Today’s selected reading continues and concludes the Old Testament poetic book of Job which not only describes the suffering of Job, but also describes the struggle and conflict Job had in the midst of that suffering as he wrestled with understanding God and his own righteousness. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-nine through forty-two of this Old Testament book. THEN THE LORD ANSWERED JOB OUT OF THE WHIRLWIND! THEN THE LORD ANSWERED JOB OUT OF! THEN THE LORD ANSWERED JOB! THEN THE LORD ANSWERED! THEN THE LORD! THEN! WHO IS THIS THAT DARKNETH COUNSEL BY WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE? GIRD UP NOW THY LOINS LIKE A MAN! I WILL DEMAN OF THEE, AND ANSWER THOU ME! WHERE WAST THOU WHEN I LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH? DECLARE, IF THOU HAST UNDERSTANDING! KNOWEST THOU IT, BECAUSE THOU WAST THEN BORN? OR BECAUSE THE NUMBER OF THY DAYS IS GREAT? THE INFINITENESS OF GOD! THE FINITENESS OF MAN! THE MAJESTY OF GOD! THE SPLENDOR OF GOD! TRANSITIONING FROM THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD TO THE SUPREMACY OF GOD! TRANSITIONING FROM THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD TO THE POWER OF GOD! MOREOVER THE LORD ANSWERED JOB! SHALL HE THAT CONDENDETH WITH THE ALMIGHTY INSTRUCT HIM? HE THE REPROVETH GOD, LET HIM ANSWER IT! THEN JOB ANSWERED THE LORD, AND SAID! BEHOLD, I AM VILE! WHAT SHALL I ANSWER THEE? I WILL LAY MINE HAND UPON MY MOUTH! ONCE HAVE I SPOKEN; BUT I WILL NOT ANSWER! YEA, TWICE; BUT I WILL PROCEED NO FURTHER! THEN THE ANSWERED THE LORD UNTO JOB OUT OF THE WHIRLWIND! GIRD UP THY LOINS NOW LIKE A MAN! I WILL DEMAND OF THEE, AND DECLARE THOU UNTO ME! WILT THOU ALSO DISANNUL MY JUDGMENT? WILT THOU CONDEMN ME, THAT THOU MAYEST BE RIGHTEOUS? HAST THOU AN ARM LIKE GOD? CANST THOU THUNDER WITH A VOICE LIKE HIM? DECK THYSELF NOW WITH MAJEST AND EXCELLENCY! ARRY THYSELF WITH GLORY AND BEAUTY! CAST ABROAD THE RAGE OF THY WRATH! BEHOLD EVERY ONE THAT IS PROUD, AND ABASE HIM! LOOK ON EVERY ONE THAT IS PROUD, AND BRING HIM LOW! TREAD DOWN THE WICKED IN THEIR PLACE! HIDE THEM IN THE DUST TOGETHER; AND BIND THEIR FACES IN SECRET! THEN WILL I ALSO CONFESS UNTO THEE THAT THINE OWN RIGHT HAND CAN SAVE THEE! THEN JOB ANSWERED THE LORD! I KNOW THAT THOU CANST DO EVERY THING, AND THAT NO THOUGHT CAN BE WITHHOLDEN FROM THEE! WHO IS HE THAT HIDETH COUNSEL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE? THEREFORE HAVE I UTTERED THAT I UNDERSTOOD NOT! THINGS TOO WONDERFUL FOR ME, WHICH I KNEW NOT! HEAR, I BESEECH THEE, AND I WILL SPEAK! I WILL DEMAND OF THEE, AND DECLARE THOU UNTO ME! I HAVE HEARD OF THEE BY THE HEARING OF THE EAR: BUT NOW MINE EYES SEETH THEE! WHEREFORE I ABHORE MYSELF, AND REPENT IN DUST AND ASHES!
AND IT WAS SO, THAT AFTER THE LORD HAD SPOKEN THESE WORDS UNTO JOB, THE LORD SAID TO ELIPHAZ THE TEMANINTE, MY WRATH IS KINDLED AGAINST THEE, AND AGAINST THY TWO FRIENDS! YE HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME THE THING THAT IS RIGHT, AS MY SERVANT JOB HATH! THEREFORE TAKE UNTO YOU NOW SEVEN BULLOCKS AND SEVEN RAMS, AND GO TO MY SERVANT JOB, AND OFFER UP FOR YOURSELVES A BURNT OFFERING! MY SERVANT JOB SHALL PRAY FOR YOU! HIM WILL I ACCEPT! LEST I DEAL WITH YOU AFTER YOUR FOLLY, IN THAT YE HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME THE THING WHICH IS RIGHT, LIKE MY SEVANT JOB! THE LORD TURNED THE CAPTIVITY OF JOB, WHEN HE PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS! THE LORD GAVE JOB TWICE AS MUCH AS HE HAD BEFORE! THEN CAME THERE UNTO HIM ALL HIS BRETHREN, AND ALL HIS SISTERS, AND ALL THEY THAT HAD BEEN OF HIS ACQUAINTANCE BEFORE, AND DID EAT BREAD WITH HIM IN HIS HOUSE! THEY BEMOANED HIM, AND COMFORTED HIM OVER ALL THE EVIL THAT THE LORD HAD BROUGHT UPON HIM! EVERY MAN ALSO GAVE HIM A PIECE OF MONEY, AND EVERY ONE AN EARRING OF GOLD! SO THE LORD BLESSED THE LATTER END OF JOB MORE THAN HIS BEGINNING! JOB DIED! BEING OLD AND FULL OF DAYS!
