Job 33


‘But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say. I am about to open my mouth; my words are on the tip of my tongue. My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me. I am the same as you in God’s sight; I too am a piece of clay. No fear of me should alarm you, nor should my hand be heavy on you.’ Job 33:1-7

Elihu Continues With His Speech

Elihu begins by speaking kind words, this was something Job’s other three friends gave up a while ago. He points at truths one of which is that none of the others has given a chance to speak.

He singles out Job and tells him to open his ears, for what he says is honesty, he wants Job to answer things so that he can be cleared of his charges.

He first enters and establishes the areas on which he and Job agree the most, then after these points, he moves on to points of difference, but even then he doesn’t want Job to feel pressurised to agree with anything he says.

Elihu says that he and Job are both human, he says they both know Job’s past and now his arguments and he has been patient, sat and listened and will answer Job’s questions.

‘But you have said in my hearing—I heard the very words—‘I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin. Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy. He fastens my feet in shackles; he keeps close watch on all my paths.’ “But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than any mortal. Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words? For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword. “Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones, so that their body finds food repulsive and their soul loathes the choicest meal. Their flesh wastes away to nothing, and their bones, once hidden, now stick out. They draw near to the pit, and their life to the messengers of death.’ Job 33:8-22

Elihu claims he has listened carefully to Job’s arguments and goes on to give a summary of them. The WVBS outlines it as follows.

1. Job has said that he is pure and without transgression, Job 7:21 / Job 10:7 / Job 10:14 / Job 13:18 / Job 16:17.

Elihu has missed Job’s point. Job has admitted transgression. What he has not admitted is committing any sin worthy of the treatment he has received.

2. Job has claimed that God has, for some unjust reason, chosen to treat him as an enemy, Job 13:24 / Job 16:9 / Job 19:11.

Elihu again has missed Job’s point. Job has never accused God of injustice or malice. Job has merely pointed out that if God is punishing him for sin, or the reasons the friends stated, then God is unjust. Job had lived many years as a righteous man.

We were told in chapters 1 and 2 that he was a righteous man. Thus, Job does not know of anything he has suddenly done to merit this treatment. This is why he would argue that God is unjust if He is doing it because of sin in Job.

3. Job has claimed that God is treating him like a criminal, Job 13:27.

While it is true Job feels God is punishing him, he does not claim God is unjust for so doing. Job is merely wanting to know the reasons for being treated this way.

4. Job has claimed that God is giving him special attention, Job 14:16 / Job 24:23 / Job 28:24 / Job 31:4.

Certainly, Job has maintained this point throughout his speeches. With Job, however, he is merely wondering why God deems him worthy of this negative attention when Job has enjoyed God’s positive attention for so long.

One point in which Elihu lets himself down here with his argument is his declaration that he was free from sin, Romans 3:23. He says Job’s argument that God is hounding him is wrong. God doesn’t have to give an account to humanity.

Job often questioned why God doesn’t respond to him when he calls but Elihu says that God has answered Job, twice. He says that Job hasn’t been able to see God’s answer. He says that God told Job to repent of his sins and if he doesn’t, God will continue to punish him.

He mentions dreams and visions, which were used as an aid for God to let people know His wishes, Hebrews 1:1. God also speaks through chastisement, Hebrews 12:7-13. Elihu is saying God isn’t remote or different and the ones who listen will be restored to health and fellowship.

‘Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright, and he is gracious to that person and says to God, ‘Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for them—let their flesh be renewed like a child’s; let them be restored as in the days of their youth’—then that person can pray to God and find favour with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being. And they will go to others and say, ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’ “God does all these things to a person—twice, even three times—to turn them back from the pit, that the light of life may shine on them. “Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want to vindicate you. But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.” Job 33:23-33

God also speaks through those who interpret the will of God for man, that is, angels. It’s the natural response of anyone who has been restored back to health to be thankful, acknowledge God and praise Him for deliverance, 2 Peter 3:9.

Pain itself is not guaranteed to bring blessings, endurance is the key. Suffering not only strengthens, but it can also teach. Instead of letting circumstances come before God, we should let God come before circumstances. Especially suffering and despair which can so easily come before, Phillipians 4:11.

People only need to say the words, ‘I have sinned’ and God will redeem him, which is exactly what Job’s three friends wanted Job to say.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Job responded to Elihu’s challenge in exactly the proper manner, ignoring it completely. Job was fully conscious of his absolute integrity before God and nothing that Elihu had said or would say later moved Job in even the slightest degree from that confidence.’

Go To Job 34