Daily Thought for: 3rd August

ELIHU

Job 32. 1-22

Elihu (meaning ‘God Himself’, or ‘My God is He’, or even, ‘He is my God’) is of the tribe of Buz, a relative of Abraham, Gen. 22. 21. He is first mentioned in chapter 32 and his four speeches occupy chapters 32-37. Elihu emphasises divine sovereignty which is in preparation for the revelation of God in chapter 38. As a younger man he is reluctant to speak. However, he is exasperated by Job’s apparently self-righteous attitude and self-pity, as well as the ineptitude of Job’s three so-called comforters. He offers a different explanation, but is ignorant of the details contained in the prologue to the book of Job. Elihu argues that God is a supreme teacher and not so much a judge. He urges Job to focus on the future moral and spiritual benefit which would be derived from his physical plight. God acts for man’s good when He disciplines him. Elihu explains that God is gracious, 33. 24; righteous, 34. 12 and mighty, 36. 5. He emphasizes the omniscience and omnipotence of God, as developed in chapters 38 and 42. In chapter 33 we see reflections of the gospel of Christ. (i) The operation of the Holy Spirit, v. 4. (ii) The realisation that God is greater than man, v. 12. (iii) The deliverance God provides, vv. 18, 24, 28, 30. (iv) The restoration and standing God gives, v. 26. (v) The need of repentance and faith, vv. 27-28. Elihu says that God desires to turn men aside from evil and to cut off their pride, 33. 17. He has many ways of accomplishing this but finds man slow to take heed— ’God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth (regards) it not’, v. 14. Therefore, God sometimes permits suffering in order to bring about His disciplinary and educational purposes. He says that when men are caught in the cords of affliction God opens their ears to discipline (instruction) and commands that they return from iniquity, 36. 8-10. Elihu continues, ‘He delivers the afflicted by his affliction and opens their ear in oppression’, 36. 15; and also, ‘Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?’ 36. 22. There is much in the Scriptures to support Elihu’s teaching, for the Lord does discipline His children for their good; cf. John 15. 2; Heb. 12. 6; Jas. 1. 2-4; 5. 10-11; 1 Pet. 1. 6-7; 5. 10-11. Elihu provides a good explanation for Job but it is not the final answer. 

 

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