Lessons To Be Learned From Trials
Dr. Joe Temple

Job And Elihu

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Job, chapter 32, verses 1-4:

Job 32:

1So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
2Then 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.
3Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
4Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.

Until this time, we had no idea that this younger man, Elihu, was present. But by what he says, we know that he was listening to the conversations because he mentions some of the things that were said.

The name Elihu means, “My God is He,” “Jehovah is my God,” or, as we might say, “That's my God.” Elihu's ministry in life was to be a testimony for God. When he heard Job's last speech, he was angry at the three friends. He was indignant that they would try to blame Job, and they hadn't even touched the problem. He was also angry at Job for trying to justify himself and not God. Because he was younger than the others, he had kept silent. He had been taught to respect his elders, something that is badly needed today. Look at verses 5-10:

Job 32:

5When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
6And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
7I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
8But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
9Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
10Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.

Elihu Stresses The Fact That Wisdom Is Of God

Young people, watch it! Elihu does not say that the young people know more than the elderly. He merely says that the older are not always right, and he qualifies his statement thus: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (verse 8). In other words, the elderly, as well as the young, are wise in understanding only if they do not follow their own inclinations and ideas, but accept the wisdom of God.

Elihu was not speaking of the Holy Spirit as One Who indwells every believer as He does in this day of grace. In the Old Testament times, the Spirit came upon men from time to time, but He did not dwell within them continually.

Elihu spoke of “the inspiration of the Almighty” which “giveth them understanding.” This refers to the Word of God. The Spirit of which he spoke represents the life of the believer through the Word of God. Old men without the Holy Spirit and the Word can give no better advice in relation to moral, righteous and holy living than can a younger person. In comparison, a young man with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word can give good advice, and he is wise and understanding in regard to moral, righteous and holy living. This understanding has come through the Word of God, and it is the wisdom of God.

Elihu had said that age was not always an indication that a person was inspired of God. Men can be led by the Holy Spirit at any age if they are yielded to Him. So this young man told Job's three friends that they had not even come near the real source of Job's problem. Then he turned to Job and spoke in chapter 33, verses 1-6:

Elihu Speaks Directly To Job

Job 33:

1Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
2Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
3My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
4The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
5If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
6Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.

When Job was being accused by his friends and it seemed that every one was against him, he expressed a desire to talk to God Himself. He had said, “Surely, I should speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God” (Job 13:3). Therefore, Elihu offers to stand in God's stead and let Job present his cause.

Job Had No Mediator As Do Believers Today

Previous to this, Job had said that he realized that God was not a man as he was nor was there “any daysman between them that might lay his hand upon both” (Job 9:32-22). A daysman is a mediator. Job was right, for in Old Testament days, there was no mediator between God and man, but today, we have an Advocate or Mediator who pleads our cause. Turn to I John, chapter 2, verse 1:

I John 2:

1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Therefore, Elihu agreed to act according to the wish of Job, so he said, so to speak, “I will stand in the place of God, though I am only a man of clay. I will be the daysman, and you can have your say.” He reminded Job of his own words which he had heard him say.

Elihu Declared That Man Has No Right To Criticize The Sovereign God

Go back to Job, chapter 33, and notice verses 8-11:

Job 33:

8Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
9I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
10Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
11He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.

Remember, Job had declared his righteousness, and he had denied any guilt or sin. Yet he had come to the conclusion that God was permitting all these trials. That was almost accusing God of injustice. So Elihu said, in effect, “I heard all that you have said, even to the point that God counted you as an enemy.” Now look at verses 12-13:

Job 33:

12Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
13Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

In other words, Elihu says, “I am tired of God's being unjustly accused, so I am going to speak for God. Job, you are not just. God is under no obligation to please or to explain anything to any of us.”

Job needed to be reminded of this, and so do we. God has a right to do what He wills with any of us whether we like it or not. The sovereignty of God is taught very little today, so we are apt to forget that we should not question God. We need to be reminded, and so did Job. Turn to Romans, chapter 9, verses 14-16:

Romans 9:

14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

It is not our place to criticize what God does. He has made man, and He is a sovereign God.