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their crypt by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hittites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:1-10).
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the Mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not as your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them. So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them” (Exodus 19:10-25).
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21).
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. And be reading in the m owning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O LORD, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiff necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee” (Exodus 34:1-10).
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:9-18).
“And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even dowardward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:26-28).
THEN THE LORD ANSWERED JOB OUT OF THE WHIRLWIND! MOREOVER THE LORD ANSWERED JOB! THEN ANSWERED THE LORD UNTO JOB OUT OF THE WHIRLWIND! AFTER THE LORD HAD SPOKEN THESE WORDS UNTO JOB! As the Old Testament book of Job draws to a close you will find a marked and noticeable difference from how the book opened up and began. In the opening chapters of the book of Job we find the sovereign LORD of creation and Satan the accuser and adversary speaking with one another in the courts of heaven. The first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Job contain a powerful description of the sovereignty of God as set in direct comparison with the adversarial and accusatory nature of Satan who is that ancient serpent in the garden. The opening chapters of the Old Testament book of Job present us with the awesome and incredible reality that Job was indeed a man who was perfect and upright, and a man who feared God and shunned evil. Despite the fact that Job was perfect and upright before the LORD his God, and despite the fact that he feared God and shunned evil, we find the LORD deliberately and intentionally allowing all that he had to be turned over into the hands of the enemy and adversary. What is truly intriguing about the narrative of the Old Testament book of Job is that in the opening chapters we find not once, not twice, but three times how Job was perfect and upright, and how Job was a man who feared God and shunned evil, while in the final chapter of the book we learn something different about Job—namely, that when speaking unto Eliphaz the Temanite, the LORD spoke of Job as His servant. It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand this, for it is truly something worth looking into and considering as we seek to understand the narrative of Job and the tremendous amount of suffering the LORD permitted him to experience. Without warning and without any sort of advanced notice we find Job’s name being mentioned in the courts of heaven as Satan the accuser and the adversary stood before the presence of the LORD among the witness of the sons of God who came and appeared before the LORD. There in the courts of heaven we find Satan not only speaking to his adversarial nature and seeking whom he may devour, but we also see his accusatory nature put on full display, as he not only accused Job of fearing God only because of what the LORD had given him, but also accused the LORD of making Job untouchable. Satan sought to accuse the LORD of creation of favoritism, and even allowing Job to be untouchable and unloveable, as the LORD not only blessed the work of his hands, and not only increased his substance upon the earth, but the LORD also made up a hedge round about him.
The more I read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Job—particularly and especially the more I consider the final five chapters—the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible reality that thirty-seven chapters passed in the Old Testament book of Job before the LORD finally spoke up and finally answered. Perhaps one of the single greatest realities found in the midst of Job’s suffering is his desire to hear the voice of the LORD, and his desire to hear the voice of the living God. In the midst of his suffering and affliction Job desired that the LORD would answer him, and that the LORD would hear his cry and petition and would speak to him. It is absolutely necessary and important that we recognize this all important reality, for in the throes of suffering, the single greatest desire Job had within his heart was simply to hear the voice of the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that in the midst of the suffering which Job faced and experienced, he desired one thing above everything else—namely, to not only know that the LORD heard his words, but that the LORD would actually respond and speak to him. We cannot, we dare not, we must not miss and lose sight of this tremendous reality and thought, for when we finally do read of the LORD breaking His silence, we find Him emphatically speaking unto Job suggesting that He heard every single word Job had spoken in the company of his three friends. As you begin reading the opening verses of the thirty-eighth chapter of this Old Testament book you will not only find the LORD answering Job out of the whirlwind, but you will find the LORD speaking directly unto Job suggesting the awesome reality that He had indeed heard every word which Job had spoken in the company of His friends. In fact, when you consider and compare the words found in the thirty-eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Job with the words found in the forty-second and final chapter of the book you will find that not only did the LORD hear the words which Job had spoken in His hearing and in His presence, but the LORD also heard every word which Eliphaz the Temanite and his two friends had spoken in the company of Job, as well as in the hearing of the LORD. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about this reality, for it brings us face to face with the tremendous reality of what our words truly accomplish when we attempt to “mourn with and comfort” those who find themselves in the throes of suffering and affliction.
