Scripture to meditate on:
“Bear with me a little longer and I will show you
that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.
I get my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
Be assured that my words are not false;
one who has perfect knowledge is with you.
“God is mighty, but despises no one;
he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
He does not keep the wicked alive
but gives the afflicted their rights.
He does not take his eyes off the righteous;
he enthrones them with kings
and exalts them forever.
But if people are bound in chains,
held fast by cords of affliction,
he tells them what they have done—
that they have sinned arrogantly.
He makes them listen to correction
and commands them to repent of their evil.
If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
But if they do not listen,
they will perish by the sword
and die without knowledge.
“The godless in heart harbor resentment;
even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
They die in their youth,
among male prostitutes of the shrines.
But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction.
“He is wooing you from the jaws of distress
to a spacious place free from restriction,
to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked;
judgment and justice have taken hold of you.
Be careful that no one entices you by riches;
do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts
sustain you so you would not be in distress?
Do not long for the night,
to drag people away from their homes.
Beware of turning to evil,
which you seem to prefer to affliction.
“God is exalted in his power.
Who is a teacher like him?
Who has prescribed his ways for him,
or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?
Remember to extol his work,
which people have praised in song.
All humanity has seen it;
mortals gaze on it from afar.
How great is God—beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out.
“He draws up the drops of water,
which distill as rain to the streams;
the clouds pour down their moisture
and abundant showers fall on mankind.
Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
how he thunders from his pavilion?
See how he scatters his lightning about him,
bathing the depths of the sea.
This is the way he governs the nations
and provides food in abundance.
He fills his hands with lightning
and commands it to strike its mark.
His thunder announces the coming storm;
even the cattle make known its approach. – Job 36
As Elihu continues his lecture, he now ups the ante. No longer is he speaking just for himself, now he asserts to be speaking on behalf of God. Elihu has become a spokesman for the Creator, an advocate for the Almighty.
Scripture is full of accounts of mere mortals speaking for God. Moses and the Prophets fill the pages of the Old Testament. The New Testament is primarily comprised of the letters of Paul and other apostles who carry the authority of speaking for God on Earth. And of course, Jesus himself, God incarnate, the only one to ever inhabit the words of God in human skin.
So when Elihu claims to be speaking the words of God to this group, it is not without precedent, and yet it’s difficult to credit in his case.
How do we know when someone is speaking with the authority of God? Paul tells the readers of Ephesians that some are indeed appointed to speak for God as apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers. But Paul was just as quick to warn about false teachers and incorrect doctrine being spread among believers.
So how are we to know? 1 John tells us to “test the spirit” of the teaching to see if it comes from God. Is it in line with what we have learned elsewhere in scripture? Does it reflect the character of Christ in its nature? Galatians tells us the spirit of truth will be loving, joyful, peaceful, will be characterized by forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
“Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.” – Job 36:2
Questions to ponder:
- How do Elihu’s comments in Job 36 measure up to the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22&23?
- How do you test what is true in your daily life?