Job 34 Meaning

Job 34 Meaning

Job 34 Meaning
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 34 Meaning: It’s a sad reality that in our times of suffering, it’s all too common – as we’re grasping for answers and struggling to be content with our situation – to suspect that God has gotten something wrong. We might ask, “why, God?” And sometimes – though we would be embarrassed to say it – that question is really revealing that in our hearts we’re questioning God’s justice – we’re questioning whether he’s doing right in our situation.

And we’ve seen Job do just that in this book that we’ve been studying. And what we’re going to see today is that this relatively new character – Elihu – take great issue with Job’s assertion that god is being unjust.

So, let’s turn our attention to Job 34.

And Elihu here begins this chapter with an appeal for Job and his three friends to listen to him.

KJV Job 34:1 [Furthermore/Then] Elihu [answered/continued] and said,

2 [Hear/Listen to] my words, [O ye/you] wise men;
[and give ear unto/and listen to/hear] me, [ye that have knowledge/you who know/you learned men].

And we’re not given any reason to believe that Elihu is being sarcastic or disrespectful in any way. He is addressing these men – probably all four of them – Job and his three friends – as “wise” and ones that have “knowledge.”

And Elihu acknowledges that what he says is open for their evaluation.

3 For the ear [trieth/tests/assesses] words,
as the [mouth/palate] tasteth [meat/food].

So, just like a person can taste food and determine whether it’s good or not – Elihu claims that these men should be able to listen to what he’s saying and determine whether or not it’s right.

And then he encourages all of these men – and himself included – to believe and practice what is right in terms of what he’s been saying and what he will be saying in this chapter.

4 Let us [choose/evaluate] [to us/for ourselves] [judgment/what is right]:
let us [know/come to know] among ourselves what is good.

And I admit to personally being on the fence regarding how to think about Elihu. It’s more comfortable to not come down on what he’s saying as either right of wrong.

But if Elihu were sitting right here, he would strongly disagree with that approach. Elihu doesn’t want you and me to be neutral about what he’s saying. It’s either right or wrong. And he asserts that we are able to evaluate what he says and to render a judgement.

And if Elihu is right – then he wants Job and his friends to adopt his mindset and thoughts about Job’s situation.

And the words that Elihu wants Job and his three friends to test are now what Elihu will be talking about in the rest of this chapter.

And just like Elihu’s first speech, in this – his second speech – he’ll be starting with what he’s heard Job saying.

5 For Job [hath said/says],

[] I am [righteous/innocent]:
and God [hath taken/turns] away my [judgment/right].

6 Should I lie [against/concerning] my right?

my wound is incurable
[although I am…] without transgression. []

So, Job has maintained that he is righteous and innocent of all crimes that he thinks would move God to punish him in the way that Job perceives himself to be being punished. And that much is fine for Job to say.

But Job has gone further than that. And he’s claimed that God has taken away his judgement or his justice.

And we all closely identify with Job’s struggles and feelings and temptations. And I think that we would tend to overlook statements made by Job that are a little over-the-top and inaccurate in various ways.

But Elihu is not going to cut Job any slack on this matter of his accusing God of denying Job justice.

And actually, Elihu goes on to harshly accuse Job of scorning God and joining hands with wicked people in verses 7 and 8.

7 What man is like Job,
who [drinketh up/drinks] [scorning/derision] like water?

8 [Which/He] [goeth/goes about] in company with [the workers of iniquity/evildoers],
[and walketh/he goes along] with wicked men.

So, Elihu is claiming that Job drinks up derision like someone would drink water. That is, it comes very naturally to Job. It’s something that he does repeatedly and without much thought. Job scorns God often and with very little effort. That’s according to Elihu.

And Elihu is not saying in verse 8 that Job is a wicked man. That’s what Job’s three friends were claiming – that Job actually is wicked. But instead Elihu is saying that Job is acting like wicked men. He goes about – as it were – in the company of evildoers.

Job himself is not wicked. But according to Elihu Job is acting like he’s wicked. And that’s because Job is saying that God is not being just with him.

And then Elihu reports that Job has gone even further and claimed that there’s no point in finding your delight in God.

9 For he [hath said/says],

[] It profiteth a man nothing
[that/when] he [should delight himself/is pleased/makes his delight] with God. []

So, worshiping God – according to Job – is not profitable.

Now, the fact is that I can’t find Job saying this anywhere. I can’t even figure out what Elihu might be paraphrasing from what Job has said.

I suppose this is a logical conclusion of what Job is asserting. If God perverts justice against one who delights in him then – yes – I suppose the conclusion of that reality would be to recognize that it doesn’t profit a person to delight in a God like that.

You delight in him. He turns around and mistreats you. That’s the picture that Job is basically painting.

And so, that is very unsettling to Elihu. And, he demands once more that these men listen to him.

10 Therefore [hearken unto/listen to] me,
ye men of understanding:

And, Elihu is going to do his best to vindicate God.

far be it from God, [that he should do/to do] wickedness;
and from the Almighty, [that he should commit/to do] [iniquity/wrong/evil].

And if Job is accusing God of wickedness, then – yes – we all disagree with him on that point. And that’s how Elihu is interpreting Job’s words. Job is asserting that God is doing wickedly – that he’s committing iniquity. And that’s just plain wrong.

No – in fact – God is totally just and he treats men according to what they deserve…

11 For [the work of a man shall he render unto him/he pays a man according to his work/he repays a person for his work],
and [cause every man to find according to/he causes the consequences to find him] [ß à] [his ways/the conduct of a person].

So, God treats each person the way that that person deserves to be treated.

And even if it seems to Job’s eyes like he’s suffering for no reason – and that God is not treating him the way that he deserves – Elihu goes on to say that God always does right.

12 [Yea, surely/Surely/Indeed, in truth] God [will/does] not [do/act] wickedly,
[neither will/and] the Almighty [pervert/does not pervert] [judgment/justice].

And so, once again Elihu denies Job’s claim that God is perverting or denying justice to Job.

And we might not be as offended by that insinuation as Elihu is – that God is denying justice to Job. But Elihu is now going to spell out why that accusation is so troubling to him – and should be to us.

13 Who [hath given/gave/entrusted to] him [a charge/authority] over the earth?
[or/and] who [hath disposed/has laid on him/put him over] the whole world?

So, the fact is that God must do right. If he doesn’t, who’s going to call him to account? No one put him in charge of the world. He’s just always been in that position. And to question the justice of the only one who has the right to rule this place is absurd.

We are truly completely dependent upon his grace and mercy – and, yes, his justice!

14 If [he/God] [set his heart upon man/should determine to do so/were to set his heart on it], [do what?…]
if he [should…] gather [unto himself/in] his spirit and his breath; [God’s, I think, not man’s…] [what would happen?…]

15 All flesh [shall/would] perish together,
and [man/human beings] [shall turn again/would return] [unto/to] dust.

So, how dependent we are on God! We can rest assured that he’s going to always do what is right. But really, if he wanted to do anything he pleased – no one could stop him. And how thankful we all are that God always acts according to his character – and his character is always just.

Well, that idea of God’s absolute sovereignty over mankind sets Elihu off to once again appeal for these men to listen to him.

16 If [now thou hast/you have] understanding, [hear/listen to] this:
[hearken to/listen to/hear] [the voice of my words/the sound of my words/what I have to say].

And Elihu’s words are going to probe how Job could think that there would be any way for God to rule if he were unjust?

17 [Shall/Do you really think that] [even he that hateth right/one who hates justice] [govern/rule/can govern]?
and wilt thou [condemn/declare guilty] [him that is most just/the righteous mighty one/the supremely righteous one]?

So, it seems like Elihu is appealing to Job’s reason and really attacking Job’s questioning of God’s justice. Like – how could you really in your heart of hearts believe that God – the sovereign – the ultimate – that he would really be unjust?! People condemn the wicked. But you’re proposing to condemn the only being with no trace of wickedness! Do you see the impropriety of what you’re saying??

