By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. Click the image below to read previous sections.
Previously in Job…We saw Job praised in heaven for his righteousness by God before the hosts of heaven and even Satan. Despising that, Satan claimed that Job’s faithfulness was due solely to prosperity given by the Lord. So God allowed Satan to attack all that Job possessed, but Job did not lose faith in God, nor did he blaspheme God. Satan then attacked Job’s health and plagued him with sores, but Job stayed faithful still. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar arrived and sat with him in silence for seven days, and Job, in his distress, began to complain. Oblivious to the dealings in heaven, his friends imparted words of “wisdom,” claiming that the calamity was a result of Job’s sin. As their conversation circled around, Job clung to his righteousness and could not understand the circumstances at hand.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering the book of Job, chapters 32-37, the saga of Elihu.
JOB – SUMMARY
This book is said to be the oldest book of the Bible, possibly chronicling events that took place as early as the time of the sons of Jacob! Job was a righteous and prosperous man who feared the Lord, and that seemingly did not sit well with the Accuser, who traveled to and fro on the face of the earth looking to fulfill his designation. Satan sought to prove that Job’s “righteousness” was fickle and to turn him against the Lord, so the Lord allowed the Devil to take all that Job was blessed with and destroy it. He allowed the Devil to attack Job’s health and cause him to suffer, but not to the point of death. Nonetheless, Job did not turn away from the Lord or blame him. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came to comfort him as he anguished the day of his birth, but instead they claimed that he suffered because of his own sin. Discouraged and beaten, Job doubted that the Lord would reply. Then another, named Elihu, stepped in and reprimanded the friends for wrongly accusing Job rather than realizing this was simply a trial. Elihu also reprimanded Job for doubting that the Lord would speak! After 38 chapters of exchanges between the men, the Lord finally spoke out of the whirlwind to Job in magnificent fashion. He rebuked the friends of Job for their folly and challenged Job with question after question, and Job was left silent with no response, save for utter repentance. Then the Lord blessed Job with twice as much as he was previously blessed with.
Job’s friends are silenced because of his self-righteousness – Elihu comes out of nowhere and breaks the silence – he proclaims that wisdom is not from age, but by the spirit:
After the long conversation between Job and his three friends, they were all brought to silence because their words led nowhere. Job continued to hold tightly to his righteousness, and his friends continued to blame his misfortune on sin! But finally, in chapter 32, Elihu—another friend of Job who had quietly joined the group—was riled to action by the Spirit. Elihu stayed quiet because the others had years on him, but he came to a tipping point in this chapter that required him to speak.
I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you. I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that make him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. | Job 32:6-9
So Elihu was filled with the Spirit and compelled to speak to the four men before him, and truth poured out from his mouth. He reprimanded the three friends for speaking wrongly, and then he set his eyes on Job.
Elihu calls out Job for contending with God – Elihu proclaims God’s mercy – he proclaims that God is just – he proclaims that God is sovereign despite a man’s sin or righteousness – he claims that Job speaks without knowledge:
Elihu continued his soliloquy by rebuking Job for clinging to his self-righteousness, losing faith in God, and contending with Him!
You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me’…Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you contend against him, saying ‘He will answer none of man’s words?’ | Job 33:9,12-13
He continued by explaining that there is no shortage to the Lord’s voice, and though man may not be able to perceive it, it should not be confused for silence. Above all, Elihu describes God as one who is abundantly merciful—a mediator who would save his soul from the pit and set his feet upon the rock.
I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light. | Job 33:27-28
And beyond His mercy, chapter 34 proclaims that God is just. There is no wickedness in Him and He does no wrong. He is so just that it takes no investigation for the “mighty” of the earth to be shattered! He does not require deep investigation into a man in order to bring him to judgement, and Job was no different. There is none righteous! No not one!
Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you. If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him? And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him? If you are righteous, what do you give to him? Or what does he receive from you hand? | Job 35:5-7
Elihu praises God’s might, wisdom, work, power, and majesty:
After rebuking Job, Elihu set his sights on magnifying the Lord above all.
Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’? Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. All mankind has looked on it, man beholds it from afar. Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable… | Job 36:22-26
Great and exalted He indeed was, and all creation testified to His greatness—from the rain and lightning to the cattle. Elihu’s reverence and knowledge of who the Lord was expounds from these chapters, and serves to encourage us thousands of years later to remember that He is due all glory and honor and praise. He challenged Job to consider it too! He challenged Job to step away from being so focused on his present circumstances and instead be consumed by the power and majesty of God.
Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror?…The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. | Job 37:14-18,23
As a reflection of the Lord himself through his questions, Elihu gave Job only a taste of what was to come in the ensuing chapters.