John T. Willis

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Elihu--Part 6 [God delivers the afflicted by affliction]--Job 36:1-23

Elihu continues his speech[es] in Job 32-37. We are ready to turn to Job 36. The next paragraph is Job 36:1-23. Elihu suggests that God uses "affliction" to help the "afflicted." At first, this does not make sense. But as we think about life, "discipline" is an important aspect of physical, emotional, and especially spiritual growth. Disciplines seems painful, but later it yields peaceful fruit of righteousness. Read Proverbs 3:11-12 and Hebrews 12:3-13. My guess is that YOU have learned in your own life the importance of "discipline." Here, Elihu tries to make this point. This paragraph falls into four segments.

I. Elihu begins by asking his hearers to "bear with him a little bit more." Elihu intends to "say something further on God's behalf." Elihu wishes to extol God and God's righteousness. "One who is perfect in knowledge" is not an arrogant claim of Elihu (verse 4), but God himself, as indicated by the fact that Job 37:16 uses this same expression and clearly refers to God. Verses 1-4.

2. Elihu asserts that God punishes the wicked and supports the righteous, even though this often does not seem to be the case. God is "mighty" and does not "despise" any person. God watches over the "righteous," even when they are suffering. Frequently, even the righteous are suffering BECAUSE "they are behaving arrogantly." Elihu keeps repeating the fact that Job's problem and the problem of all human beings is PRIDE=Self-centeredness=ingratitude. If people listen to God's discipline to correct their pride, God will bless them richly; if not, he will punish them, and if they persist in their pride, they will perish. Verses 5-12.

3. If the godless persist in sin, God will punish them. But God's desire is to "deliver the afflicted by their affliction and open their ear by adversity." God works in marvelous ways, which lie beyond our human comprehension. God uses punishment and suffering and pain to refine and purify and redeem sinful humanity. Verses 13-16.

4. Finally, Elihu speaks to Job directly. "You" here is singular. Elihu tells Job that Job is "obsessed" with his idea that the wicked prosper. Elihu encourages Job to resist the temptation to call on God to punish or destroy the wicked. God will take care of all of this. Elihu declares:
"God is exalted in his power;
who is a TEACHER like him?"
What human being can say to God: "YOU [God] have done wrong?" Verses 17-23.
God is a great, wise, amazing teacher. God does not LECTURE in a class. Rather, God uses love, patience, and even suffering, to carry out God's purpose to bring all of us sinful human beings to repentance. This is Elihu's point in this section of his speech.

What are YOUR responses to Elihu's speech in Job 36:1-23? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU. I need all the insights I need.

John Willis

Friday, November 06, 2009


As we move through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, a favorite throughout the United States is pumpkins. Evelyn and I buy several pumpkins in this season, and Evelyn makes wonderful pumpkin bread and pumpkin pies, usually mixed with nuts. She usually distributes these to many people in this community.

Pumpkin is a kind of squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae. Pumpkins are usually orange or yellos and have many creases running from the stem to the bottom. They have a thick shell on the outside and seeds and pulp on the inside.

The English word "pumpkin" comes from the Greek word "pepon," meaning "large melon." The French adapted this word to "pompon," and the British changed this to "pumpion," and later American colonists changed this to "pumpkin."

Experts have found pumpkin-related seeds in Mexico dating between 7000 and 5500 B.C. Pumpkins range in size from 1 pound to over 1000 pounds. Most pumpkins range between 9-18 pounds up to a little over 75 pounds.

Pumpkins are monoecious, having both male and femal flowers on the same plant. The female flower is distinguished byt he small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colorful flowers have extremely short life spans and may only open for as short a time as one day. The main nutrients of pumpkins are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the human body. Honeybees play a major role in the fertilization of pumpkins.

The only continent that does not have pumpkins is Antarctica. The largest international producers of pumpkins include the United States, Mexico, India, and China. The traditional American pumpkin is the Connecticus Field variety.

Pumpkins is one of the most popular crops in the United States. The USA produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins each year. The top producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. Beginning in early July, it is easy to grow and produce pumpkins.

In 1981, Howard Dill of Nova Scotia produced a pumpkin of almost 500 pounds as a record. By 1994, the Giant Pumpkin crossed the 1,000 pound mark. The current record holder is Christ Harp's 1,725 Atlantic giant pumpkin, which won the Ohio Valley Pumpkin Growers annual weigh-off in October 2009.