And then Elihu points out the fact that Job wouldn’t accuse a human ruler of unrighteousness to his face – and yet, he’s going to do that to God??

18 [Is it fit to say/Who says] to a king, [Thou art wicked/Worthless one/Worthless man/Belial]?
and to [princes/nobles], [Ye are ungodly/Wicked ones/Wicked men]?

No – it’s not fit to say those things to those people. We submit to rulers and authorities.

Well then… why would you accuse God of injustice?

19 [How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of/Who shows no partiality to] princes,
[nor regardeth/and does not take note of] the rich [more than/above] the poor?

for they all are the work of his hands.

So, God is going to be just to both rich and poor. He’s not impressed with princes. He’s not despising the poor. Because he made them both.

And in contrast to the eternal God, mankind – whom God has created – is momentary and temporary.

20 In a moment [shall they/they] die,
and the people [shall be troubled/are shaken] at midnight, and pass away:
and the mighty [shall be taken away/are removed] [without hand/without a hand/effortlessly].

And so, while Job would never accuse a king or prince of injustice – one of these guys who was made by God – Job is straying into the arena of accusing that very God … who created those people … whom Job would not dare accuse of injustice…

But the reality is that these kings and princes very well might have clouded judgement. But the same is absolutely untrue of God. God sees and knows all – especially in regard to the people that he’s created.

21 For his eyes are upon the ways of [man/an individual],
and he [seeth/observes] all his [goings/steps].

22 There is no darkness, nor [shadow of death/deep shadow],
where [the workers of iniquity/evildoers] [may/can] hide themselves.

And because of that, God doesn’t even need to take time to consider whether or not to punish people who do wrong. He just knows and doesn’t need time to discover the facts like a human judge would.

23 For he [will not lay upon man/does not need to consider a person] [more than right /further/still];
that he should [enter into judgment with God/come before God in judgement].

So, God doesn’t need any time to consider a person to know if he should be brought into God’s presence to be judges. God just knows perfectly who needs what. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask him. He also knows the completely correct course of action for each of us without even needing to ask or consider what to do.

And God knows exactly whom to depose from power in this life and whom he would like to raise up to take the place of those people.

24 He [shall break in pieces/shatters] [mighty men/the great] without [number/inquiry],
and [set/sets up] others in their [stead/place].

And notice the emphasis on God doing these things “without number” as the KJV presents it – or “without inquiry.” In other words, God doesn’t need to search out a matter like a human king does. No – God knows everything without the need to inquire or ask questions.

And because of that infallible knowledge, God alone is able to deal with people according to his justice.

25 Therefore he knoweth their [works/deeds],
and he [overturneth/overthrows] them in the night,

[so that/and] they are [destroyed/crushed].

So, God can overthrow mighty men whose deeds displease him in the night – when no one is watching.

But God can also take care of these people openly.

26 He striketh them [as wicked men/like the wicked/for their wickedness]
in [the open sight of others/a public place/in a place where people can see];

And Elihu is going to return to a concept he said at the beginning. He’s said in this chapter that God justly deals with people according to their deeds. They earn punishment – they get it.

And so, these people that Elihu has been highlighting that get overthrown at night and struck in public by God – this happens to them for a reason. It’s because their deeds are evil.

So, why does God chasten and punish these people?…

27 Because they [turned back/turned aside/have turned away] from [him/following him],
and [would not consider/had no regard for/have not understood] any of his ways:

And here’s an example of their wickedness that calls God to act…

28 So that they cause the cry of the poor to come [unto/before] him,
[and/and that/so that] he [heareth/might hear/hears] the cry of the [afflicted/needy].

And God doesn’t answer for his behavior and choices with people or nations…

29 [When he/But if God] [giveth quietness/keeps quiet/is quiet], who [then can make trouble/then can condemn/can condemn him]?
[and when/if] he hideth his face, who then can [behold/see] him?

whether it be done against a nation,
or against a man only:

So, Elihu has been speaking of how God deals with individuals – with “a man only” – for most of this chapter. But he just now in that last verse mentioned how God deals with nations.

And so, now Elihu is going to declare that God acts in the affairs of nations. And he does so in order to prevent wicked people from ruling and leading people astray…

30 [That/So that] [the hypocrite/godless men] [reign not/would not rule],
[lest the people be ensnared/and not lay snares for the people].

And God is doing all of this – bringing trouble – chastening – he’s doing this all justly according to what everyone deserves. And he’s doing these things with the repentance of these people and nations in mind.

31 [Surely it is meet to be/Has anyone?] said unto God,

I have [borne/endured] chastisement,
[but…] I will not [offend/act wrongly] any more:

32 That which I [see not/cannot see] teach thou me:
if I have done [iniquity/evil], I will do no more.

So, Elihu seems to be leading Job in a model response to God’s chastisement. The right response to God’s just – but sometimes painful – actions in your life is to repent. Be humble. Admit where you’ve done wrong. Be teachable. This is what Elihu says that God is looking for.

But in Elihu’s mind, Job is not taking this posture with God. And I’m going to read this next verse from the KJV and then from two other versions to help us understand what Elihu is saying.

33 Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it,
whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I:

therefore speak what thou knowest.

NAU Job 34:33 “Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it?
For you must choose, and not I;

Therefore declare what you know.

NET Job 34:33 Is it your opinion that God should recompense it, because you reject this?
But you must choose, and not I,

so tell us what you know.

So, I gather from this verse that Elihu is asking Job whether he really thinks that God needs to act according to Job’s own thoughts and preferences. After laying out how God acts justly, Elihu is expecting that Job will see how foolish it is for him to expect God to act in keeping with how Job thinks he ought to act.

But Elihu is giving Job a choice. Job can accept what Elihu says about God acting justly in this life according to peoples’ deeds. Or Job can reject what Elihu is saying. The choice belongs to Job.

And if Job does plan to reject – then Elihu would like to know what Job thinks on the matter.

But since Job doesn’t answer Elihu ever – therefore, Elihu will now declare that everyone who is wise will disagree with what Job says about God being unjust…

34 [Let men/Men] of understanding [tell/will say to/say to] me,
[and let a/and a/any] wise man [hearken unto/who hears/listening to] me [says…].

35 [] [Job hath spoken/Job speaks/that Job speaks] without knowledge,
and his words [were/are] without [wisdom/understanding].

36 [My desire is that Job/Job/But Job] [may/will/ought to] be [tried/tested] [unto/to] the [end/limit]
because [of his/he/his] answers [for/like/are like those of] wicked men.

37 For he addeth [rebellion/transgression] unto his sin,
he clappeth his hands [among us/in our midst],
and multiplieth his words against God. []

So, either verses 35-37 is what the men in verse 34 are saying – or Elihu is personally speaking verses 36 and 37 and is expressing a desire for Job to be judged for his statements. Either way, Elihu ends this chapter with no uncertainty as to what he thinks of Job’s asserting that God is withholding him justice – that God is not being righteous with Job.

And there are things that Elihu has said and will say that I just don’t know if they’re right or not. And yet, I do know that at key points and in important ways, what Elihu is saying is right. God will repeat several of the things that Elihu brings up – so in at least those ways, Elihu is right.

And one of those key areas in which Elihu is right is that Job – by holding to his own innocence and starting to question how a righteous God who punishes evil and rewards good could still be righteous and yet punish him for doing good.

Elihu says that questioning God’s justice is off-limits. It’s not an option on the table.

And for us, brethren, when we experience suffering in this life – let me just plead with all of us to not question God’s justice. Never doubt that God is right and that he’s wise. We might not understand God’s ways. But we must trust his wisdom.

And I look forward to continuing to receive this kind of admonition next time as Elihu continues his discourse.

Titus 1 1 Commentary “Acknowledging”

Titus 1 1 Commentary Acknowledging

Titus 1 1 Commentary “Acknowledging”
Explaining the Book of Titus

 
 
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Titus 1 1 Commentary: So, we’ve heard Paul tell us that he’s a servant of God and apostle of Jesus. He serves God as one sent with the message of the Gospel.

