Why in the world have we never found what we're really looking for? Because what we need is often the very thing we won't accept. And sadly, in turning away the God we need, we need to understand that we have chosen to live without everything we need.

When Jesus is your everything you don’t need anything.

The word for Testing and Temptation are the same word.

Hebrews 4:15 ESV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:16 ESV
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Good Theology Gone Awry
The friends' misuse of good theology underscores the danger of oversimplified perspectives. Their inability to make distinctions and their unkindness reveal the shortcomings of a theology devoid of compassion.

The Book of Job teaches us that even truthful theological statements can be used to inflict harm.
Job's friends, in their impatience and lack of kindness, demonstrate the potential danger of wielding theology without love. Life's intricacies cannot be confined to neat categories of good and bad, and attempting to do so leads to misunderstanding and judgment.

Job's experience highlights a fundamental truth: the distribution of suffering and prosperity is not directly linked to the good or evil deeds of individuals.

Job rightly observes that calamity does not spare the evil, and the just can become a laughingstock. His wisdom cautions against hasty judgments based on external circumstances.

Caution Against Hasty Judgments
The Book of Job urges us to be slow in judging others based on their circumstances. Job's friends' misguided attempts to interpret his suffering should serve as a warning against assuming we know someone's heart based on external events.

The Reign of God Over Human Affairs
Amidst the debates and accusations, the book affirms God's sovereignty over the affairs of humanity. Job, in the midst of his suffering, acknowledges God's wisdom, might, and control over every aspect of life.

Job's declarations emphasize that, despite his pain, God remains sovereign.
The tearing down and building up, the opening and shutting—everything is under God's control.

Finding Comfort in Divine Control
In moments of chaos, the understanding that God reigns provides comfort. The Book of Job encourages readers to find solace in the overarching sovereignty of God, even when circumstances seem chaotic.

Elihu: A Breath of Fresh Theological Air
Elihu's six-chapter discourse suggests a departure from the previous theological narrative, indicating a fresh perspective.

Elihu's New Perspective
Unlike the three friends who faced Job's arguments head-on, Job remains silent in response to Elihu. This silence, coupled with God's later rebuke of the three friends but not Elihu, suggests a theological evolution in Elihu's message.

Elihu Stands Apart
Job 32:1 ESV
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Job 32:2 ESV
Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God.

Job 32:3 ESV
He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong.


He introduces fresh elements that lead to a deeper understanding of suffering, paving the way for God's final revelation.

The Dream Revelation: Addressing the Soul
Elihu's theology of suffering incorporates dreams as a means through which God addresses the soul. Dream revelations terrify individuals, urging them to reconsider their deeds and pride.

Job 33:1 ESV
“But now, hear my speech, O Job, 

and listen to all my words.

Job 33:2 ESV
Behold, I open my mouth; 

the tongue in my mouth speaks.

Job 33:3 ESV
My words declare the uprightness of my heart, 

and what my lips know they speak sincerely.

Job 33:4 ESV
The Spirit of God has made me, 

and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:5 ESV
Answer me, if you can; 

set your words in order before me; take your stand.

Job 33:6 ESV
Behold, I am toward God as you are; 

I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.

Job 33:7 ESV
Behold, no fear of me need terrify you; 

my pressure will not be heavy upon you.

Job 33:8 ESV
“Surely you have spoken in my ears, 

and I have heard the sound of your words.

Job 33:9 ESV
You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression; 

I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.

Job 33:10 ESV
Behold, he finds occasions against me, 

he counts me as his enemy,

Job 33:11 ESV
he puts my feet in the stocks 

and watches all my paths.’

Job 33:12 ESV
“Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, 

for God is greater than man.

Job 33:13 ESV
Why do you contend against him, 

saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’?

Job 33:14 ESV
For God speaks in one way, 

and in two, though man does not perceive it.

Job 33:15 ESV
In a dream, in a vision of the night, 

when deep sleep falls on men, 

while they slumber on their beds,

Job 33:16 ESV
then he opens the ears of men 

and terrifies them with warnings,

Job 33:17 ESV
that he may turn man aside from his deed 

and conceal pride from a man;

Job 33:18 ESV
he keeps back his soul from the pit, 

his life from perishing by the sword.

