Job 33:1 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
After Elihu took some time to give his credentials and his reasoning for speaking in chapter 32, he now turned his attention to Job. One thing Elihu did is demonstrate that he was rather long-winded. He assumed he had something important to say, but he may have been a little nervous about saying it so he made a long speech to try to justify his presence here. He wanted Job to hear what he had to say. He knew he was younger than Job, but he stated that he would speak from the uprightness of his heart. He was not trying to be deceptive or to set a trap. According to his opinion, he was going to speak honestly and he assumed he would also speak with knowledge.
In verse 4 he stated that he too was created by God. Thus he is laying the ground work for saying that his words were of equal worth to those of Job or the other men. He also challenged Job to answer him. He challenged Job to debate him.
Elihu was trying to present himself in a humble manner, although his words did not really prove that to be so.
In verse 8 and following, Elihu finally began to address what he saw as the problem with Job. He reminded Job that he had stated that he was without sin and that he was innocent. Elihu further stated that Job had accused God of bringing this trouble upon him. Job believed that God had bound him as though he were in stocks.
Elihu reminded Job that he was not just in his accusations against God. God does not need to answer to man. In this, Elihu was correct. God does not need permission from any person for what He does. God is always just in all His dealings.
Elihu further stated that God is much wiser than man. God says things and man does not understand them. Elihu understood that God is far above man in knowledge and wisdom. God is far greater than man in all things. This is also true.
Elihu wanted to know why Job was striving against God. No one can win an argument against God. Elihu is drawing conclusions here regarding Job that were not exactly true. Job did assume that God was punishing him, but he did not know why. He was not suggesting he knew better than God. He was simply seeking to understand the reason for what was happening to him.
Those who are saved can always look at their situation and seek to understand what God is seeking to teach us through that particular thing. We need to be open to learning, and to be corrected as well if need be.
Elihu spent almost this entire chapter addressing what he assumed was Job’s problem. He assumed things that he did not know. He behaved himself in a manner similar to the other three men, although he assumed to be wiser than they were.
The last three verses of this chapter summarize what Elihu has had to say thus far. He believed that what he had to say was so important that Job should pay close attention to it. He wanted Job to be quiet and just listen. Then he wanted Job to answer him to see if Elihu could possibly agree with him.
In verse 33 Elihu stated that if Job had nothing to say, then he should just be quiet and Elihu would teach him wisdom.
Elihu was being presumptuous here. He had heard the interaction between Job and his three friends. He had heard many things. He could well have misunderstood some of what he heard. However, he did not seem to be interested in hearing anything from Job. He hinted at wanting to hear from him but then he carried on talking. Thus he was actually saying that he did not really believe that Job had anything worthwhile to say. Thus he ended this chapter by telling Job he would impart some wisdom to him.
As people, humility is always important if we want to help others. It is easy to get into a rant and assume that we know all the facts. Sometimes we can make a fool of ourselves by jumping the gun with our responses. That seems to be the case for Elihu. He is rather full of himself. He loves to hear himself talk. He says some true things, but he does not really know how to address the situation Job is in.
It is possible to be uncomfortable with someone else’s circumstances and to talk without thinking things through very well. Job was in need of help. He needed some comfort and some counsel. So far he was not getting that from these men.
As we have noted before, wise counsel must come from the careful study of God’s Word. If we want to impart wisdom to others, we must understand that God is the source of wisdom. We may have had some experiences, but that is not the same as wisdom. If we let God show us some truth about Himself in the midst of our experiences, we might be able to use that as an example for someone else. We need to be sure we are addressing the actual need that they have. The Holy Spirit will guide the true child of God in his thinking and speaking.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
This is wise counsel that Elihu had missed out on. He had waited for a time to speak. However, when he began to speak, he did not know when to quit and he discredited himself with his much speaking. His wrath got in the way of being able to think clearly. God was not directing him. We are given this to see again how we can be off base when we allow our emotions to overrule God’s truth. If we follow God’s Word and will, we will avoid this failure.