EXHORT 24/12/2006 Reading Job 33 Hewit Penn
2006年12月24日讲道词 读经：约伯记第33章 休伊特 潘
My dear Brethren and Sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have a wonderful reading this morning as we come together to remember our absent Lord by taking of the bread and the wine.
We have been reading the book of Job and so we should be familiar with the story. We should have learned many lessons on how not to conduct ourselves and how not to judge others unwisely, for this is what Job’s three friends did, and Job, at the end, had to pray that they might be forgiven 47v7-10. Only then were they accepted by God.
In the chapter for today, we have Elihu, whose name means “God of him” or “My God is He”, speaking to Job.
Elihu is introduced into the story in chapter 32. Job has finished speaking in ch.31v40 “The words of Job are ended”, and his three friends had no answer for Job, Ch.32v1 “So these three men ceased to answer Job.”
Although the first time he is mentioned is in ch.32v2, Elihu has been there from the beginning, listening to what Job and his three friends were saying to each other, and as all the other characters in this book are lessons for each of us, he in particular, is a very good example of what we must be. We must be ever ready to listen, to get the whole story, and listen to both sides, before we attempt to answer a matter and this is exactly what Elihu did. It was as if he knew the proverb found in Prov.18v13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” He has waited patiently for them all to speak because they were older than he was. 32v4-5 “Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.” Now they are all silent, and this younger man, who has kept silent right up to this time, now speaks, and he tells them in v6-9 that he is young, and they are very old, and because of this, he was afraid to tell them his opinion. In v11-12 he tells them “Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answereth his words:”
So Elihu had listened very patiently, and he understood everything they had said, and he acknowledges they have not convinced Job of why God had done this to him. They thought that Job must have sinned; otherwise this couldn’t happen to him. They were wrong in their findings and Job was also wrong in questioning God.
So in our chapter for today, Elihu turns to Job, and asks him to listen to all his words, because in v3 he says “My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.” Elihu realised that they had all missed the point. What does he say? He reminds us of just what we are in the sight of God. He understood our nature and where we came from, because in 33v4 he says “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life”. He is telling us what Moses tells us in Gen.2v7 “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” He confirms this in v6 where he says “I also am formed out of the clay.” He carries on in 34v14-15 “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again to dust.”
这样在这一章，以利户面对约伯，让他听他的陈诉。33： 3：“我的言语要发明心中所存的正直。我所知道的，我嘴唇要诚实地说出。” 以利户意识到他们都没有讲到要点。那么他说了什么？他提醒我们在神的眼里我们是什么样的。他知道人的本性及我们来自何处。33：4：“神的灵造我，全能者的气使我得生。”他在讲诉摩西在创世记2：7说的话：“耶和华神用地上的尘土造人，将生气吹在他鼻孔里，他就成了有灵的活人。”第6节里他又对此进行了确认：“我也是用尘土造成。”在34：14-15他继续讲诉：“他（神）若专心为己，将灵和气收归自己。凡有血气的就必一同死亡，世人必仍归尘土。”
With this in mind, Elihu tells Job in 33v7 that Job need not fear him, and even though his words will not weigh heavily upon Job, he has to tell Job that he is unjust, because his words have not been right. In v8-12 he says “Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.” This is a good summary of what Job has been saying all along, and Elihu says in v12 “Behold in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.”
想着这句话，利户在33：7里告诉约伯，约伯不用怕他。即使他的话不会对约伯产成很大的压力，可是他必须告诉约伯他是不公道的，因为他的话不正确。在第8-12里他说：“你所说的，我听见了， 也听见你的言语，说，我是清白无过的，我是无辜的。 在我里面也没有罪孽。神找机会攻击我，以我为仇敌，把我的脚上了木狗，窥察我一切的道路。”这是约伯一直所说的很好的简介，然后在第12节里利户说：“我要回答你说，你这话无理，因神比世人更大。”
We have to remember we are dust, and as Elihu had said, he was also made out of clay, so we must always remember the words of Romans 9v20-21 “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” We also are formed out of the clay, and we cannot say to God “what are you doing” or “God is unfair”. We have to remember the words of Elihu back in Job 33v12 “God is greater than man.” And in v13 “He giveth not account of any of His matters.”
In v14-18 he tells Job that God speaks to man in different ways and even in dreams, and He even opens their ears and also sends them warnings to draw them back from evil and make them give up their pride. The Apostle Paul, when writing to the Romans, said in Rom.5v12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” This is why God sends warnings, to try and save us from death, and this is what Elihu says in Job 33v18 “He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing from the sword.”
