Elihu, Job’s 1 in a 1,000

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Elihu Job

Wednesday 3/20/24

Title: Elihu, Job’s 1 in a 1,000

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Elihu, Job’s 1 in a 1,000

Two weeks ago we saw the thoughts and frustrations of Job’s friends run its course. As we will see at the beginning of chapter 32, they gave up on Job since he was self-righteous and would not hear their words.

Last week we saw the thoughts and frustrations of Job’s heart run their full course in response and will not hear him speak again until he speaks directly to God which is what he has desired from the beginning. 

As we have noted, Job was pouring his heart out. Yes, it was before his friends, but I believe it was more TO God than anything else. 

We are strange creatures to be sure! 

Sometimes we will say things which are not directed to the person with whom we have a grievance, but which we know is within their hearing. We do this sometimes because we lack the courage for a direct confrontation. 

Other times it is because we believe it is the only way we will be able to get our point across without interruption. 

Other times, like in this case with Job,  it is because he lacks confidence before God because the nature of his relationship to Him has seemed to change and so he feels on uncertain footing before Him. 

Job wants to address God as he has said multiple times throughout this record of his discussions with his three friends, but he is afraid that he will not be heard – or worse yet, that he will ONLY be heard, but not responded to. 

It is safe to say that Job feels betrayed by God. That the One he had trusted most of his life has somehow changed or that He has lost interest in Job, shifting His favor away from him. 

So it seems to me that Job feels as if the best way to voice his grievances is TO his friends but BEFORE the every seeing eye and ever hearing ear of God.

It should be noted that God understands all of this and in His kindness permits it… at least sometimes. It largely depends on our attitude.

This week we begin with God’s reply to Job which is NOT in the form of a DIRECT answer to his questions, but rather is intended to prepare Job for an encounter with God. 

Before God can show Himself gracious to us, He first has to procure our humility the very thing Job’s friends realized he had forsaken – at least in part.

The scriptures have stated three times… once in Proverbs, once in James and once in 1 Peter that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

This is not just a choice God makes, it is in accordance with Who He is. 

God does not force belief or compliance. He woos. 

But when the heart of man is right in its own eyes or even worse – accusatory at God, it is proud, inflexible and incapable of hearing an outside voice of reason. 

God’s influence expended on such a one would be to cast pearls before swine. 

The simple and unavoidable truth is – you cannot influence a proud person into humility, since their pride blocks all access to their heart.

Up to this point, Job has misunderstood this entire situation seeing it as God’s unjust judgment against him since he sees himself as innocent.

Of course we know that this series of trials had nothing to do with judging Job for sin, since before these events transpired in his life, Job had the testimony from God that he was a blameless and upright man. A man who turns away from evil. 

However, since this trial of Job’s loyalty and faith in God began, Job has become accusatory at God and self-righteous which was obvious to his friends and all who read his words. 

This condition of heart is NOT conducive to grace, but places God in the position of resisting Job

God however, because of His great love for His Own does not leave Job in this condition. No, instead, He sends someone else to influence Job towards humility that He might rescue and redeem His beloved servant.

In steps Elihu

Up until a few years ago I had heard MANY sermons on Job, listened to many teachers use Job as an example and I had never seen any of these even mention Elihu

What makes this amazing is that the book of Job only has 6 major personalities and Elihu says more than any of them except Job himself. So overlooking Elihu is rather difficult.

Out of the entire book…

  • Job speaks about 20 chapters (3,6,7,9,10,12-14,16,17,19,21,23,24,26-31)
  • Eliphaz speaks 4 chapters (4,5,15,22)
  • Bildad speaks 3 Chapters (8,18,25
  • Zophar speaks 2 chapters (11,20)
  • Elihu speaks 6 chapters (32-37)
  • God speaks 5 chapters (38-42)

The only thing to which I have been able to attribute this mystery of “missing” Elihu, is that his presence and words run so contrary to the established theology almost everyone teaches about Job, that one HAS to avoid him in order to make their point!