One of the most striking features surrounding the Old Testament book of Job is when you think about the fact that not only did the LORD hear the words which Job had spoken in the company of his friends, but the LORD was also very much aware of, and heard every single word which Eliphaz the Temanite and his two friends had spoken unto Job in the midst of his suffering. In order to truly understand this reality more fully and much clearer, it is absolutely necessary that we draw our attention—first to the words which are found in the opening verses of the thirty-second chapter of the book of Job, as well as the words which are found within the forty-second chapter of the same book. In the final verse of the thirty-first chapter we find the phrase “The words of Job are ended.” With these words the author of the Old Testament book emphatically declares and brings the reader and audience of this book face to face with the fact that like a locomotive that may run out of steam, Job himself ran out of words and finally stopped speaking. With the final verse of the thirty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Job we find Job no longer and no more having anything left to say. In fact, we might very well say that Job’s words had been exhausted, and that there was essentially nothing left for Job to speak in the hearing of his three friends. What began with Job breaking the seven day and seven night silence in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Job would ultimately and finally conclude with the words which are found in the final verse of the thirty-second chapter. In all reality, I would dare say that before the LORD would—perhaps even before the LORD could speak, He first needed to wait until Job had made an end of his speeches, and waited until Job no longer had any more words left to speak. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words which are found in the final verse of the thirty-first chapter, as well as the words which are found in the opening verses of the thirty-second chapter, and even in the opening verse of the thirty-eighth chapter and the forty-second chapter, that the LORD clearly waited for Job to make an end of speaking. It is true that Job might very well have longed for the LORD to hear Him, and might have longed for the LORD to speak to him, however, it becomes quite apparent when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture that the LORD clearly waited for Job to not only come to the end of himself in the midst of his suffering, but also in the midst of his righteousness and justification. WHEN YOU COME TO THE END OF YOURSELF! WSHEN YOU COME TO THE END OF YOURSELF IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING! WHEN YOU COME TO THE END OF YOURSELF IN THE MIDST OF JUSTIFICATION! Consider if you will the words which are found in these select passages of Scripture and you will begin to see a picture emerge within the book of Job concerning Job’s desire for the LORD to answer him, and when the LORD would finally respond to Job and answer Him. Beginning with the final verse of the thirty-first chapter of the book of Job you will find the following words:
“The words of Job are ended” (Job 31:9).
“So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the k indeed of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found now answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled. And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said” (Job 32:1-6).
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me” (Job 38:1-3).
“Moreover, the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it” (Job 40:1-2).
“Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou and arm like God? Or canst thou thunder with a voice like him” (Job 4);6-9).
“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams,and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folloy, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temnanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:7-10).
“So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).
Upon reading the words which are found within each of these passages of Scripture you will find that what began in the third chapter with Job opening his mouth after sitting in silence for seven days and seven nights with his friends would conclude with Job finally coming to the end of words, and to the end of his speech. I can’t help but find this to be absolutely remarkable and astounding when you think about it, for in the final verse of the thirty-first chapter of this Old Testament book we find the words of Job coming to an end, and yet what we must recognize and understand is that Job had finished answering and speaking to his friends. When, however, you come to chapters thirty-eight through forty-two you will find Job speaking again, yet not speaking to his three friends, nor speaking in response to the words which his friends had spoken unto him, but rather we find Job speaking directly unto the LORD himself. Finally, after so much dialogue and discussion and debate had taken place between Job and his friends Job had come to the end of his words, and in all reality, I would dare say—came to the end of himself and to his desire to justify himself. Oh, as I sit here this morning I find myself coming face to face with the absolutely tremendous reality of Job finally being brought to the point and place where he no longer had anything to say, and when he had finally run out of words to speak in the company of his friends. This is something that is quite extraordinary, for I am convinced that there are times when we desire the LORD to hear us, and we desire the LORD to answer us, and yet more often than not the LORD cannot answer us because we have not made an end of our much speaking. I am convinced that there have been countless times when I have desired—perhaps desperately desired—the LORD to not only hear me, but also to answer and speak to me, and yet the LORD has been prevented from doing so because of the much words which I have continued to spew forth in His hearing and in His presence. Oh it is true that I might very well desire the voice of the LORD speaking within my heart and within my life, and yet there is something that needs to take place, and something that needs to happen within our hearts and lives. Oh it is true that we might very well desire the LORD to speak to us, and yet the LORD can’t speak to us because we haven’t been brought to the place where we have run out of many words which we have spoken.
If there is one thing we find within the book of Job, it’s that all the speaking we find within the life of Job, and all the words which Job had spoken weren’t spoken unto the LORD whom he feared, and whom he worshipped. Beginning with chapter three and continuing all the way through to chapter thirty-one we find the words which Job spoke being spoken unto his friends. I sit here this morning and I can’t help but wonder if it could have been possible for the LORD to speak to Job earlier on in the narrative if he either had not spoken anything, or had simply stopped speaking earlier. What we must recognize and understand concerning the book of Job is that this man was not truly ready to hear the voice of the LORD speaking to him until he was first willing to come to the end of his much speaking, and come to the end of his many words. What makes this even more captivating and challenging is when you think about and consider the fact that the words which Job spoke weren’t necessarily spoken to the LORD, but were words which were spoken unto his friends. Most of what we find within chapters three through thirty-one are words which Job spoke in the hearing and presence of his friends. It was and it is true that scattered and interspersed within his words and phrases there were declarations and statements that might very well be considered prayers and petitions before and in the sight of the living God, however, a vast majority of the words which Job spoke in the hearing and company of his friends were words that were in direct response to their condemning him. We know for a fact that the words which Job’s three friends had spoken unto him were words of condemnation, words of accusation, words of judgment, and words of criticism, for when we finally begin reading of a fourth friend who was in the mix with Job and these three others, we find it mentioned that his wrath was kindled because they had no answer for Job, and yet condemned him for being wicked and unrighteous in the sight of the living God. Much of the words which we find Job speaking within this Old Testament book of Job was in direct response unto the words of condemnation, criticism and judgment which his three friends had spoken unto him. Oh it is true that it was Job himself who broke the silence after his friends sat in silence without speaking a word to him for seven days and seven nights, but it was the words which Job spoke in the hearing and company of his friends that very first time that opened the doors for his three friends to begin condemning, criticizing, judging and accusing him of wickedness and unrighteousness before the LORD. Much of what we find in chapters four through thirty-one are Job’s three friends condemning and accusing Job of sin and unrighteousness before and in the sight of the living God, and Job’s response to their baseless accusations and words of condemnation.
