Some experiences are very deep; to find a special friend it is very good. We know of Job’s three friends and they are mentioned right through the book of Job. They were mentioned at the beginning and they were there listening and they were there with Job. They were there when Job lost so much, when he lost his family, lost all his possessions and his animals, and then lost his health. They gathered with him and they sat with him for a week and they did not speak. There is something that can speak very loudly in quietness. Those three friends were with him for seven days and then they began to speak. There is another friend that I’ve only just discovered and started to understand and he is Elihu. He was not one of the three, but it seems he was very much there with them.
It is not till chapter 32 that we come upon Elihu. Yet, he had been there all the time. We are gathered together trying to find meaning, to understand what has happened in the past year so we can go on with comfort and strength, and we need to find Elihu. I realise one of the reasons that there is not true comfort and not true strength and even meaning here, is because I have not found Elihu and who was he and who is he. He is like the spirit of God and I started to read and try and understand what Elihu did. It was immediately after Elihu had stopped speaking that God Himself was able to speak. Have we a friend like Elihu who brings the spirit of truth, who brings comfort so that God can speak. When God spoke it bought clear meaning to all that was taking place and that is what we need even today. I could say not one here that has not had some kind of deep experiences, it mightn’t be to the extent of losing all you have, your possessions and your business and it may not be to the extent of losing loved ones but there are many kinds of deep experiences. Sometimes we don’t understand what they mean and we put them aside.
A few weeks ago, we were in a shed and there were all these pallets with bits and pieces on them. When I asked what was all that and they said it was a John Deere tractor. They had bought it from an auction from someone who tried to restore it and had pulled it all down. They did not know how and they did not have time and it was all put in boxes and it did not make any sense. They put it aside and there was dust all over it. It can be like us sometimes with experiences and we do not know how to put it together and it does not make sense. That is when we need Elihu and who is able to help us to see. I feel he was there in those seven days of silence. It would appear that he had listened to what Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar had said and he had not spoken a word. That is how it is when we have friends that reason with us from the human viewpoint and it doesn’t put all the parts together, it doesn’t put any meaning. That is often the first thing that happens, we look to our friends, we are thankful for them.
When you hear about the three friends and what they spoke, there were some wise things said. They spoke truth in many parts of what they said, but they did not bring comfort, and they didn’t bring meaning or reassurance that Elihu did so that God could speak. Those three friends spoke with the firstborn nature, they reasoned together and went round and round with their reasoning and the second young born nature did not get a chance to speak. How many times has that happened to us, and we go round and round in that old human nature which was their first? That younger nature that is born into God’s children, and the spirit that is given to anyone that would obey His voice – it did not get a chance until the human voice was quietened.
Then a little voice spoke and it was Elihu in chapter 32. He was quietly in the background and not given much credibility and that is how it is with human reasoning. It doesn’t give much room or credibility for the spirit of Christ to speak. Human nature has lots of reasoning and explanations and it continues to go round and round. That is what was happening, until finally the voice was quietened and Elihu could finally begin speaking, because the human had stopped speaking. The true friend we have is the one who bought the spirit of Christ, and it brings something that breaks the cycle of going round and round and then it allows God to speak. It is all the boxes of parts and broken bits and dismantled bits of our life. We may feel we have been a bit dismantled and we don’t know how to put it back together and we don’t know what it really means, because they are not together the tractor has no power, no power to move on, or to be ready to plough the field and put old things under and allow a new crop to grow because the old tractor is in bits. What those three friends did and when they went round around, they went in the cycle of blame and that is what human nature does. Why did this happen? We feel we could pin the blame on someone else, that would be the answer and it gives no peace and is not the real answer.
Jesus’ disciples in John 9, they said, “Whose fault is it that this man was born blind?” Jesus said, “It was no one’s fault.” Jesus never put blame and He said it was because the work of God can be made real. And it is only the spirit that can help us see that and put that meaning in our life. We need the intercession of the spirit that will break the cycle of blame and that is what Jesus did. He came to break this cycle of blame and that is what the spirit will do and the spirit of comfort will do.
Elihu chapter 32:3 and part of 6, “Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet they condemned Job. Elihu answered and said, ‘I am young and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid and durst not shew you mine opinion.’” Elihu had already spoken to Job and his three friends tried to get meaning to all that had happened and were going round and round in the cycle of blame. Elihu spoke up and he realised he was the younger one and he waited. God’s spirit is often waiting to find a little space to be able to speak and to show us what the meaning of all this is.
There was righteous anger and indignation and then there was a godly anger that came through in Elihu. Righteous anger is something that really belongs to the human nature. It is unfair and it should not be like that and we get angry, and it is not a godly anger. What happens with that kind of righteous anger? We see what it did to the oldest son in Luke 15. It makes us take sides and we see what is not fair and the older son took a side and he ended up on the outside. There was an open door and he would not go in, that was all because he had a righteous anger. When we try to do everything with our own human reasoning, it puts us on a side. It happens every time when we let ourselves be drawn by human reasoning. We get drawn out onto a limb, and what happens when the limb gets broken off? We go with it. Then we find we are outside and that is why we should never take a side in any situation.
There was a feeling a few days before the Passover in John 12 when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet. Judas felt something in him and he spoke up about how it should have been sold for 300 pence and given to the poor. Then in Simon’s home in Bethany, this indignation was amongst the disciples because it says, “they.” It’s amazing how it spread in four days. When this lady anointed Jesus’ head, and for days before, Mary had come and anointed Jesus’ feet and that feeling that Judas had spread in four days. Then all the disciples were saying what Judas had said, this righteous anger affects others and draws them to one side.
