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The Fourth Friend

There was yet another man present aside the three friends who went to comfort Job. He was the youngest amongst them all in age so he couldn’t lay any claim on experience because sometimes we relate experience to how long we have been in this world. He couldn’t lay claim on tradition because most of what we know as tradition have been passed down from people older than us – our elders.

You want to know about tradition; speaking to the elders would be the best advice we can ever have. He was also not certified to speak as Bildad spoke; neither was he competent to speak when compared to the third man, Zophar: who came from the angle of legalities. He wouldn’t have been able to do more than Zophar. So he sat there and listened to the thread of discussion between Job and his three friends. His name is Elihu, which in the literal English Language means, “He is God”.

As far as Elihu was concerned (looking from the assessment of the Almighty) in his summations, Job spoke without knowledge; his words were without insight. Job added rebellion to his sin; claps his hands among people and multiplies his words against God. He suggests that Job opened his mouth in empty talk and multiplies words without knowledge. Elihu spoke about God and His quintessence and nothing about himself.

Elihu was disgusted at the three friends and even at Job. Their conversation wasn’t going anywhere; it was just going back and forth without any progress. They all came to the end of all they had to say; nothing more could be said because they weren’t getting through to Job. The intentions of the three friends were to condemn Job and Job being the self-righteous man he was, didn’t think he had done anything wrong.

Until you come to the end of YOU, you might never realize that there is a lot you don’t know about God. Sometimes, because of the many words we have to speak or articulate, we just never have the time to look introspectively, hence one of the many reasons why we don’t learn much in life, not to talk about learning from God. These men had a lot to say but after sometime, the Bible records that, they were talked out, stymied because Job wouldn’t budge an inch, wouldn’t admit to an ounce of guilt.

The elder brother of the prodigal son was just as wrong as his brother but he never thought he could be wrong because he felt he had done right. He told his Dad that he had served him for many years without getting what he felt he deserved. He felt he ought to be rewarded because he had done one form of good or the other. If we are not careful, we could derive that when we do good, God rewards; which eventually will lead us to a dimension where all we want to do is good because of the rewards that follow. The reverse is when we don’t do good then bad things will happen to us, projecting a picture that is in contradistinction with the image of God.

Whenever we justify ourselves, we condemn God; and whenever we condemn ourselves we justify God. At all cost, the truly broken and contrite heart will always vindicate God. The Bible says, let God be true and every man, every situation be a liar. He must have the upper hand always and in the end. This was where Job and his three friends were missing it and Elihu tried to point out.

The prodigal son had gone far away from his family and soon after he began to lack the basic necessities of life. The Bible says, “he came to himself” and the process of brokenness began in his life helping him to make a choice of returning back to his father and family. He came back to himself and went back home knowing he had done wrong (in self-judgment); he knew he had to go back. The moment we are broken down in true self-judgment, God rises before it in all majesty of His grace as a Justifier.

Elihu was angry that neither Job or his friends could come to that fact; both sides were lost in how righteous they were, not knowing that just as the prodigal son was wrong, the elder brother too was wrong. Elihu said:

“I’m a young man, and you are all old and experienced. That’s why I kept quiet and held back from joining the discussion. I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell. The longer you live, the wiser you become.’ But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One that makes wise human insight possible. The experts have no corner on wisdom; getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense. So I’ve decided to speak up. Listen well! I’m going to tell you exactly what I think. “I hung on your words while you spoke, listened carefully to your arguments. While you searched for the right words, I was all ears. And now what have you proved? Nothing. He continued!

Nothing you say has even touched Job. And don’t excuse yourselves by saying, ‘we’ve done our best. Now it’s up to God to talk sense into him.’ Job has yet to contend with me. And rest assured, I won’t be using your arguments! “Do you three have nothing else to say? Of course you don’t! You’re total frauds! Why should I wait any longer, now that you’re stopped dead in your tracks?

I’m ready to speak my piece. That’s right! It’s my turn and it’s about time! I’ve got a lot to say, and I’m bursting to say it. The pressure has built up, like lava beneath the earth. I’m a volcano ready to blow. I have to speak—I have no choice. I have to say what’s on my heart, and I’m going to say it straight; the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I was never any good at bootlicking; my Maker would make short work of me if I started now!

Elihu stood in vivid contrast to the three friends as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. He brings in the perspective of God, putting a complete stop to the weary strife and contention between Job and his friends. When we look at the story of the prodigal son from the perspective of their father, both sons were wrong, one admitted but the other didn’t admit.

We can learn from Job and his three friends that when two parties are involved in a controversy, when they join issues, they can never reach a vivid understanding unless there is a little brokenness and subjugation on one side or the other. No matter how morally right we can be as humans, God’s word would always be final authority in our lives.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair – Clive Staples Lewis.

Be Refreshed.

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