July 23, 2021

"Nobody Calls Me Chicken!"

Job 32–33

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Elihu Rebukes Job's Three Friends

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He...

Elihu Rebukes Job's Three Friends

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:

“I am young in years,
    and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
    to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
    and many years teach wisdom.’
But it is the spirit in man,
    the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
It is not the old 1 who are wise,
    nor the aged who understand what is right.
10  Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
    let me also declare my opinion.’

11  Behold, I waited for your words,
    I listened for your wise sayings,
    while you searched out what to say.
12  I gave you my attention,
    and, behold, there was none among you who refuted Job
    or who answered his words.
13  Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom;
    God may vanquish him, not a man.’
14  He has not directed his words against me,
    and I will not answer him with your speeches.

15  They are dismayed; they answer no more;
    they have not a word to say.
16  And shall I wait, because they do not speak,
    because they stand there, and answer no more?
17  I also will answer with my share;
    I also will declare my opinion.
18  For I am full of words;
    the spirit within me constrains me.
19  Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent;
    like new wineskins ready to burst.
20  I must speak, that I may find relief;
    I must open my lips and answer.
21  I will not show partiality to any man
    or use flattery toward any person.
22  For I do not know how to flatter,
    else my Maker would soon take me away.

Elihu Rebukes Job

But now, hear my speech, O Job,
    and listen to all my words.
Behold, I open my mouth;
    the tongue in my mouth speaks.
My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
    and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
The Spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me, if you can;
    set your words in order before me; take your stand.
Behold, I am toward God as you are;
    I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.
Behold, no fear of me need terrify you;
    my pressure will not be heavy upon you.

Surely you have spoken in my ears,
    and I have heard the sound of your words.
You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression;
    I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.
10  Behold, he finds occasions against me,
    he counts me as his enemy,
11  he puts my feet in the stocks
    and watches all my paths.’

12  Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you,
    for God is greater than man.
13  Why do you contend against him,
    saying, ‘He will answer none of man's 2 words’? 3
14  For God speaks in one way,
    and in two, though man does not perceive it.
15  In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on men,
    while they slumber on their beds,
16  then he opens the ears of men
    and terrifies 4 them with warnings,
17  that he may turn man aside from his deed
    and conceal pride from a man;
18  he keeps back his soul from the pit,
    his life from perishing by the sword.

19  Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
    and with continual strife in his bones,
20  so that his life loathes bread,
    and his appetite the choicest food.
21  His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
    and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22  His soul draws near the pit,
    and his life to those who bring death.
23  If there be for him an angel,
    a mediator, one of the thousand,
    to declare to man what is right for him,
24  and he is merciful to him, and says,
    ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
    I have found a ransom;
25  let his flesh become fresh with youth;
    let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
26  then man 5 prays to God, and he accepts him;
    he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
27      He sings before men and says:
‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
    and it was not repaid to me.
28  He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
    and my life shall look upon the light.’

29  Behold, God does all these things,
    twice, three times, with a man,
30  to bring back his soul from the pit,
    that he may be lighted with the light of life.
31  Pay attention, O Job, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will speak.
32  If you have any words, answer me;
    speak, for I desire to justify you.
33  If not, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Footnotes

[1] 32:9 Hebrew many [in years]
[2] 33:13 Hebrew his
[3] 33:13 Or He will not answer for any of his own words
[4] 33:16 Or seals
[5] 33:26 Hebrew he

"Nobody Calls Me Chicken!"



Key Verse | Job 33:29-30

"Behold, God does all these things,
twice, three times, with a man,
to bring back his soul from the pit,
that he may be lighted with the light of life."

Bio | Stephen Alcalan

Hey, y'all! I have been married for nine years to my beautiful bride Paulina. We have three kiddos: Amélie (5), Alina (2), and Aviel (1). I was thrilled to be part of the 2020-21 class of the Watermark Institute where I served as a Connecting Team Fellow.

Fun facts:

• I was an aerospace engineer for 12 years.

• I was an active member of a pie club for eight of those 12 years.

• One of my pie clubs met regularly on Wednesdays at 2:16 PM. (Hint: 3.14159)

• I vomited in the restroom of The Cheesecake Factory on my first date with Paulina.

Central Truth

God is compassionate and desires to deliver you through suffering for your good and His glory.

Devotional | Job 32–33

The Back to the Future trilogy captured my fascination as a child. It showcased a hoverboard, self-lacing Nike shoes, and a flux capacitor-equipped DeLorean that produces the 1.21 gigawatts of power required...

The Back to the Future trilogy captured my fascination as a child. It showcased a hoverboard, self-lacing Nike shoes, and a flux capacitor-equipped DeLorean that produces the 1.21 gigawatts of power required for time travel . . . after reaching 88 mph, of course.

