top of page

The Story of Job - His Humility

Sermon Series:

The Story of Job

Ryan Kimmel
Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Main Passage:
Job 32-37


Today is the day that the Lord has made. So let us rejoice and be glad in it. And everyone everywhere, whether you're here in one of the other venues or online, everyone said amen. Well, if you're lucky enough to still have a good mom in your life, make sure that you treat her well today, not just treat her well. Why don't you go ahead and take the next step and actually not just give her a gift, but share why she's special to you? Share what you appreciate about her. For so many of us, our moms were the first ones to wipe our little tushies. And therefore a little honor and humility toward them is in order. Okay, I'm gonna about to order a bunch of coffee for everyone here. If you don't start waking up. We are in the story of Job. And you know what? The story of Job is heavy. And if you've been walking with us for the last number of weeks as we walk through the story of Job, you've probably felt some of this weight, which is right. It's right to feel the weight of Job. It's right to feel the weight of someone who is so good and so righteous, yet suffered so much. It's okay. And it's right to be, to have a somber reflection of that. Today, we're going to continue our story of Job and just like how our mothers demonstrate humility towards us, we're going to see Job receive a massive dose of humility this morning, not just in what is told to him, but in who tells it to him. So we are coming off last week where Pastor Nate did a wonderful job of preaching through 29 chapters of Job. And saw during those 29 chapters we saw Job wrestle with his suffering through the advice and counsel and questions of three of his friends. His three friends come and they sit with him and they discuss why Job's suffering so much. But ultimately, we come to see that the conversation ultimately goes nowhere. For 29 chapters of the Bible, Job discusses with these other men. And there's a lot to be gleaned, but it ultimately doesn't go anywhere. But what we're going to find out today in our passage is that for those 29 chapters, for all that discussion between Job and his three friends, there was another person sitting there, observing, watching, listening, processing, waiting for his turn to speak. And this man's name is Elihu. Would you please turn in your Bibles to Job chapter 32? We're gonna sink our teeth into one specific section that Elihu teaches to us, but we're gonna take a moment, we're gonna get to know this guy first. He is an awesome, awesome guy. He is definitely someone that we should be naming our sons after. Elihu is an awesome guy, and what he has to say is phenomenal. But let's first take a moment, let's just meet this man. Here's a painting of him from Arthur Ackland Hunt. So Elihu just kind of emerges in chapter 32 on the heels of this massive conversation, this 29-chapter conversation, Elihu emerges and before we go into what he says, let's just meet this guy and get to know him for a moment. Let's just walk through chapter 32 really briefly together. So if you have your Bibles, we're gonna look at 32 verses one and down. So the Bible says that, so these three men, speaking of Job's friends that we looked at last week, these three men ceased to answer Job because Job was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu, the son of Barakel, the Buzite of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because Job justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Job's three friends because they found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger. Did you count how many times it says that Elihu's angry? So what's going on here? So Elihu's been sitting there quietly listening to this conversation that lasted 29 chapters between Job and his friend, a conversation that ultimately got nowhere, and now Elihu is angry. The Bible says he's angry for three reasons. One, he saw that Job was righteous in his own eyes, meaning he's beginning to see the pride in Job emerge in the way that Job was handling his suffering because, here's Job's great fault, Job was focusing on himself rather than God, Elihu identifies that and it makes him angry. Second thing, Elihu is mad at the three friends. Why? Because they kept saying that Job is suffering because of sin in Job's life, but they couldn't provide any proof of Job's sin. And Elihu is basically like, this is the heaviest of all situations of suffering in history and you can't go around accusing someone of sin and then not being able to prove it. That also makes Elihu really angry. And the third thing that makes Elihu angry is that he's mad because their conversation went on and on and on and ultimately got nowhere. We find out that Elihu is the youngest among them. This is important. He's the youngest among Job and Job's three friends. So out of respect, this younger man waits to speak. And let me just stop here real quick and just say, I understand that this is an ancient Near East historical context, cultural context from 4,000 years ago, but I'm going to tell you right now, for those who are younger among us, that's a wise thing to do. Let those who are older go first, let those who are older speak first. You sit and listen, not saying you can't speak, but I think a lie. He was such a great example that he listens first. He listens for a long time. He listens to the point where actually he gets angry, but he lets them speak first. And when they've had their say, that's when he speaks up when he sees that the conversation has ended, but gotten nowhere. That's when he speaks, go to verse six. And then a lie here, the son of Barakel, the Buzite, answered and said, I am young in years, and you are aged. Therefore, I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you. I said, let days speak and many years teach wisdom. But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. Look at verse nine. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. All right, stop right here for a second. So Elihu, the youngest one there, steps up and challenges them all. He steps up to the plate and basically says, yeah, yes, I'm the youngest one here, but just because you're older than me doesn't make you wiser than me because it's God's spirit in a person that makes them wise, not the number of years that they've lived. And then Elihu, like a boss, says this in verse 10. He says, therefore I say, listen to me. He's saying, it's my turn now. It's my turn to speak. And this is actually reminiscent of something the apostle Paul teaches Timothy in the New Testament. When the apostle Paul tells the younger man, Timothy, this, he says, let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and impurity. So this younger man, Elihu, steps up, and again, for the younger generations among us, this is why we seek the Lord, to gain wisdom. Yes, yes, of course, we listen to those who have gone before us. Our moms set great examples for that. But the Bible tells us that it's the breath of the almighty that gives a person insight. It's the breath of the almighty. It's the spirit of God that makes a person wise. And the Bible says that the word of God is God's breath. The word of God is the Bible. It's God-breathed. So to know wisdom, we must know God's word, the Bible, which has been challenging humanity since it was written yet continues to stand the test of time and continues to be the best seller and most read book in the entire world. The Bible does not say, once you hit 60, then you're wise. The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When you know your place before God, that's when you can start to gain insight. And so God uses this younger man Elihu to teach and to humble Job and his friends. In over six chapters, Elihu teaches Job and he teaches us. And there's so much here. There's so much richness. And we're gonna sink our teeth into one specific passage, but if I could just give you a quick broad overview of Elihu's grand speech, it would be something like this. Elihu's speech to Job through these chapters, 32 to 37, is this. Number one, God is not silent in our suffering. We cry out to God, we think He's not answering, God is not silent. God speaks through pain, He speaks through His word. God is not unjust in our suffering. We're going to find that out in a little bit more detail here this morning. God is not unjust in our suffering. Elihu goes on in the next chapter, 35, to say that God is not absent in our suffering. He is present with us. The fourth thing that Elihu shows us is God is not helpless in our suffering. God doesn't stand aside and wish that he could do something, but doesn't. This all feeds into the grand and great mystery of faith.