As we read and consider the words which are found in this Old Testament poetic book, it is necessary that we consider the fact that before the LORD could indeed and could in fact speak to and respond to Job, He needed to first wait until after Job had made an end of his words, made an end of his speeches, and had made an end of his speaking. The question I can’t help but ask is why the LORD didn’t speak to Job at the beginning of the thirty-second chapter. If in the final verse of the thirty-first chapter we find the words of Job concluding and coming to an end, then we have to ask ourselves how and why the LORD did not and would not immediately begin speaking once his words were brought to a close. In fact, it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading this Old Testament book, for it’s almost as if the LORD allowed another voice to be heard in the mix of this theological discussion, and in the midst of this “support group.” The LORD could have very easily appeared in the whirlwind when Job had made an end of his speaking, and when his words had ended, and yet what we find in the opening verses of the thirty-second chapter is another voice—the voice of Elihu—having a chance and opportunity to speak. The underlying question I can’t help but ask myself is whether or not the LORD allowed Elihu to speak in order to prepare the heart of Job for when He would finally break His silence, and when He would finally speak directly unto Job. I can’t help but wonder if the LORD allowed Elihu to speak in order to soften Job’s heart, and to prepare him for when the LORD would speak directly unto Job. I do not for one moment believe that Elihu was fully aware the LORD would appear in the midst of the whirlwind, nor even that the LORD was about to speak unto Job the servant of God. What we find with Elihu is his wrath being kindled against Job because he was righteous in his own eyes, and because he had justified himself rather than justifying the living God. We find Elihu’s wrath being kindled against Job’s three friends because they could not find an answer to Job, and yet had sought to condemn him. Despite the fact that they had no answer and could find no answer for Job, his three friends sought to condemn him anyway.
One thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading this book is how in the company of the sons of God in the court of heaven Satan accused Job of fearing God because the LORD had blessed the work of his hands, because the LORD had increased his substance upon the earth, and because the LORD had made up a hedge round about Job, round about His house, and round about all that he had. It’s worth noting and pointing out that although we no longer read of Satan’s accusation(s) against Job in the court of heaven before the throne of God in the presence of the witness of the sons of God, we find three of Job’s friends accusing, condemning and criticizing him. I can’t help but wonder if more often than not the adversary and accuser does his greatest work through the hearts and tongues of men—perhaps even those whom we perceive as being closest to us. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Satan does his greatest work in terms of accusing the saints of God—not only accusing the saints of God night and day before the throne of God, but also through the hearts and tongues of flesh and blood. OH it is true that once the first and second chapters of this book draw to a close there is no longer any mention of Satan, and we no longer have any mention of Satan himself seeking to accuse Job in the court of heaven. What we find instead, and what we find in place of Satan accusing Job in heaven is Job’s three friends accusing in the earth. ACCUSED IN HEAVEN, ACCUSED IN THE EARTH! We dare not and must not miss the tremendous significance and importance of this accusation in the earth, for while it is true Job was not aware of the accusation which took place in the court of heaven, he was indeed very much aware of the accusation which took place within the earth in the company and presence of his three friends. Job wasn’t aware of Satan’s accusation against him, and how Satan accused Job of fearing God because of the hedge of protection round about him, and because of the presence of provision and blessing within his life. Satan accused Job of great things in the court of heaven in the presence of the witness of the sons of God, and yet Job wasn’t aware of any of the dialogue which took place in the court of heaven. The only thing Job knew was that he was accused and condemned within the earth by three of his friends, as they could only explain the suffering of Job based on wickedness and unrighteousness that was somehow found within his heart and life. Job’s three friends understood suffering through the lens of wickedness and through the lens of sin and transgression in the sight of the LORD, and their only explanation for what Job was going through was sin and transgression that was found within his life. This is something that must be carefully understood and considered, for it helps us understand the much speaking and many words which Job spoke in this Old Testament poetic book.
It is within this Old Testament book that we encounter Job not only desiring the LORD to hear and answer him, but also seek to defend, and somehow justify himself in the company and presence of his three friends. One of the most intriguing realities we find in the Old Testament book of Job is that in the court of heaven although Job was accused in the court of heaven there was no one who rose and stood up as an advocate for him. We know in the New Testament that there is One who is seated at the right hand of the Father, and one who ever lives to make intercession for us, however, when and as we come to this Old Testament poetic book we find Job accused in the court of heaven by Satan the adversary, and instead of one rising up to intercede for him, and instead of one rising up to advocate for him, we find the LORD delivering everything Job had into the hands of the adversary. The underlying question I can’t help but wonder and ask when reading the narrative of the Old Testament book of Job is the tremendous significance and the tremendous importance of an advocate and one who would stand in the gap and intercede. Please note that I am in no way—and this is in no way—suggesting that Job’s suffering took place because there was no advocate who was willing to stand up in the court of heaven and make a defense for Job. I do not believe for one moment that Job walked through his suffering because there was no advocate or Intercessory found in the court of heaven. I cannot and will not speak and declare that Job’s suffering could have been avoided had there been an advocate and Intercessor in the court of heaven before the throne of God, in the company and witness of the sons of God, and before the adversary and accuser. What I am speaking about and suggesting is something that is quite intriguing when you read the words found in this Old Testament book, for what you find in this Old Testament book of Job is Job’s defense of himself, and Job’s need to present his case before his friends, as well as before the LORD his God. Much of Job’s speaking within this Old Testament book is his seeking to defend and justify himself in the company of his friends, as while Job was accused in the court of heaven in the presence of the sons of God, so also would he be accused in the court of his friends as they sought to condemn him of transgression and wickedness. ACCUSED IN THE COURT OF HEAVEN, ACCUSED IN THE COURT OF FRIENDS! It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this absolutely tremendous reality, for it is this reality that brings us face to face with the narrative that is found in the Old Testament book of Job—namely, that there was none to advocate for Job in the court of heaven, and in the earth in the midst of the court of his friends, Job would rise up and defend himself. In the court and company of his three friends Job would not only seek to defend himself, but would also seek to justify himself and his righteousness before the God whom he served.