Pumpkins are just another gift of God, our Creator. Pumpkins are "different" [like all of God's creations], intriguing, and very delicious.

I hope YOU enjoy and appreciate pumpkins. But far beyond that, I hope YOU appreciate God, the Creator of all that is.

Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Elihu--Part 5 [God does not hear an empty cry]--Job 35

In the debate, Job repeatedly challenged God to meet Job in a fair court trial--see Job 9:30-33; 14:7-19; 16:18-22; 19:23-29; 23:1-2; 31. As we continue Elihu's
speech[es], Elihu now responds to this challenge of Job, recorded in Job 35. This brief chapter falls into two parts.

I. Elihu reasons that if a human being is righteous, that person does not make God better; OR, if a human being is wicked, that person does not make God worse. Job 35:1-8.
a. Again, Elihu consistently "quotes" Job position to make sure Elihu is not misunderstanding or misrepresenting Job's ideas. Job claims: "I am just; I am righteous." But in spite of this, Job claims: "This does not make my life any better; there is no advantage to live a righteous life." Verses 1-3. In my opinion, this is precisely what Job proclaims. Elihu is correct.
b. Elihu responds to Job and Job's three friends (verse 4): The heavens [the sky] and the clouds are "higher than" human beings. So, obviously, God is "higher than" human beings--by definition. Verses 4-5.
c. Accordingly, if a person "sins" against God, that person does not accomplish anything against God or do anything to God. God is still God--all powerful and all wise. Verse 6.
d. Likewise, if a person is "righteous," that person does not "give" anything to God. A human being does not help God. God is God, whatever human beings may think, say, or do. A wicked human being may hurt another human being, or a righteous person may influence another human being for good. But no human being affects God as God's being and nature at all. Verses 7-8.

II. Elihu declares that God does not answer an empty cry. Job 35:9-16.
a. People cry out to God because oppressors afflict them. But they fail to honor God as their MAKER. We are so concerned about God helping us when we are hurting, but often we ignore God when our lives are prospering. Yet, the appropriate situation in our lives is to LISTEN to God and LEARN from God rather than constantly complaining because of our plight in life. Verses 9-11.
b. The fundamental problem is PRIDE. Elihu had already made this point in Job 33:17, and Elihu will continue to make this point. THIS is Job's problem. Job is "blameless and upright, one who fears God and turns away from evil," and Job is supremely PROUD of his righteousness. Verse 12. Unfortunately, we all have this problem. Oh, it sounds very "thin," but there a huge difference between being "righteous" and being "proud that that person is righteous."
c. Elihu now directly addresses Job's argument:
"Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
nor does the Almighty regard it.
How much less when you [Job] say that you do not see him,
that the CASE [court case] is before him, and you are waiting for him!"
If a human being challenges God to meet that person in a court case, this is obviously inappropriate. God does not answer to a human being. On the contrary, a human being must answer to God. This is fundamental in understanding the entire issue in the Book of Job. Verses 13-14.
d. Job's challenge to God is but "empty talk," "words without knowledge." Verses 15-16. We often think we know what we are talking about. Not so. God is all wise. We know so little. Job is "out of line" to challenge God to meet Job in a fair court case. How absurd. God will soon reverse the situation, and demonstrate that God alone is right, and all human beings are sinful and ignorant before God.

How do YOU feel about Job's challenge to God? How do YOU respond to Elihu's reply in Job 35? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Concise Powerful Truths

The Bible contains certain concise powerful truths, which are memorable, inspiring, and influential. Here are just some of these great truths.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13: "And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only
to fear the Lord your God,
to walk in all his ways,
to love him,
to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God
and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well being."

Psalm 24:3-4: "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully."

Jeremiah 9:23-24: "Thus says the Lord:
Do not let the wise man boast in their wisdom,
do not let the mighty boast in their might,
do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth,
but let those who boast boast in this,
that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord;
I act with steadfast love,
and righteousness in the earth,
for in these things I delight, says the Lord."

Micah 6:8: "He has told you, O mortal, what is good:
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?"

1 Corinthians 16:13-14: "Keep alert,
stand firm in your faith,
be courageous,
be strong,
let all that you do be done in love."

