Job 31 & 32

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Those who believed in Jesus became “spiritual Jews,” included among the children of the promise, the seed of Abraham through faith. They came alongside natural Israel as spiritual partners in the promises and covenants of God. In fact, even to this day, Gentiles who come to faith in Jesus also become naturalized citizens of Israel: “You [Gentiles] are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints [Jews], and are of God’s household.” In effect, they are converted from the world of paganism, the worship of false gods, and captivity to evil and are born again into the Israelite kingdom of faith in the one and only true God. They are grafted into God’s family tree of covenant salvation, where they have partaken of the rich sap of divine truth by being connected with the holy root system of biblical Judaism, God’s faith for all humanity. – John Garr, Christian Fruit–Jewish Root: Theology of Hebraic Restoration

Today, we wrap up with the conclusion of Job’s long discourse… He has a lot of questions for Jehovah God… But is he ready for God’s questions for him?

However, before we get to that, there is a new character presented to us… And, he, like all the others in this Book, has a long speech to give…

 “If I have been unfair to my male or female servants when they brought their complaints to me, 14 how could I face God?  What could I say when he questioned me? 15 For God created both me and my servants. He created us both in the womb. 16 “Have I refused to help the poor, or crushed the hopes of widows? 17 Have I been stingy with my food and refused to share it with orphans? 18 No, from childhood I have cared for orphans like a father, and all my life I have cared for widows (Job 31:14-18 NLT).

Here, Job appears to be systematically disclaiming each accusation of his “friends” against him. He declares that he has always shared his bread with orphan and made them partakers of his abundance.  This is an important principle throughout Scripture.

Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes and the needy with nothing to wear, 20 did they not praise me for providing wool clothing to keep them warm? 21 “If I raised my hand against an orphan,   knowing the judges would take my side, 22 then let my shoulder be wrenched out of place!  Let my arm be torn from its socket! 23 That would be better than facing God’s judgment.  For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there? (Job 31:19-23 NLT).

Job says that he had done everything for the poor and the helpless that was within his power. He could not have committed the sins of which he was accused because the fear of Jehovah God restrained him from such impertinence.

“Have I put my trust in money or felt secure because of my gold? 25 Have I gloated about my wealth   and all that I own? 26 “Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies, or the moon walking down its silver pathway, 27 and been secretly enticed in my heart to throw kisses at them in worship? 28 If so, I should be punished by the judges, for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven. 29 “Have I ever rejoiced when disaster struck my enemies, or become excited when harm came their way? 30 No, I have never sinned by cursing anyone or by asking for revenge (Job 31:24-30 NLT).

In Job’s estimation, it is wrong to even care greatly about wealth. And further, he is not guilty of idolatry either.  He had not participated to the worship of planetary bodies or any other god beside Jehovah God.  Nor was he guilty of any malice toward his enemies, having left them to the LORD.

“My servants have never said, ‘He let others go hungry.’ 32 I have never turned away a stranger but have opened my doors to everyone. 33 “Have I tried to hide my sins like other people do, concealing my guilt in my heart? 34 Have I feared the crowd   or the contempt of the masses, so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors? 35 “If only someone would listen to me!  Look, I will sign my name to my defense.  Let the Almighty answer me.  Let my accuser write out the charges against me. 36 I would face the accusation proudly.  I would wear it like a crown (Job 31:31-36 NLT).

Job had been hospitable to strangers. And because of his integrity, he had no fear of people.  He knew that Jehovah God carefully observed what he said and did in response to his adversaries.

For I would tell him exactly what I have done. I would come before him like a prince. 38 “If my land accuses me and all its furrows cry out together, 39 or if I have stolen its crops or murdered its owners, 40 then let thistles grow on that land instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley” (Job 31:37-40 NLT).

And so Job concludes his answer to the charges made against him by his “friends.” Interestingly, his “friends” make no response at this point.  They believed that they were the righteous standard-bearers, not Job.

Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence. 2 Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him. 3 He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. 4 Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily (Job 32:1-5 NLT).

So, there’s a lot of debate about who Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite was and about the merit of his argument… To me, he just kind of seems like a young upstart that wants to set everyone straight… Too cool for school and bursting at the seams with his own great wisdom… But some people actually believe he was Angelic or even a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ… I really can’t see that…

Anyway, the text tells us that he was angry at Job for largely the same reason the three “friends” were angry… Job would not admit that he was guilty of what they were accusing him or that what he was suffering was the punishment of God for these hidden sins of which he was accused.

As well, Elihu was angry at the three “friends” because of their inability to argue productively against Job. And so, right off the get-go he sets himself up as above them all.  Having endured all their rambling, he is going to set them all straight with his superior knowledge.

Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said, “I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think. 7 I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ 8 But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent. 9 Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice. 10 So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think (Job 32:6-10 NLT).

Elihu claims that his great wisdom is from Jehovah God, but, interestingly, Jehovah God will not even address him when He cuts in on the scene. Unlike the real Christ, Whom said, “Thus saith the LORD,” Elihu says, “Listen to me and let me tell you what I think,” or in another translation, “Hearken to me; I also will show my opinion.”

“I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments, listening to you grope for words. 12 I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments. 13 And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us. Only God can convince him.’ 14 If Job had been arguing with me, I would not answer with your kind of logic! (Job 32:11-14 NLT).

This younger guy is going to bring a fresh argument against Job… Or so he claims… I personally don’t see much difference…

You sit there baffled, with nothing more to say. 16 Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent?   Must I also remain silent? 17 No, I will say my piece.  I will speak my mind. 18 For I am full of pent-up words, and the spirit within me urges me on. 19 I am like a cask of wine without a vent, like a new wineskin ready to burst! 20 I must speak to find relief, so let me give my answers. 21 I won’t play favorites or try to flatter anyone. 22 For if I tried flattery, my Creator would soon destroy me (Job 32:15-22 NLT).

He was new wineskin filled to the bursting with a new spirit! And he has no respect for this poor, sickly and afflicted older man in front of him.  He’s now going to give Job a solid piece of his mind… Oh, boy, oh, boy!

He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase; this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased who eat them; and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes (Eccl 5:10-11 KJV).