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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 33:19-33 (ESV)

Posted on June 15, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 33:19-33 (ESV) - “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
    and with continual strife in his bones,
so that his life loathes bread,
    and his appetite the choicest food.
His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
    and his bones that were not seen stick out.
His soul draws near the pit,
    and his life to those who bring death.
If there be for him an angel,
    a mediator, one of the thousand,
    to declare to man what is right for him,
and he is merciful to him, and says,
    ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
    I have found a ransom;
let his flesh become fresh with youth;
    let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
    he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
    He sings before men and says:
‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
    and it was not repaid to me.
He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
    and my life shall look upon the light.’

“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.
Pay attention, O Job, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will speak.
If you have any words, answer me;
    speak, for I desire to justify you.
If not, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Question to consider: What did Elihu believe God had sent him to do for Job?

When people face suffering and hardship, it is a natural desire to ask God why it is happening. Some ask why out of hope that God would let them know what they need to change or what task they need to perform to alleviate their suffering. Some ask why because they want to decide whether or not they agree with God’s reasoning. Job did not believe he had done anything more sinful than anyone else to deserve the ordeal he experienced, but hoped that if his time on earth was to be cut short in this manner, God would raise him from the dead and vindicate him. In the meantime, he did not expect to hear from God.

Elihu believed Job was hearing from God. In yesterday’s passage, Elihu pointed out that God spoke to Job through his nightmares, and he followed it up in today’s passage by saying that God spoke to Job in the pain and suffering he was experiencing. Job’s problem, Elihu thought, was that he was just unwilling to listen.

Therefore, Elihu believed that God had called him to be Job’s holy messenger, a mediator between Job and God who would set him right and turn him away from the pit of Sheol. Maybe Elihu listened to Job’s cry for a son of man to advocate for him with God and believed he was that man. Elihu believed that if Job would confess his sins to him, he could justify him before God. Once Job was redeemed, Elihu believed Job could be restored in flesh and once again look upon the light.

The elders had already proved themselves to be self-righteous since they believed their good fortune was a result of their own good works and Job’s calamity was a result of some hidden sin he refused to acknowledge. Elihu was exponentially worse because he falsely accused Job of proclaiming that he was pure and sinless, and yet he presented himself as one sent by God to be Job’s redeemer. Maybe we can chalk it up to youthful idealism, but it sounds a lot more like foolish pride.


Dear heavenly Father, though we desire to walk blamelessly before You, we know that we continue to fall short of the perfect image of Christ that You called good in the garden. Thank You for giving us a Redeemer who was so much greater than Elihu to justify us so that You accept our prayers and have restored us to righteousness. We look forward to the day when our flesh has been restored, and we have been made complete in Christ. Amen.