Don’t Judge In A Vacuum

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Don’t Judge In A Vacuum

Don’t Judge In A Vacuum

Job 34:1  Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
2  Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
3  For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
4  Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
5  For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
6  Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
7  What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
8  Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
9  For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
10  Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.

In verse 4 of this chapter we find a key to what was wrong with Elihu and Job’s three friends. Elihu asked them to choose judgment among themselves. That is a faulty theology.

II Corinthians 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

The reason these four men were not able to help Job is because they put themselves and their wisdom above that of God. When we discuss any topic, we always must put God’s Word first. God’s Word must have the authority and we must submit to what God’s Word says. When we talk of God’s Word we cannot be as many who take any one of the many perversions and compare that with some other perversion and then they determine which perversion they like better. That again is putting man’s failed wisdom above God’s infallible wisdom. We cannot know the truth apart from submitting to God’s truth. We cannot help others when we do not put God’s truth above our thoughts.
In the opening verses Job invited the wise men and the ones who have understanding to join him in testing the words of Job. Job’s words did need testing, but not by the wisdom of men. It needed testing against the pure Word of God. As we will see, God could not commend any of these four men who assumed the place of counsellor to Job. None of them were a help to him. None of them chose to exalt the true God in their words. As we will see in today’s text again, they used some truths about God, but they discounted them by their wrong conclusions. They were guilty of the same sin Jesus accused the Pharisees of:

Mark 7:13  Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Eight times we find the phrase “none effect” in the Bible. It is used in Numbers 30:8 to teach that a husband has the authority to make a vow his wife makes, of none effect. It is used by God in several verses to show that He can make the ungodly counsel of man of none effect. It is also used to warn of those who would seek to make the Word of God of none effect by their false teaching.
If we want to be profitable with our endeavours, we need to be sure we are first of all saved, and then that we are honouring God’s Word. As we have mentioned, this was not the case for these four men.
In verses 5-9 Elihu scoffed at Job’s words. He assumed that Job was proud and out of order with what he was saying. Elihu should have taken a mirror and held it before his own self as he was speaking these words. He was guilty of pride himself. He was seeking to demonstrate his wisdom before these men. He should have been interested in exalting God before Job and these other three men. He did not need to prove himself to be wise with his own wisdom. He needed to know how to rightly divide God’s Word.
That is what Paul taught Timothy. Timothy was a young man and Paul was directed by God to help him to be a faithful servant of the Lord. He told Timothy not to let any man despise his youth. He would do that by faithfully preaching and teaching God’s Word. That is what Paul did and that is what every faithful servant of God must do.
Elihu missed the mark, as did the other three men. God would soon address Job’s words. God would show all of these men that He is far superior to man. God would spend the bulk of His time addressing the needs of Job. Job had a heart that was ready and willing to accept the truth. The others were of a different sort.
Again, we can learn from Elihu’s ongoing “counsel”. We can learn how important it is that we are humble and willing to exalt God in our lives and with our words. We need to see that even though we might think we have something important to say, God does not necessarily agree with our assumptions. He knows far better than we do.
In verse 10 Elihu made a true statement. God does not do wickedness. He is the Almighty and He does not commit iniquity. Job’s troubles were not because God was punishing him. Elihu did not know this, nor did he want to consider this. He took the common approach that if trouble comes, there must be something that the recipient of the trouble has done wrong. If good times come, it must be because God is pleased with the person who is experiencing the good times.
We do not determine our relationship with God, based on our experience. We study God’s Word and see if we are truly His child first of all. What is the Biblical evidence to make that claim. God’s Word must be our only source of hope and truth. If there is not any Biblical evidence of being His child, we cannot change the position of a person by our words.
As we have noted from the beginning of this book, God gave a testimony of what Job was like. God did not give that same testimony of these other men. Job needed to learn some things, but he was building on the right foundation. That is why God would rebuke him and correct him in the final chapters of this book. He rebuked Job’s three friends and commanded them to bring an offering in recognition of their repentance and confession of sin. They were not allowed to bring that offering directly to God. They needed to bring that offering to Job, the one they had been slandering all this time. Job would bring the offering before the Lord. God did not even bother to address Elihu. This tells us something about God’s view of him.
We need to be careful to listen to what God has to say. We can draw our own conclusions but they are not worth the time it takes to draw them. We need God’s Word on what we are doing and believing. Let us not be hasty, but careful to honour God. That is what Job sought to do and that is what God counselled Job to do in a greater way.
Pastor Bartel

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