Rebuked with Pain: Cleansing the Sediment
Pain, according to Elihu, is a form of divine rebuke that targets the sediment of pride in the righteous. Instead of assuming immediate judgment, Elihu encourages a perspective that sees affliction as a purifying agent.

1 Peter 1:6 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

1 Peter 1:7 ESV
so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Deliverance through Affliction: Opening Ears to Instruction
Elihu's central insight lies in the belief that affliction serves to open the ears of the righteous to divine instruction. Rather than mere punishment, suffering becomes a channel through which God draws closer to reveal more profound truths.

Job 33:19 ESV
“Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed 

and with continual strife in his bones,

Suffering as a Means of Purification
Elihu's theology emphasizes the dual purpose of suffering: a test of one's commitment to God's worth and a process of purification.

The affliction experienced by the righteous is not an indication of God's anger but a method of refining their character and deepening their understanding of Him.

Job 33:29 ESV
“Behold, God does all these things, 

twice, three times, with a man,

Job 33:30 ESV
to bring back his soul from the pit, 

that he may be lighted with the light of life.
Recognizing the Afflicted Righteous

Elihu introduces a unique category: the afflicted righteous. Unlike Job's friends, who struggled to comprehend the coexistence of righteousness and affliction, Elihu recognizes that the righteous can endure suffering.

God's Continuous Guidance for the Righteous
In Job 36:7, Elihu emphasizes that God does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous. This underscores the idea that God's attention remains on the afflicted, guiding them even through times of adversity.

Job 36:7 ESV
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous, 

but with kings on the throne 

he sets them forever, and they are exalted.

Job 36:8 ESV
And if they are bound in chains 

and caught in the cords of affliction,

Job 36:9 ESV
then he declares to them their work 

and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.

Job 36:10 ESV
He opens their ears to instruction 

and commands that they return from iniquity.

He opens their ears.
Now focus on that little phrase, “he opens their ears.” This is Elihu’s fundamental contribution to suffering and our understanding of it.

He opens their ears.
He’s saying, “Yes, the righteous suffer, they are sometimes bound in chains and they endure affliction. What is God doing for the righteous? For those who have a sediment of pride and wickedness in their lives,

God is opening their ears to instruction so that they can know the rest of their sin and their true condition and know God at a new level.

Job 36:15 ESV
He delivers the afflicted by their affliction 

and opens their ear by adversity.
The righteous suffer, and they are delivered by their affliction.

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction. How is that? He opens their ear by their affliction. Do you remember that section in Psalm 119:71

Psalm 119:71 ESV
It is good for me that I was afflicted, 

that I might learn your statutes.
Martin Luther said there were three ways to handle the Bible and to grow in grace: Meditation, supplication, and suffering.

Elihu has another thing to contribute — namely, God loves you. He’s not your enemy. He’s coming to prove his worth in your life, purify you more deeply than you’ve ever known, and reveal more things of himself than you have ever seen.

When we suffer, God is testing us to see whether or not we value him and will display his superior worth above whatever we lose in suffering.

God’s glory goes on display when his people hold fast to him as their supreme treasure when all around their souls give way.

 We see that he is cleansing and purifying us of the sediment we all possess. The remaining corruption needs to be removed so we can see God more clearly.

Matthew 5:8 ESV
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
This is why we want to be more pure to show off more of Him!

God showed up as a tornado and interrogated Job with 77 rhetorical questions. Job could not answer any of these 77 questions. None of these questions contained anything about suffering. God never even addressed the reason for suffering. These questions will show Job’s ignorance and God’s greatness.

He would say to us, " When it comes to grumbling, murmuring, or criticizing me, you don’t know anything about what I’m doing. You’re so ignorant of the vastness of what I’m up to in the world. "
The point for Job is that God is not obligated to answer Job’s question. The reason is simple: God is infinite, and Job is finite. God himself is the answer.

Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.

The second thing he said was, “I always act purposefully. I’m not capricious. I’m not whimsical. I don’t flip coins. I act in accord with my excellence, and I do things with purpose. And if you can’t see them, wait, and in due time, you will know them.”
Ten thousand years from now, when we know what God knows, we will not accuse Him of anything except having always been faithful.

Believe with all your heart in God’s absolute power and sovereignty over all things.

Pray that God will give you that conviction.
O Love beyond Compare,

You are good when you give,

when you take away,

when the sun shines upon me,

when night gathers over me.