We need the help of someone like Elihu to have the right spirit that will break that cycle. Because blood is thicker than water, it is easy to see what is fair from our perspective. It is just a human perspective and if it is human nature, we will go by that law that blood is thicker than water. We will always give the support to the one that is flesh and blood, but the spirit is stronger than both. We need to hear the voice that is interceding and gives us a perspective that makes all the difference so we would not get drawn to a side and find ourselves outside. The deep experiences that hurt us and bring pain to us, we would find meaning because of the spirit and then God would speak Himself. There was no answer but just condemnation and that is what Elihu had seen. There is no answer in going round and round in circles in that cycle of blame and condemnation. It is good if we are here and things we thought had no meaning and makes no sense and then we can understand because we simply allow the spirit to speak, and then we feel God speaking to us individually. It is a spirit that speaks, it will move us towards the support of the Kingdom and not in support of this side or that side, or that person or this person, or what she said or what he said and it will be in support of what is best for the kingdom of heaven. It is going to give us an eternal perspective and that is why when Elihu spoke it did change.
John 16 is very much a picture of Elihu. Verse 13, “Howbeit when He the spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak; and He will shew you things to come.” That is what the spirit of truth is able to do for us, to bring this perspective of eternity into the whole mix. The things we thought were big in the light of eternity, they are only a speck. We do not like going around in a circle that has no solution. Elihu said, “Durst not shew you mine opinion.” It is surprising how many times people ask us for our opinion, and ask for advice. It is not opinions or worldly advice that you and I need in many situations, it is what the spirit can do when it touches us. The more I read about what Elihu had spoken, the more I realised it was what God had spoken to him; it was not his own thoughts or words. To play the blame game it just brings condemnation.
Bildad said, “How long is it before you are going to make an end of words?” Job 18:2, “How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? Mark and afterwards, we will speak.” There was not much encouragement. In the end of the chapter, he said, “Shall his roots dry up beneath? Shall the remembrance perish from the earth? Shall lightness be driven into darkness?” and so forth. He was just going downwards. That cycle of condemnation goes downwards and is not helpful and healthy and it seems to go round and round and we cannot break the cycle. There are many things that go round and round and we cannot break them in our own strength. We need the intercession of the spirit so we can hear God speaking directly to us and it will make all the difference.
Luke 22:34-35,. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness and cares of this life and so that day come unto you unawares. For is this there shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” One of the biggest addictions I find I get into is the addiction of shallowness and things get shallower and go round and round in circles. Just addicted to things that have no depth, it is an addiction because you try to stop it. If you leave here and try to get some depth from your own human thinking, it will not work. We need the spirit like Elihu and that will make all the difference and you can get power then and you can see things differently. And I’m glad for that power that is possible when the spirit begins to speak and then God speaks to us individually.
Jesus had this spiritual anger and it seemed like it was building up in Elihu and caused him to speak the way he did. The spirit was building up and he could not resist it any more. Jesus had that godly anger. Mark 3:5, “And when He looked around about them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts….” And that was godly anger. Jesus was trying to bring healing into the situation and they did not want to let it happen. It was a bit like that godly anger that came through Elihu.
Job 32:19-21, ”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.” John 7:38, “He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” It was not about how good his parents were or about titles and it is about the spirit that we are of and that is the important thing. We can get side-tracked and lose our spirit sometimes because of experiences.
The things that Elihu spoke in chapter 33 are things that are still happening today and can happen to us. It just gives us a consciousness that God has made us all and it makes us aware we are all dust, and we are all temporary, and we are all on the same level. Elihu was able to convince Job by saying, “I have done nothing wrong,” and trying to justify himself. It did not work and it does not work.
Job 33:24-28, “Then is He 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, 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 him his righteousness.’ He looketh unto man 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.” He bought the conviction of what was wrong and he doesn’t leave us there but shows us what is wrong and how we can make it right. That is what Elihu had pointed out and that is what the spirit can do for us today. It will bring judgment and the ability to judge and to be able to reason with judgment and justifies and not like the world tries to justify. It justifies us by the life of Jesus and brings us into line and helps us to be in line with Jesus. We are not aware of the conversations in heaven and they were not aware of the conversation that had been going on in Heaven where the devil had spoken up and God had spoken to him. It was very much to do with the conversation that they had never heard and that is why Job went through all he did.
In Luke 13, there was a conversation about the vineyard that the owner owned, the fig tree that had no fruit on it, and the owner said it had to go. He was told to leave it alone and he was going to dig about it and fertilise it. For three years and every time, they had an annual review. He said he would give it another chance – the things we hear are very likely a conversation between the intercessor and owner in heaven and He looks down and sees your life and mine and sees what we are struggling with and things shared and spoken are to do with helping us to have meaning.
In the end of this book of Job, there was a sacrifice of burnt offering that those three friends had to bring. They had to bring it and Job had to pray for those three friends and there was no mention about Elihu. Because God heard Job’s prayer, he was set free, set him free from the captivity and his three friends. He had prayed and they had obeyed in bringing the burnt offering and that is what the spirit of intercession does for us also. Elihu was able to speak and bring them to that place to find intercession and understand a little more clearly what it was all about. There is one that cares so much and is going to put all those parts together, things we may have thrown in the box and putting them together for us so they can have power and can go in a different direction from and the way we were going before.