Galatians 5:22-23: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things."

Colossians 3:12-14: "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

What are YOUR favorite memorable concise statements? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Elihu--Part 4 [God Sees All]--Job 34

Job does not intervene, so Elihu continues his thoughts--now in Job 34. Again, Elihu FIRST "quotes" Job's arguments, and only then responds. Thus, Job 34 falls into two parts. Elihu's primary contention is that God behaves righteously in spite of the fact that OFTEN it APPEARS that God behaves unrighteously from a HUMAN PERSPECTIVE. And this is what is REALLY going on in the Book of Job.

I. Elihu "quotes" Job's arguments. Job 34:1-9.
a. As Elihu continues, first Elihu addresses Job, Job's friends, and all the others in the audience. He respectfully calls them "wise men," "you who know"--verses 1-4. In my opinion, Elihu is not sarcatic here.
b. Elihu says Job has argued that he is "innocent" and yet "God has taken away my right." Verses 5-6. Job 9:13-22; 13:13, 18, 23-27 and many other texts verify the correctness of Elihu's observations on this point.
c. Elihu responds that since this argument of Job is true, Job is speaking as the "wicked." Verses 7-8. I would agree that Job's argument on this point is "wicked." God rebukes Job for this, and Job later repents. See Job 38:1-42:6.
d. Elihu also says that Job had argued that there is no profit in serving God. Verse 9. God is arbitrary, so whether a human being is righteous or wicked, God may bless or curse that person. Obviously, Job declared this point repeatedly. See for example Job 9:22.

II. Elihu responds by affirming that God is JUST, even though human beings often THINK God is UNJUST. Job 34:10-37.
a. Elihu declares: By definition, God does not do wickedness, do not do wrong, does not do wickedly, does not pervert justice. Who is God? God created the whole world and all human beings on earth. Human beings are totally dependent on God. How could anyone think God is unjust? Verses 10-15.
b. Kings, princes, nobles, the rich are ALL the work of God's hands. When such people sin against God, God treats them justly, even though it may not APPEAR to other human beings. God has his OWN WAYS to deal with wicked people. Verses 16-20.
c. God always watches human beings. God "sees ALL their steps" (note carefully verse 21). This is so important. We see "some things" that others do. God sees ALL they do. Our judgment may be quite different from God's judgment. Wicked people cannot hide from God. Contrary to Job's proposal that God summon all human beings to meet before God to be judged (Job 24:1-12), Elihu declares that God constantly metes out judgment to human beings over all the earth. God is the Creator and Sustainer of the whole world, and HE is quite capable to deal with sinful people. What human being is in a position to say to God: YOU NEED TO CONDEMN that person or VINDICATE me? From a human perspective, it may SEEM that God is "quiet" or "hides his face," but in reality, he is quite capable to deal with "a nation or an individual." Verses 21-30.
d. Elihu reminds everyone, including Job, that AT BEST, ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Think of Romans 3:23. Human beings "pretend" that they have not sinned, but this is wrong. Hence, Elihu concludes that Job is speaking without knowledge and his words are without insight. Verses 31-35. In my opinion, Elihu is quite correct on this point. Job has been speaking from his own perspective, not from God's perspective. I would probably do the same. But in my opinion, Job is wrong on this point.
e. Elihu concludes that Job's position is "wicked." Job "multiplies his words against God." Verses 36-37. If you have heard Job's arguments, how can anyone avoid this conclusion. Elihu is correct. Job is getting the point, and thus Job does not respond. Elihu will continue in Job 35, 36, and 37.

What are YOUR thoughts about Elihu's reasoning? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Monday, November 02, 2009


In my life, I have enjoyed fishing often, and occasionally I have enjoyed hunting. I have never killed deer, but have killed rabbits, squirrels, and quail.

Hunting was a common practice in the ancient Near East and in the Bible. People hunted for food, for protection, and for pleasure.

The Egyptian story The Tale of Si-nuhe tells of hunting with dogs. Nimrod (Genesis 10:9) and Esau (Genesis 25:27) were hunters. Leviticus 17:13 and Deuteronomy 14:5 make specifications about how a person should prepare meat killed when an animal is hunted: the hart, gazelle, roebuck, wild goat, ibex, antelope, and mountain-sheep. Proverbs 12:27 refers to hunting.

