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false-prophet

FORTUNE TELLER

Young Elihu has been railing against Job for a while.  Now he would read Job’s mind, and challenge his motives.  When our friends venture inside our thoughts they are attempting to claim prophesy, which can be dangerous.

Elihu spake moreover, and said,  Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?  For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?  I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.  Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.  Job 35:1-5

So Elihu suggests that Job considers himself more moral than God.  He further (falsely) claims that Job has rejected correction from sin.

If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?  If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?  Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.  By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty  Job 35:6-9

If you sin or obey how does it hurt or help God?  Elihu accuses Job of causing harm to others, which he has not done.  Job already searched his heart for the sin that his friends assume that he must have.

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;  Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.  Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.  Job 35:10-14

Elihu says that God doesn’t answer because of the evil in Job’s heart.  He tells Job to trust God, even while he is taking God’s judgment role on himself.

But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity: Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.  Job 35:15-16

Now Elihu says that because Job does not trust God he is talking foolishness.  Have you ever endured a sermon like this?  You know where you are with God, and it is tiring to hear a rant about a sin that is not part of your life.  There are times when God can give a target for prayer, but it should not sound like the lying rant of Elihu.  A false prophet is a curse to the church.

Warnings about sin that is in your life leaves you a time and place to repent.  Some warnings may be a premonition of bad things like a death or other hurt.  But those at least offer you knowledge that God joined you for your comfort and let you know that you are not alone.  A bad message from a good messenger offers you the courage of God walking with you in your trial.  A bad message from a bad messenger is marked by disobedience and evident sin.

I remember when two televangelists began exchanging accusations of sin on their television shows.  They both appeared on television with their lawyers, and that is why I knew that they were both guilty.  As a baby Christian I had read the instructions that tell us not to take a brother to court:

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. 1 Corinthians 6: 1-7

If either of these “leaders” were obedient to Christ, they would not need a lawyer to protect their interests.  In fact they would be working to restore the fallen brother quietly out of the public eye if possible.  I left following these fools immediately, and I was not surprised to see them both fall in disgrace.  You need not be a giant of theology to discern sin.

So the public ridicule of Job has all the earmarks of a lynch mob, not a godly comforting.  Elihu is not done yet, but he will begin to show signs of his pending failure soon.

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INVERTED SERVANT

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warrior youth

FRESH BLOOD

This has gone on long enough.  Job has been harangued by his so-called friends until he has begun to question himself.  He has suffered death in the family, financial loss, and extreme physical illness.  His friends have become his judges to condemn him as a sinner.  But one young man is angry because the others have not managed to shut Job up.

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.  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.  Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.  Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.  When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.  Job 32:1-5

The chief critics have failed to put Job down, and he still defends himself.  They assign this to self righteousness, but only God can testify against him.  The young man is impatient with the elders who could not corner their prey.  He takes up the hunt in their place.

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.  I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.  Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.  Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.  Job 32:6-10

So Elihu has the humility to admit that his elders intimidated him a bit.  But he goes on to note that not all seniors possess wisdom.  (Perhaps not all young men do either?)  So he is ready to express his humble opinion too now.

Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.  Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:  Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.  Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.  They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.  Job 32:11-15

None of these experienced men found words to force Job to admit that he was a sinner.  In this time Job didn’t attack Elihu, so now Elihu decides to earn a little of Job’s anger.  His senior friends are shocked speechless at his brashness.  I wonder if that would work to silence the foolishness in congress?

When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)  I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.  For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.  Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.  I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.  Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.  For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.  Job 32:16-22

Elihu waits out this silence briefly and continues.  He is bursting to vent his own opinion without patronizing anyone.  Elihu is an equal opportunity offender.  Remember, that we are now instructed to war against spirits and not against flesh.  These friends of Job have opened their minds to suggestion from the accuser of the brethren, Satan.  This voice is disappointed when his point men have failed to destroy his target Job.  He will recruit and promote a willing new volunteer when it suits him.  Elihu is enlisted and ready to serve.