God Chooses Rulers As Well As Servants To Accomplish His Will

Go back to Job, chapter 33, verses 17-23:

Job 33:

17That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
20So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
21His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
23If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

Beloved, we need not fear the sovereignty of God. It is true that He is under no obligation to explain to us why He deals in a particular manner with us. We need to accept His plan for us. As we yield to Him, we find perfect peace in Him. Someone may say, “I don't believe in resignation. That is hopelessness.” No, yielding to God is giving God His way.

Each one of us needs to realize that God does not give an account of His deeds to anyone. So Elihu asked, “Why, Job, are you striving against God?” Then he advised Job to listen while God speaks.

God Deals With Man In Three Ways

Go back to verses 14-15:

Job 33:

14For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

Notice that Elihu here mentions three ways in which God spoke to the heart of man in those days. In times past, God used all these ways as a method of speaking to man. Today, it is the Word of God that is used to speak to us. However, if God so chooses, He may use another way.

The first way in which God may speak to man is in dreams. But remember, dreams may come from eating the wrong kind of food. Visions may come from disturbed emotions. Sleepless nights give God a good opportunity to speak to man. If you have a sleepless night, listen to what God has to say. Don't be too anxious to go back to sleep. God may want to speak to you. God may deal with His children by impressions, thoughts, and movements of the mind. God does not deal with the unsaved in the same way He deals with His children.

We find the second way in which God deals with man in verse 19: “He chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain.” God deals thus with the unsaved because He is gracious and makes possible a way that they may receive the message of salvation. The reason is explained in verse 22: “Yea his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.” Notice also verse 28: “He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.”

The third way that God deals with man is found in verse 27: “He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right and it profited me not.” God sees the sinner who is unconcerned about his condition, so He makes him miserable in his sin so that he will see the light and be saved.

One Among A Thousand. Today?

Notice verse 23:

Job 33:

23If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

Since we are studying in the Old Testament, we do not find a complete message here, so we will make the application. Applications are eternal and apply whether it is Old or New Testament. God does speak to men through messengers. Sometimes, in the Old Testament times, the messengers were angels. However, in all ages, God has and does speak to man. Today, it may be through a preacher, a radio message, a book, etc.

Yet, in the light of this entire book, it seems to indicate that Job's friends were the messengers. But these three messengers missed the mark. Elihu feels that he has the right message, one that the older men did not have.

The success of the message is the right individual in the right place at the right time and that the right message is given. Notice the words of verse 23: “…one among a thousand…” That is just about the right ratio of possibility of the right person being in the right place at the right time and giving the right message. Many are in the right place at the right time, but do not give the right message. So many times, we do not know what to say, so we miss the opportunity.

What a blessing it is that God is pleased to use mankind to convey His message. There is no message greater than the Gospel. We need to give out the Gospel that others might be saved.

Notice that verse 23 begins, “If there be a messenger…” There is a great need for messengers to be in the right place at the right time. There is a need for messengers to stand strong in the Lord. There is a need for messengers who will stand with those who are standing, perhaps alone and feeling they cannot go on.

Paul wanted to send someone to help the Christians at Phillipi, but notice what he said in Philippians, chapter 2, verses 19-21:

Philippians 2:

19But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
21For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

Notice that Paul wanted someone who could help in this situation, but everyone was more interested in their own lives, so he could find no one. It is exactly like that today. Even God's people are interested only in their own pursuits. Men are few and far between who are available for God's service when and where they are needed. Go back to Job, chapter 33, and notice verse 24:

Job 33:

24Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

Elihu said that when a man is in the right place at the right time and ready to show the source of his faith to others, there is a Deliverer. The message is, “I have found a ransom.”

How Job needed someone to help him. He was very ill; he was very weak; he was very discouraged, almost to the point of giving up. His friends were of no help, for they condemned him for sinning.

“I have found a ransom.” This is a simple message, but it is a powerful message. Here is an individual who is weighed down with sin. A man comes to him and says, “I have found a ransom. God sent me with a message. The debt for sin has been paid. The need has been met. A ransom has been paid.” Jesus Christ paid that ransom. That is so simple, but so true. Truth is simple. When we get beyond the simple message, it is not God's plan. Two and two make four. It is that simple, so that anyone can understand.

Notice the content of the message: If you are in need of righteousness, “I have found a ransom” is the message for you. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you can give this simple message to others. Be ready to tell the unsaved this, and God will put you in the right place at the right time to do so. The message is truly needed.

