Summary: Many people are hurt by modern day Elihus who freely offer others their mis-guided advice. Elihu accused Job of not listening to God but he was wrong. Elihu wrongly assumed that a right response to suffering always brings immediate deliverance.
What to Do With Your Elihu (Job 33:1-33)
Many people are hurt by modern day Elihus who freely offer others their mis-guided advice. Elihu accused Job of not listening to God but he was wrong. Elihu wrongly assumed that a right response to suffering always brings immediate deliverance.
Even though there was much truth in the words of Elihu that Job needed to re-evaluate his views about suffering, yet it came across as a mis-judgment of Job’s attitudes. Elihu correctly understood that Job needed to see suffering with a bigger perspective. Thankfully, Elihu’s speech is on a higher spiritual perspective than the rest of Job’s so called friends. However, Elihu’s faulty assumptions about Job led the poor suffering saint to even more mental, emotional and spiritual suffering.
We find two lessons here. First, all of us are
human. Others will hurt you sometimes. But leave
your hurt with the Lord and don’t fight back.
Second, be careful not to hurt others. Be a
friend who blesses, not betrays.
Betrayed trust is one of life’s most difficult
pills to swallow. How you respond to those who
hurt you is a true test of your faith. When
someone hurts you, do you live on the divine
level and return good for evil? When others do
their worst, leave it with God. He will meet your
needs and use you to glorify Himself.
Let us explore ways to overcome the mis-judgments of the Elihu’s in our lives today:
1. Thank God for the portion of truth that is spoken in the advice given to you. Elihu said, "The breath of the Almighty within them makes them intelligent." (Job 32:8) He understood that knowledge, wisdom and understanding comes from God. Yet, it seems that he attempts to speak for God to Job at a time when the suffering saint needed encouragement not condemnation. We need to discerningly take the portion of advice that is good while throwing out the remainder that is not scripturally based.
2. Do not let others judge you as that right only belongs to God. Paul wrote, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by anyone else. I do not even judge myself for judgment comes from the Lord." (I Cor 4). Refuse to allow others to bully, cajole or manipulate you. Only the Lord has the right, power and knowledge to effectively judge you. Jesus said, "Do not judge or you will be judged yourself for the way you criticize others you will be criticized. And the measure that you use to evaluate others will be used on you." (Matt 7:1,2)
3. Learn to avoid any of your own tendencies to become like Elihu presuming to know God’s will for others. We all like to give advice, but it is important that only the Holy Spirit is able to give each person God’s will for their individual lives through His word, His will and His unique communications. Samuel gives us a great example when He says, "Speak Lord for your servant is listening." Only when each person takes the time to yield their heart, mind, will, spirit and emotions to the Lord will they be able to discern the full will of God for their life. (Phil. 1:9-11) (Col. 1:9-11)
4. Refuse to be bullied, sullied or muddied by the mis-guided advice from your Elihu. There are always people in our circles who love to prescribe their solution for our problems. Do not allow them to take advantage of your times of uncertainty, weakness or pain. Instead of helping Job, Elihu’s advice increased the godly man’s suffering in a needless way. Elihu was a bystander and apparently much younger than Job other three advisers. (Job 32:6,7) While Job’s three friends indicated that the godly man was suffering from past sins, Elihu said that Job’s sins would not go away until he dealt with his present sins. Actually, Job needed to make adjustments in his mis-beliefs about God’s sovereign right to do whatever He choose.
5. Elihu insisted that Job was not suffering because of sin so as much that Job was sinning because he was suffering. Elihu suggested that Job’s attitude had become arrogant and he always seemed to be defending his innocence. Eliihu said that the suffering was not always to punish Job but to to correct and restore us to the right pathways. He had his point but overall he presumed to speak for God. There is much value in what Elihu said, just as there is benefit from the advice we get in emails or from other people. We do need to occasionally step back from our situations and see the bigger picture from God’s point of view.
6. We can value and learn and grow from the advice of our Elihu. We should learn to count it all joy when we encounter trials knowing that they work patience so that it can have its perfect work and we can be lacking in no good Christ-like virtue. (James 1:5) We can always turn to God for understanding, help and deliverance in our times of suffering, hardship and testing. The Lord allows these times of trial to see if He can promote us for more useful service and Christlike transformation. Allow the Lord to do His work in you by learning from every situation. Learn how to be bigger than any problems with the help of Christ who gives you the strength and power and contentment promised in Phil. 4:12,13.