I however find in Elihu a treasure of both wisdom and intercession.

It is important  to recognize that God corrected EVERYONE for what they had said about Him EXCEPT Elihu! 

Now that is admittedly NOT the same thing as agreeing with what Elihu said about Job, just that Elihu is not confronted by God with misrepresenting HIM.

To me this at least hints that Elihu’s words possibly provide a partial key to understanding what was really happening in this book. 

As we will see in a moment, Elihu desired to provide a spiritual covering for Job and represent Job before God (Job 33:6) – a thing which God calls upon Job in turn to do later for his three friends (Job 42:7-9).

Let’s dive in!

Job 32:1-22,

“(1) So these three men refused to answer Job further, because he was righteous in his own eyes.”  

The intimation here is not just that Job was righteous in his own eyes, but that such a mindset erected a wall between himself and their words so that he would not hear them.

THis is important because even though their arguments were ultimately misapplied, it does paint an accurate picture of Job’s condition. His pride was not affording anyone’s opinion but his own and that included God’s!

As we have already noted. Grace comes to the humble, but God resists the proud.

Now it would be irresponsible for me not to tell you this…

The Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic and Chaldee translation of this verse is quite different. In it the words “in HIS eyes” is translated “in THEIR eyes” – indicating that following Job’s LONG last defense they were finally convinced that he was in fact righteous and so stopped debating with him.

Again, the book of Job is very unique. In most cases I would immediately defer to the Septuagint because they were closer to the original Hebrew of the scriptures. In the case of Job however, we do not know what language it was originally penned in. All we know is that the copies from which the Septuagint were made were themselves a translation into Hebrew employing some rarely used words and difficult dialect. 

So in that way Job is entirely unique and I have reason to look to other things than JUST the Septuagint especially when the translation does not make sense.

Elihu claims later that Job’s friends could not find an answer but still declared him guilty. So BOTH could not be true!

Now this is me straining at a gnat in order to be 100% transparent with you because in the end it really does not matter since it does not in the slightest way impact the meaning or understanding of the book. Even if Job’s three friends HAD finally been won over by Job’s arguments, neigher Elihu nor God were and that is what the rest of the book is about!

So I would not lose any sleep over it. I believe our translators have done a good job and have accurately represented the words but in the end, it makes little difference!

“(2)  Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry. He was angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God.  (3)  With Job’s three friends he was also angry, because they could not find an answer, and so declared Job guilty.”  

I think the Holman translation treats this more fairly saying, “they had failed to refute him, and yet had condemned him.”  

To say they could find no answer and SO they declared him guilty is to read into their action a motive which is most base and unconfirmed. 

Safer to stick with the actual text which says though they failed to refute him, they still condemned him.” Still not the best thing to do, but at least it does not read into their motives something as terrible as spite.

“(4)  Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job, because the others were older than he was.  (5)  But when Elihu saw that the three men had no further reply, he became very angry.  

(6)  So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite spoke up: 

“I am young, but you are elderly; that is why I was fearful, and afraid to explain to you what I know.  

(7)  I said to myself, ‘Age should speak, and length of years should make wisdom known.’  

(8)  But it is a spirit in people, the breath of the Almighty, that makes them understand.”

I like the English Standard version here. It reads more smoothly and paints a clearer picture. It says, “But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.” 

“(9)  It is not the aged who are wise, nor old men who understand what is right.”

Evidently the Hebrew does not supply the word “only” here, but I believe it is implied. If one listens to all Elihu has to say, they could hardly walk away thinking that he is of the opinion that all wisdom comes from young people, and that the aged have no wisdom. So I, when other translations supply the word “only” in italics, I believe they are correct.

Therefore it would read, “It is not only the old who are wise or the elderly who understand how to judge.” 

“(10)  Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me. I, even I, will explain what I know.’  