You know, at some point, we're gonna have to come back and do a real study on Elihu. I love this guy, but I think it's really good for us to zero in on chapter 34 here this morning. So again, if you have your Bibles open, I hope you do. Jump over to chapter 34. We're going to look at verses 1 to 15 this morning. Now, as you're turning there, we really have to understand the worldview that these guys were leaning on. And let it challenge your own worldview, but here's what's going on. Now, these guys, they understood the world in a very black and white term, in a very black and white way. See, they believe that God was just, that he was, he was a God of justice. He did what was right. They believe that God is just meaning they believe that good people got blessed by God and bad people got cursed by God. This was their worldview. This is what they believed. And so what happened was you got Job, this righteous man who was suffering, that did not fit into their worldview. And now they had to try to reconcile what they were experiencing with what they knew to be true about God and it leads them to some bad and dark places, which we're going to find out in a second. This is what they believed. That God blessed the good and He cursed the bad, and now they are confronted with a situation that didn't fit into that. Job's friends say, yes, God is just, God is good. Therefore, Job, you must have some sort of secret sin in your life that we don't know about, although they couldn't point to anything. But on the flip, what we see is Job begin to articulate, I'm righteous. I'm righteous before God, and yet I'm suffering, therefore God must be unjust. Both of them came to the wrong conclusion. And Elihu steps up to provide some much-needed correction. And what he says is, you guys, your whole frame of thinking is off. And this is what Elihu begins to articulate and share. And so, with that massively long introduction. Let's read God's Word. Chapter 34 of Job, verses 1 to 15, would you please hear the word of the Lord? Then Elihu answered and said, hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know. Stop right there for a second. It's kind of hard not to read a snarky tone in that. I'll just be honest with you. Hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know. For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. Let us choose what is right. Let us know among ourselves what is good. For Job has said, I am in the right, and God has taken away my right. In spite of my right, I am counted as a liar. My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression." Then Elihu picks up and says, What man is like Job, who drinks up scoffing like water, who travels in company with evildoers, who walks with wicked men? For he has said, it profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God. Therefore hear me, you men of understanding, far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and the Almighty that he should do wrong. For according to the work of man he will repay him and according to his ways, he will make it befall him. Of a truth God will not do wickedly and the Almighty will not pervert justice. Who gave him charge over the earth? Who laid on him the whole world? If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust." This is God's word. Let's pray, and we'll continue. Let's pray together. Father God in heaven above, Lord, we thank you on this day for the mothers and the mothers in spirit among us who show us so well, so often, the meaning of humility. But most of all, we thank you for our humble Savior, Jesus. Help us today, Father, by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit, that we would know the power of this passage. Father, would you be with me, that I may bring about your truth well to my friends and family here?