What we find within the Old Testament book of Job is something that is truly captivating when and as you take the time to think about and consider it, for what is found in the Old Testament book of Job is a truly wonderful reality of Job being accused in the court of his friends—accused of transgression, accused of wickedness, accused of iniquity, accused of sin, accused of rebellion—and his need to justify and defend himself. The more you read the words which are written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Job the more you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that Job spent a great deal of time, effort and energy defending and justifying himself in the company of his three friends, and in the midst of their judgments, their accusation, and their condemnation of him. In all reality, I would dare say that Job’s words were based on two distinct fronts, for on the one hand we find Job setting out to defend and justify himself in the company and court of his friends, while on the other hand we find Job desperately desiring the LORD to hear and answer him. Most of the words which we find Job speaking in the company and court of his friends are words that sought to defend and justify himself. Perhaps one of the questions I can’t help but ask is what might have and what could have happened in this Old Testament book, and within the life of Job if he had chosen not to speak, and had instead chosen to allow God to justify and defend him. What would and what could have happened in the narrative of Job’s suffering had he allowed the LORD to come to his rescue, and allowed the LORD to justify him in the court of his friends. It was the sovereignty of the LORD who allowed and permitted the suffering of Job in the first place, and it would have been something truly extraordinary to read the narrative of that suffering and read how Job cast himself wholeheartedly and fully upon the justice of the living and eternal God, and allowed Him to defend and come to His rescue. How differently it would have been to read the Old Testament book of Job and consider Job not seeking to justify and defend himself in the company and presence of his friends, but had allowed the LORD to justify and defend him. The question I can’t help but ask myself is what could have happened if either (1) Job had chosen to remain silent in the midst of the accusation(s), the condemnation, the judgment(s) and the criticism(s) of his friends, or (2) instead of Job seeking to justify and defend himself, he continued speaking words similar to those which he spoke at the very beginning of the book. If you recall at the beginning of this Old Testament book—after Job had lost everything he had, which would include the death of his seven sons and three daughters—he made a wonderful and powerful declaration:
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20-22).
It’s actually quite something to think about and consider the fact that in the final verses of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Job we find Job falling down upon the ground and worshipping the LORD emphatically declaring that the LORD gives, and the LORD takes away, but blessed be the name of the LORD. What’s more, is that it’s quite intriguing to read in the final verse of the first chapter how in everything Job did, and in everything Job said he sinned not, nor did he charge God foolishly. This reality is something that is worth noting and paying close attention to, for when you come to the second chapter of the same book, and once more come to the court of heaven you will find the LORD once more asking Satan if he had considered His servant Job, and how there was none like him in the earth who was a perfect and upright man who feared God and shunned evil. Moreover, you will find the LORD going on to declare unto the adversary and accuser that Job continued to hold fast his integrity—despite the fact that He had been moved against him by Satan. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing reality, for there was something that happened between chapters one and two and chapter thirty-eight when we find the LORD speaking directly unto Job and declaring unto him of his darkening counsel by words without knowledge. It is something worth noting and considering when reading the words found in the opening chapters of the book of Job, for within the opening chapters we not only find Job not sinning with his lips by charging God foolishly, but we also find Job holding fast his integrity in the sight of the living God. When, however, we come to the thirty-eighth chapter we find the LORD speaking directly unto Job concerning the words which came forth from his mouth in the company and court of his friends. When it was just Job alone in the midst of his suffering, in the midst of his anguish, in the midst of pain, we find and discover that Job sinned not with his lips by charging God foolishly (or charging God with folly). By the time we come to the thirty-eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Job, however, we find the LORD directly confronting Job because of the words which he proceeded to speak in the company and court of his friends. Though it was true that in the beginning he did not sin with his lips by charging God foolishly, we find in the thirty-second chapter Job not only being righteous in his own eyes, but we also find Job justifying himself rather than justifying the living God. Although Job did not charge God foolishly at the beginning of his suffering, and although Job held fast his integrity despite Satan moving the LORD against him, we find the LORD seeking to confront Job directly because of the words which proceeded forth from his lips.