(11)  Look, I waited for you to speak; I listened closely to your wise thoughts, while you were searching for words.  

(12)  Now I was paying you close attention, yet there was no one proving Job wrong, not one of you was answering his statements!  

(13)  So do not say, ‘We have found wisdom! God will refute him, not man!’  

(14)  Job has not directed his words to me, and so I will not reply to him with your arguments.  (15)  “They are dismayed and cannot answer any more; they have nothing left to say.  (16)  And I have waited. But because they do not speak, because they stand there and answer no more,  

(17)  I too will answer my part, I too will explain what I know. (18)  For I am full of words, and the spirit within me constrains me. 

(19)  Inside I am like wine which has no outlet, like new wineskins ready to burst!  

(20)  I will speak, so that I may find relief; I will open my lips, so that I may answer.  

(21)  I will not show partiality to anyone, nor will I confer a title on any man.  (22)  for I do not know how to give honorary titles, if I did, my Creator would quickly do away with me.”

Job 33:1-33, 

“(1) But now, Job, pay attention to my speech, and listen to all my words.  

(2)  I am going to open my mouth; my tongue will form words on my palate.  (3)  My words come from my upright heart, and my lips speak what they know with sincerity.  

(4)  The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.  

(5)  Refute me if you can. Prepare your case against me; take your stand.  

(6)  I am just like you before God; I was also pinched off from a piece of clay.  (7)  Fear of me should not terrify you; the pressure I exert against you will be light.  

(8)  Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard these very words:  

(9)  “I am pure, without transgression; I am clean and have no guilt.  (10)  But He finds reasons to oppose me; He regards me as his enemy.  (11)  He puts my feet in the stocks; He stands watch over all my paths.”  

12)  But I tell you that you are wrong in this matter, since God is greater than man.  

(13)  Why do you take Him to court for not answering anything a person asks?  

(14)  For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it.  

(15)  In a dream, a vision in the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber on their beds,  (16)  He uncovers their ears at that time and terrifies them with warnings,  (17)  in order to turn a person from his actions and SUPPRESS HIS PRIDE. (18)  God spares his soul from the Pit, his life from crossing the river of death.”

Okay at this point not only is Elihu speaking general truths, he is speaking specific truth regarding Job’s situation. God had been trying to rescue Job this whole time. It is quite inexcusable for us if we did not know this anyway, because God tells us clearly that ANY TIME we are tempted, God always provides a way of escape IF WE WILL LISTEN!

Job himself had said that God had scared him with dreams in chapter 7:14, only he interpreted it in a way which made him despair of life, when God intended it to cause him to turn from his actions and pride!

Here Elihu says that God often comes in ways which we do not discern. 

What is implied in this is that if we were truly seeking GOD rather than what we wanted FROM God, we would have had eyes to see and ears to hear when He spoke to us – whether in a dream or some other means. And don’t the scriptures say the same? 

Matthew tells us in chapter 7 that Jesus said, 

  • Ask and it will be – GIVEN
  • Seek and you will – FIND
  • Knock and it will be – OPENED


God does all of this to spare us from death as Elihu said!

However, James tells us that we must ask in faith with no doubting. 

Also Hebrews tells us that ANYONE who comes to God must…

1st – believe He exists

2nd – that He will reward whoever is seeking HIM by faith!

Job had sought and asked, but he repeatedly admitted that he did not believe God would answer him!

Now Elihu goes further with this. I do not know if he is insinuating that Job was being disciplined or not, or just building on the topic he has introduced more thoroughly.

He says…

“(19)  A person may be disciplined on his bed with pain and constant distress in his bones,  (20)  so that he detests bread, and his soul despises his favorite food.  

(21)  His flesh wastes away to nothing, and his unseen bones stick out.  (22)  He draws near the Pit, and his life to the executioners.”  

