Front Page
Meditations Contents
Series Theme: The Anguish of Job
Series Contents:

1 to 10

11 to 20

31 to 40

41 to 50

51. You ARE a Sinner

52. Where is He?

53. Why Evil?

54. Man righteous?

55 I am righteous

56. Where is Wisdom?

57. I can Justify

58. Introducing Elihu

59. Preparing the Way

60. Lessons in Love


61 to 68



1-10 roughly cover Ch.1-4

11-20 roughly cover Ch.4-7

21-30 roughly cover Ch.8-11

31-40 roughly cover Ch.12-15

41-50 roughly cover Ch.16-21

51-60 cover Ch.22-33

61-68 cover Ch.34-42

Meditation No. 59


Meditation Title:   Preparing the Way


Job 32:10-12   Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know. I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention. But not one of you has proved Job wrong; none of you has answered his arguments.


Some commentators complain that Elihu is wordy but I believe we see in the verses we'll consider today, a young man, aware of his youthfulness, who seeks to be gracious and seeks to explain why he is daring to speak in the company of these older and, one might suppose, wiser men. He starts by, in a sense, laying down his right to speak: “I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning…. I gave you my full attention,” i.e. I have sat quietly taking in all that you have said. I have not interrupted (implied) or joined in; I've sat, listened and thought about what you have said. And, to the three friends, “not one of you has proved Job wrong.” This is the truth, this summary of all that they have said. As we noted in the previous meditations, the Lord also chided these three with, “ you have not spoken of me what is right.” (Job 42:7)

He continues, “Do not say, `We have found wisdom; let God refute him, not man.” (v.13) I like the Message version's take on this: “And don't excuse yourselves by saying, ‘We've done our best. Now it's up to God to talk sense into him.” That's a cop out, we might say, but he's not going to be defeatist like this: “But Job has not marshaled his words against me, and I will not answer him with your arguments.” (v.14) i.e. I'm not going to use the same wrong arguments you used.

This then becomes like a stage play where one player moves aside from the rest and talks out loud for the sake of the audience, for it's as if he makes an aside about the three friends who have been silenced: “They are dismayed and have no more to say; words have failed them. Must I wait, now that they are silent, now that they stand there with no reply?” (v.15,16) Look at this, he says, they've run out of words, so must I remain silent any longer while they say nothing? No, he continues, “I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.” (v.17) Why? Because he feels like he's about to explode: “For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.” (v.18-20). In this he sounds like some of the prophets who felt the same thing. They tried to remain silent but God's word, bottled up in them, just had to explode out!

Then he gives a little warning: “I will show partiality to no one, nor will I flatter any man; for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away.” (v.21,22). It's all right, he reassures the friends, I'm not going to take sides and I'm not just going to pat Job on the back to encourage him, because if I did that God would not be pleased. We are in the business of truth and although grace may prevail, it has to do so in the face of the truth!

But then, as we move into the next chapter, he turns directly to Job: “But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say.” (v.1) Now this may sound a little condescending but I believe he is in fact acknowledging that Job has almost come to the end of himself with all this arguing and needs this exhortation to hang on in a bit longer and hear what he has to say. He goes on: “I am about to open my mouth; my words are on the tip of my tongue.” (v.2) i.e. I can't hold back any longer so please stay with me, I've got to speak! Please understand, he continues, “My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (v.3,4) i.e. please see that I'm trying to come without any deviousness and I will speak as sincerely as possible, to share what I believe God's Holy Spirit has taught me.

“Answer me then, if you can; prepare yourself and confront me. I am just like you before God; I too have been taken from clay. No fear of me should alarm you, nor should my hand be heavy upon you.” (v.5-7) i.e. please give me answers and be ready to challenge what I say if it is untrue (implied) because we're both just men and I don't come threateningly to seek to overpower you.

In the poetic form that this story comes, it may appear a little straight-laced to us but I believe the tone or sense of Elihu's words are as I have suggested. I have always been struck by the similarities between what he says and then what the Lord says. I believe he comes as a godly intermediary. This is no jumped-up upstart trying to put down these four older men. I believe we should see graciousness in the way he says things. This run-in to the main thrust of what he has to say to Job suggests a diplomat, or at least one who is concerned about the people he is addressing.

Perhaps these thoughts might leave us thinking about how we approach people who we feel need correcting. Presumably we have earned some right to be in the position of correcting another. If not we should remain silent! But perhaps by servant hearted godliness we have to come to the place of being in a position to help others in their thinking. We have to assume from the context that they have wrong thinking and we need to help them correct it. Do we come to them as people who are obviously lesser beings who can't think properly for themselves, or do we approach them as children of God to whom we are coming as servants. I am always mindful of Paul's words to the Ephesian elders: “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood . (Acts 20:28 ) What was he saying to them? As you care for the church, remember that these are people who are precious to Jesus for he gave his life for them. They are precious to him! That is how we approach Christians in need of correction: they are precious to Jesus and we should treat them accordingly. May it be so!