And it's in Jesus' name that we pray. And everyone said, Amen. All right, so there's so much that we could glean from Elihu. But from this passage here, I just want to give you one thing. I'm going to warn you, this is a layered, thick main point here today. And here it is. Faith is having the humility in suffering to say that we may never fully understand what we know to be true. I know that sounds paradoxical, but let's listen to it. Let's see it again. Faith is having the humility in suffering to say that we may never fully understand what we know to be true. And as we look at these 15 verses here, here's our breakdown for this morning, here's your outline. When suffering, we need to have the humility to critique your own position, to change your own presuppositions, and to challenge your own pride. When suffering, have the humility to critique your own position, change your own presupposition, and challenge your own pride. And as we get going, I just want to remind ourselves of something here before we start jumping to lessons and application and all this. It took unimaginable suffering for Job to come to a place of humility where he could learn these lessons. And as we talked about before at the beginning of this series, listen here, I know, I know a lot of us, like, suffering is just not part of the equation for our lives. So a sermon like this could feel like a throwaway for you, but I'm telling you, on this side of eternity, you need to be prepared for suffering. This is a sermon, I believe, that you may not feel like you need it right now, but at some point in your life, it's something you need to have in your back pocket to pull out when the time is right. And I know, I fully would submit to you that I know that my words can appear dull and unsharpened by lack of experience. But as Elihu pointed out, it's not age or life experience that makes our words true. It's God breathing life into those words. By the way, what I just said would get me canceled in today's world. But let's see what God's truth says. The first thing that we need to look at is when suffering, we need to have the humility to critique our own position. Let's continue in verse chapter 34. Then Elihu answered and said, hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know. So Elihu continues his rebuke and he places his words before them. He lays his argument before them. He doesn't hide behind his feelings. He doesn't hide behind compassion. He says, listen to what I say. Verse 3, for the ear, tests words as the palate tastes food. He's telling these older men, to take my words to task. Listen to what I say. Debate with me. Taste them. Touch them. Test them. He's telling them to engage. He's not gonna let them off the hook. He wants them to receive his words. This is completely the opposite of what's happening in our world today. In our world, when someone's confronted with an idea that offends them or they don't like, what do they do?

They shut down the conversation and they run away. Church, we cannot play that. We cannot be that way. We have to be able to stand our ground, know what we're saying, and engage in the conversation like Elihu is calling us to do. He says, in verse 4, let us choose what is right. Let us know among ourselves what is good. Elihu is saying, let's be objective here. What is the right and good thing to do? He says the right and good thing to do is not a matter of opinion here, gentlemen. He says we don't get to walk away from this situation, just living our own truth he says there's something larger going on at play here we need to determine and figure out what that is listen to me a lot of you is like the anti woke he's not gonna let people think that they can just determine their own reality here he will not respect a thought on the matter if it's not grounded in truth capital T truth he's not running away with the car he's not gonna run away from the conversation. He wants to have an exchange of ideas. He says, test what I'm saying. If I'm wrong, show me. Because remember, here's the whole problem. Here's the tension they're dealing with. Job is righteous, yet he's suffering. So the question on the table is this. Job's suffering makes God unjust.