Elihu Makes The Same Mistake

Elihu continues to speak to Job, but he makes the same mistake that the three friends of Job had made except that he told Job that he was acting wickedly because of bitterness and rebellion. He came to this conclusion because he realized that it was impossible for God to do wrong. Turn to chapter 34, and notice verse 10:

Job 34:

10Therefore 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.

Now skip down to verses 35-37:

Job 34:

35Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
36My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
37For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

Notice that Elihu said that Job had spoken without wisdom. There is truth in all these arguments, but they do not apply to Job for the application is made in error. We need to look at the truth of what is said and apply it generally where it belongs. Go back to verse 3:

Job 34:

3For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.

So very often our ears do not hear what is being said. It seems as though we hear only what we want to hear. We should listen with discernment. Let us take heed how we hear. The Bible warns us against this in Mark, chapter 8, verse 18:

Mark 8:

18Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

Go back to Job 14, verse 3, and notice Elihu's words, “the mouth tasteth meat.” In effect, Elihu is saying, “The mouth tastes the food and in like manner, the ear should try the words it hears.” If we taste food and it does not taste good, we do not eat it. Sometimes we realize it is spoiled, and we do not even taste it. We should be just as careful about what we hear. We need to use our ears in the same way. We should try the words that we hear and immediately discard them if they are not right. We should not listen to drivel. If we would test words thus, we would not listen to the double-talk that is common today. We would have nothing to do with it, for it has nothing to do with truth. What does it matter what someone says? If it is not in accord with the Word of God, it is useless. Listen only to the truth. The moment something is said that does not agree with the Word of God, throw it out. Don't try to rationalize. Job said that his friends had not been just in what they said about him.

Elihu Points Out Job's Bitterness Quoting Job's Own Words

Look at verses 5-6:

Job 34:

5For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
6Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.

Notice the meaning of Job's words. In short, he is saying, “God is not treating me right.” Now look at verses 7-8:

Job 34:

7What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
8Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.

Elihu said this, but it was not literally true. Job was very ill, and he could not literally walk with the wicked or “go in company with the workers of iniquity.” However, Job was talking like them. Therefore, so far as God was concerned, Job was keeping company with them. Verse 9:

Job 34:

9For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.

Job had said, in other words, “It doesn't pay to be a Christian. God doesn't treat His children right.” Elihu answered, “Job, that puts you in the class with the wicked.” Though we may separate ourselves from the world by a profession of faith in the Lord, if we continue to talk and act like the world, we are putting ourselves in their company

God Rewards The Faithful

Job 34:

11For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.

You can rely on this. God shall render a reward for every work of man. The deeds of men will be judged by God, and He will proportion his pay exactly according to the works. This is the sovereignty of God.

There are some who say that this verse refers to God's judgment of deeds and that He will punish man according to his deeds. Turn to Psalm 130 and notice verse 3:

Psalm 130:

3If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Notice the depths of this statement. If God rewarded according to deeds, no one would stand. So I prefer to believe that this refers only to rewards. God is fair, and He won't let any deed go unrewarded. Jesus taught this principle in Matthew, chapter 10, verse 42:

Matthew 10:

42And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

This is the principle that Elihu had in mind. God will not forget your labor of love. He will render according to your faithfulness.

Elihu Admonishes Job

Go back to Job, chapter 34:

Job 34:

13Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?

Job had made this statement, so Elihu answers, “You talk as though someone gave God the world. Why, if God decided to take the breath from man back to Himself, all men would perish and turn to dust again.” Look at verses 14-15:

Job 34:

14If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
15All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

We need to remember that God is not taking care of the world because He must do so. He is caring for the world because He wants to do so. Verses 16-19:

Job 34:

16If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
17Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
18Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
19How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.

In other words, Elihu said, “Do you think it right to criticize those who are in authority—kings and princes?” That was the custom then. Today we can criticize if we wish, but it was unheard of then.

Job had dared to make these statements concerning God Who is above princes and makes no difference between the rich and the pauper. Then he speaks of the sovereignty of God thus in verses 21:

Job 34:

21For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.

This is a very precious truth if you know the Lord, but notice verse 22:

Job 34:

22There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

A man who is bent on doing evil will find no place where he can hide from God.

God Is Love, But Sometimes He Chastens His Children That His Purpose Be Fulfilled

Job 34:

25Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.

