Saturday, February 26, 2005

Elihu enters the fray: Job 32

As I write this post, I'm sitting with my laptop on Waikiki Beach and finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than the beauty of God's creation. This is the final day of a five day business trip to Hawaii and, if your trying to imagine what it might be like to be here on the beach, I can tell you that Hawaii it is all that and more. Aloha.

Job and his three friends have finally finished speaking. And for the first time, we are introduced to Elihu the Buzite. The whole time that Job and his three friends have been arguing, Elihu has sat by quietly in the shadows, listening and weighing their words. Compared to the other men, Elihu was young of age. He waited to speak because he thought that age should be honored above youth. He said, "I am young in years and you are old; therefore I was shy and afraid to tell you what I think. I thought age should speak, and increased years should teach wisdom." (Job 32:6-7) Yet his silence only caused his anger to burn. Listening to Job and his friends, he became angry with them all. He was angry with Job because "he justified himself before God" (Job 32:2) and he was angry with Job's friends because "they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job." (Job 32:3)

Elihu believed that wisdom came with age, but after listening to these four aged men, he realized that this is not necessarily the case. Elihu realized that just because you are advanced in years does not automatically mean that you've gained wisdom and insight. "The abundant in years may not be wise, nor may elders understand justice." (Job 32:9) The gaining of wisdom is not automatic, but wisdom must be sought. Elihu tells us two important things about wisdom and how it is gained:
"But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding." (Job 32:8)
First, Elihu tells us that wisdom has nothing to do with the intellect, and secondly, Elihu tells us that wisdom comes from the Lord. Many people seek to understand wisdom with their intellect. They read books and listen to learned men. They ponder the mysteries of life and debate life's meaning with those thought to be wise. But wisdom is not something that can be learned with the mind, it must be imprinted upon our spirits by God Himself. It was said that Jesus was "the exact representation of His [God's] nature." (Hebrews 1:3) In the original Greek, it says that Jesus was the exact "character" of God's nature. This term refers to an engraving or the mark left when a character is stamped onto something. Jesus was the exact engraving of God's nature in human form. In the same way, we come to understand wisdom when we allow God to engrave His nature into our own spirits. There is no shortcut to gaining wisdom, we must come before the Lord and ask Him to engrave His ways on our hearts.

David Robison

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