You have loved me before the foundation of the world,

and in love did redeem my soul;

You do love me still,

in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
our goodness has been with me another year,

leading me through a twisting wilderness,

in retreat helping me to advance,

when beaten back making sure headway.

Your goodness will be with me in the year ahead;

I hoist sail and draw up anchor,

With you as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.

I bless you that you have veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.

If you have appointed storms of tribulation,

you will be with me in them;

If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,

I will not drown;

If I am to die,

I shall see your face the sooner;

If a painful end is to be my lot,

grant me grace that my faith fail not;

If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,

I can make no stipulation;

Only glorify yourself in me whether in comfort or trial,

as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

Believe with all your heart that in everything, he does right, and he does good.
It doesn’t do any good to believe in God's sovereignty if you think he’s evil. He has to be sovereign and good, sovereign and wise, sovereign and merciful.

Repent of all the times that you have questioned God and found fault with him.
 It isn’t right to question God. God can handle it, and he can forgive it, but it’s just not good, and we should repent of it.

Be satisfied with his holy will in your life.
Please let nothing that I say in these hours together in any way imply that you shouldn’t feel the full force of the pain of loss, and weep, and shave your head, and tear your clothes, and fall on the ground. I will miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord, Jesus, I bow. I am satisfied with the will of my heavenly Father. I seek by perfect submission to his holy will to glorify him. I kiss, continually, the hand that has thus afflicted me. - George Muller
Job 42:5 ESV
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, 

but now my eye sees you;

Job 42:6 ESV
therefore I despise myself, 

and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job bows more deeply
In those six verses, Job has his own moment with God, when he bows more deeply than ever before.  He stops hoping for an explanation from God.  He reproaches himself even for expecting it.  He says a profound “Yes” to this:

Psalm 46:10 ESV
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
God accomplishes a work of renewal in Job’s heart.  

But God does not say to him, “Job, you know very well why I did all this.  You sinned here, and here, and here.  Remember?”  God never joins with Job’s accusers. In verses 7-9 God confronts Job’s friends.  

Job 42:7 ESV
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.

Job 42:8 ESV
Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

Job 42:9 ESV
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

God confronts Job’s friends.
Surprisingly, God does not say to them, “You have not spoken of Job what is right.”  God says, “You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”  The debate was really about God all along.  

The real question was not, What kind of person is Job?  The real question was, What kind of person is God?  

They had been saying, in effect, “Job, we represent God.  He is like us.  So if you satisfy us, you will satisfy God.”  What arrogance.

God turns the tables on them.
So God turns the tables on them.  He commands them to take a sacrifice to Job, who will act as their priest and pray for them and get them off the hook with God.  Now we realize how important it was for Job’s three friends that he not surrender and agree to their accusations.  
God turns the tables on them.

When their day of reckoning came, they needed a true friend to stand in for them and pray for them.  By holding onto his integrity, Job was ready to serve them when everything in their relationship with God was on the line.

They humbled themselves
So they humbled themselves and came to Job, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer for them.  I don’t know if their theology changed but I am guessing their hearts changed.  I have a hunch that, for the rest of their lives, they were more cautious, more restrained, more self-aware, as they formed opinions about suffering people.

Job prays for his friends
In verses 10-17, after Job prays for his friends — that sequence of events is significant — then God restores Job’s fortunes.  God was compassionate and merciful (James 5:11), Job was compassionate and merciful, and his life ended really well.

The way back to God is often through a healed relationship.

The very man that they said was far from God, out of touch with God, and sinning against God has become their mediator with God, their priest. Why did he do it that way? Because the way back to God is often through a healed relationship.

You would think that Job’s repentance in 42:1-6 would be sufficient, but it isn’t because he is calling him to love his enemies. It’s a relational thing that has to happen here, not just a vertical thing.

Matthew 5:43 ESV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Matthew 5:44 ESV
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

He is saying, “You go to them. I have appointed their humbling before you, and I have appointed your humbling before them. Both of you are sinners. The whole point of the story is what James said in

James 5:11 ESV
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
 The whole point of the story is mercy.

Will you show it as well as receive it? Yes, his life is restored, but it’s restored after that magnificent reconciliation through a sacrifice to his enemy.

He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

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