God's love is manifested to us in that He will do right by us. We can depend upon that. He knows the hearts of men. He knows how much they can bear, so He will not lay upon them more than that. The New Testament reminds us of that truth in I Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 13:

I Corinthians 10:

13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

In the light of the verses that we are studying, we wonder how some people see and talk only of the love of God. It is true, God is love and He deals with love, but sometimes He shows His love through chastening, etc. Look at this side of our Heavenly Father. Go back to Job, chapter 34, verses 24-25:

Job 34:

24He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
25Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.

This is indeed a different picture of our God than the one that some people show—God who is a God of love as they define love. Notice though, “He knoweth their works.” God knows the works of the wicked, and He overturns them and sets others in their places.

Job 34:

26He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
27Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:

As we see the meaning of this verse, the question arises, “Why then are wicked rulers permitted to continue?” There are wicked rulers in many places in the world today. Why doesn't God do something about that? Remember, God works according to His schedule. Sometimes it may seem that He is doing nothing for He permits evil ones to continue, but He has a purpose in permitting this.

Remember in verse 25, we read that God overturns the wicked and puts others in their place. In this age when there is no morality and no honor, (and I say this with much reverence) it may be difficult for even God to find a just and godly person to put in their place. But God does rule according to His schedule. He does replace evil rulers because they turn from Him and do not consider His ways.

Job 34:

28So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.

The basic reason that God replaces the evil rulers is found in this verse. God's ear is always open to the cry of the afflicted. He always hears their cry and then He acts against the wicked, as we read in verse 26: “He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others.” These men sometimes become so wicked in their affliction that the afflicted turn to God and cry unto Him. God knows what is going on before they cry, but until they ask, they do not receive.

Why is God permitting evil men to rule? Could it be because we who know the Lord and know how to pray have not prayed? Perhaps we have not been interested enough to intercede in the matter. It is true that God removes the wicked because they turn from Him, as we read in verse 27, but He removes them also because of the prayers of the afflicted. Perhaps the rule of the wicked continues because we have not prayed enough—not in length of time, but in sincerity of heart! Perhaps the greatest thing that we can do to correct this situation is to pray in all sincerity from a burdened heart. How sincerely have you prayed concerning this? How burdened are you? Are you burdened enough to pray from a heart that is pure and sincere?

Job 34:

29When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:

God Is Interested In The Affairs Of Man

God is interested in the human race whether nation or individual, and His interest is sure and sincere. When trouble comes, God is aware of it—but trouble cannot come when God gives quietness.

For a moment, notice the last part of this verse: “…When he hideth his face, who then can behold him?…” If God decides to withdraw His face from an individual or a nation, who can find Him? The expression “God's face is withdrawn” indicates that God is not blessing. The expression, “God's face is toward a nation,” indicates that God's blessing is upon the nation. A nation or a person can be the recipient of God's blessings or can suffer from withdrawn blessings, so Elihu rightly says, “Who then can behold Him?”

When we see God's face in the process of being withdrawn, we should turn to God and pray thus, whether it concerns a nation or an individual. The prayer should be sincere and from the heart: “If we have offended, we will offend no more. If we have done iniquity, we will do no more. Teach us to do thy will.” Then there must be full surrender to God, for this is vital.

God does not want to withdraw from individuals or from nations. He wants to be with them, but He cannot countenance sin. Every sincere believer should pray about it. When we see our nation departing from the will of God, we should fall on our knees and pray. Perhaps you are asking, “If the whole nation does not repent, will it do any good for a few to pray?” Yes, it will. Read Daniel, chapter 9. Daniel confessed the sins of the nation to God. Also Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God promised that if five righteous people could be found, they would be spared. God honors His children and honors their prayers. God wants to protect His own and to spare His own, but He cannot tolerate sin.

The only reason that God has spared our nation is because of the righteous—not self-righteous, but those who trust Christ as Savior. Pray for our nation. God help us if we do not sincerely pray for His help and protection.

Job 34:

29When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?…:

This applies even to the individual as well as to the nation. Consider these words in Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 7:

Proverbs 16:

7When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Elihu Continues His Discussion

Notice, as Elihu continued speaking, he came nearer to the solution of Job's problem. A number of things in his discourse are profitable for us, too, for he speaks the truth.

Job 35:

2Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's?