Everytime I read this portion I think of Psalm 107 which has a very similar statement but it includes the cause…

Psalm 107:17-21, “(17) Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.  (18)  Their soul abhorred all manner of food, And they drew near to the gates of death.  (19)  Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses.  (20)  He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.  (21)  Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

I am not implying that Job was a fool. We know the reason for his misfortune was a trial from the devil to put his reverence and devotion to God to the test. But this passage sounds a lot like what Elihu is saying to Job and in like manner, the release from such a situation is a crying out to God in humility.

Next Elihu introduces a truth which I think gets too little attention – certainly in the book of Job.

“(23)  If there is an angel on his side, one MEDIATOR out of a thousand, to tell a person what is right for him  (24)  and to be gracious to him and say, “Spare him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom,”  

I almost chose another translation for this whole lesson, but didn’t lest it seem suspect that I was cherry picking translations whose words landed closest to my own belief. So I have chosen to continue using the New English translation and am subjecting us all to offering adjustments where the words are misleading.

In the NOTES of the New English translation they admit that the word they translate as ANGEL ONLY MEANS MESSENGER. 

Now, it is true that a messenger could be either a human or an angel according to scripture, but NOTHING in these verses indicates angelic intervention so as to lean the translators in this direction. Furthermore, this book has enough issues with people trying to artificially drag angels into it to further confuse the text here without reason!

Angels are very real as are Cherubs and they do in fact have roles to play in relation to man, but when those occasions occur they fit within the context. While angels are in truth given authority concerning us to keep us in all our ways, that is NOT the meaning of Elihu’s words. Elihu is referring to a mediator and NO WHERE IN SCRIPTURE do angels mediate between God and man!

God uses people. That such is clearly God preferred MOA one needs only the brows through the scriptures. 

When people need deliverance God sends a natural deliverer with His message.

When exceptions to this rule take place they are both extraordinary and clear as is the case with Daniel, Ezekiel, Joseph & Mary, the announcement of Messiah’s birth to the shepherds or John’s revelation which in the book of Revelation. However in all of these instances the angel does not act in the role of a mediator between God and man, but rather as a messenger to them.

In this case Elihu is setting forth a clear picture of what typically happens. 

The point being that supernatural intervention is typically a last recourse with God in the overwhelming number of cases. Also that mediation is not a role for angels in regard to God and man.

So since this can be translated as a human messenger or an angel, and there are no extraordinary reasons presented in the text to suppose angelic interaction, the most responsible and conservative interpretation would be a natural human messenger – especially since mediation is the clear objective.

I would like to point out that in my opinion the International Standard version did a above average job at conveying part of the intended point of this verse by saying,

If there’s a messenger appointed to mediate for Job—one out of a thousand…,– ISV 

There is another reason to suspect this is what Elihu was saying, but we will reserve that until later.

The next issue with the NET’s handling of these verses again is addressed in their own notes. They admit that the actual wording in verse 24 should be “to tell a person his uprightness” but… and I kid you not, they say the words “to tell a person what is right for him” is a smoother reading! 

Oh well then, by all means let’s substitute theological clarity for verbal fluidity. I tell you, just about the time you think you can trust someone they do something like that!

If you do not monkey with the words at all, but just represent them as they are, then the only difficulty is who it is referring to when it says “HIS” uprightness. Whose uprightness?

Well, if you read the entire verse from the perspective that what Elihu is getting at is a mediator, an intercessor, a person who provides a covering and bridges the gap between God and man, the text becomes clear. And there is ample evidence for this in this chapter.

If that is the case then what is being said is this. 

A person may be chastened with pain on their beds, or warned in dreams God offers in order to set man back on the right course. Often however, we humans do not perceive that it is God Who is speaking to us or directing us. So then God, if He can find an intercessor – even one out of a thousand to go to the one suffering and declare to them God’s uprightness, then God is gracious to him and makes the judicial declaration Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom for him.” And here is the other suggestion that Elihu is referring to a human intercessor. The word being translated as ransom, comes from a root word which means to cover! So the word here means a camphire or pitch as one would coat something with – a satisfaction or sum of money, a ransom.

