Parallel Conversations

Job 33

Have all seen situation where two people talking but not communicating. Get to point where you recognize there are two different dictionaries being used. One person using one definition of words/concepts, other person using another. Source of great frustration – people hear but don’t understand, or hear but understand wrongly.

In our text – Job has spoken, Elihu has heard but not understood. Elihu now speaking but even if Job is listening, figures out pretty quickly that Elihu isn’t answering Job’s questions, not providing comfort either. Job at the point where only God can answer him satisfactorily. For Job to not give up in total despair, he must hear God’s voice.

Elihu for all his faults does approach a helpful answer to Job. He misses the pastoral application, though, in part because he has already determined Job is guilty and could never prove his innocence (v.12a). In Elihu’s mind, both God and Job cannot be innocent – one must be guilty and it cannot be God! Don’t disregard what he says, but don’t take it as the final answer either. Let’s unpack Elihu’s first barrage here, then make compassionate and useful application.

A. introduction v.1-7

continues on defending his compelling need to speak – gets to point where you’d like to tell him: “just stop, make your point already”

the more person tries to convince others why they should listen, more suspicious they get, wonder what is up – is it lack of confidence, fear of outcome, why the long buildup before they get to saying what’s really on their mind

God doesn’t do that: whether speaking directly or through one of his prophets or in his word – God doesn’t waste words, doesn’t pull his punches, just says what needs to be communicated

give Elihu credit – takes full credit (and responsibility )for what he tells Job: doesn’t try to hide behind someone else (2)

don’t look for ventriloquist, the wizard behind the curtain – is Elihu’s mouth, his tongue, speaking his own words

says the right thing, probably sincerely meant it – had right reasons for speaking up when he did (3)

did not have hidden agenda, desire to promote himself and show up the old guys; since no one challenged Elihu, no one charged him with hypocrisy, his sincerity probably genuine

why is that important? demonstrates wisdom of Job, E, B, Z, that they recognized Elihu was sincere but ignorant

had they responded to Elihu at his level of maturity, would probably have turned into unprofitable argument

makes some pretty lofty claims – again, youth and inexperience perhaps fueling his large talk

not just claiming to have received life and breath from God – he was given life and voice so he could help Job (4)

seems implied in his words and the context that God has given his own weight to what he will say, that Job should listen to him as he would to God

has thought his entire argument through from beginning to end; cannot see any weaknesses, any opportunity for Job to evade his inevitable conclusion (5)

just in case, he will give Job opportunity for rebuttal so he better get his ducks in a row and be ready

declares he has same standing as Job before God, level playing field and neither had an advantage over the other (6)

I feel your pain, I know your frustration, I can relate both to you and to God – Job thinks, “yeah, right, sure you can. NOT!”

once again promises Job he doesn’t need to be afraid, it won’t hurt much what he has to say (7)

good thing Elihu moved right into body of his speech before Job had time to get worried, doubt that Elihu really had his good in mind

B. a mighty God v.12b-13

Elihu should have been taking notes while Job and friends were talking – makes same mistake in quoting Job as Zophar (Job 11:4)

accused of claiming to be without sin – what Job actually said was “I am blameless” (Job 9:21), same as God had said about him

even before that, Job acknowledged his sin and questioned why God had not pardoned him: “21) Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?” (Job. 7:21)

in fact, Job demanded of God to know what his sins were: “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin.” (Job 13:23)

instead of really hearing what Job said, understanding it from Job’s perspective, Elihu like the others unjustly accused Job of sin – “Look, in this you are not right”

in essence: declares God is God, Job is not, God doesn’t have to defend himself or his actions to anyone

true statement, to be sure: God is the sovereign, has everything necessary to do his will in every situation

we know from special revelation: whatever God does is good and right…because God is good and righteous

just as king or general or president or supervisor not required to publicly explain all their actions, neither is God

Elihu recognized God’s majesty and might, failed to understand God’s condescension – “voluntary descent from one’s rank or dignity in relations with an inferior”

sure, Elihu didn’t have benefit of fuller NT revelation, still enough teaching in OT so he should have had some understanding

over and over God called the Jews “my people” – not “you people”, not slaves; treatment of / relationship with them bore that out

God is now and always has been a good Heavenly Father to his children – voluntarily descending from his dignity as Sovereign King to be as a kind compassionate Father to needy children

C. a message from God v.14-16

Job definitely not the only one who needed to grasp Elihu’s next point: God has his own ways of speaking, may not be how we expect to hear from him

Elijah: 1 Kings 19:11-12Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

sometimes God thunders from Sinai, other times he speaks in other ways; at times God has spoken directly (as he will to Job), at other times indirectly

Heb. 1:1-2 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”

and….God still today uses means to communicate to his children: not new revelation (have all we need in the Bible), does give confirmation and application of already revealed truth

Elihu was right: God doesn’t have to explain himself; also right that God speaks more often than we probably realize

here’s what we can count on: God’s message to us, whenever and however it comes is important and will be for our good – he may not give an answer to our question, he will give an answer to our need

our task: be attentive, spend enough time with God so we recognize his voice, be quiet long enough that we can hear it

D. a Mediator with God v.23-30

three times prior, Job had made reference to a mediator: one who would stand between him and God with an hand on both, bringing them together; had even declared his confidence in his Kinsman-Redeemer that he would see someday (Job 9:33-35; 16:18-22; 19:25-26)

now Elihu brings up notion of a mediator – begins with an if: if there really is a mediator, here’s what he will do

but first, notice two things connected together: a mediator and God’s grace – if a mediator, the first condition; then God graciously delivers him

now two more things connected together: a mediator and a ransom – if a mediator, then God declares he has found a ransom

Mediator who is the example of right living (23c) is also the ransom (24c); because of Mediator, God will redeem from destruction (24b), delight in him (26b) and restore him (26d)

and the redeemed one responds to God’s deliverance: with prayer of repentance (26a), public witness to warn others (27)

ultimately it is all of God, is God who does the work (29), for good of the individual: only God can provide life (30b)

we know who the “one in a thousand” is – the one who is our example, our ransom

Lord Jesus came to be our example – to show and to tell what is the right way to think, speak and act to please God

only in Christ can righteousness be restored to fallen man – by being joined to Christ by faith in his sacrifice and God’s promises, his righteousness is credited to us

is through new life in Christ, abundant life in him that we experience true joy, able to worship God and enjoy him forever

didn’t just happen that way, God did it on purpose: see John 3:17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

the Father sent the Son purposely to save the world; fallen sinners condemned by their sin already, Jesus didn’t need to come and condemn them – in fact, their rejection of him just added to their condemnation

1 John 4:14 “we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

sent the Son to do for those who believe what they could never do for themselves – is the God-Man, the Lord Jesus who stands in the gap between holy and righteous God on one side, fallen sinners on the other, with a hand on each and draws them together

Remember what Elihu said? “He shall pray to God, and He [God] will delight in him, He shall see His [God’s] face with joy, For He [God] restores to man His righteousness.” (26) Has God restored to you His righteousness through faith in Christ? Then look on God’s face with joy! Come close to your Heavenly Father, learn at the feet of your redeemer the Lord Jesus, understand what he says and what he means by the help of the Holy Spirit. Then go and warn your family and friends and neighbors and coworkers of their peril if they reject the Mediator. Warn them clearly and graciously; show them the beauty of God’s grace; encourage them to draw close to Jesus, to trust in Him, to depend on him for all things.

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