And he does this according to the faith of God’s elect – so that those who are chosen by God would hear and believe the truth that we find in Titus 2:13-14 – that we’re sinners, that Christ died for our sin, and that he rose from the dead.

And the acknowledging of the truth

But as awesome and important as that is – that God’s elect should come to initially believe the Gospel message – that’s not where Paul leaves them.

Because in the next statement Paul indicates another purpose for which he slaves for God and goes around giving Christ’s message – and it seems to be focused more on the progressive aspect of faith.

and [i.e., according to…] the [acknowledging/knowledge] of the truth

Now, it might not be so obvious in English, but in Greek, the “and” here ties the “acknowledging of the truth” to “the faith of God’s elect” that we saw earlier in this verse.

So, Paul is saying that he’s a slave of God and messenger of Christ for the purpose of seeing God’s elect come to faith in Christ.

And then beyond that, Paul does these things for the purpose of these individuals acknowledging the truth.

So, what does that mean?

Acknowledging

Well, there’s a sense in which God’s elect acknowledge the truth initially – but then they also grow in this knowledge.

It’s like a seed that germinates and sprouts – and then grows into a full plant. There’s a point at which that seed goes from being a living seed to then dying and becoming something that looks totally different. And that different thing itself then starts to grow.

And yet, at the same time, we all know that you can put a seed in the ground and have it just die and produce nothing – no new life.

And we can apply that seed metaphor to what Paul is talking about here concerning people coming to faith initially and then progressively acknowledging the truth. That’s the way it ought to work.

And yet according to other passages in the New Testament, most people, in fact – never come to this knowledge at all. And not only do people not come to grow in their knowledge of Christ – they actually never even come to faith in him to begin with.

Paul in Romans 1:28 tells us that there are those who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” They didn’t and don’t want to know God – either initially or progressively.

In Romans 10:2 Paul admits with sorrow that his unbelieving Jewish compatriots “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” They are zealous for God – but it’s not the kind of zeal that’s accurately informed by God’s truth.

And in fact, the only knowledge that a person can have of spiritual things before receiving Christ is “the knowledge of sin” – which Paul says in Romans 3:20 is the purpose of the Law.

And yet, some get so close to this knowledge – but they ultimately never attain it. That’s what Paul means when he speaks in 2 Timothy 3:7 of those who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

And actually, the apostle Peter tells us that there are false teachers who “have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” But these people end up entangling themselves in those old pollutions of the world and being overcome. And Peter says of those people that their last state is worse than the first.

So, the Scripture testifies that most people in this world never come to this knowledge that Paul speaks of in Titus 1:1 – the knowledge for which he serves God and for which Christ sends him out with his message.

And yet, that’s not where God wants people to remain in regard to this knowledge. In fact, Paul declares in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God’s desire for those who are apart from Christ is that they would be saved and “come unto the knowledge of the truth.” So, that’s God’s desire.

And therefore, Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:24-25 that the servant of the Lord must gently instruct those who oppose the truth – optimistic that perhaps God “will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”

And such were some of us – refusing to acknowledge God – or maybe having some sort of zeal about deity, but not a zeal that was according to knowledge – and ultimately coming to know only our own sin. But God desired for us to come to this knowledge – and there were those who patiently taught us – in hope that God would grant us this knowledge.

And here we are now as God’s elect – as Paul spoke of earlier in Titus 1:1. And we now have a new relationship to this knowledge.

This knowledge is now something that we’ve received, according to Hebrews 10:26. So, it can indeed be viewed as something that happens at a point in time that’s kind of an initial entry into the Christian life.

And yet, much of what the New Testament says about this knowledge gives us the idea that this is something that we can grow in and that can grow in us.

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17 that God would grant to the Ephesian believers – to those who had already received the knowledge of the truth to be saved – that God would give them spiritual wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. So, as believers these Ephesians would have already had this knowledge – and yet, Paul says that it’s something that can be used to grow our wisdom.

In Philippians 1:9, Paul prays that the love of the believers in Philippi would continually grow in this knowledge. Now – they already had love. They already had the knowledge. But Paul – and God himself – wants believers’ love to grow by means of this knowledge.

So – do you want to love more? Then know more – know more about God and Christ.

And there’s certainly nothing wrong with us pointing out that “we don’t just need a head knowledge of truth – we need a heart knowledge.” And that’s very true. What we know needs to affect what we do and how we think and act.

But as we recognize that fact, let’s not forget that we do need knowledge and we need to grow in that area. Being ignorant or lazy when it comes to studying your Bible and knowing your Lord is not a virtue.

So, do you want more love? Do you want to be a more loving person? Then start by getting more of this knowledge.

Well, moving on, in Colossians 1:9-10 Paul reveals to those believers in Colossae that he prays that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and that they would increase in the knowledge of God.

In chapter 2 of that same book, Paul says that he greatly desires that these believers would better understand this knowledge of God’s mystery – that is, Christ himself.

And then in Colossians 3 Paul tells the believers in Colossae that they’ve put on the new man who is constantly being renewed by means of the knowledge of – knowing – the one who created that new man.

So, for the Colossian believers, Paul is very interested that they continually grow in this knowledge that he’s speaking of here in Titus 1:1. That they would grow in the knowledge of God’s will – grow in the knowledge of God himself – grow in the knowledge of Christ – of the one who created them.

And again, these people would have already known these things on some level. You need to know God and Christ and God’s will on some elementary level at least in order to be saved. But Paul is saying that you need to grow in knowledge in these areas.

And then Paul says something very interesting in Philemon verse 6. He says there that he prays that Philemon’s faith would become effective – that sounds like something we want – effective faith – how do you get it? Paul says that that comes by the knowledge of every good thing that is in you in Christ.

So, not only are we to grow in our knowledge of God and Christ and God’s will – we are to grow in knowing every good thing that’s in us.

And you might think that that sounds conceited. But it’s not – because we’re to come to know better every good thing that is in us … “in Christ!”

Paul says elsewhere that there is nothing good in him. But then he clarifies – that is, in my flesh.

And that’s because there are some good things in you now – in Christ. Yes, we must acknowledge how wretched we are in ourselves. But by God’s word, we have divine testimony telling us that we have some good in us now – now that we’re in Christ.

And the more we understand that, the more effective our shared faith – the faith that we hold in common with one another – becomes.

Well, continuing this theme, but from a different author of Scripture, Peter also points to the ability and necessity of believers to grow in knowledge.

He prays in 2 Peter 1:2 that grace and peace would be multiplied to us.

Is that something you want? Who here doesn’t want more grace and more peace? How do you get it?

Peter says that it comes through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. That’s where grace and peace are to be found – in knowing God better.

And not just grace and peace – but God has given us – according to 2 Peter 1:3 – everything that pertains to life and godliness. And that’s pretty much everything you need right there.

How does he give that to us?

It’s through the knowledge of him that called us.

So, Scripture gives us ample evidence that as believers – this knowledge that we have must grow. Our knowledge of God and Christ and God’s will needs to grow.

Well, how does it grow?

I personally would tend to answer that question with “Scripture” – read your Bible. And that would generally be correct.

But God has a more nuanced answer.

Paul in Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us that God has given the church gifted individuals to work amongst us and on us until we all “attain to the unity … of the knowledge of the Son of God.” So, there’s a sense in which this knowledge has an end – has an aim – has a goal.

Every gifted spiritual individual in your life – his or her main goal should be – and God’s goal for him or her is – that you would attain to the unity that comes from knowing the Son of God. This is God’s goal for you as an individual. It’s God goal for your church.

God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. He wrote Scripture through his apostles – and the Scripture is what is written to grow our knowledge of God. Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers then take that Scripture and help us understand it and help us live it – they help us grow in our knowledge of God in that way. And the end goal is that we are all brought together to know the Son of God through the ministry of these gifted men.

And to bring it back to Titus 1:1, Paul says that he – as one of these gifted men – serves God and goes out with the message of Jesus Christ according to – or for the sake of – the knowledge of the truth.

