Thoughts on Job 33

On the surface the book of Job is quite simple. It deals with the testing of Job’s faith. But the book become much more involved once you dissect the wranglings of Job and his friends. (If I dare call them friends.) There is a passage in Job 33 that I have been pondering, and I would like your thoughts on it meaning. In Job 33 Elihu, a young man (Job 32:6), is speaking with Job and trying illustrate the point that Job has gone too far in his self justification. At the end of the thirty-third chapter Elihu begins a line of reasoning designed to get Job to listen to him.

Job 33:22-30 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

Elihu is trying to get Job to realize that he has sinned by elevating his own righteousness and condemning the justice of God. As he is pleading with Job he embarks on this passage concerning a messenger to instruct man in righteousness. Elihu says that messengers will not be common (“one among a thousand”). The messenger’s purpose will be to instruct in righteousness, and turn others from error. I believe that Elihu is referring to himself here, but his thoughts apply to other messengers in the Bible.

Jonah was a messenger to the city of Nineveh. He was “one among a thousand” in the city, and he called for the repentance of a wicked city. The people of Nineveh repented from their way, and the Lord had mercy upon them. Just as Elihu indicated would happen. “He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.”

John, the baptist would also fit Elihu’s description of a messenger. The prophet Malachi revealed that the Lord would send a messenger to instruct the people in righteousness before the coming of the Lord. Malachi 4:5-6 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Jesus is, of course, the master teacher. Jesus was a messenger of righteousness, and those that follow his teaching will have life everlasting. Those who follow the teachings of Christ are to be messengers. Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus also indicated that his followers would be “few” Matthew 7:14 in number.

Elihu reveals several truth’s about being a messenger from God. Do you think he is speaking of himself here? Is it taking to much liberty to draw these conclusions? What do you think about Elihu’s words?

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