Hunters used bow and arrow (Genesis 27:3), the sling (1 Samuel 17:40), traps, nets, deadfalls, spear, sword, and club (Genesis 27:3; Psalm 23:4). A shepherd used a club and sling to defend his flocks (Judges 14:6; 1 Samuel 17:34-37; 2 Samuel 23:20). From ancient times, the battue method was used in hunting. Thje villagers form a cordon, and beat forward over the ground, with loud shouts and the pounding of drums or sticks, driving the frightened game before them into a blind canyon, a corral of nets, or a prepared pit, where it is killed. Job 18:11; Psalm 18:5; Isaiah 24:17-18; Jeremiah 48:43-44 refer to these practices.

Phoenician, Assyrian, and Egyptian art shows royal persons hunting from the chariot while hunting dogs join in the chase. Josephus says that Herod enjoyed hunting on horseback, a practice introduced by the Persians.

The patience required of the hunter and the deadly intent of the hunt provided a fitting metaphor in the Old and New Testaments, for persistent and inexorable pursuit with intent to destroy--1 Samuel 24:11; Job 10:16; Jeremiah 16:16; Micah
7:2; Mark 12:13; Luke 11:54; 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26.

What are YOUR hunting experiences? Share YOUR experiences and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Elihu--Part 3 [Addressing Job's First Two Arguments]--Job 33:8-33

After Elihu expresses his attitude toward Job and God and himself, Elihu now turns to Job's position, Job's arguments in the debate against Job's three friends.

One should notice carefully that Elihu's approach here is quite different from Job's three friends. First, Elihu "quotes" or "repeats" or "rehearses" Job's own position to show respect to Job and to make sure that Elihu is not misrepresenting Job's view. In my opinion, it is very important that Job does not respond to Elihu here, indicating that Elihu is correctly representing Job's view and Job is favorably responding to Elihu's reasoning. This further supports the view that Elihu is headed in the right direction, preparing Job to listen to God in Job 38ff.

In Job 33:8-33, Elihu addresses two of Job's major arguments. This falls into two parts.

I. Job claims that God is making Job suffer without just cause. Job 33:8-12.
a. Elihu begins by assuring Job that Elihu has listened to Job's words, Job's arguments very carefully. Verse 8.
b. Then, Elihu "quotes" Job's position. Verses 9-11. This position is:
1. Job is "clean, without transgression," righteous, blameless. Remember, God himself declared this--Job 1:1, 8; 2:3. No one thinks that Job never committed a sin. This misses the point entirely. The point is: Job has faithfully served God for at least six decades, and thus Job does not DESERVE all the suffering and losses he has recently experienced.
2. God intentionally and deliberately has picked Job out to make Job suffer without just cause. God considers Job God's "enemy," and constantly watch every move Job makes to denounce and afflict Job. Job 9:13-22; 13:24; 16:7-9, 12-17; and several other passages make it quite clear that here Elihu is correctly reported Job's view.
c. Elihu's response to this charge of Job is very simple and pointed:
"In this you [Job] are not right. I will answer you:
God is greater than any mortal." Verse 12.
Job speaks as if Job were greater than God or at least equal with God. Elihu flatly denies this and declares: God is greater than any mortal--including Job. It may APPEAR that Job is mistreating God, but in reality, God is greater than Job, and God is not mistreating Job or behaving unrighteously.

