June 10, 2007
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Following Scripture Verses
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- So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
- Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
- Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
- Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
- When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
- And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
- I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
- But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
- Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
- Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
- Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
- Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
- Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
- Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
- They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
- When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
- I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
- For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
- Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
- I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
- Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
- For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
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- Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
- Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
- My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
- The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
- If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
- Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
- Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
- Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
- I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
- Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
- He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
- Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
- Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
- For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
- In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
- Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
- That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
- He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
- He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
- So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
- His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
- Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
- If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
- Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
- His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
- He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
- He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
- He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
- Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
- To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
- Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
- If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
- If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.
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- Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
- Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
- For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
- Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
- For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
- Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
- What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
- Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
- For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
- 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.
- For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
- Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
- Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
- If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
- All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
- If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
- Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
- Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
- How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.
- In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.
- For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
- There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
- For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
- He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
- Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
- He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
- Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:
- So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
- When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
- That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
- Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
- That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
- Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.
- Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
- Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
- My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
- For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.
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Thought for the day:
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In these chapters a fourth voice is heard, that of Elihu. He is a younger man, and apparently has not yet spoken because he is deferring to the wisdom of those who are older than he is. Once again in his speeches we see similarities to those of Job's three friends. Much of what Elihu says is accurate, yet he does not completely grasp what God is trying to do, nor is his attitude necessarily what it ought to be.
Elihu seems to be a very proud young man. In verse 18 of chapter 32 he states that he is full of matter, meaning that he has a lot to say, which is true because he talks non-stop for the next six chapters. Verses 2 and 3 indicate that his emotion was one of anger at both Job and the other three men. He found both of their arguments to be unsatisfactory, and apparently he believed that he had found the solution to Job's problem. James 1:20 tells us that "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God", and this may have had some influence on Elihu's speech. The statements, however, that really stick out to me in chapter 32 are the three times that Elihu mentions his "opinion" (6, 10, 17). In verse 6 he states that he held off giving his opinion because of his youth. In verse 10 he adds that, since older men do not necessarily posses wisdom, it was time for him to give his opinion. In verse 17 he reveals that it is now time to give his opinion because of the failings of the three comforters. He even claims that his opinions are in him like new wine which needs to burst out (19). Clearly Elihu has an opinion, and he can't wait any longer to share it!
Here is the problem. It has been said, "Opinions are like noses: everybody has one." I have opinions on all the issues of the day, as do most other people. No matter what you ask an individual about, he will have an opinion. These opinions range from important topics such as politics and religion to more mundane topics such as favorite ethnic foods and greatest sports heroes. However, the key points about opinions are that they are completely subjective and unprovable. Who is the best Major League right handed pitcher? Ask the questions, and you might get twenty different responses, and each response loaded with proof, but the fact is that it is only an opinion, not a verifiable fact. What is the world's greatest vacation spot? No one knows, but everyone has an opinion.
Christianity is not a religion of opinion. Christianity is a religion of facts; facts based upon the Word of God. Far too many churches are run based upon people's opinions: both those in the pew and those in the pulpit. Doctrinal issues are left up to opinions. Interpretations of Scripture become subject to man's opinions. This is wrong. As a pastor, my congregation does not need to hear my opinion about anything. They only need to hear what God has said. A standard response to Biblical teaching is "Well, that's your opinion". If it can't be backed up by the clear teachings of Scripture it is an opinion, but if it can be backed up by the Word it is now a FACT.
We had better start finding out whether or not what we believe and practice is the result of someone's opinion, or a result of a careful exegesis of what the Bible says. Can you prove your position without twisting the Scriptures to do so? Can you prove your position without having to quote some author or commentator, but simply by relying on the Word? Do you base your lifestyle on a general consensus, on what your friends or fellow church members or pastors have to say, or on the Bible. If Biblical Christianity is going to stand, we need to move away from the opinions of men and back to the authority of Scripture.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery