The Old Testament in the bible is something that we need to read with UNDERSTANDING!


The Old Testament often contains negative examples we are NOT to follow.

We should not assume that the Old Testament is a positive model to emulate until it passes New Testament muster.

And by this, I mean it reveals qualities of God confirmed in the New Testament revelation of Jesus combined with Holy Spirit confirmation.

Sometimes, Old Testament passages are there to warn us how NOT to approach God.

This concept is highlighted by Paul in the following New Testament passage of I Corinthians 10:6-11:

“These things happened as EXAMPLES for us so that we will NOT crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were… And let us NOT be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. And let us NOT put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And do NOT complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel (the devil). These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” I Corinthians 10:6-11.

Paul in the above passage isn’t telling us to follow the Old Testament, but rather NOT to follow it.

Avoid their mistakes.

Avoid their lapses.

WE LEARN from them on occasion what NOT to do.

The book of Job is an example of how NOT to think about God.

In the New Testament, in the book of James, we are told about Job, to consider his end, not his beginning.

The book of Job is not about what Job DID know about God, but rather what he (and his friends) didn’t know.

If I presented to you a 42 chapter book explaining events in my life and filled with my thoughts and opinions of God, and THEN in the last chapter admitted that in the previous 41 chapters I really knew nothing about God and was almost entirely mistaken, you would be furious with me.

You sure wouldn’t take anything I said in those first 41 chapters seriously.

Well, this is EXACTLY what Job did. In the first 40 chapters, Job and his friends made some 74 false accusations about the nature of God which ALL essentially blamed God as the wrathful source of all of Job’s afflictions.

But, Job himself admitted at the very end of the book that for the previous FORTY CHAPTERS, he essentially knew NOTHING about God’s nature.

“Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once I have spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further… Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered THAT I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” Job 40:3-5; 42:3.

Actually, the ONLY person who actually spoke righteously in the first 40 chapters was Elihu. He was the youngest of all who spoke. He was the last to speak. He was the only speaker God never rebuked as wrong. In fact, his great speech in Chapters 32-37 prophetically ushered in the presence of the Lord in Chapter 38.

This is what a prophetic utterance should do —- connect the audience with the manifest presence of God.

Before we look at the heart of what Elihu said, let’s quickly summarize the erroneous “bottom lines” of both Job and his three friends —- Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

It’s very simple really. Job’s three friends all believed Job DESERVED the afflictions God sent BECAUSE of various theological reasons.

God, so they said, was right to oppress Job, either because of Job’s open or hidden sins.

God, they believed, would not have sent wrath upon Job unless it was deserved.

The fact that God sent it meant that Job deserved it, regardless of how righteous Job’s life appeared to be on the surface.

Then, in contrast, Job’s main argument was that he didn’t deserve the destructions that came.

He believed himself to be righteous and undeserving of the afflictions he suffered during this period.

Most scholars believe that the whole book of Job took place over a nine-month period of time.

So, the bottom line of Job’s three friends was that Job deserved his suffering.

The bottom line of Job was that he didn’t deserve his sufferings.

But, the bottom line of Elihu was this —-
“Touching the Almighty… He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: HE DOES NOT AFFLICT.” Job 37:23.

Do you see? Job and his three friends focused on whether or not man deserved the suffering that comes in life.

Elihu, however, focused solely on the GOODNESS of God.

Not everything Elihu said is perfect New Testament theology, but he largely focused on the key point —- God is good, God is powerful, God is merciful and God is fair.

Elihu tenderly noted, “But none sayeth, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?”

His point was that everybody was so busy either complaining or explaining Job’s life away, that nobody was actually seeking the Lord’s good presence to set all things right.

His theology was simply stated: