Time For A Rebuke
October 14, 2018
Scripture: Job 32
I. You rebuke when angered by false statements about God.
A.We are introduced to Elihu in verses 1 through 5. We learn in vs. 4 that Elihu was younger than Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. And we find out in the first five verses of Job 32 that Elihu was an angry young man. Elihu says in vs. 2 that Job justified himself rather than God. Job has insisted throughout the book that he is a righteous and innocent man. He had justified himself in that way. But sometimes Job had been so forceful in insisting that he had done nothing wrong, that he did not deserve his great suffering, that he went over the top by implying that God was wrong to allow such suffering in Job’s life.
B.Job was right to insist on his own righteousness. He was an exceptionally good man. See Job 31. But there was one way in which Job was not so righteous. He said some false things about God by accusing God of being unjust (see Job 30:21). When we rebuke we should obey the teaching of Ephesians 4:15: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
II. You rebuke when answers about God are incorrect or insufficient.
A.“(Elihu) 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” (vs. 3) The lack of an answer to Job from the friends made Elihu angry. See also verse 1 and verse 5. The only answer that Job’s three friends have for Job is that Job must have done something wrong to bring on His suffering. But Job was obviously a righteous man so he rejected their accusations. The friends’ answer to Job was both incorrect and insufficient. Elihu then rebuked Job’s three friends.
B. We see Elihu’s frustration with the three friends in vs. 11-12. And we see how words are building up inside him that must come out in vs. 18-19. What is the answer that Elihu has that the friends lack? The three friends said that Job was suffering because he had sinned. Elihu will say that Job has sinned because he was suffering. His suffering led Job to speak false words about God. Sometimes it takes suffering to reveal what is really going on in our hearts. Sometimes suffering reveals sin that needs to be repented of.
III. You rebuke when the Holy Spirit speaks to you.
A. In verses 7 and 8 we see a contrast between the source and authority of the friends’ words and Elihu’s words. When Job’s three friends spoke, they spoke out of traditional understandings of suffering. If you are suffering, you must have sinned. But what would be the source for Elihu’s teaching? The spirit. The breath of the Almighty. What we call today the Holy Spirit. See also vs. 18. Elihu spoke words of rebuke as a Spirit-inspired prophet to Job before God spoke to Job. The Holy Spirit speaks words of rebuke and hope in the Gospel in Romans 5:8-9: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
There is a time to speak words of rebuke and hope to both Christians and non-Christians.
The book of Job
Commentaries on Job by Francis Andersen and Christopher Ash