dust.” Now he’s saying to these fellas…
If you guys have understanding, listen to this: hearken to the voice of my words. Shall even he that hateth right govern? and will you condemn him that is most just? [“Job”, he said is condemning God, saying that, “God isn’t fair”. But he said,] Is it fit to say to a king that you are wicked? and to princes, you are ungodly? [“I mean would you dare say that to the king? You’re a wicked man!”] If you wouldn’t say that to a king or a prince, how much less to him that does not even accept the persons of princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor? [God is so far above man, that God doesn’t accept the rich more than the poor, or the persons of princes. You are just as important to God as the Pope, as the President, as Michael Gorbachev. In God’s eyes you’re just as important to God as any one else. But, lest you be puffed up, that native in New Guinea, dancing nude around the fire, in the full moon, is just as important to God as you are. God doesn’t’ respect a person’s position in life. He’s high above it. “He doesn’t regard the rich more than the poor.” These are characteristics of man, in giving deference to the rich, but not so with God.] for they are all the work of his hands (34:16-19).
God sees us all alike. Really, the Lord speaks out against us making these distinctions ourselves. The Lord would have us to treat all men equally, to look upon all men equally, and not to look down on any man. Who am I, that I should look down on someone else? To think that I am in any wise superior to someone else? God does not appreciate that kind of attitude from people. It seems that so often we get so important in our own estimation, and there is that tendency of man to think of himself more highly than he ought, and then to begin to look down on others. God help us! They are all the work of His hands.
And 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. [Without the stroke of a man’s hand against him, God takes the life of a person.] For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he sees his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. [“You can’t hide from God!” People often are trying to hide their deeds. They live in darkness, they go out at night to cover their deeds, but he says, “Hey, there is no darkness where you can hide from Him!”] For he will not lay upon man more than what is right; [God will be fair.] that he should enter into judgement with God. He can break and shall break in pieces the mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. [“God can bring down the great, and raise up people to, you know, the earth goes on. None of you are indispensable. The great die???, the world continues.”] Therefore he knows their works, he overturns them in the night, so that they are destroyed. He strikes them as wicked men in the open sight of others; Because they have turned their backs from him, and would not consider any of his ways: So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he hears the cry of the afflicted (34:20-28).
Those that have used their position of wealth or power, to subjugate others under them, to afflict others. “God listens to the cry of the afflicted.”
When he gives quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hides his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against an individual person: That the [people, or that the,] hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared. Surely it is necessary to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more; [“God, I’ve learned my lessons. I won’t offend anymore. I’ve, I’ve received the chastisement.”] That which I see not teach thou me: [“Be open to listen and to be instructed by God.”] and if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more. Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest. [Then he said..] Let the men of understanding tell me, and let the wise men hearken unto me. Job hath spoken without knowledge, his words were without wisdom. My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. [“I, I just want God to really put the screws on this guy, till he cries uncle! I mean, he you know, has not really learned what God is trying to teach him. He’s accusing God of, of not being fair with him. He refuses to learn the things that God is endeavoring to show him!”] For he hath added to his sin this rebellion, for he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God (34:29-37).
So you know, I really want to see God really put this guy through it!” The “clapping of his hands”, it’s, it’s fascinating to watch the people of the middle east, as they are talking and dealing with each other. You can’t understand what they’re saying, and sometimes I’m kind of glad! But, I mean, they say it with, it, standing there, really many times I thought that I, I stood there because I was sure I was going to observe a murder. They would be yelling at each other, screaming at each other! Waving their hands, and they (clap, clap), just really get, just screaming at each other! And, you’re sure that in a moment, the guy’s gonna reach in his cloak, and pull out a dagger, and it’s all over you know. You’re just gonna watch a guy get slain, right there before you!
Fascinating to watch them, as they argue with each other, and as they, and this was the kind of thing, don’t just read this book of Job, and think of you know, just casual, intellectual kind of, these guys are yelling at each other, they’re screaming at each other, they’re clapping their hands, their waving their fists. They’re giving, they’re really into it with each other! This is, this is a real drama that’s going on here between Job and his friends. You can’t just see it as, you know, kick back conversation city. This is a real go round, that these guys are in.
So he’s angry with Job, because of Job’s vehement defense for himself, and accusations that somehow God isn’t fair in His treatment of him. That he doesn’t’ deserve these things that he is experiencing. So Elihu adds this as, “Not only is Job guilty of speaking against God, words without wisdom or knowledge, but now he’s added to the whole thing his rebellion, as he’s clapped his hands, and multiplied his words against God”.
Elihu continues his discourse, through chapter thirty seven. Next week, we will go ahead and follow out the end of the argument of Elihu. Then, we get into one of the most fascinating sections of the book. Man has said his peace. Man has guessed at God, and the ways of God, but in chapter thirty eight, God finally speaks out, and shows the folly of all of man’s wisdom and reasoning. God deals with the issues, and we’ll, we’ll have a great time, as we get into chapter thirty eight. I can hardly wait!
May the Lord be with you, give you a good week. May His love just fill your heart until you just overflow. In fact, may your heart sort of be like that wineskin that Elihu was talking about. Just pressured with God’s love, so great that you feel you’re gonna pop! May you just experience the, the consciousness of God’s presence, as He leads and guides you in His path. May it be just a week of spiritual growth, drawing closer to God, as we draw closer to Christmas, and we think again of God’s great love in giving His Son to be the Redeemer, to save us from our sins. In Jesus’ name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7165