This is the knowledge that God desires for all to have – but some will never attain. It’s the knowledge that as we speak with those who oppose the truth, we need to be careful to be gentle with them because God might just give them this knowledge. And it’s the knowledge that once we receive, there’s a possibility that we could go on sinning willfully – and that would not be good for us.

But positively, it’s a knowledge that is effectual for the elect – for those chosen by God. And its why Paul serves God with the message of Jesus Christ.

Job 33 Commentary

Job 33 Commentary

Job 33 Commentary
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 33 Commentary: People say things about God and other people that just aren’t right. 

And when we hear people saying those kinds of things, we’re often compelled to speak in defense of God or those other people. 

And that’s the position that the biblical character Elihu finds himself in in the 33rd chapter of the book of Job.  

So, let’s turn our attention to Job, chapter 33. 

1-7 Job Should Listen to Elihu 

We enter this chapter with Elihu requesting that Job listen to him. And that’s really the gist of what he says for the first seven verses of this chapter. 

KJV Job 33:1 [Wherefore/However now/But now], Job, [I pray thee, hear/please hear/listen to] my [speeches/speech/words],
and [hearken/listen] to [all my words/everything I have to say]. 

Then, Elihu requests that Job take notice that he’s speaking to him. 

2 [Behold/See], now I [have opened/open] my mouth,
my tongue [which] [hath spoken/speaks/has spoken] in my mouth. 

And Job should listen, because Elihu promises that both the source and the content of his speech are pure and good. 

3 My words [shall be of/are from/come from] the uprightness of my heart:
and my lips [shall utter/speak/will utter] knowledge [clearly/sincerely]. 

And then Elihu tells Job that the God who alone gives wisdom created him. 

4 The Spirit of God hath made me,
and the breath of the Almighty [hath given/gives] me life. 

And we remember that Elihu in the last chapter (Job 32:8) declared that it’s not just old age that guarantees that a person is going to be wise. The greater your age does not necessarily indicate that your wisdom will be greater than those younger than you. That’s what Elihu claimed. 

Instead, Elihu said that it’s the Spirit of God that gives wisdom. The breath of the Almighty gives understanding. 

And so, Elihu is saying here in this verse that God made – God, who alone gives wisdom – created Elihu. And I think that Elihu is implying that since the God who gives wisdom made him, then Job ought also to listen to the wisdom that God has given him. 

And then Elihu challenges Job to respond to his words, if Job is able. 

5 [If thou canst/If you can] [[Symbol] [Symbol]] [answer/refute/reply to] me,
[set thy words/Array yourselves/Set your arguments] in order before me, [stand up/take your stand]. 

And even though this might be sounding like Elihu feels superior to Job, Elihu is now going to remind Job that they are on the same level. 

6 [Behold/Look], I am [according to thy wish/just like you] in [God’s stead/relation to God]:
I [also/too] [am/have been] [formed out of/molded from] the clay. 

And the way that the KJV translates the first part of that verse, it sounds like Elihu is saying that Job wants to speak to a man like him rather than to God.  

But of course, that’s not what Job has been saying at all. He’s been demanding God to personally respond to his complaints.  

And so, I think the alternative translation is preferable – because it’s possible grammatically – and makes a lot more sense in the context. 

So, Elihu is saying that both of these men – Job and Elihu – are in the same position – of being creatures before God. Neither is superior to the other. They’re both made of clay. 

And because Elihu is on the same level as Job – Job shouldn’t be afraid of him. 

7 [Behold/Therefore], [my terror shall not/no fear of me] [make thee afraid/should terrify you],
[neither/nor] [shall/should] my [hand/pressure] [be/weigh] heavy upon thee. 

And what Elihu might be implicitly acknowledging here is that if God were to come to Job and speak, Job would be terrified. But Job should be glad that Elihu has come – rather than God – because Elihu is just a man and won’t terrify Job. 

So, in a way – at least according to Elihu – Elihu’s presence and words should be welcomed by Job – because the alternative would be for God to come and bring the pressure to bear upon Job. 

But of course, we’ll see later on that apparently both Elihu and God are needful for Job to hear from. 

So, that’s how Elihu ends these first 7 verses of this chapter – in brief, he wants Job to listen to him. 

8-33 

Well, now that Elihu has established that Job should welcome him and listen to what he has to say, Elihu is going to take issue with a few things that Job has said throughout this book. 

8 [Surely/Indeed] thou hast [spoken/said] in mine hearing,
and I have heard the [voice/sound] of thy words, saying, 

9-12 Elihu Summarizes What Job Has Said 

And here’s what Elihu reports that Job has said. And he’s going to list them out in verses 8-12. 

First, in verse 9 Elihu says that Job has claimed total innocence. 

9 I am [clean/pure,] without transgression,
am [innocent/clean]; neither is there [iniquity/guilt] in me [i.e., and I have no guilt…]. 

And Job has indeed said things like that – in Job 9:21; 10:7; 23:7; 27:4; ch. 31. [NET] 

So, Job has maintained his total innocence. 

But God on the other hand – according to Job – is making up false reasons to punish him. 

10 [Behold/Yet], [he/God] [findeth/invents] [occasions/pretexts] [against/with] me,
he [counteth/regards] me [for/as] his enemy, 

And Job has said things similar to what we just read – in Job 10:13ff.; 19:6ff.; and 13:24. [NET] 

And so, Job is innocent. But God is inventing pretexts by which he can punish Job. And here’s the kind of treatment that Job says that he’s receiving from God as a result. 

11 He putteth my feet in [the stocks/shackles],
he [marketh/watches/watches closely] all my paths. 

And Job did say this kind of thing in Job 13:27. [NET] 

So, Elihu summarizes what Job has said: Job is innocent of any sin. God is making-up accusations against Job. And then God executes punishment based on those made-up accusations. 

12-30 Elihu Answers Job’s Claims 

But Elihu takes issue with what Job has said. 

12-14 We Can’t Understand God’s Ways 

To begin, Elihu reminds Job of God’s greatness. 

12 [Behold/Now], in this thou art not [just/right]: [I will answer thee/let me tell you/I answer you],
[that/For] God is greater than [man/a human being]. 

But, how does this statement help Job? 

Well, in our problems it’s helpful to remember that God is greater than us. In other words, he doesn’t act according to human motives and with human considerations. 

Take it a step further – God is not going to be mistaken in what he does – like a human might be. God is not going to be needlessly cruel – like humans can be. 

God is greater than man. 

And when it comes down to it, God doesn’t even explain why he does what he does. And therefore… 

13 Why dost thou [strive/complain/contend] against him?
[for/that] he [giveth not account of/does not answer] [any/all] of [his matters/his doings/a person’s words] [./?] 

And because of God’s unwillingness to explain his ways, mankind really can’t predict or even understand why he does what he does. 

14 [For/Indeed] God speaketh [once/the first time in one way],
[yea twice/or twice/the second time in another], [yet man/yet no one/though a person] [perceiveth it not/notices it]. 

So, Elihu correctly states that we can’t understand God’s ways. That seems to be the thrust of verses 12-14. 

15-18 God Warns People of Their Ways 

But on the other hand, God does understand our ways. And Elihu is going to make that point in a way that might at first seem a bit strange to us. 

15 In a dream,
[in a vision of the night/a night vision],  

when deep sleep falleth upon men,
[in slumberings/while they slumber/as they sleep] [upon the bed/in their beds]; 

16 Then he [openeth the ears of men/gives a revelation to people],
and [sealeth their instruction/terrifies them with warnings], 

OK, so stop there. Let’s evaluate and consider what Elihu is saying. 

He claims that God gives messages to people in the night – maybe even when they’re sleeping – in and by means of their dreams. God warns them – and sometimes that warning is terrifying. 

And I think I don’t have any objections to that at this point. It seems that what Elihu is saying is at least possible. God can send dreams to warn people – especially in the Old Testament he did that on numerous occasions. 

But what is the purpose of God sending these instructive dreams to people? 