II. Elihu now turns to a repeated declaration of Job, namely, God will not answer Job's invitation to meet God in a fair court trial to prove that Job is right and God is making Job suffer without just cause. Verses 13-33.
a. Again, first Elihu "quotes" Job's view: "God will answer none of my words." Verse 13. Job 9:30-33; 13:3, 8, 18; 14:7-19; 16:19-22; 19:23-29; 23:3-10; 31 and other texts verify that Job made this argument again and again. Elihu is quite correct on this point.
b. Elihu responds very clearly and specifically to address Job's complaint. Job demanded a "verbal" response to God. Elihu replies that God ALREADY has responded to Job frequently, BUT Job has been YELLING SO LOUD that Job cannot hear God's response. God has spoken in three sequential steps:
1. God begins by speaking to human beings "in a dream, in a vision" "though people do not perceive it." While people are asleep, God "speaks" to them. This is the "gentle" voice of God. Verses 14-18. God's purpose in doing this is to "keep human beings from PRIDE." Some people are very sensitive and respond. But if not, God moves to his second step.
2. If a human being does not respond to God's "gentle" touch, God gets that person's attention by CHASTISEMENT, suffering, pain. Verses 19-22.
3. But this human being often does not realize WHY he or she is suffering. So, for God's third step, God sends "an angel, a mediator" to help that person to realize what is happening in his or her life and to deliver that person from his or her prideful self-centeredness. Verses 23-25. In this context, in my opinion, this "angel" or "mediator" is Elihu. God is using Elihu to comfort Job and to lead Job out of his own pride into greater submission and trust and service to God.
4. God's approach leads the prideful sufferer to "pray" to God, and God receives him, and declares to others, "I have sinned, and perverted what is right, and it was not paid back to me." Verses 26-28. This is PRECISELY what happens to Job in Job 42:1-6.
5. After these two responses to Job, AGAIN Elihu beseeches Job to intervene now or at any time IF Elihu is not speaking the truth. Verses 29-33.

Here, Elihu has put his finger on Job's problem: PRIDE. Job was "blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil," BUT Job was CONFIDENT that he was a righteous man. This seems very similar, but they are poles apart. It is one thing to be a godly person. It is something quite different to be CERTAIN or PROUD or SELF-CENTERED in one's godly living. One can be PROUD of his own righteousness. THIS is the big issue in the Book of Job!!! WILL a person serve God with not strings attached? Subtly, we all yield to this feeling or attitude of self-righteousness. Think of Jesus' story about the Pharisee and the tax collector at worship in Luke 18:9-14.

OUCH!!! The Book of Job is too close to our own lives, our own hearts, our own attitudes, our own feelings. We NEED this book to see ourselves like one looking into a mirror. Job was a godly man--but he was PROUD of his godliness. This was the problem. And now, God is trying to awaken Job and bring Job to repentance. Remember, Job does this in Job 42:1-6.

How do you respond to Elihu's approach and treatments in Job 33:8-33? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day

Paul says to the Christians in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11:1: Be IMITATORS of me, as I am of CHRIST.

Edgar A Guest wrote this poem, which is self-explanatory and well-known:

I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson
by observing what you do;
For I might midunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness,
I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles
and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him,
then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful
as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness
that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them,
but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many,
men believe what they behold;
One deed of kind noticed
is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor
learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language
which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me
with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon
than to hear one, any day.

I hope this poem will inspire YOU to live a godly example before others. I like preachers and teachers and good speakers. But I am much more impressed by people who give good examples daily to life for God through Jesus Christ.

How do YOU respond to this poem? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Elihu--Part 2 [Elihu as Counselor]

Elihu begins his speeches in an entirely different way than Job's three friends. Job's three friends are VERY DEFENSIVE. They have a "chip on their shoulders." They are steeped in TRADITION. They are focused on ONE ARGUMENT, and one argument ALONE, namely, ALL RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE PROSPER, AND ALL WICKED PEOPLE SUFFER. In reverse, they assumed that Job must be a great sinner BECAUSE he was suffering. Job's friends were not concerned about Job's pain, Job's feelings, Job's losses, Job's experiences. Their only concern was to WIN THEIR DEBATE. Having raised as a child and young men, I was steeped in just this attitude. I thought religion was all about WINNING DEBATES. At that point in my life, I would have agreed thoroughly with Job's friends. We are RIGHT, and Job is WRONG. And if we can PROVE this, we are the ultimate Christians!!! WOW!!! What a warped view of religion. But it took me some time to study the Bible, have some significant experiences, and being taught by loving, understanding mentors to completely change my life. I am so thankful.

Elihu's approach was different. Elihu was not steeped in rigid tradition. Elihu was open to listen to others. Elihu was concerned first with Job as a person, not with winning a debate against Job. From now on, the debate falls away. Elihu patiently and lovingly guides Job from Job's horrible experiences and feelings to a marvelous experience with God. Obviously, I am not mesmerized by scholars who contend that Elihu simply "redundantly repeated" the arguments of Job's friends. Far from this!!!

