Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Elihu indites Job: Job:34

Job's three friends had accused Job of sins that lead to his affliction. Though they could not identify those sins, they believed that God only punished the wicked, and since Job was obviously going through a calamitous time, it must be because of his wickedness. Elihu, on the other hand, was not concerned with what had gotten Job into his difficulties, but how he was handling himself as he walked through them. Elihu was calling Job to account for his behaiviour during his time of suffering, rather than looking for a reason why he was suffering.

Let's recap. Before all of Job's problems began, God testified that Job was righteous, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." (Job 1:8) As job first began to speak about his suffering, he did so without sinning with his lips (Job 2:10). But since then, something had changed in Job. Job's faith in God has been replace with accusations against God, "For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God." (Job 34:37) Elihu's anger burned against Job because of his self righteous claims and his boast against God. Job 32:2 says that Job "justified himself before God." The Hebrew literally says that Job "justified himself above God." In other words, Job made himself out to be more righteous than God. Job's contention was that, "I am innocent, yet God has wronged me."
"For Job has said, "I am righteous, but God has taken away my right; should I lie concerning my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.' " (Job 34:5-6)
How did Job get here? How did he allow his faith to slip into accusation? Elihu shows us the answer: "What man is like Job, who drinks up derision like water," (Job 34:7) What Elihu is saying is that Job feed his soul with derision, scorn, and scoffing. Job got it fixed in his mind that he had been wronged, and he feed himself on that day after day until it poisoned his soul. Job ended up as one of those who scoff at the things of God, "It profits a man nothing when he is pleased with God." (Job 34:9) Elihu understood that Job was going through a very difficult time, yet he also understood that, even in hardships, we have a choice to make regarding how we will conduct ourselves. Will we walk with integrity, faithfulness, and trust in God, or will we walk as wicked men and evildoers? Elihu's inditement of Job is clear, "Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men?" (Job 34:8)

King Solomon had something to say about scoffers. "A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge is easy to one who has understanding." (Proverbs 14:6) We cannot find wisdom while we scoff at the things of God. Job thought he was going from wisdom to wisdom, when in reality, he was going from wisdom to foolishness. His heart attitude actually blinded him to God's wisdom.

What is important to understand from these scriptures is the importance of "self talk". We all talk to ourselves. Sometimes its to convince us that we are able to do the task at hand, and at other times it is to rehearse some offence in our mind. What we must understand is that these thoughts go down deep into our soul and can effect our behavior and attitude. If we allow ourselves to rehearse past hurts and offenses in our mind, over time these thoughts will poison our soul. If however, we chose to feed our mind with the things of God, then our souls will find new life and joy in God. The decision is up to us.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
David Robison

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