Throughout the dialogue between Job and his friends we find Job making much speech, and issuing forth many words, and despite the fact that Job earnestly and desperately desired the LORD to hear and answer him, the LORD would and could not answer him until he had made an end of his speaking. The LORD would deliberately and intentionally wait until Job had finished speaking—and not only until Job had finished and made an end of speaking, but also when his friends had finished and made an end of their speaking. I continue to find it absolutely amazing that once Job had finished speaking, the LORD didn’t immediately break His silence and speak directly unto Job. It was true that there would come a point in time when Job would no longer have anything to say—perhaps because he had exhausted all his thoughts and words, or perhaps because he saw that he was getting absolutely nowhere with his friends. We aren’t sure why or how Job came to the end of speaking, but what we can be absolutely certain of is that there did in fact come a point when Job had finished speaking, and when Job no longer had anything left to speak. In fact, Job wouldn’t respond again until the LORD Himself broke His silence and began speaking to Job. Immediately after Job had made an end of his much speaking and his many words we find Elihu who was the youngest in the group speaking up and expressing his knowledge and wisdom in the midst of this court of friends. We read of Elihu that has wrath was greatly kindled against Job because he was righteous in his own eyes, and because he justified himself rather than God. Moreover, Elihu’s wrath was kindled against Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar because they had no answer for Job, and yet they continued to condemn, criticize, accuse and judge him. It is truly something worth pointing out that rather than the LORD speaking up and speaking directly unto Job after he had finished speaking and made an end of his words, He allowed Elihu who was the youngest of this group of friends to speak up first, and to speak directly unto the group. The LORD could have very easily have spoken up at any point during the entirety of the narrative of Job’s suffering and struggle, and yet even after Job had finished speaking, Elihu was given the opportunity to speak—something that seems to indicate the words which Elihu would speak would prepare the heart of Job for the words which the LORD would speak directly unto him. The words which Elihu would speak unto Job would be fueled by wrath within his heart and soul that would be kindled by Job’s righteousness in his own eyes, and his seeking to justify himself rather than God.
The more I read through the narrative of the suffering and struggle of Job the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the incredible reality that by the time the LORD broke His silence, Job had spent a considerable amount of time justifying himself rather than God, and had deemed himself righteous in his own eyes. When the LORD began speaking directly unto Job He called into account the words which Job spoke concerning his own righteousness, as well as his justifying himself in his own eyes rather than justifying God. One of the greatest realities surrounding the voice of God actually speaking in the midst of the court of friendship is that He deliberately and intentionally waited until Job had made an end of speaking, and after Job no longer and no more had any words left to speak. This is something that is truly intriguing when you take the time to think about it, for I am convinced there are times within our lives when the LORD our God can and will deliberately and intentionally wait until we have made an end of speaking, and no longer have any words left to speak before He finally breaks His silence and begins to speak. Despite our desire for the LORD to hear from heaven, and despite our desire for the LORD to answer us, there are times when the LORD will wait until we have run out of words to speak in His presence before He finally answers us. I am absolutely and completely convinced that more often than not—despite our desire for the LORD to hear and answer us—He cannot get in a word edgewise because we are unwilling to quit speaking. I firmly believe that there are times within our lives when the LORD cannot speak to us, and when He will not speak to us because of our much speaking and our many words. Oh, we would like to think that the LORD would speak simply because we desire Him to do so, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. We cannot, we dare not, and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for this was something that Solomon the son of David recognized. If you read the words which are written and found within the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes you will find Solomon speaking of those who do not let the words be few—particularly and especially in the presence and hearing of the living God. Consider if you will the words which Solomon the son of David wrote in this Old Testament book beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the fifth chapter:
“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be no rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffers not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands. For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7).
KEEP THY FOOT WHEN THOU GOEST TO THE HOUSE OF GOD! BE MORE READY TO HEAR, THAN TO GIVE THE SACRIFICE OF FOOLS! BE NOT RASH WITH THY MOUTH! LET NOT THINE HEART BE HASTY TO UTTER ANY THING BEFORE GOD! GOD IS IN HEAVEN, AND THOU UPON THE EARTH! LET THY WORDS BE FEW! A FOOL’S VOICE IS KNOWN BY MULTITUDE OF WORDS! SUFFER NOT THE MOUTH TO CAUSE THY FLESH TO SIN! WHEREFORE SHOULD GOD BE ANGRY AT THY VOICE! IN THE MULTITUDE OF DREAMS AND MANY WORDS THERE ARE ALSO DIVERS VANITIES! FEAR THOU GOD!
The words which we find in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes are absolutely thought-provoking and convicting, for it brings us face to face with our incredible need to be absolutely mindful of the words that come out of our mouths. While the words which Solomon wrote speak of the words which we would dare utter when we enter and come into the house of the living God, the Old Testament book of Job brings us face to face with the words which we speak—perhaps not to the living God, but to those whom we fellowship and interact with. The words which Solomon wrote speak to that which we say when we come to the house of the living God, and yet what if I told you that there is just as much a need to be mindful of the words we speak in the company and/or court of our friends? What if I told you that there is a great need to be absolutely mindful of the words we speak when in the company of our friends and companions, and the words which we speak even when speaking for God. I would dare say that more often than not the words we speak about God are just as much and just as important as the words we speak to God. We tend to think that the words we speak to God are such that are weighed and tried, and yet the truth of the matter is that the words we speak about God are just as critical and just as vital as the words which we speak to God. Elihu’s wrath was kindled against Job because he attempted to justify himself rather than God—a reality which seems to indicate and point to the fact that the words which he spoke about himself, as well as the words which he spoke about the living God were not right in the sight of God. If I am being honest with you who are reading these words, I would dare say that in order for men and women to speak aright about God it is absolutely necessary and imperative that men and women know—and truly know—the living and eternal God. We cannot truly speak aright for the living and eternal God if we do not truly know the God of whom we speak. The Scriptures speak of and declare the reality of “I know in whom I have believed,” and yet I would take this even further and declare “I speak of whom I know.” Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—do you truly know the living and eternal God? Do you know the living God well enough to be able to speak about Him? Do you know enough about to God to even speak for Him? Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Jeremiah spoke concerning the false prophets which were present during his day and generation. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah beginning to read with and from the ninth verse:
“Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: For I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; They prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? Who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. And I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the LORD. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath. My word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therfore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? Thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house. Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? And, what hath the LORD spoken? And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God. Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? And, What hath the LORD spoken? But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD; Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: and I will bring and everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten” (Jeremiah 23:9-40).