So Elihu shows up and basically says, you have your own thoughts on the matter, but it's now, it's time to put those thoughts to the test. It's time to consider the faults of your own position. Listen to what I say, and let's see where we land. And church, this goes back to the entire theme of this whole series. That the best way to deal with and the best way to prepare for suffering and loss and pain is not by answering why, but by knowing God. Church, I have a question for you. Don't answer this one out loud, because I'm kind of scared of what you'd say, but don't answer this out loud, but what is one thing that is true for all people? If you're in one of the other venues, I ask you the same thing. What is one thing that is true for all people? I can tell you this, with nearly 20 years of ministry under my belt, talking with people on multiple different continents from all over, one thing I know about humans, one of the hardest things for any of us to do is to change our minds. And that goes for everyone who can hear my voice, probably. So many people lack the humility to fully critique their own positions. And here's why, because here's what people do. Here's what humans do. We equate our opinions on the matter with the truth of the matter. We can't differentiate between the two. And in the church, this becomes even more insidious because we've turned our preferences into battles of morality and theological integrity. And, by the way, battles of morality and theological integrity are at stake, but they shouldn't be birthed from our preferences, but God's truth. As we consider our own positions, the next step is to consider from what place those positions are birthed, our presuppositions, which leads to number two. When suffering, have the humility to change your own presuppositions. So, meaning, here's the question, like, from what base truth am I building my worldview? What's the truth that I base my arguments upon? And suffering, when done in humility, can lead to a change in your presuppositions. Listen to this, verse five. For Job has said, I am in the right, and God has taken away my right. Meaning here's what Job's saying, Job is saying, I'm righteous. I am righteous and I have done nothing to deserve this. This is an injustice, what is happening to me. And then Job basically is saying, which shows that God has denied me justice. Meaning, Job is saying that God is being unjust.

This is huge.

Job is convinced of this as we see in verse six look at verse six in spite of my right I am counted a liar now this is all in poetic form so let's understand what's happening here this is such an insightful verse job says in spite of my right I am counted a liar what job is saying is that God has done this to me without cause but when I say that that this means that God is unjust, people accuse me of speaking falsely. And Job is saying, how am I in the wrong? He goes on to say, my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression. Translation, Job is saying, God is doing an injustice to me, and here's the proof. I am suffering but without cause. So how can I be lying or saying something untruthful? If God is good and I'm good but I'm suffering, that makes God unjust. Right?

This all stems from his presupposition of the matter, which is faulty. And Elihu is going to attack that premise. And he challenges us all to do that. What is the reality that you base your worldview upon? And does it lead you to believe things that are not true about God? Job is saying this because he's relying on his presupposition that God would not allow, that God would not allow those who are righteous to suffer. And this is such a key, key lesson for us. People hear me. When we don't understand God, His being, His motive, His justice, his plan. When we don't understand that, then it's our worldview, meaning our moral and theological framework, that's what needs to be challenged first, not God. And Job, rather than believing that God knows more and God knows better than he does, Job is sticking to his presuppositions, which leads to the wrong conclusion that God is unjust. And with that, Elihu lets him have it. Go to verse seven. It says, what man is like Job, who drinks up scoffing like water? What Elihu is saying is that Job, Job you're too loose with your words right now my friend. You're too quick to judge God without first considering how your thinking could be wrong. And Elihu continues to lay into him, verse eight. He says, speaking of Job, you who travel in the company of evildoers and walks with wicked men.

Remember the context. Job's friends are standing right there. Like Elihu was speaking and Job's friends are like, well, this is awkward.

Yeah, because they're standing right there. Elihu is bringing the fire because they've been no help either. He's saying if you're all going to stand there and say nothing but spit accusations at God, then you are wicked. Elihu continues, verse 9, for he, meaning Job, for Job has said, it profits a man nothing that he should take the light in God. Job is asking, if God is going to allow this to happen to me, then what is the point of worshiping God? Job is saying, what's the point of trying to enjoy God if life is terrible? Church don't make this mistake. Church do not make this mistake. Rather than questioning his own presuppositions, Job questions God. And here we begin to uncover Job's capacity to sin. This isn't from me, but it was once summarized that Job did not suffer because he sinned, he sinned because he suffered. Elihu is saying we all know God is just, that is true. And so when it seems like God is unjust, it's not because God is wrong, it's because our presuppositions are faulty, they betray us. We are the ones who are wrong, not God. Elihu is saying, we all know it to be true, that we humans think we know it all, especially in today's world. We think we know it all. We think we are people who are more righteous than God. Mankind thinks that we can outsmart God. Do you know what that's called? Pride. And pride is the thing that limits our ability to fully understand what's going on, which is such a dangerous thing because pride is so celebrated. Pride limits our ability to fully understand what's going on. And Elihu's calling that out, which leads to this last thing. When suffering, when suffering, we need to challenge our own pride. Now Elihu, here, he goes for the checkmate.