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eagle rules

JOB RESPONDS

Remember the snarling wolf from two posts back?  Job is a bit like the response of this territorial (and really big!) eagle pictured above.  Job continues to respond to his insulting friend.  He really responds!

Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.  What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.  Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.  But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.  O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.  Job 13:1-5

I see, hear, and understand everything that you do.  You’re not such hot stuff!  Hey, I am willing to speak to God and find out what is happening to me.  But you my friends are liars and lousy healers.  Stop talking and that will be the first smart thing you have done!

Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.  Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?  Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?  Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?  He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.  Job 13:6-10

Job could be asking this: So hear this; does God need you to lie for him?  Are you representing him like he needs a lawyer?  (They are acting like lawyers, aren’t they?)  Do you really want to be doing that when God himself comes looking for you to account for your actions?  Or are you a comedian making fun of God?  If you honor the evil people who prosper in the world God will come to collect his revenge from you.

Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?  Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.  Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.  Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:11-15

Job suggests that the presence of God will be pretty intimidating.  The one who formed us and our universe has power in his presence, to make us feel like ashes or clay again.  Job wants his quiet to speak for himself.  He’s willing to face the fear of God without fear.  He wants to continue to be right before God, because he trusts him.

He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.  Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.  Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.  Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.  Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. Job 13:16-20

Job expects to be safe because God will not allow a false accusation to approach him.  He makes a firm stand and challenges all to argue more.  If he were to be silent it would kill him.  For two actions Job might be shamed onto silence.  He elaborates.

Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.  Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.  How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.  Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?  Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? Job 13:21-25

First stop making accusations and then specify what sins I have committed, Job may be saying here.  Why be a hidden sniper trying to destroy a weak opponent?

For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.  Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.  And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.Job 13:26-28

If you write that I am evil and still in the mistakes of my foolish youth then you lock me into my shame as one in stocks.  I am scarred so my footprints in life betray the passage of a sinner to all who see them.  My life frays and disintegrates as a moth eaten garment.

Job lashes out against the unfair character assassination brought against him by his friend.  He identifies the attempt this false friend has made to deprive him of his honor and so dishonors this hypocrisy.  Our eagle strikes a blow against the fox that would steal the honor of his life.

DEJA-FOO

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ECHOS

Job just doesn’t know how many friends he has.  Now it is the turn of Bildad, and he has plenty to say to Job.  He opens up by calling Job an old wind bag.

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,  How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?  Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?  Job 8:1-3

Job has not claimed that God is unfair, but Bildad isn’t afraid to suggest that he has.

If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;  If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.  Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.  For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:  (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)  Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?  Job 8:4-10

We know Job prayed for his children, but this expert lets his mouth outrun his knowledge.  He goes on to insist that Job is not righteous because of this curse.  But he does unknowingly prophesy of an end better than the beginning.  He seems to be telling Job to seek wisdom from his forefathers.

Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?  Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.  So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish:  Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider’s web.  He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. Job 8:11-15

Doom and gloom to the sinner this Bildad brings.  He seems to reject Job’s innocence as fast as today’s computers reject our passwords.  How do people get so much knowledge without benefit of any investigation or real knowledge?

He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.  His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.  If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.  Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.20 Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers.  Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.  They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought. Job 8:16-22

Bildad goes on describing the weakness of a sinner.  The faithless seem green in season, but they are planted in rocks that will not remember after he is destroyed.  But God would not reject a perfect man, nor help sinners (like Job).

Now you have lived with Job for a few chapters and have met a couple of his friends.  Have they given you any testimony of the goodness of Job which God has previously testified of?  God has expressed faith in Job, and Job does measure up in spite of his friend’s unbelief.  Isn’t this going to be a fun trip through many more chapters of the book of Job?

Do you find resistance in the world around us?  Do you know people like Bildad?  When others are painting a picture of your low value can you see what God sees in you?  How can self esteem outrank the esteem God has in us?  Yet we are tempted to hear the negative words instead of the living word of Jesus.  Are you an overcomer?  About the people, who serve the accuser of the brethren; forgive them for they know not what they do.