Elihu Answers Job

​“But please, Job, hear my speech, And listen to all my words. Now, I open my mouth; My tongue speaks in my mouth. My words come from my upright heart; My lips utter pure knowledge. The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. If you can answer me, Set your  words in order before me; Take your stand. Truly I am as your spokesman before God; I also have been formed out of clay. Surely no fear of me will terrify you, Nor will my hand be heavy on you. “Surely you have spoken in my hearing, And I have heard the sound of your words, saying, ‘I  am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there  is no iniquity in me. Yet He finds occasions against me, He counts me as His enemy; He puts my feet in the stocks, He watches all my paths.’ “Look, in this you are not righteous. I will answer you, For God is greater than man. Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words. For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet  man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction. In order to turn man from  his deed, And conceal pride from man, He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword. “ Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with strong pain in many of his bones, So that his life abhors bread, And his soul succulent food. His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones stick out which  once were not seen. Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, And his life to the executioners. “If there is a messenger for him, A mediator, one among a thousand, To show man His uprightness, Then He is gracious to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’; His flesh shall be young like a child’s, He shall return to the days of his youth. He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness. Then he looks at men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what  was right, And it did not profit me.’ He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, And his life shall see the light. “Behold, God works all these things, Twice, in  fact, three times with a man, To bring back his soul from the Pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life. “Give ear, Job, listen to me; Hold your peace, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; Speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.” Job 33:1‭-‬33 NKJV

Job: If I Have Sinned

​Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps? “If I have walked with falsehood, Or if my foot has hastened to deceit, Let me be weighed on honest scales, That God may know my integrity. If my step has turned from the way, Or my heart walked after my eyes, Or if any spot adheres to my hands, Then  let me sow, and another eat; Yes, let my harvest be rooted out. “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. For that would  be wickedness; Yes, it would  be iniquity deserving  of judgment. For that would  be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase. “If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant When they complained against me, What then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb? “If I have kept the poor from their desire, Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, Or eaten my morsel by myself, So that the fatherless could not eat of it (But from my youth I reared him as a father, And from my mother’s womb I guided the  widow ); If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or any poor man without covering; If his heart has not blessed me, And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, When I saw I had help in the gate; Then let my arm fall from my shoulder, Let my arm be torn from the socket. For destruction from God is a terror to me, And because of His magnificence I cannot endure. “If I have made gold my hope, Or said to fine gold, ‘ You  are my confidence’; If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, And because my hand had gained much; If I have observed the sun when it shines, Or the moon moving in brightness, So that my heart has been secretly enticed, And my mouth has kissed my hand; This also would  be an iniquity deserving  of judgment, For I would have denied God who  is above. “If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, Or lifted myself up when evil found him (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin By asking for a curse on his soul); If the men of my tent have not said, ‘Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?’ ( But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, For I have opened my doors to the traveler); If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom, Because I feared the great multitude, And dreaded the contempt of families, So that I kept silence And did not go out of the door— Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, That my Prosecutor had written a book! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, And bind it on me like a crown; I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him. “If my land cries out against me, And its furrows weep together; If I have eaten its fruit without money, Or caused its owners to lose their lives; Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, And weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended. Job 31:4‭-‬40 NKJV

The Gift of God Cannot Be Purchased

​Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. Acts 8:4‭-‬25 NKJV

Man Fades Away

​“Man who  is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. And do You open Your eyes on such a one, And bring me to judgment with Yourself? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one! Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass. Look away from him that he may rest, Till like a hired man he finishes his day. “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant. But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is  he? As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. For now You number my steps, But do not watch over my sin. My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my iniquity. “But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place; As water wears away stones, And  as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man. You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his countenance and send him away. His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; They are brought low, and he does not perceive it. But his flesh will be in pain over it, And his soul will mourn over it.” Job 14:1‭-‬22 NKJV

Moral and Ceremonial Laws

​And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. ‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. ‘Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the Lord your God. ‘And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord , you shall offer it of your own free will. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. And if any remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire. And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It shall not be accepted. Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the hallowed offering of the Lord ; and that person shall be cut off from his people. ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God. ‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord . ‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord . ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord . ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord . ‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you. ‘Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine, and who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom, for this there shall be scourging; but they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord , to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, a ram as a trespass offering. The priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed. And the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him. ‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord . And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God. ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord . ‘Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness. ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord . ‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord . ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. ‘Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the Lord .’” Leviticus 19:1‭-‬37 NKJV

The New Tablets

​And the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain. So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone. Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord . And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord , the Lord  God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the  guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. Exodus 34:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬7‭, ‬27‭-‬28 NKJV

The Honor of Discretion, The Peril of Adultery

Proverbs 5 teaches that we should preserve discretion in marriage. There is understanding and knowledge for a man that heeds these words – Do not even go near the temptation. My favorite line is the advice for the man with his wife of his youth – to always be enraptured with her love (meaning intense pleasure or joy).

It goes on to describe the perils of choosing the immoral actions: folly, going astray, getting caught in the cords of sin. In the end, the immoral woman is as bitter as wormwood. The pleasure is only temporary. There are longer lasting consequences for the immoral actions.

Our ways and our paths are pondered by the Lord.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.[a]
Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.

Therefore hear me now, my children,
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Remove your way far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house,
Lest you give your honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
Lest aliens be filled with your wealth,
And your labors go to the house of a foreigner;
And you mourn at last,
When your flesh and your body are consumed,
And say:
“How I have hated instruction,
And my heart despised correction!
I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!
I was on the verge of total ruin,
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He ponders all his paths.
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man,
And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
He shall die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Proverbs 5 NKJV