17 That he may [withdraw/turn] [man/a person] from his [purpose/conduct/sin],
and [hide pride from man/keep man from pride/to cover a person’s pride]. 

So, Elihu is saying that God – whose ways men don’t understand – knows man’s ways and will sometimes send instructive dreams to men to turn them from their pride. 

And actually, as God sends these warnings to people, he does so in order to spare their life. 

18 He [keepeth back his soul/spares a person’s life] from [the pit/corruption],
and his [i.e., very…] life from [perishing by/passing over into/crossing over into] [the sword/Sheol/the river]. 

And so, that’s Elihu’s point in verses 15-18 – that God can warn people in dreams and redirect them from ways that are harmful to them. 

And what’s interesting is that Job in chapter 7, verse 14 says that God did this to him – that God “scares me with dreams and terrifies me through visions.” And of course, Job didn’t like that. It was not an enjoyable experience for him. 

But Elihu is trying to tell Job that that was a good thing for him. It’s good that God was sending him these frightening dreams. Because God is trying to keep Job from pride. And ultimately, God is trying to spare Job’s life by doing this – even though that’s not at all how Job has been interpreting it. 

1930 God sends physical pain so that the sinner will repent 

And it’s not just dreams that God sends to men as they lie in their beds. God also sends pain. 

19 [He is chastened also/Man is also chastened/Or a person is chastened] [with/by] pain [upon/on] his bed,
and [the multitude of his bones with strong pain/with unceasing complaint in his bones/with continual strife of his bones]: 

And here’s the result of God sending such pain to people from time to time. 

20 So that his life [abhorreth/loathes] [bread/food],
and his soul [i.e., rejects…] [dainty meat/favorite food/appetizing fare]. 

Have you ever had pain that was so bad that you didn’t want to eat? Well, Elihu says that God sometimes sends that kind of pain to people. 

And it gets worse. 

21 His flesh [is consumed away, that it cannot be seen/wastes away from sight];
and his bones that were not seen [stick out/are easily visible]. 

And it gets even worse! 

22 [Yea,/Then] [his soul/he] draweth near [unto the grave/to the pit/to the place of corruption],
and his life to [the destroyers/those who bring death/to the messengers of death]. 

OK, so the guy is about to die. God brings such a painful disease to this man that his skin wastes away and his bones can be seen and he’s about to die. 

Well, then Elihu pictures the situation taking a turn for the better. And he does this in an if-then format.  

And I’ll admit that what he’s saying is quite obscure and confusing. So, let’s look at what Elihu is talking about. 

23 If there [be/is] [a messenger/an angel] [with/for/beside] him,
[an interpreter/as a mediator/one mediator], one [among/out of] a thousand,
to [shew unto/remind/tell] [man/a man/a person] [his uprightness/what is right for him/what constitutes his uprightness]: 

So, Elihu is envisioning the possibility that an angelic messenger comes to this sick person. And this angel is a mediator – a mediator between this sick person and God. And this kind of occurrence is pretty rare – as Elihu says it’s one among a thousand. And the message of this angel or this messenger is regarding what’s right for this sick man – perhaps he’s saying that the messenger will show to the sick man God’s uprightness and justice in bringing this sickness to this person. Perhaps Elihu pictures himself as just such a messenger. 

Well, if this were to ever happen to a person, then Elihu says that this would be a real sign of God’s grace. 

24 [Then he is/Then let him be/and if God is] gracious unto him, and [saith/say/says],
[] [Deliver/Spare] him from going down to the [pit/place of corruption]:
I have found a ransom [i.e., for him…]. [] 

So, if God extends grace to a sick and dying man in the form of some sort of unique messenger who reminds him of what is right, then it’s not too much for God to then continue to be gracious to that man and deliver him from death. 

God – as it were – finds a ransom for that man – one that would be in the place of that man. And I think this indicates that this man is sick and dying because of his sin and that’s why God needs a ransom in his place. 

And then Elihu continues to surmise what God either says about this man or what he does to him. 

25 [i.e., Let/Then…] His flesh [shall be fresher/become fresher/is restored] [than/like] [a child’s/in youth/a youth’s]:
[he shall return/Let him return/he returns] to the days of his [youth/youthful vigor]: 

So, Elihu is picturing God being gracious to this man who was so near to death. 

And what Elihu anticipates and describes in the next verse is a really a growing closeness and delight between that man and his God. 

26 [i.e., Then…] He [shall pray unto/will pray to/entreats] God,
and [he/God] [will be favourable unto/will accept/delights in] him:  

[and he shall/that he may/he] [see/sees] [his/God’s] face with [joy/rejoicing]:
[for/and] [he/God] [will render/may restore/restores] [unto man/to him] [his/His] righteousness. 

So, notice that back-and-forth between this man and his God that is warm and accepting and joyous and close. 

So, that’s the interaction between the formerly sick man and God. 

But then Elihu talks about the response of that man to his fellow man. 

27 He [looketh/will sing/sings/confesses] [upon/to] [men/others], [and if any say/and say/saying],
I have sinned,
and [perverted/falsified] that which was right,
[and/but] [it profited me not/it is not proper for me/I was not punished according to what I deserve]; 

And so, either Elihu is speaking of the sick man’s speaking to his friends and confessing that he sinned against God and that’s why he was sick. Or this is Elihu stating that God will be gracious and merciful – like he was with the sick man – to anyone who will confess his sin to God. 

And the formerly sick man continues to speak – or perhaps Elihu continues to speak of that man. 

28 He [will deliver/has redeemed/redeemed] [his soul/my soul/my life] from [going/going down] [into the pit/to the place of corruption],
and [his/my] life [shall see/sees] the light. 

So, let me just recap what Elihu has been asserting. 

He says that God’s ways are beyond us. But the opposite is not the case – that is, our ways are not beyond God. 

In fact, God will be so gracious as to send people instructive dreams to turn them from pride. 

But if they keep going down that road of pride, he will sometimes send them sickness. And that sickness will look like it’s going to kill them. 

But even in a person’s bleakest hour, it’s possible that God would be gracious to him and turn his sickness around and heal the man. And whenever that may happen, God and that man will share a real closeness that the man will even be willing to tell others about. 

Well, moving on, now Elihu declares that this is all something that God does not infrequently – God often deals with people by sending them physical problems, he says. 

29 [Lo/Behold/Indeed], all these things [worketh/does] God [oftentimes/twice, three times in his dealings] with [man/men/a person], 

30 To [bring/turn] back his [soul/life] from the [pit/place of corruption],
[to/that he may] be enlightened with the light of [the living/life]. 

31-33 

And finally, Elihu challenges Job to answer if he can. Or if he can’t, then to just keep listening. 

31 [Mark well/Pay attention], O Job,
[hearken unto/listen to] me:  

[hold thy peace/keep silent/be silent],
and [I will/let me] speak. 

32 [i.e., Then…] If thou hast any [thing to say/words],
[answer/reply to] me:  

speak,
for I [desire/want] to justify thee. 

33 If not, [hearken/listen/you listen] unto me:
[hold thy peace/keep silent/be silent], and I shall teach thee wisdom. 

So, Elihu desires to justify Job. And you can see how he’s trying to do that.  

Elihu has just mentioned two realities in Job’s life – the fact that Job has had dreams and the fact that Job is so sick that he thinks the sickness might result in his death. 

And Elihu is giving a different interpretation of those realities than the three friends did. The three friends thought that the only explanation for these things is Job’s secret sin. 

But Elihu is not necessarily tying sin to any of this. The dreams could be to prevent a person from being proud – prevent, not stop him from currently being proud. 

And the sickness could possibly have something to do with sin – since the man, once he’s healed, is going to confess to others that he sinned. And yet, that consideration was not foremost in Elihu’s mind.  

And it’s not even confession of sin that causes God to turn and heal that man, as Elihu talked about it. No – it’s just God choosing to be gracious. 

So, Elihu is not assuming to understand all the reasons for why Job is sick and suffering. And Elihu shows a commendable ability to be restrained in his explanation and not pretend to know more than he really knows. 

