Day 148 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Job and Psalms.
Job 32 – In chapters 32-34 we hear from Elihu. A new speaker, Elihu, is introduced (32:1–5), followed by an uninterrupted record of his speeches (32:6–37:24). These include an announcement of his intention to speak (32:6–22), an initial challenge to Job (ch. 33), a general dispute against what Job has asserted (ch. 34), a description of Job’s place before God (ch. 35), and a lengthy section that describes and defends God’s majesty (chs. 36–37). Some scholars believe that Elihu’s viewpoint in the dialogue is closest to that of God Himself, but there is no hint of this in the chapters recording the Lord’s own words (chs. 38–41).
Elihu’s opening speech repeats what the introductory section has described. Elihu directs his remarks primarily at the three friends. Elihu plays on the words spirit and breath in his early speeches (see also 33:4; 34:14). He probably intends this as a reminder of Job’s earlier plea (see 27:2–3), as he asserts his own right to speak.
Elihu claims he is not speaking by choice but by necessity. He has not yet spoken because He is younger, but he know reveals it’s God’s Spirit, not age, that provides wisdom and understanding.
While we are given community to help us properly discern wisdom, do you primarily look for wisdom from others or from God Himself?
Job 33 – The young man Elihu, who emerged “out of the blue” in chapter 32, says something like that here: “God does all these things” (i.e., events and frustrations to get a person’s attention) “twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.”
Next, Elihu calls on Job to stop talking! He claims to be able to teach Job a little wisdom, but only if Job can “be silent”.
Two points of gospel application here: The first work of God in a person’s life is archaeological. God must get beneath the surface to our foundations. For, if they are founded on self then they require undermining. “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart’” (1 Corinthians 1:19). The operation of repentance and self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.
Second, we have to stop listening to ourselves in order to listen to the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). We need a holiday from self-expression. “Be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”
When it is time to hear from others, do you truly listen with discernment?
Job 34 – Elihu calls on “wise men” to hear Job’s contention that he is in the right and “men of understanding” to hear Elihu’s argument against this claim. He presents both groups as those who will agree with Elihu against Job.
Truth is discerned through hearing, just as the quality of food is discerned through tasting. Job used this same proverb earlier to challenge his friends (12:11).
Elihu describes Job as one who walks with evildoers and wicked men, a path that the wise are called to avoid (see Psalm 1:1). Although Job had stated that the wicked and the righteous seem to suffer the same fate, he did not say precisely what Elihu quotes him here as saying. Job had governed his own life by delight in God (see 23:10–12); he had argued that it was the wicked who live as if service to the Almighty profits a man nothing (see 21:15).
Elihu’s argument against Job results in the same dilemma that the three friends had: either Job is in the right or God is in the right, but it cannot be both (see 8:2–7).
God has no need to consider a man further. Job has been asking for an opportunity to present his case before either God or some human judge, but Elihu says that God has already acted and does not need to give further consideration to Job’s or any other person’s case.
Elihu errantly suggests that Job has been struck for all to see because he has turned aside from following the Lord’s ways by mistreating the poor and afflicted.
Elihu says that any who are truly men of understanding or wise would agree with him, and that Job speaks like a fool who is without knowledge or insight. Furthermore, Elihu wishes that God’s supposed judgment against Job would be taken to its logical end, because Job’s words express rebellion and arrogance against God.
What all four “friends” keep missing, is Job as not incorrectly represented himself—God Himself already declared Job to be a righteous man.
How does the Gospel free us from having to figure out if we are in the right or in the wrong?
Psalm 143 – This Psalm, much like yesterday’s, envisions David desperately asking God to spare his life in the face of strong and wicked enemies. As David calls out to God, he realizes he cannot do so from the basis of his own perfect obedience before God; rather, he acknowledges that no one, including himself, is truly righteous before God. So the basis of his plea is the character of God as shown in His past actions. David recalls the past goodness of God, His past deliverances, and he meditates on God’s gracious character and powerful intervention.
From the standpoint, then, of God’s character, His faithfulness, His track record of acting on behalf of His own people, David puts his trust in God yet again. And as with Psalm 142, this Psalm ends with future tense verbs expressing David’s confidence that God will not fail: “And in Your steadfast love You will cut off my enemies, and You will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am Your servant.”
Here is grace! Here is the gospel! For here is the faithful God who would ultimately provide triumph over all of David’s (and our) enemies in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus (Colossians 2:14–15).
How has Jesus already conquered all the “enemies” you face today?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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