Marty's reaction to being called "chicken" after declining a drag race challenge in the ending scenes of the trilogy is the culmination of his experiences from time traveling to both the past and the future. The light turns green, Needles accelerates forward, Marty intentionally accelerates backwards, and his former fate was remarkably avoided. The scene ends showing a Rolls Royce pulling out into the street where Needles narrowly evades it. Marty would have surely crashed into that vehicle, leading toward a life of misery. 

Throughout the films, Marty would always overreact and predictably answer with, "Nobody calls me chicken!," making the situation worse than before. Marty realizes his humility and sacrifice were worth it.

Knowing the future's outcome influences today's decisions. Marty had a time machine that enabled him to rely on future things he had seen. But what about those who do not own a plutonium-powered DeLorean? Simple. We rely on future things that are unseen (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Job and his three friends were in a stalemate regarding what was unseen in the past. The friends were certain Job had a secret sin that led to his suffering. Job was certain that there was no sin, thereby proving the injustice of his situation. But it was Elihu who interjected with a more accurate explanation for Job's suffering that relates to the unseen future purpose of God. In His kindness, God sometimes allows us to suffer unto the brink of death to strengthen our character (Romans 5:3-5) or to save us from death. 

No matter how difficult life's misfortunes are, it is nothing compared to experiencing God's glory (Romans 8:18). This is hope we can rely on the next time trouble comes our way (John 16:33). It's an invitation to trust that God has our best interests in mind (Romans 8:28) instead of searching for reasons that caused the suffering.

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Discussion Questions

1. In light of the expression that "hindsight is 20/20," can you think back to a difficult season when you can now see the good that came from it? Have you thanked God for it?

2. Have you ever seen a person continue to praise God in the midst of immense suffering? What impact did it have on you?

3. Read Revelation 21:4. If you believe this to be true, what hope does it give you? How can this perspective impact the next season of suffering you will face?

7 Comments available

Jennifer Kling 4 days ago

Stephen! So good to see you on here! I’m always a fan of devos that reference Back to the Future. Say hi to Paulina for me.

Linda Green 6 days ago

Loved your last sentence, Stephen: “It’s an invitation to trust that God has our best interests in mind instead of searching for reasons that caused the suffering.” Want to tattoo on my mind the truth that God invites me to trust Him in the midst of sorrow and struggle for a purpose. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Job 33:23-24 stood out to me because Elihu spoke of my precious Savior who has paid my ransom! I can sure sing this song in Job 33:27-28! Job also spoke of Jesus in Job 19:25 as his Redeemer who one day will stand upon the earth.

Emmaus Road moments! (Luke 24:27)

Greg Jones 6 days ago

Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words? For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it.

God will later speak because Job is complaining. Irony

God’s response will be blunt, it addresses everyone, Job will take the brunt of the words.

God is mad at Job you will know by the way he talks to Job. Or, “God speaks, now one way, now another—though no one perceives it” and it means God is not mad at Job but we don’t perceive it.

Hopefully God is bigger than this group’s perception of Him is.

God speaks, now one way, now another. Is that God speaking twice? Or is that God speaking once and being heard twice? Job is a great book.

Sue Bohlin 7 days ago

Loved your BTTF devo, Stephen!

It’s interesting to read Elihu’s speech knowing on the front end that at the end of the book, God’s NOT going to castigate him for how he thinks, like He will Job’s three friends.

And while he admits he’s wordy, it’s also interesting that Dr. Constable says, “The ancients in the Near Eastern world esteemed rhetoric and elaborate wording.”

Elihu’s major point is, “Job, even though the conditions are sorely painful to you, why don’t you look at them as God’s attempt to get your attention, to communicate something of special importance to you?”

I’ve found it helpful to pray, “Lord, help me get whatever it is You want to teach me through this. Don’t let me waste the suffering.”

Hugh Stephenson 7 days ago

2 of 2

Perhaps that’s part of what Job’s issue is; “blameless” but not really.

One of my fascinations is what some call the mysteries of God or the “secret things”, (Deuteronomy 29:29).

For me, the mysteries of God that I will never know this side of Heaven have actually become comforting. I know He loves and has given me purpose, passion and a plan. And that is enough.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Elihu-Job.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/innocent-suffer.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/mystery-of-God.html

Hugh Stephenson 7 days ago

1 of 2

GM Stephen. Love me BTTF and your summary in your Central Truth.

I am puzzled at what God wants me to know via Elihu. Clearly, the focus and flow changes when he comes on the scene. (I am not sure I could take a full third round of bad theology from the misguided friends.)

What I do see from Elihu is a much more focused call to reorient towards the sovereignty, sufficiency and supremacy of God; He is good, kind and just; so all he does is good, kind and just.

In conversations about suffering I often ask, “What is God trying to teach/tell me?” Usually, the answer that comes up is that He is preparing me for the next battle or correcting me off an errant path. Often, He is showing me pride that I have but do not see clearly, or at all.

Michael Scaman 8 days ago

Elihu doesn’t see eye to eye with Job’s friends “there was none among you who refuted Job”.

Elihu sees some good in God’s use of suffering as far as restraints from evil and judgement

" then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man; he keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.

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