Elihu declares that we don’t understand God’s ways, which is right. And he also at the same time can call-out Job for justifying himself rather than God, which is also right. 

And Elihu will continue to explain things the way he sees them next time. 

Job 32 Commentary

Job 32 Commentary

Job 32 Commentary
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 32 Commentary: I think that many of us have found ourselves in situations in which two people are arguing. And they battle it out for a while. But finally, they’re done and they have nothing left to say.

But you do have something to say. And you really want to say it.

Well, that’s the situation that the biblical character Elihu finds himself in – in the 32nd chapter of the book of Job. So, let’s turn our attention there – to Job, chapter 32.

We recall from our last message in Job that Job 31 – the chapter that precedes this one – ends with a statement to the effect that “the words of Job have ended.”

And so, Job 32 picks right up from there.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 1

And the author informs us that as Job finishes his last speech, so too do his friends. They stop talking as well.

KJV Job 32:1 [So/Then] these three men [ceased/refused] [to answer/answering/to answer further] Job,
because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Now, there’s a sense in which being righteous in one’s own eyes is roundly condemned in Scripture.

But for Job here, this seems to be saying that he simply is viewing himself as God was viewing him. He didn’t commit any sin worthy of the suffering that he’s receiving. That’s not why he was suffering – because of his sin. He’s righteous.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 2

But even though Job is viewing himself as righteous – that doesn’t settle anything. We still have an innocent man suffering and his friends still thinking that he is secretly wicked and Job himself thinking in one way or another that God is misinformed about the situation.

But Job is done talking and so are the friends. And that’s why Elihu enters the picture and is angry with Job and his three friends.

2 [Then/But] [was kindled the wrath of/the anger of … burned/became very angry] Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the [kindred/family] of Ram:

Now, we’re given a short genealogy of this man. He’s a Buzite. Buz was a son of Abraham’s brother. And probably because of that, there was a land located in the desert near Edom with that name – probably named after this man.

The rest I don’t know anything about. But this information makes it possible that Job’s story took place even within the life of Abraham or shortly thereafter. And it likely took place around Edom – outside of and to the southeast of Israel.

So, that’s a little information on where Elihu comes from.

But now here’s whom Elihu is angry with.

First, Job.

against Job [was his wrath kindled/his anger burned/he was angry with],
[because/for] [he justified/justifying] himself [rather than/before] God.

Now, it can be difficult to know who’s right in the book of Job. But here’s one thing we know – that the narrator is always right. That’s how stories work – the one telling them is never wrong.

And in this case, the narrator is ultimately God. Whoever may have written the book of Job – perhaps Solomon – the doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture teaches us that ultimately it was the Spirit of God who worked through the authors of Scripture to pen exactly what God wanted to be communicated.

So, God ultimately is the narrator of this story. And what the narrator says is unquestionably right.

So, what is the narrator saying made Elihu angry with Job? That Job justified himself rather than God.

And we’ve witnessed that. Job has been justifying himself – proclaiming that he’s not guilty of any sort of crime that would call for the punishment that he’s been experiencing. And in the process, he’s sort of called into question God’s rightness in his situation.

And as that’s been happening – who’s coming out of it looking good? Is it God – who is almost senselessly – probably even incorrectly – bringing suffering into Job’s life? Or is it the innocent suffering Job that comes out of this looking good?

So, the net effect of Job’s speeches has been to make himself look good – and that basically leaves God looking bad.

And that makes Elihu angry.

And to apply this to our lives, I think we need to note that what we say and how we behave during our times of suffering can reflect poorly on our God. When we experience things that make no sense to us and that are painful and irritating – our response to that suffering can reflect poorly on the God who is wisely bringing the suffering into our life. There’s a way to respond to suffering that might make people feel sorry for you – but think wrong thoughts of your God.

And if those around you are thinking right – that kind of behavior might make them angry – like Elihu.

And so, Elihu is rightfully angry at Job.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 3

But it’s not just Job with whom Elihu is angry. He’s also angry with Job’s friends.

3 Also against [his/Job’s] three friends [was his wrath kindled/his anger burned/he was angry],
because they [had found no/could not find an] answer,
and [yet/so] [had condemned/declared … guilty] Job.

And this is what we experienced Job’s friends doing. They couldn’t figure out God’s ways. They couldn’t spell out for Job why God was bringing suffering into his life.

And so, they had declared him guilty – with no evidence that would lead to that verdict. They were leveling false accusations against a man that they knew to be righteous.

And that kind of behavior – as Elihu sat and observed it alongside of us – that made him angry.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 4

And yet, despite his persistent anger, Elihu respectfully waited to speak until Job and his friends had taken their turns speaking.

4 Now Elihu [had waited/waited] [till Job had spoken/to speak to Job/before speaking to Job],
because [they/the others] were [elder/years older/older] than he.

So, as we’re trying to figure out what to make of this new character, we need to note that his motives are described in positive terms. It’s a good thing that Elihu wanted to wait for the older men to speak before speaking himself.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 5-6

And yet, the time has come for Elihu to speak. He waited for his elders to give their wisdom – but seeing that they are displaying a serious lack of it, it’s now his turn to talk.

5 [When/And when/But when] Elihu saw that [there was no answer in the mouth of these three men/these three men had no further reply],
[then his wrath was kindled/his anger burned/he became very angry].

6 ¶ [And/So] Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite [answered and said/spoke out and said/spoke up],

And so, this is now where the narrator hands it off to Elihu. We’ve had the narrator’s infallible perspective on Elihu. Now the man himself will speak.

I am young [in years…],
[and/but] ye are [very old/elderly];

[wherefore/therefore/that is why] I was [afraid/shy/fearful],
and [durst not/afraid to] [shew/tell/explain to] you [mine opinion/what I think/what I know].

So, again, Elihu is communicating a modesty and great deal of restraint about his approach to this situation.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 7

And this is why he took that posture…

7 I [said/thought/said to myself],

[Days/age] should speak,
and [multitude of years/increased years/length of years] should [teach/make … known] wisdom.

So, the normal order of things is that those who are older should know more. And from that position of knowing more factually, a person should be able to apply that knowledge to life. That’s wisdom.

And – all else being equal – we’d all like to think that those who are older should have more of it. More years = more wisdom, or at least it should.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 8

But Elihu is now coming to find out that it’s not just the age of a person that makes him wise. No – a person needs God’s spirit for wisdom.

8 But [there/it] is a spirit in [man/people]:
[and the/the] [inspiration/breath] of the Almighty [giveth/that makes] them [understanding/understand].

OK, so your wisdom is not just a natural thing. It’s not a given that the older you are, the wiser you just naturally are. No. God is the one who grants wisdom and understanding by his spirit.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 9

And so, that leads Elihu to acknowledge now that the older among us are not always the wisest.

9 [Great men/The abundant in years/It is … the aged who] [are not always/may not be] wise:
[neither/nor] [do/may] [the aged/elders/old men] understand [judgment/justice/what is right].

And of course, this would have been insulting to these men who have just been trying to understand God’s ways and have failed miserably at it.

But I don’t think that Elihu is trying to be insulting. He’s simply speaking truth as he sees it. And what these men have demonstrated is that even though they are the oldest – they are not the wisest.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 10

And since the aged have not come up with wisdom, Elihu is going to give it a shot himself.

10 [Therefore/So] I [said/say],

[Hearken/Listen] to me;
I [also/too/, even I,] will [shew/tell/explain] [mine opinion/what I think/what I know].

Because that’s all that these guys have been giving each other – their opinions. What they think. And Elihu can do at least that much.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 11-12a

But it’s as if Elihu’s boldness in telling these older men that he’s now going to speak causes him to once again defend his doing this.

Why does Elihu feel the boldness to speak out in the presence of men who are so much older than he is?

11 [Behold/Look], I waited for [your words/you to speak];
I [gave ear/listened/listened closely] to your [reasons/reasonings/wise thoughts],
[whilst ye searched out/while you pondered/while you were searching for] [what to say/words].