Notice, Job did not actually say this, but he did imply this for he said that God was unjust. sometimes, we, too, say things that lead people to believe what we do not mean. Be very careful what you say. Look at verse 3:

Job 35:

3For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

In other words, he had said, “It didn't do me any good to trust the Lord and to live for Him. Look what happened to me.” There are some today who complain in this manner. They say, “I tried living for the Lord, and I had more trouble than I had before.” That may be true, for Satan often brings trouble, and God permits it to test your faith. Just continue to trust God. Verse 5:

Job 35:

5Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.

Elihu is saying, in effect: “Look up, Job. See how high the clouds are. God is higher than that. If you multiply your sins, God is still there, but you are harmed.” Verses 6-7:

Job 35:

6If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
7If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?

Elihu is stressing here the sovereignty of God. From the standpoint of His might and glory, our actions do not make any difference; but because we are His children, it does matter to Him although it does not affect His being, etc. Man cannot change God. Look at verse 8:

Job 35:

8Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.

Yes, even if you multiply your sins, God is still there, and you cannot hurt Him or change the fact that God is all-powerful and everlasting; but you need to live right, not because your righteousness might change God, but because your righteousness does make you better. Your sin can hurt you and it can hurt others, especially your loved ones.

What does righteousness profit a man? Leaving God out of your life will not solve your problems or help for eternity. Even for the unsaved, it is better that they live a good life here, though it won't give them salvation. Elihu said, “Job, stop thinking that you are doing God a favor by living right.”

God Is Interested In How We Live

We must look at these truths in relationship to the entire book of Job and not take them out of context. If so, you might get the idea that God doesn't care how you live. but He is vitally concerned and deeply interested in how you live. Some say, “But you said, it can't change God. Yes, that is true, but an earthly father wants his children to be successful. When they fail, he is moved to sorrow. If you make something and set a time to try it out and people come to watch, you are greatly disappointed if your creation fails. You are grieved. So even from this point of creation, God is grieved when His children live sinfully and fail Him. Today so many are failing Him, and He is grieved.

So that man could live godly, He provided a way by sending His only begotten Son to die for all. Those who accept Christ as Savior can live victoriously in HIm. God cannot be helped or hindered by your life so far as His sovereignty is concerned. He is pleased when you live right, for He wants you to live to glorify His name and that is the desire of those who truly love Him. In short, Elihu told Job that neither his righteousness nor his wickedness had meant anything to God so far as his problem was concerned. Notice verse 9:

Job 35:

9By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.

This verse suggests that Job's trial and testing has not come in relation to chastisement. This had been the error of Job's three friends, and they had accused him of sin.

Notice that word oppressed is in italics, so it is not in the original. This verse then is actually saying, “Because of the multitude of oppressions, they cry.” The verse continues, “they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.” Whose arm? The arm of the almighty God. It is the cry of oppression, dissatisfaction, bitterness, and rebellion because it is the arm of God that is visiting them in chastisements. They do not like what is happening to them and they question, “Why?”

The Purpose Of Trials Is To Draw Us Closer To God

Notice verse 10:

Job 35:

10But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;

They do not question where God stands in this trial. Nor do they ask where the songs in the night are. What good thing can come of this trial is not questioned. Who is it Who does give songs in the night? The Psalmist used this phrase frequently when he spoke of the trials and tribulations that he suffered. God was faithful through it all and gave him “songs in the night.”

Recall the story of Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:23-40). The jailer had been instructed to keep them safely, so he put them in the inner dungeon and bound them in stocks. How would you feel if you were in that predicament? They had been very faithful and were doing the will of God. Now they were suffering, and suffering should not have been necessary. At least, we are sure it was not necessary for chastisement.

Chastisement does not always come because of sin in our lives or because of God's displeasure with us. Sometimes it is God's plan for us. So Paul and Silas “prayed and sang praises unto God.” Do you praise God and pray when you are in the midst of even a minor trial compared to this? With the song in the night came relief for Paul and Silas. But notice, they were still in the dungeon in stocks when God gave them the song in the night. It isn't necessary that God deliver us from the trial. He can, but sometimes He does not do so. If your heart is open to Him, He will give you a song in the night in the midst of your trial. Verse 11:

Job 35:

11Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?

Why does God send trials? Because He loves us and He desires to teach us. Since we are intellectual—more intellectual than any of the beasts of the field or the fowl of the air—we can learn from trials.

Job 35:

12There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.