You see Brethren and Sisters, our God is a very merciful God, and the Apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3v9 that “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This is why God sends us these warnings, and sometimes we feel desperate that things are not going well with us, and we seem unable to cope with life. If we understand that God moves in our lives, and that we have an angel looking after us, as we are told in Hebrews1v13-14 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” then we understand that the things that are happening to us, is God’s way of warning His children to take care and put their trust completely in Him. The Apostle Paul in Hebrews 12v5-7 says “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou are rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”
We are a very privileged people in being called the sons and daughters of God, and we must realise that if God moves in our lives, and He does, then whatever happens to us is for a good reason. Sometimes we are so dejected at what happens to us, that we forget that God is trying to teach us a lesson, and He is trying to teach us this lesson because He loves us. He is trying to make us fit people for His kingdom, so that we are able to share in that glory which is to come upon this earth. As we are probably aware, the glory of God is His character, and this is what He is trying to develop in us, and we are told what the goodness of His character is in Ex.34v6-7 “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
This is the character that Job was questioning. He didn’t feel that what God had done to him was right. He tried to justify himself instead of God, and his three friends didn’t help him at all. If you read very carefully what they had to say to Job, you will see that only half of what they said was true, and this is very dangerous, even today. We have to be like Elihu who listened very carefully to what was said. He could see the half truth the friends were saying to Job, and this made him angry. Today we have to listen very carefully to everything anyone says to us, because half truths are very dangerous, and can lead us away from the truth.
What Job is forgetting, is that God, in His righteousness, will never do anything that is not right. He always has a very good reason for what He does, and Job, in his misery and illness, has forgotten this. We must never forget this, and we must always remember the words of Psalm 103v8-14 “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth we are dust.”
When we think about the words of Elihu in verses 19-25 of our reading this morning, we see he is speaking of the great power of God in being able to raise us from the dead. He is speaking about the resurrection. So we have a wonderful hope. Even if we die before our Lord returns to this earth, we know that when we are raised, “Our flesh” as it says in v25, “shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth.” God who formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, is able to do exactly the same again when we and our Brethren and Sisters who have “fallen asleep”, are resurrected. God will once more, form us from the dust of the ground, and breathe into our nostrils the breath of life, and we will once more live, and we pray that we have so conducted our lives now, that we will be given eternal life at that time and live in the kingdom of God forever and ever.
So as we come to break bread and drink wine this morning, let us take care that we listen very carefully to what is said before we make judgment. Let us be good listeners, and let us especially listen to what God has to say to us this morning in the book of Job, and remember, that the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we remember in these emblems, was prepared to suffer death so that you and I might have life. Even though he suffered more than Job did, he did not question what his Father had planned for him, but gave his body and shed his blood because he loved us.
We praise God that He raised His son from the dead, and we pray that God will give us the strength to love each other, even as he has loved us.
The reading is Job 33, and the object of this exhortation is to try to get our Brethren and Sisters to be more ready to hear than to speak. Elihu had been there from the beginning, even though he is only introduced to us in ch.32.
Because he was younger than the others, he sat quietly listening to what they had to say, and when they had nothing left to say, only then did he speak, and he showed them all how wrong they were.
Elihu’s name means “My God is He”, and he showed where Job and his three friends were wrong.
Elihu asks Job and his friends to listen to what he has to say, and he reminds them that we are just dust. God is Almighty, and we shouldn’t question what he does, because whatever He does is right, He will never do anything wrong.
Elihu tells us in v14-18 that God speaks to us in different ways, and this is to correct us and make us worthy for the kingdom of God. See also Rom.5v12
Our God is a very merciful God as 2 Pet. 3v9 tells us and this is why God sends us these warnings. We must understand that God moves in our lives and we have an angel looking after us Heb.1v13-14. So whatever happens to us is from God. See also Heb.12v5-7.
我们的神是个非常慈祥的神, 彼得后书3：9告诉我们，这就是神给我们这些警告的原因。我们必须懂得神在我们的生活中, 而我们有个天使保护着我们(希伯来书1：13-14)。无论我们发生了什么事都是从神那儿来的。参看希伯来书12：5-7。
We are a very privileged people, but we are sometimes under so much pressure we are inclined to forget our God, and we should try to remember that God is trying to change our character to be like his, which is His glory. We find His character in Ex.34v6-7.
This is the character that Job is questioning, and we cannot do this. We have to be like Elihu, who listened very carefully and if you study the arguments of the 3 friends you will see that they say truth, but it is only half the truth, not the whole truth, and this can be very dangerous and take us away from all truth.
In v19-25 Elihu reminds us of the great hope of the resurrection and in v25 that when we are raised our flesh shall be like a child’s. This is a wonderful hope we have and as we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord, we must remember he was prepared to suffer and give his life, so that we might have life, and this is how we should love each other.