12 [Yea, I/I even/Now I was] [attended/paid close attention/was paying close attention] unto you,

And so, Elihu listened and listened and listened. Just like we have over the past several months! We’ve listened to the arguments of all of these men.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 12b

And here’s what both Elihu and we have experienced.

[and, behold,/Indeed/yet] there was [none of you/no one] [that convinced/who refuted/proving … wrong] Job,
[or/Not one of you] [that answered/was answering] his [words/statements]:

But actually literally these older men had answered Job. They had given him their answers.

But what Elihu is saying is that these men did not find the right answers to Job’s objections. All of them tried to prove Job wrong but none was able to do it convincingly.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 13

And so, Elihu is afraid that these friends were planning to abdicate what he views to be their responsibility to answer Job. Elihu is afraid that they’ll just let God do what in his mind they should actually be doing.

13 [Lest ye should/Do not/So do not] say,

We have [found out/found] wisdom:
God [thrusteth him down/will rout him/will refute him], not man.

So, it seems that Elihu is fearful that these men have come to the conclusion that they can be absolved of any responsibility to answer Job by just shifting the responsibility for that to God. And as they do that they’ll pat themselves on the back for finding this wise way of handling the situation.

And it’s interesting that even though Elihu seems to be wanting to stop this from happening – yet, God is going to come and – not necessarily thrust Job down – but he’s definitely going to come and answer Job as neither the friends – nor ultimately Elihu – can do.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 14

So, Elihu goes on to state that he’s not going to give the same answers to Job as these friends have done.

14 [Now he hath not directed/For he has not arranged/Job has not directed] his words [against/to] me:
[neither/nor/and so … not] will I [answer/reply to] him with your [speeches/arguments].

So, this verse gives us some hope that what we’ll be hearing from Elihu in the next several chapters is going to be different from what we’ve already heard from these friends.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 15

Then Elihu is going to rehearse what we heard at the beginning of this chapter – that the friends couldn’t find an answer for Job and so they stopped talking.

15 They [were amazed/are dismayed],
they [answered/answer] [no more/no longer/cannot … any more]:
[they left off speaking/words fail them/they have nothing left to say].

And I’m not sure who Elihu is addressing this to. Maybe he spoke verse 15 directly to Job. Otherwise, if he’s speaking to the friends, it’s a little strange to have a person speak of you in the third person when you’re standing right in front of him.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 16-17

Then Elihu is going to once more explain how the silence of these men encouraged him to speak.

16 [When/And] I [had/have] waited, [shall I wait?…]
([for/because/but because] they [spake not/do not speak],
[but stood still/because they stop/because they stand there],
and [answered/answer] no more[;)/?/,]

17 I said,

I will answer [also/too] my [part/share],
I [also/too] will [shew/tell/explain] [mine opinion/what I know].

And that’s the third and last time that Elihu is going to speak of his “opinion” in this chapter. So, he’s going to talk – and speak of what he knows – because of the silence of these men.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 18-20

And when it comes down to it, Elihu is full of things to say!

18 For I am full of [matter/words],
the spirit within me constraineth me.

19 Behold, [my belly is/inside I am] as wine which hath no [vent/outlet];
it is ready to burst like new [bottles/wineskins].

20 I will speak, that I may [be refreshed/find relief]:
I will open my lips [and/so that I may] answer.

So, Elihu portrays himself as one who is just bursting to speak and say what he thinks and what he knows. And he’s planning to find relief by opening his mouth and letting out all of the thoughts that he thinks will be helpful for the situation.

Now, just like the three friends, if what Elihu thinks is not what God thinks, then it’s ultimately not going to be helpful. So, it will be interesting to hear what he actually has to say.

But for now in this chapter we don’t actually hear what his argument is. We just hear his getting us ready for his argument.

Job 32 Commentary Verse 21-22

But Elihu wants to assure his audience that when he does speak – he’s not going to be partial to anyone.

21 [Let me not, I pray you,/I will not] [accept any man’s person/show partiality to anyone],
[neither let me/nor will I] [give flattering titles/confer a title] [unto/on any] man. [and thereby flatter him…]

22 For I know not to give [flattering/honorary] titles;
[in so doing/if I did] my maker would [soon/quickly] [take me away/do away with me].

So, Elihu assures us all that what he says is not motivated by his favoritism toward Job to the detriment of his friends or vice versa. Elihu is going speak what he believes to be true and he doesn’t care whom he offends by it.

So, it will be very interesting to do just like we’ve done with Job and his friends – to evaluate what Elihu says and see how true and factual and helpful it is.

And so, we’ll embark on that task next time.

Titus 1 1 Commentary

Titus 1 1 Commentary

Titus 1 1 Commentary
Explaining the Book of Titus

 
 
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Titus 1 1 Commentary: I’d like us to meditate on the first 18 words of the New Testament letter to Titus. So, let’s turn our focus to Titus, chapter 1.

Titus is a letter written with a great emphasis on healthy Christian living. It turns out that a number of people in Crete were in need of several corrections regarding their behavior and lifestyle. And so, this letter is written to challenge these people to be “sound in the faith.”

And the letter begins as pretty much all New Testament letters do, with an identifying of the one who is sending the letter.

Titus 1 1 Commentary Paul

So, Paul starts this letter in verse 1 by introducing himself. He gives his name first.

KJV Titus 1:1 ¶ Paul,

And then he’s going to describe what he is and does.

And of course, the recipient of this letter – whom we discover to be Titus later on – he would have known the following things about Paul. And yet Paul feels the need to state who he is to this man who already knows that information.

And this could be for the sake of reminding Titus or perhaps Paul was looking forward to the possibility that Titus might end up reading this letter to the church which he was shepherding.

Titus 1 1 Commentary A servant of God

So, here’s one thing that Paul is.

a [servant/bond-servant/slave] of God,

So, Paul serves God. He is – as it were – a slave whose main task in life is to please his master.

This phrase “servant of God” first appears in the book of Acts in relation to Paul. In fact, it’s in Acts 16:17 where the fortune-telling slave girl in Philippi kept following Paul and Silas and proclaiming, “these men are servants of the most high God.”

And even though Paul rebuked her for that at the time, it seems like what she was saying was actually true – and this term becomes a title that Paul would later proudly wear. He’s a servant of God.

Now, it’s more common for Paul to speak of himself as the servant “of Christ.” And so, right here in Titus and back in Acts 16 are the only two places where Paul is given this title “servant of God.”

But other people in Scripture also take on this title. Paul gives Epaphras this title (Col 4:12). And James takes on this title for himself (Jam 1:1).

Peter says that all believers are to view themselves as servants of God (1Pe 2:16).

And then there are several references to servants of God in the book of Revelation. Including those who will be taken out of the earth (Rev 7:3), prophets (10:7), Moses (15:3), those around God’s throne (19:5), those entering the new heaven and new earth (22:3), and those who read and believe the book of Revelation (22:6).

So, Paul is just like so many other people in his relationship with God – he’s a simple servant. He slaves for God. That’s his life. He’s nothing special in his own eyes. He’s just a slave.

And that might come in handy for Titus’ people to know later on in this letter. Because Paul – as a slave himself – if going to be addressing how slaves of human masters ought to treat those masters. Paul is just one of them. He knows what it’s like to live that life – in his case, for a heavenly master.

And this is the posture for all of God’s people to take – that we’re simply slaves of God.

  • Maybe you feel like your life is unfulfilling.
  • Do you feel like your life ought to be more exciting? Or more comfortable?
  • Do you feel restrained and restricted in certain ways in terms of where you’re going and what you’re doing in this life?
  • Do you wish you were able to do just whatever you please and you’re wondering why now – ever since you’ve been a Christian – that just doesn’t seem to work anymore?

It’s because you are like the Apostle Paul. You are a slave of God. Your life is no longer based on your own desires. Your life is now focused solely on pleasing God – on serving God – on knowing and loving and making known God.

So, we’re all in the same boat. We’re all slaves of God. Paul was. We are, too, if we know him through his Son, Jesus Christ.