If there is one thing the Old Testament poetic book of Job reveals, as well as the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, it’s that what we speak about God, and what we speak for God is just as important as what we speak to God. Solomon wrote concerning the words which we speak when we enter into the house of the LORD, and yet through the Old Testament books of Job and Jeremiah we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that what we speak about and concerning God can have just as much of an impact on our lives as does the words which we speak directly to God Himself. The single greatest reality that surrounds the narrative of Job and the suffering he experienced is that although the living and eternal God was silent throughout and during the dialogue which took place between Job and his friends, that didn’t mean the LORD wasn’t actively watching and listening. When the LORD finally decided to break through all the noise, when He finally decided to break through all the opinions, when He finally decided to break through all the theological rhetoric that was shared between Job and his three friends, He revealed something that might have shaken Job and his companions to their core. Oh, Job asked and petitioned that the LORD would answer him, and yet the entire time he was speaking with and dialoguing with his friends he wasn’t aware that there was another who was just as much a part of the conversation as Eliphaz, as Bildad, as Zophar, and as Elihu. Oh there was a silent presence and a silent person who was present in the midst of this theological debate and discussion concerning suffering and righteousness, as well as suffering and transgression. There was another who was actively listening to the conversation—a reality which is demonstrated in the physical and natural realm through Elihu speaking up. Scripture is quite clear that Elihu waited patiently for the time and the opportunity to speak up in the midst of this “Bible study,” in the midst of this “small group,” and in the midst of this theological discussion and debate. Elihu was present the whole time Job and his three friends dialogued and discoursed with each other concerning the righteousness of Job. There was one who sat their listening to the conversation and dialogue, and one who I am sure (although he patiently waited for his opportunity to speak) could not wait for the chance to speak. There is not a doubt in my mind that Elihu wanted to speak up the entire time, and yet he would not overstep borders and boundaries, and would respect Job and his friends since they were elder compared to him. This is something that is truly worth noting and considering, for what we see through Elihu is a reality which would be further demonstrated through and with the eternal God in the spiritual and supernatural realm.
Within this Old Testament book of Job we are brought face to face with a God who although He remained silent during the discussion, dialogue and debate Job and his three friends had, was still actively participating in what was taking place. Even though the living and eternal God was not speaking or saying a word, that didn’t mean that He was not very much involved in what was taking place. It’s interesting to consider the fact that Elihu waited until Job and his three friends had finished speaking before he himself would speak up, and the LORD Himself would wait until Job, until his three friends, and even until Elihu had finished speaking before He Himself would speak up. The LORD would be a silent participant in this conversation which would take place between Job and his companions, and Elihu is a powerful example in the natural of the LORD waiting until all the voices had been silenced, and waited until all the words had come to an end before He Himself would break His silence and speak up and speak out. The LORD would wait until Job had made an end of his words, had waited until Job’s three friends had made an end of their words, and even after allowing Elihu to have his chance at speaking to Job before He would interrupt all the voices, break up the theological discourse, and would intervene in the Bible study. What’s more, is that the LORD would finally break His silence—not necessarily to restore the captivity of Job and to turn it around, but to correct Job’s thinking about the LORD Himself. Before the LORD would restore the captivity of Job in the earth He would first correct his thoughts and his opinions concerning the living God. It was true that Job was perfect and upright, and that he was a man who feared God and shunned evil, however, when the LORD finally broke His silence and began speaking unto Job we find Him needing to correct the thinking and opinions Job had toward and about God. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable to read the words which are written and found within the Old Testament book of Job and not come face to face with the truly incredible reality that the LORD would indeed break the silence after hearing words which were incorrectly and improperly spoken concerning Him. The LORD was a silent and passive participant in the dialogue which would take place between Job and his companions, and He would speak up that He might correct the thinking of these men.