Why is there no answer? Because of pride. At times, we break the connection and receive no answer to prayer because of pride in our lives. When we have trials and we complain and cry out and ask, “Why?”, it doesn't help. Why don't we ask, “What lesson can I learn from this trial?” That is the only way of victory. Where are your “songs in the night”?

Remember God gave Paul and Silas songs in the night while they were still in the stocks, and He can and will do this for you, too, even in the midst of trial and testing. Now, Elihu is near the solution to Job's problem. In addition to asking what lesson there is to be learned, we need to ask, “Where is God? What does He want to teach me through this trial?” Then, we need to willingly yield to His will. That is when victory will come.

Elihu Says, “Listen To Me; I've Not Finished Talking.”

Look at Job, chapter 36, verse 2:

Job 36:

2Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf.

Elihu has not been entirely right in all that he has said, but he has said some wonderful things. Now he says that he has something to say in God's behalf in verse 3:

Job 36:

3I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

This is just another way of saying, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right” (Genesis 18:25). Some may say, “That's just an excuse. If you don't have any other explanation for what is happening, you fall back on a statement like that.” But our God is right and does right at all times. Look at verse 4:

Job 36:

4For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

Elihu is not speaking of himself when he says, “He is perfect in knowledge.” If he were, we could discount all that he says, for no man is perfect in knowledge. He is referring to God. This is a great consolation to God's people. God has perfect knowledge. If He is with us, nothing should concern us. We need have no worries or doubts. Verse 5:

Job 36:

5Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.

This is not an unusual statement. We know that God is mighty, and we are thankful that He is. But “He despiseth not any” says that God has no favorites. He loves each one of us and is concerned about each one of us. What a blessed thought! What encouraging truth for each one of us!

Job 36:

6He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.
7He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

The Bible tells us that God rules to the extent that no one is exalted to any position but by the will of God. He puts kings on thrones. He puts presidents in authority. He also removes those in high positions. He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but He does protect the poor.

Job 36:

8And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
9Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.

Notice this carefully. We have learned that sometimes afflictions come because of disobedience. Here we are told that afflictions may come to us for no other reason than that we live in a world of sin. For example, because of pollution, we may contact a disease—just because we live in a world that is not perfect, a world of sin. Then God “sheweth them their work, and their transgressions.”

God will often use a time of illness to speak to us. Perhaps we have been too busy, and we haven't had time to listen to God. We often don't take time to evaluate our work, so when we are brought up short by an ordinary sickness, God may use that time to help us to understand our disobedience or our waste of time, etc.

Job 36:

10He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
11If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
12But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.

Yes, it is true, God uses discipline to teach His children. This is the principle that Elihu is applying to Job's situation in this, his last speech. The next voice we will hear is the voice of God. It is as if God let men try to work out the problem and they could not do so. So God steps in to help.

Job 36:

16Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.

This describes Job's condition. He was in a strait. He felt bound and restricted. So Elihu says, “Job, if you will listen to God, He will remove you from this affliction.”

Sometimes God Permits Death To Come

Job 36:

17But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.
18Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.

Elihu says here, “Job, you have not profited by your afflictions and if God must deal severely with you, nothing can help you.” When he refers to his stroke, he refers to death. No ransom—nothing—can bring one back if God deals this stroke. Beloved, we can go too far. We should learn, but too often we learn too late.

Let us apply this to the unsaved. If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, you can step too far and even a great ransom cannot deliver you. But you will not be alive. God removes by death—sometimes. Turn to Proverbs, chapter 29, verse 1:

Proverbs 29:

1He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

As long as there is life, there is hope; but when death comes, all hope is gone.

Now, a word to the Christian who is rebellious. You know what is right, but you presume upon the love of God. If you continue to do so, God may bring disastrous measures upon you. If so, the greatest ransom in the world cannot undo what has been done. There are those who have suffered thus who could give testimony of this today. God has taken away the person or thing who was most dear to them. Go back to Job, chapter 36, and notice verses 19-21:

Job 36:

19Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
20Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.
21Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

God will not spare the rich, nor the strong. Do not choose wrongly. God's affliction is always to purify. Notice verses 22-24:

Job 36:

22Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
23Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
24Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

No one can teach like God. No one can do as He does. Who can accuse Him of iniquity? No one can correct Him, for He is right. No one can give the lessons as He gives the lessons, so learn from the lesson that He gives you.

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