Verse 10 and 11 says,

"'Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding. "'Far be it from God that he should do wickedness, "' and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. For according to the work of man, he will repay him, and according to his ways, he will make it befall him. Here's what Elihu says, in verse 12. Of a truth God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. Elihu was saying, God is good. God is just. He's saying, don't think for a second anything other than that. Yes, sin will be held to account. The wrongdoer will be held to account, but it's according to God's timeline, not yours. And to further challenge our pride, Elihu was saying, if you have a complaint, what are you going to do about it? If you have a complaint, what higher authority are you going to appeal to other than God himself? There is only God and there is none higher. He goes on to say, who gave God, verse 13, who gave God charge over the earth? Who laid on him the whole world? The answer of course is no one, no one bequeathed to God, his status on God, or his dominion over the earth. There is only God and none higher. He goes on to say in verses 14 and 15 if God should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together and man would return to dust. Elihu is saying to Job and to us all, remember your place in the universe, Job. You only have breath, you only have breath in your lungs. You only have life because God wills it to be so every moment. And this should give us, especially those of us who know God, perpetual humility. Elihu is not saying that what Job is going through is easy. Elihu doesn't undermine Job's pain. He's not saying that it's easy what Job is going through, he's not dismissing it. Elihu doesn't undermine Job's suffering like this, but it's clear. Elihu is telling us that suffering is not an excuse to sin. It's not an excuse to challenge God's justice. Rather, our suffering is a call for humility because God is not vengeful. God's not vengeful. He's not spiteful. God's not mean. God is good and he is just, and if you are led to think otherwise, it's your presuppositions that need to be challenged. Because when times of suffering come, we must remember that faith is having the humility in suffering to say that we may never fully understand what we know to be true. If we have any questions on this, then let's just take it up a notch and see the suffering of Jesus. If we think that the suffering of Job is troublesome, let's look at the suffering of Jesus. Let's look at the gospel. The gospel is good news. The gospel is that the righteous one, the sinless one, suffered for the unrighteous, for the sinful, so that we could be saved. A plaguing question that mankind has is, how can suffering ever lead to something good? Well, that answer is most clearly and profoundly found in the Gospel of Jesus, that Christ died on the cross in our place for our sins. The theologians would say that's substitutionary atonement. He died in our place for our sins so that we would not face the judgment that is due us for our sins, but rather through our faith in Jesus, what happens is that God gives the righteousness of Jesus to us, and we are seen as more righteous than Job, for we have the righteousness of Christ in us. And this happens, listen to me, not through our suffering, but through the suffering of Jesus. The gospel is the declaration that God is good, that God is holy, and that He will do what is right even when we don't fully understand it. And listen to me, what goes for justice goes for love. God's love for us, we may know it, but we will never fully comprehend it. The love that is described loved the world that he gave his one and only son. Mothers, mothers, could you give your only son? What sort of love is this? This is beyond us, that God would so love the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish, will not die, but have everlasting life so that we would know the love of God. This is the gospel that Jesus, the one who was given, the one who was sinless, suffered for those like us who are sinful. Jesus suffered and died taking our place for us. And the story of Job is definitely a tension that every thinking person and every Christian needs to grapple with. The story of Job is a tension we must face. And the suffering of Job is something we must consider, what he endured. But all of that suffering needs to point us to something even greater, even greater suffering. It should turn us to Jesus and the suffering that He endured for us.


Do me a favor, let's stand up.

Let's have a little chat for a second. As we sing this morning, we sing some of the old hymns.

I know there are people who deeply love the hymns, but if you sing because you love the hymns. But if you sing because you love the hymns and not firstly because you love God, I'm telling you, you're singing wrongly. We are going to sing of God's great love for us. And there is a world that looks upon the church and wonders, do you even believe what you say? Do you even believe what you sing about? And church, I'm telling you, right now is your chance to respond to that in the way that you sing of God's love.

So let's pray. Father, we pray here and now as we come before your holy throne of grace. Father, we know that we are only able to do that because of what Jesus has done for us. So Father, as you sent your spirit, Father, I pray you to continue to do that. Holy Spirit, we pray that you'd fill this place with your presence, that we might be reminded of the goodness of God, the holiness of God, and the love of God, as we are reminded of the suffering of Jesus who suffered in our place. So fill us with your spirit as we sing of this great love. Father, we love you and we thank you and we pray these things in Jesus' name. Father, we love you and we thank you and we pray these things in Jesus' name. And everyone said very loudly. Amen.

bottom of page