train-wreck-1919

THE TONGUE SPEAKS

Elihu is taking the lead in speaking ill of Job, who is already ill enough.  Elihu is young and disrespectful of his elders, including those who share his views.  His mouth is open to accuse Job now.  The tongue is like the rudder of a ship, or the little switch that moves trains to the wrong track.

Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.  Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.  My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.  The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.  If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.  Job 33:1-5

Elihu reveals that his tongue is flapping and his words carry knowledge in his own eyes.  He challenges Job to stand up and answer his words of challenge.

Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.  Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.  Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,  I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.  Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.  Job 33: 6-11

Young Elihu admits to being formed of the clay as Job too was.  He offers to be gentle in his criticism.  He heard how Job claimed to be guiltless and wondered why God had left him so beaten.  He is setting Job up for the kill now.  Formed from the same clay but ready to sling some mud too!

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.  Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.  For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.  Job 33: 12-15

Elihu calls Job unjust, and challenges his cries of innocence.  He points out a way that God might communicate with man in dreams. 

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;  Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,  That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.  He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.  He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:  So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.  Job 33: 16-20

God may come in a dream to deliver instructions to man Elihu says.  Then there is no excuse of ignorance so God can punish the guilty freely.  Elihu suggests torment like what Job has already endured.

His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.  Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.  If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:  Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.  His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:  Job 33: 21-25

However if there is a messenger who will ransom the guilty man Elihu suggests that God will restore him.  Does Elihu think that he is the messiah?  He goes on about how such a man cold deliver the sinner.

He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.  He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;  He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.  Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,  To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.  Job 33: 26-30

So if a man will repent to this intercessor he will find mercy and he can be redeemed from the pit.  Now Elihu might be prophesying a type of the coming Messiah, but he keeps on going beyond that point.

Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.  If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.  If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.  Job 33: 31-33

Elihu announces that he wants to justify Job.  Oh yes, listen to Elihu and he will teach you wisdom.  Modest fellow isn’t he?  But then how many have led the lost sheep of God to their own personal promises and agendas even today? 

By now Elihu is adding to Job’s misery and he is also offending his other misguided friends as well.  It is interesting that much of what he says about God may be true, perhaps even prophetic, but he is wrong about Job.  This is the danger of judgment, that we do not see what God sees.  Elihu will rant on like a derailed train until the wreckage of his errors will finally come to a smoking pile up.