I find the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Job to be truly challenging, for as much as we would like to think that the words we speak to God are critical and vital, we must be equally as concerned and equally as aware of the words we speak about God, and the words which we speak for God. This was the main and underlying transgression that surrounded the prophets which were present during the days of Jeremiah, for you will recall the LORD rebuking and condemning the prophets that were present during Jeremiah’s day for not only did they speak when they were not sent, but they also spoke of their own imagination and their own dreams. The prophets which were present during the days of Jeremiah presumed to speak for God, and presumed to speak about God, and yet the words they spoke were only dreams and their own imagination. I sit here this morning and I am absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that we must not only be absolutely careful and mindful regarding our knowledge of the living God, but we must also be mindful concerning the words we attempt to speak for and about God. I can’t help but wonder how much damage has been done “in the name of God” by people who did not know how to speak about God, and did not know how to speak for God. I would dare say that you can be as Job was—perfect and upright—and yet still need your thinking concerning the living to be corrected. There is not a doubt in my mind that you can fear God and you can hate evil, and yet still need your thought pattern and your belief concerning God to be corrected. While Job’s three friends sought to condemn him, Elihu sought to correct Job in his line of thinking, as Job not only justified himself, but was also righteous in his own eyes. First Elihu would step forward and prepare the heart and soul of Job for the voice of the LORD to speak up, and then the voice of the LORD would speak up—and not only speak up, but would speak out of the whirlwind. Isn’t it interesting that the LORD didn’t speak with and from a still small voice, but rather, the LORD spoke out of the whirlwind. When the LORD finally did speak, He spoke from the midst of the storm. THE VOICE THAT SPEAKS FROM THE MIDST OF THE STORM IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING! It is truly astonishing and remarkable to think about the fact that when the LORD finally broke His silence and broke through all the noise, chaos, commotion and voices, He spoke from the midst of the whirlwind. It is absolutely unmistakable and undeniable the living God desired to capture and catch the attention of Job, and in order to do so He chose to speak in the midst of the storm. You will notice at the outset of this writing I presented various different references in Scripture when the LORD spoke to His people—namely, when the LORD spoke to the children of Israel in the wilderness, when the LORD spoke to Moses at the burning bush, and even when the LORD spoke to Elijah at the same mountain.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it necessary to emphatically declare one more time—not only that the words we speak about God are just as important as the words we speak to God, but also more often than not the LORD can and will wait until we have run out of words, and when we have stopped with our much speaking before He can and will speak and respond to us. Despite the fact that we desperately and earnestly desire the LORD to not only hear us, but also to answer us, we might very well find ourselves in a place where the LORD can and will deliberately and intentionally wait until we no longer have any words to speak before and in his presence in order that He might be able to speak. It is absolutely necessary that we guard our feet when we enter into the house of the LORD, and that we are not rash, nor hasty with our words, but there is also a great need to be completely and utterly aware of the dialogue and discussions we have about God. We might not think anything of them, and we might not think anything about them, but we must be absolutely aware that the LORD actively listens to the words which we speak about Him—and even the words we think we are speaking for Him. Concerning Job and his three friends it’s interesting to note that both of these realities were put on full display as undoubtedly Job’s three friends not only believed they were speaking for God, but they were also speaking about God. Isn’t it interesting to think about and consider the fact that we can think and even believe we are speaking for the living God—even when we are condemning, criticizing, judging and accusing others. It is possible to condemn others, and in the process of doing so think and believe we are somehow speaking for and on behalf of the living God. Upon coming to the close of the Old Testament book of Job it is absolutely critical and necessary that we recognize and understand that perhaps the single greatest outcome of suffering is not only a deeper and more intimate knowledge of the LORD our God, but also the ability to speak rightly and correctly about Him. A.W. Tozer said that the single greatest thing a man can do within his life is to believe correctly about God, and I would take that even further and declare with that knowledge of God there is a great and powerful need to be able to speak rightly and correctly about Him, and to speak from a place of knowing Him rather than simply knowing about Him. The world has had enough of men and women who speak about God based on what they think they about Him, and what it needs is men and women who are able to speak about God because they know Him—truly, deeply and intimately. The world doesn’t need your opinions of God based on what you know about Him, but they do need your truth about God based on knowing Him. We speak opinions about God based on what we know about Him, but we speak truth about God based on knowing Him.
SPEAK TRUTH BASED ON KNOWING GOD! GIVE OPINIONS BASED ON KNOWING ABOUT GOD! The question I can’t help but ask you who might be reading these words is which one of these categories do you fall into. Are you those who merely give opinions concerning God based on what you know about God, or do you speak truth about God because you truly know Him? It is absolutely necessary that we know in whom we have believed, and we must as the apostle Paul cry out that we might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. What’s more, is that there is also directly linked and connected to this knowing God and knowing Christ that we are made conformable into the image, the nature and the likeness of Christ. I would dare say that directly linked to being able to speak truth about God is our ability to be changed and transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Absolutely critical and vital to the truth we speak about God based on our knowing Him is our direct connection to the power of His resurrection, our direct connection to the fellowship of His sufferings, and our being made conformable into the nature, the image and likeness of the LORD Jesus the Christ. Oh that we would truly and indeed allow ourselves to be changed and transformed in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, and that we would truly know God rather than knowing about God. There are enough ministers, there are enough pastors, there are enough teachers, there are enough leaders who are giving opinions of God based on what they know about God, but very few are those ministers who are able to speak truth about God because they actually know Him personally, deeply and intimately. Oh that it would be the cry of our heart that we might not merely know about God, but that our knowledge about God might be transformed into a deep knowledge of God. Oh that we would move beyond mere opinions to actually speaking truth that is not only rooted and grounded in the Word of God, but also in a deep and abiding knowledge of God as we continue to spend time in fellowship with Him, and walk with Him. When the disciples preached Christ, they didn’t preach Christ based on what they had heard about Christ, but based on actually walking with and following Him. When the apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament, and both preached and wrote about Christ, He didn’t write based on what He had heard from others, but on actually experiencing Christ for Himself on the road to Damascus, and based on walking with and fellowshipping with him throughout the rest of his natural life. The apostle Paul knew in whom He believed and He preached whom He knew. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we truly do in fact know the living God and know His Christ, or if all we have are simply opinions about God we have gathered from others, gathered from books, and gathered from outside sources rather than actually knowing the living and eternal God.