Friday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Job 31-33 (NKJV)
31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? 2 For what is the allotment of God from above, and the inheritance of the Almighty from on high? 3 Is it not destruction for the wicked, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? 4 Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?
5 “If I have walked with falsehood, or if my foot has hastened to deceit, 6 let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity. 7 If my step has turned from the way, or my heart walked after my eyes, or if any spot adheres to my hands, 8 then let me sow, and another eat; Yes, let my harvest be rooted out.
9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, 10 then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down over her. 11 for that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. 12 For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all my increase.
13 “If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant when they complained against me, 14 what then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? 15 Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
16 “If I have kept the poor from their desire, or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 17 or eaten my morsel by myself, so that the fatherless could not eat of it 18 (but from my youth I reared him as a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow); 19 If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or any poor man without covering; 20 If his heart has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 21 If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, when I saw I had help in the gate; 22 Then let my arm fall from my shoulder, let my arm be torn from the socket. 23 For destruction from God is a terror to me, and because of His magnificence I cannot endure.
24 “If I have made gold my hope, or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’; 25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because my hand had gained much; 26 If I have observed the sun when it shines, or the moon moving in brightness, 27 so that my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand; 28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, for I would have denied God who is above.
29 “If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, or lifted myself up when evil found him 30 (indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin by asking for a curse on his soul); 31 If the men of my tent have not said, ‘Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?’ 32 (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, for I have opened my doors to the traveler); 33 If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, 34 because I feared the great multitude, and dreaded the contempt of families, so that I kept silence and did not go out of the door—
35 “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, that my Prosecutor had written a book! 36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, and bind it on me like a crown; 37 I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him.
38 “If my land cries out against me, and its furrows weep together; 39 if I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.
32:1 So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. 3 Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4 Now because they were years older than he, Elihu had waited to speak to Job. 5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was aroused.
6 So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said:
“I am young in years, and you are very old; Therefore I was afraid, and dared not declare my opinion to you. 7 I said, ‘Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.’ 8 But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. 9 Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice.
10 “Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me, I also will declare my opinion.’ 11 Indeed I waited for your words, I listened to your reasonings, while you searched out what to say. 12 I paid close attention to you; And surely not one of you convinced Job, or answered his words—13 lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom’; God will vanquish him, not man. 14 Now he has not directed his words against me; So I will not answer him with your words.
15 “They are dismayed and answer no more; Words escape them. 16 And I have waited, because they did not speak, because they stood still and answered no more. 17 I also will answer my part, I too will declare my opinion. 18 For I am full of words; The spirit within me compels me. 19 Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; It is ready to burst like new wineskins. 20 I will speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer. 21 Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone; Nor let me flatter any man. 22 For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away.
33:1 “But please, Job, hear my speech, and listen to all my words. 2 Now, I open my mouth; My tongue speaks in my mouth. 3 My words come from my upright heart; My lips utter pure knowledge. 4 The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 5 If you can answer me, set your words in order before me; Take your stand. 6 Truly I am as your spokesman before God; I also have been formed out of clay. 7 Surely no fear of me will terrify you, nor will my hand be heavy on you.
8 “Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words, saying, 9 ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me. 10 Yet He finds occasions against me, He counts me as His enemy; 11 He puts my feet in the stocks, He watches all my paths.’
12 “Look, in this you are not righteous. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. 13 Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words. 14 For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. 15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. 17 In order to turn man from his deed, and conceal pride from man, 18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19 “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, and with strong pain in many of his bones, 20 so that his life abhors bread, and his soul succulent food. 21 His flesh wastes away from sight, and his bones stick out which once were not seen. 22 Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, and his life to the executioners. 23 If there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand, to show man His uprightness, 24 then He is gracious to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’; 25 His flesh shall be young like a child’s, he shall return to the days of his youth. 26 He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, he shall see His face with joy, for He restores to man His righteousness. 27 Then he looks at men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right, and it did not profit me.’ 28 He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, and his life shall see the light.
29 “Behold, God works all these things, twice, in fact, three times with a man, 30 to bring back his soul from the Pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life.
31 “Give ear, Job, listen to me; Hold your peace, and I will speak. 32 If you have anything to say, answer me; Speak, for I desire to justify you. 33 If not, listen to me; Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.”
In chapter 32, a new character is introduced—a man named Elihu. After the first three “friends” have failed to convince Job of his guilt, Elihu engages Job with his own thoughts. Elihu not only disagrees with the theology of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, who claimed Job’s troubles were proportional to his sin, but he disagrees with Job himself. Verse 2 declares: “his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God.”
At first, Elihu is respectful and courteous, having waited to speak since he was the youngest of the group. But after hearing the long speeches that went nowhere, he felt the urge to speak—and then it all spills out at once. Although Elihu is impetuous, his words are true: “Look, in this you are not righteous. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words” (33:12-13).
Job had expected, even demanded, a one-on-one conversation with God. But God is not bound by such communication. As Elihu continues, God can speak through dreams, visions, and even human suffering. Through such means, God can bring us to realize our helplessness and great need for God. Indeed, as the wise Solomon said: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prov 3:11-12).
Prayer: Dear God, let us always be open to Your will, and the means You use to guide and curb us in our daily lives. Let us never doubt that, regardless of circumstance, You love us with an everlasting love; In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.