Today: [Job Thirty-Two] Do You Have a Fire in Your Bones? In this chapter after Job and his 3 friends fall silent, Elihu speaks up. Elihu is the youngest man in the room and has sat silently for days while these men debated, excoriated and denigrated one another and spoke against God Himself. Now Elihu can’t be quiet. Have you ever had such a fire in your bones that you couldn’t be quiet? We can learn from Elihu how to be obedience to our call even when others don’t see what God is doing in our lives.
[Job 32:1-22 KJV] 1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he [was] righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then 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. 3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and [yet] had condemned Job. 4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they [were] elder than he. 5 When Elihu saw that [there was] no answer in the mouth of [these] three men, then his wrath was kindled. 6 And 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. 7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
Now in the narrative of Job’s suffering comes the introduction of a 5th person by the name of Elihu. Job’s three friends Elipaz, Bildad and Zophar have left off speaking and finally Job is likewise silent. Job’s friends unfortunately for all their input have only demonstrated themselves to be part of the problem and not part of the solution. When you are drawn into a situation such as this always ask yourself “by speaking am I being a part of the solution or part of the problem…” Man’s ego usually has something to say about everything. Consider Proverbs:
[Pro 10:19 KJV] 19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.
Elihu therefore has distinguished himself not by what he says but by his silence. He chooses to be quiet as these four men wrangle on and on with each other and it is to his credit. He is the youngest man in the room and feels it is appropriate to defer to old age and let those that are senior in years bring forth their wisdom.
Who is Elihu? He is a descendant of Buz who is mentioned in Ge. 22:20-21 as being another nephew of Abraham. Job is likewise a nephew of Abraham according to Jewish sources and therefore they are cousins. There are actually 5 men in the bible named Elihu and his name means “God is My God”. We know then from his chosen name that he had a godly upbringing and as we see in the chapter he had a very difficult time listening and being grieved with all the ungodliness in the monologues and debate of Job and his three companions.
8 But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 9 Great men are not [always] wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. 10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion. 11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. 12 Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, [there was] none of you that convinced Job, [or] that answered his words: 13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man. 14 Now he hath not directed [his] words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches. 15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
Sometimes the greatest wisdom is not found among those who are of reputation for deep understanding. Elihu says that gray hairs should utter wisdom but in this case he finds an exception. He doesn’t want to appear to be impudent or boastful but states that he is willing to appear so “because there is a spirit in man” and even though he is considered too young to contribute anything of value – he contends there is an inspiration from God that even though he does not have the benefit of their mature years he nonetheless has something to contribute.
This is not an uncommon problem. Paul took along young Timothy and trained him to be an apostle. In due course he leaves Timothy in Ephesus and in Paul’s absence the people begin to make light of Timothy because of his youth. Paul writing to his young protégé encourages him:
[1Ti 4:12 KJV] 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Whatever reason that you are despised by others as being unfit to lead do not be discouraged. Whether you are too young, or too old or have some other defect in your person that others do not see in you the leadership God had called you to – be faithful in that which God has called you to do. In the final analysis not everyone will be as excited about what God is doing in your life as you are. Do not preoccupy yourself with those who don’t respect God in your life. This is very difficult because no one likes to be criticized or made light of. We want to defend ourselves and make our case. Elihu comes close to this and we can see his insecurity in his long defense stated in anticipating of being rejected even before Job and his friends have heard what he has to say. It doesn’t matter whether someone accepts what you have been commanded by the Father to put forth – all that matters is that you are obedient to do so.
16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, [and] answered no more;) 17 [I said], I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. 18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. 19 Behold, my belly [is] as wine [which] hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. 20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. 21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. 22 For I know not to give flattering titles; [in so doing] my maker would soon take me away.
Elihu is about to burst. He has listened and listened for days and cannot refrain. The narrative of Job is believed to have spanned about 30-40 days and Elihu patiently listened all the while his heart begins to churn and now he can’t take it any longer – he must speak. The prophet Jeremiah went through the same struggle. He was a prophet of God in a very difficult time and did not feel it would do any good to address what he saw going on around him. The Spirit of God moved upon him until:
[Jer 20:9 KJV] 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But [his word] was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not [stay].
Elihu and Jeremiah are beautiful examples of unction from God coming forth in difficult situations. Timothy likewise is a great example of obedience not based on an expected outcome or that he will be heard but upon being faithful to his call. Every one of us has a call. Every one is a leader whether you realize it or not. Rev. 1:6 and 5:10 tell us that we are kings and priests unto God. Kings are leaders. Priests are leaders. You are a leader. It is part of the new birth. It is part of who God is in you and who you are in God. Paul said this to the Ephesians:
[Eph 4:1 KJV] 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Apparently not all the Ephesians took this to heart. They wanted to make sure that Timothy walked worthy of his call. Those who determine to reject the mandate of God over their lives will go to great lengths to conspicuously point out the disqualifications of others seeking to do what they will not do in regard to being faithful to the call of God. What is the chaff to the wheat? Just as God moves Elihu to speak God also has things for you to do and to say. Do not be silent. Be faithful to God and He will be faithful to you and bless you for allowing yourself to be His instrument.
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