Elihu begins, not with arguments, but with an attitude--an attitude of concern, empathy, love, and gentleness. This attitude of Elihu exudes from Job 32:6-33:7. This section falls into four segments or paragraphs or pericopes.

I. Elihu timidly offers his OPINION. Job 32:6-10.
a. Elihu timidly begins by confessing that Job and Job's friends are much older than Elihu, and thus Elihu was "timid and afraid" to declare his OPINION. Elihu continually reminds Job and all who hear that Elihu does not feel or believe that he knows everything and has solved all of Job's ideas and feelings and beliefs. See further 32:10, 17. Elihu honors older people, and seeks the experiences and ideas of older people. Verses 6-7.
b. Elihu openly confesses that he is completely dependent on God. Every human being, including Elihu and Job and Job's friends, exists ONLY because God is our Creator and Sustainer, and any understanding any of us has is due to God's will, God's insights, God's understanding. Verse 8.
c. Hence, neither old age or youth that is important, but God's will and God's way. Verses 9-10.

II. Elihu now addresses Job's friends. "You" and "your" are PLURAL. Job 32:11-14.
a. Elihu patiently "listened" to the arguments and words of Job's friends. BUT, Job's friends did not "confute" Job. If the two sides of this debate must be decided, Job certainly wins. The arguments of Job's friends are weak and not substantiated. Verses 11-12. [By the way, God verifies this clearly in Job 42:7].
b. In spite of the weak arguments of Job's friends, they STILL insist that they have found "wisdom," and God will prove that Job is wrong. Elihu says that it will be quite easy to show that their view is incorrect. Verses 13-14.

III. Elihu continues in Job 32:15-22.
a. Elihu reminds Job's three friends and the whole crowd listening that those three friends soon abandoned their debate. They had nothing more to say. Verses
15-17. The narrator of the Book of Job verifies this in Job 32:3.
b. Elihu declares that he "MUST" speak in light of all these incorrect words of Job's three friends. Elihu is like wine in a wineskin just ready to burst. If Elihu does not speak, he will "explode." Only by speaking can he have "relief." Verses 18-20.
c. Elihu promises that he will not take "partiality" in this discussion. He favors neither Job nor Job's friends. Elihu's only concern is to help Job in Job's great suffering and pain. Verses 21-22.

IV. Elihu beseeches Job to intervene at any point. Elihu does not appear as a debater, but as a counselor, ready to help Job in every way. Job 33:1-7.
a. Elihu humbly submits himself to God, his Creator and Sustainer. Verses 1-4. The statement in verse 4:
"The spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life"
is NOT an arrogant claim that God has given Elihu a special revelation to solve Job's problems. Just the opposite. Elihu declares that he is totally dependent on God. Elihu's every "spirit" or "breath" comes from God. Each breath he takes comes from God. He is totally dependent on God. By implication, of course, all human beings, including Job and Job's three friends, are completely dependent on God--their very lives.
b. Elihu openly, gently, fervently beseeches Job to stop Elihu at any time and show Elihu that Elihu is wrong or headed in the wrong direction. He cries out to Job: "Set your words in order before me; take your stand." This is Job's "golden opportunity" to lay his court case before everyone. BUT, Job does not respond. Why? Could it be that Elihu is beginning to touch Job's heart by Elihu's ATTITUDE toward Job? Verse 5.
c. Elihu declares that he does not feel that he is superior to Job in any way. Elihu "was formed from a piece of clay." God, the great potter, created Elihu, and Elihu is completely dependent on God. The same is true of Job--and of all human beings. Verse 6. See the same metaphor in Genesis 2:7. The word "formed" in Genesis 2:7 is "potter" language.
d. Elihu has no intention to WIN a DEBATE against Job. On the contrary, Elihu wants to make Job comfortable and prepared to discuss Job's problems with Elihu and before God.

In my opinion, Elihu is headed in the right direction. In my opinion, Elihu is patiently preparing Job to listen to God. Now, we will turn to the major issues of Job for following blogs.

How do YOU respond? When YOU encounter preachers, elders, old people? Are they steeped in TRADITION? Are they open to listen and understand and empathize? We do not need DEBATERS. We need COUNSELORS, supporters, helpers. What kind of person are YOU? What kind of persons are your friends? Your church? Your family? Your community? We are now getting to the REAL issues of life. Share YOUR ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis