With Job's three friends he was also angry, because they could not find an answer, and so declared Job guilty. Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job, because the others were older than he was. But when Elihu saw that the three men had no further reply, he became very angry. So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite spoke up: "I am young, but you are elderly; that is why I was fearful, and afraid to explain to you what I know. I said to myself, 'Age should speak, and length of years should make wisdom known.' But it is a spirit in people, the breath of the Almighty, that makes them understand. (Job 32:3-8 NET)
Elihu was the youngest on the scene and was showing proper respect for his elders (1 Timothy 4:12. 1 Timothy 5:1. Leviticus 19:32). However, the elder friends were only condemning Job and failing to explain why he was going through this suffering.
Elihu understands that man is not just flesh and blood but has a spirit that can be touched by the breath of God (Job 32:8). Understand, the “Breath of the Almighty” is a reference to none other than the Holy Spirit Himself (John 20:22). That is, Elihu has an understanding of God’s involvement in Job’s life that was given to him by the Holy Spirit. Realize, we cannot understand God apart from the Holy Spirit; however, the Holy Spirit (1) was given to us to reveal God and His ways (John 14:26. John 15:26. John 16:13-15. 1 John 2:27).
Indeed, my plans are not like your plans, and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans. (Isaiah 55:8,9)
But just as it is written, "Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
I often heard these verses used to convince people that God’s ways cannot be understood and furthermore He does not want you to understand them. Please read “the rest of the story”…
God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man except the man's spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)
Elihu goes on to point out that the three “friends” were not able to convince Job through their condemnation. That they are ready to “wash their hands” of the situation and say that only God can convince “hard-headed” Job thus maintaining their pride…
It is not the aged who are wise, nor old men who understand what is right. Therefore I say, 'Listen to me. I, even I, will explain what I know.' Look, I waited for you to speak; I listened closely to your wise thoughts, while you were searching for words. Now I was paying you close attention, yet there was no one proving Job wrong, not one of you was answering his statements! So do not say, 'We have found wisdom! God will refute him, not man!' (Job 32:9-13)
Elihu then states, similar to the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:9), that the Holy Spirit was compelling him to speak…
Job has not directed his words to me, and so I will not reply to him with your arguments. "They are dismayed and cannot answer any more; they have nothing left to say. And I have waited. But because they do not speak, because they stand there and answer no more, I too will answer my part, I too will explain what I know. For I am full of words, and the spirit within me constrains me. Inside I am like wine which has no outlet, like new wineskins ready to burst! I will speak, so that I may find relief; I will open my lips, so that I may answer. (Job 32:14-20)
Elihu continues stating that he is going to speak the truth regardless of whether they would like to hear it or not. He knows that those compromising God’s word are not anointed for ministry for very long. That is, no “ear-tickling” is going to take place (2 Timothy 4:3)…
I will not show partiality to anyone, nor will I confer a title on any man. For I do not know how to give honorary titles, if I did, my Creator would quickly do away with me. (Job 32:21,22)
Furthermore, Elihu states he will be speaking from his heart and not his head. He is not going to reason or rationalize what has been taking place with Job. He is going to share the wisdom that the Holy Spirit has given him for Job…
"But now, O Job, listen to my words, and hear everything I have to say! See now, I have opened my mouth; my tongue in my mouth has spoken. My words come from the uprightness of my heart, and my lips will utter knowledge sincerely. (Job 33:1-3)
Again, Elihu identifies the breath of God (1) as the Holy Spirit (John 3:8)…
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
The following verses give us insight into why this young man understands what is taking place in Job’s life – he is a man that is in the process of being broken by God. Remember, brokenness (1) before God is a journey, not a destination…
Reply to me, if you can; set your arguments in order before me and take your stand! Look, I am just like you in relation to God; I too have been molded from clay. Therefore no fear of me should terrify you, nor should my pressure be heavy on you. (Job 33:5-7)
Elihu gives a summation of what Job has been saying in the previous twenty chapters. Job was accusing God of allowing (1) suffering without due cause. We often do the same thing and then say rather religiously, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” His ways would not be mysterious if we talked to God rather than talk about Him! (Proverbs 25:2. Revelation 1:5,6) Realize, the knowledge of God’s will comes out of a relationship with Him, so, when we live in the relationship of Father-child, knowing His will is not difficult (2). Recall, that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit – is helping us pray to God (1) and causing us to hear from God (Romans 8:26,27; John 10:27. John 15:26)…
"Indeed, you have said in my hearing (I heard the sound of the words!): 'I am pure, without transgression; I am clean and have no iniquity. Yet God finds occasions with me; he regards me as his enemy! He puts my feet in shackles; he watches closely all my paths.' (Job 33:8-11)
To be continued…
The Book of Job Series:
- Job, Suffering is Part of the Job
- Job, God Planned a Happy Ending from the Beginning!
- Job, God is not Your Problem… Satan is!
- Job, God is Your Solution!
- Job, With Friends Like These Who Needs Enemies?
- Job, Do not Despise the Wisdom of the Youth!
- Job, Brokenness is the only Way to Godliness
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Margaret Silvester, How to Find God, Ellel Ministries, Seeds of the Kingdom (June 4, 2014)