So, this is the first way in which Paul wants to be identified. As a slave of God.

Titus 1 1 Commentary And an apostle of Jesus Christ

And then, Paul wants to describe himself in terms of his relationship with Jesus Christ.

and an apostle of Jesus Christ,

Now, the term apostle is used to describe one who is sent – a messenger – someone who is sent on behalf of someone important with a special message to deliver.

And Paul is described as an apostle all the way back in Acts 14 where he and Barnabas are given that title. And after that he identifies himself quite freely as Christ’s messenger – his apostle. In 8 of his 13 letters that he wrote, Paul labels himself as an apostle.

So, he’s a messenger sent with a special message. But whose message is it?

That’s where Paul identifies the one who has sent him – Jesus Christ.

And so, as we listen to a book like Titus, we need to keep before ourselves the fact that this is not just Paul’s opinions. What we have written for us in a book like this is exactly the message that the Lord Jesus Christ wants us to hear and obey.

And so, Paul has identified himself with two words so far. He’s a servant. And he’s an apostle – one sent with a special message.

And even though Paul was exceptionally gifted and he’s our human example to imitate – yet we’re not very much unlike him.

We all are servants of God. We’re called to serve God – to live for God – to consider our life-work to be slaving for him in this life. We’re called to lay aside our own interests and focus on God’s interests in this world. We are God’s servants.

And we’re ones who have been sent by Jesus Christ with a message. It’s the same message that Jesus delivered to his followers before he was taken back up into heaven for a time – given in what we call the Great Commission – that as we go, we must make disciples, baptize them, and teach them all the things that Christ commanded.

Titus 1 1 Commentary According to the faith of God’s elect

And as Paul did this – as he slaved for God and was sent out with Christ’s message – the following was his goal as we continue in Titus 1:1…

[according to/for/to further] the faith of [God’s elect/those chosen of God/God’s chosen ones],

So, the aim of Paul’s slaving for God and going out as one sent with a message by Jesus was for this purpose. The faith of God’s elect.

Let’s identify God’s elect first. And then we’ll talk about their faith. And then how Paul’s slaving for God and serving as Christ’s messenger plays into this.

Titus 1 1 Commentary God’s elect

That term elect is used for Christ – that he was chosen or choice. And the Scripture speaks of him a few times in that regard.

But the majority of the time that the Bible speaks of the elect it speaks of believers in Jesus Christ.

So, let’s just quickly consider what the Gospels have to say about these people – God’s elect.

Jesus’s parable of the wedding guests teaches us that there are all sorts of people who are called. Everyone is invited to the wedding – or, really, to salvation in Christ. But few are elect – few respond to that invitation. And actually – according to that parable, there’s even one guy who does respond. But he doesn’t have the right kind of clothing. And so, the father kicks him out. So, few respond to the call and are allowed in by the Father.

But those whom the Father does allow in, he’s very focused on. These are “God’s elect” as Paul says here in Titus. They have a special relationship with God.

In fact, this relationship is so special that God hears our requests now. Jesus used that parable of the unrighteous judge who was being annoyed by a woman and that’s what caused him to help her. But in contrast to that uncaring man – Jesus says that God the Father will not delay in giving justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night. God hears and responds to our prayers as his chosen or elect ones.

And it goes further than that. Jesus says that it’s for the sake of these people – God’s elect – that the Tribulation will be limited. And you think of the Great Tribulation that will occur right before Jesus returns to earth – and how important of an event that will be. And it’s a marvel that God will actually limit that unprecedented event in world history – just for the sake of these people – of God’s elect.

And because of this special relationship that the elect have with God and the extraordinary grace that he pours out on us, Jesus characterizes the elect as ones whom it is very difficult to ultimately deceive. He speaks of false Christs and false prophets deceiving people in the last days. And he says that their signs and wonders will deceive – if it were even possible – the elect! And I think that he’s saying that that won’t be possible – but if it were possible it would happen. But the blessed reality is that for those who are truly elect of God – we’re not ultimately deceived by false religion – even when it’s coming in the form of signs and wonders – miraculous events.

And the blessed end of God’s elect is that we will ultimately be gathered together to the Lord. We’re in a special relationship with God. He will limit the Tribulation for people like us. We can’t ultimately be deceived. And so, in the end he will gather us together to him.

So, that’s a summary of what’s said of God’s elect in the Gospels in your New Testament.

Then the section of the New Testament known as the Epistles – or letters to churches and individuals – speak of this group of individuals as well.

Paul in Romans says that it’s impossible to bring a charge or an accusation against God’s elect. Why’s that? Because God is the one who justifies us. He declares us righteous. And so, how could anyone possibly bring a legitimate charge of guilt against those whom God has already declared to be righteous?! It won’t happen.

Paul says in Colossians that we are elect or chosen of God and therefore we are holy and beloved. We’re set apart special for God – holy in that sense. And God loves us.

Paul says in 2 Timothy that the elect obtain salvation in Christ and eternal glory.

And Peter speaks of God’s elect as a people of God’s very own. We belong to God in a special way. And so, the following is expected of us – that we should proclaim the praises or excellencies or virtues of him who called us out of darkness and into light.

And so, we’ve come full circle – we began this discussion of the elect of God noting that many are called but few are chosen. And now here we end with the fact that the chosen were called by God out of darkness and into light.

And we’ll end there with our consideration of what the New Testament says of this group known as God’s elect.

But as Peter reminds us, we’re to be engaged in something right now in response to these blessed truths. We should be proclaiming God’s praises – speaking to others of his excellencies and virtues – and demonstrating those things with our lives.

Titus 1 1 Commentary The faith of

And so, these folks known as God’s elect have something – according to Paul here in Titus 1:1. They have faith. God’s elect ones believe something. What do we believe?

Well, Paul gives the substance of what God’s elect believe even in this short letter. Look at Titus 2:13-14.

Here’s what Paul affirms that God’s elect believe. We are…

KJV Titus 2:13 [Looking for/waiting for] [that/the] [blessed/happy fulfillment of our] hope, [and/in] the glorious appearing of [the great God and our/our great God and] Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, [that he might/to] [redeem us/set us free] from [all iniquity/every lawless deed/every kind of lawlessness], and [to…] purify [unto/for] himself a [peculiar people/people for his own possession/people who are truly his], [zealous/who are eager] [of/for/to do] [good works/good deeds/good].

So, we get the kernel of the Gospel message in those two short verses.

Paul declares that we’re sinners. We need to be redeemed or set free from all iniquity or every lawless deed. We were formerly enslaved to those deeds. We are sinners in need of being rescued.

But Jesus came to this earth to “give himself for us.” He vicariously atoned for our sins. He died on the cross for our sins. He paid the price for us to be forgiven and released from slavery to sin. Jesus Christ suffered God’s wrath for our sin. He didn’t deserve it – we did. But we didn’t take it – he did.

And if there’s going to be a glorious appearing of this one who died for us, then it means that he had to be raised again. Jesus rose from the dead.

And Jesus Christ will return for his elect. He’s coming again and that is our blessed hope.

This is – in a nutshell – the faith of God’s elect. This is what we believe.

Titus 1 1 Commentary According to

But how does a person come to believe this message of Christ’s dying for our sins and coming again?

This is where Paul’s efforts come in. Where his slavery to God and his being sent out as Christ’s messenger with a special message – with this very message – comes in to the picture.

Paul slaves and is sent forth according to this faith of God’s elect. He serves God’s interests and not his own like a slave would do – with the goal of people hearing and believing this Gospel message. Paul is happy to be sent out by Christ all over the place in order that God’s elect would demonstrate that they are indeed God’s elect by believing this blessed truth of the Gospel.

And we’ll stop here for now. But as we go to prayer we have a number of realities that were just revealed to us that should fuel our praying.

We should pray from the position of slaves of God and those sent by Christ with his saving message. We should pray that our efforts and the efforts of our missionaries would meet with a response of faith. And we ought to pray that as God’s elect we would proclaim the virtues and excellencies of God in this community and beyond.