Job 33

Elihu Continues (33:1–33)

Here we see Elihu's new and important contribution to the debate: God sends trouble and sickness in order to discipline us, to correct us, and also to keep us from evil and thus from condemnation. Suffering, then, is not only a sign of God's anger but also a sign of His love. In this, Elihu was indeed correct—in contrast to Job's three friends, who had insisted that suffering was only a sign of God's anger, a punishment for sin.

23–28 Here Elihu adds to his thought. Not only does God in His love discipline us and keep us from evil, but also, if we should fall into evil, He is ready to redeem us, to deliver us from the pit. He is ready to listen to a mediator (verse 23)—one of the many angels could mediate on our behalf—and this angel could offer a ransom for us and ask God to spare us from going down to the pit (verse 24). In adding these thoughts, Elihu was anticipating God's ultimate plan for ransoming, for redeeming mankind by means of a Mediator—namely, God's own Son, Jesus Christ.70

In verses 25–26, Elihu describes the man who has been ransomed, who has been delivered from the pit: he is renewed in both body and spirit; he is restored by God to his righteous state. Elihu, prompted by the Holy Spirit, is here giving us a preview of what new life in Christ is like.71 Elihu adds that to fully appropriate this new life one must confess his sin and praise God for His mercy. The one who is thus renewed will testify: “I sinned . . . but I did not get [the punishment] I deserved” (verse 27).

29–33 Elihu says that God is ready to redeem a man two or three times if neces sary (verse 29). Elihu didn't know that REDEMPTION through Christ only needs to take place once. But overall, Elihu's message to Job was true: let Job confess any sin he might have committed and look to God, and then God would look upon Job in mercy and restore him.

Elihu refutes the notion that God deals with man only on the basis of justice—the view of Job's three friends; God also deals with man on the basis of mercy. Here also, Elihu provides a way to clear Job's name (verse 32) by suggesting that his suffering has not come as a punishment but rather as a means of blessing. If only Job will approach God with the right attitude, he will experience God's mercy and be restored to his former state.

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