I go through all of this so you can see the direction this passage is heading. 

We under the New Covenant have a rather narrow understanding of the idea of redemption. To us it just means to purchase back again and while that IS appropriate even in this case, there is an underlying theme which is just as great and important.

Even in regards to our own salvation, the idea of an intercessor and a covering is implied. Consider the well known verse regarding the necessity of Messiah coming to redeem mankind.

Isaiah 59:14-17, “(14) Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.  (15)  So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. 

Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice.  

(16)  He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no INTERCESSOR; 

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.  (17)  For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.”

What was God looking for? An intercessor! 

We know God does this and sometimes fails to find one! Consider Ezekiel 22:29-31.  

“(29)The people of the land were vigorously oppressive and took possession of plunder by violence. They’ve afflicted the poor and the needy and unjustly treated the foreigner.  (30)  I sought for a man among them to build the wall and stand in the breach in my presence on behalf of the land so that it won’t be destroyed, but I found no one,  (31)  so I poured my indignation over them. With my fierce anger, I’ve consumed them. I brought the consequences of their behavior upon them,’ declares the Lord GOD.”

So an intercessor is someone who serves as a go between and so provides a type of spiritual covering for another.

In the words we’ve read Elihu seems to me to be offering himself as Job’s spokesman. To essentially represent his case before God. In so doing he, though younger than Job, it would be effectively placing Job under a spiritual covering.

What’s a “spiritual covering”?

Well it is a term I’ve coined. The term “spiritual covering” has no biblical significance as a term whatsoever, however  it does represent a principle which is well established throughout scripture.

A spiritual covering is a person to whom God delegates authority to preside over, protect, provide for or simply to stand in the place of another.

We see this in…

  • The life of Joseph who was placed in a position of privilege in Egypt in order to provide a covering for his family (all of which were older than him except Benjamin). In this case his covering provided food, land and status within Egypt which they could not have enjoyed without Joseph.
  • Abraham intercedes and thus becomes a covering for Lot (and anyone who was righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah).
  • Moses intercedes for and thus becomes a covering for Israel.
  • All of the judges who protected Israel and delivered them from idolatry.
  • Every king who ever reigned (even the evil kings who God rose up and used to judge His people and eventually reconcile them.)
  • The Kinsman redeemer. Boaz provided a covering for Ruth. In this case it meant male authority over her (concerning her), natural provision, social status and the love of a husband.
  • Elders in the Old and New Testaments.
  • Mothers and fathers for their children.

There are many, many more examples, but these are literally just the ones from the top of my head.

So a fair question at this point would be, “Where do you get the idea that God delegated authority to Elihu to provide this covering?”

God never corrects anything that Elihu said, but instead seems to pick up the conversation where Elihu left it which paints the picture of Elihu’s words creating a segue into God’s direct encounter with Job when Elihu ends his words.

If I had simply read this in the New King James all of this word study would have been able to be avoided, but I think it is good for you in learning how to study and dig into the scriptures. In many of these cases there is NO translation which is flat out incorrect. There are just some which choose words which better convey the intended depth of meaning of the original. 

So I am now going to break protocol and back up to verse 14 again and read on to the end of the chapter using the NKJV, beginning with verses 14-28 so you can get a feel for this passage and a snapshot of what is being said.

I believe when we do this the proper interpretation practically makes itself!

Job 33:14-28,

“(14) For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it.  

(15)  In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds,  (16)  Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction.  (17)  In order to turn man from his deed, And conceal pride from man,  

(18)  He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword.  

(19)  “Man is ALSO chastened with pain on his bed, And with strong pain in many of his bones,  (20)  So that his life abhors bread, And his soul succulent food.  

(21)  His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones stick out which once were not seen.  (22)  Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, And his life to the executioners.  

(23)  “If there is a messenger for him, A mediator, one among a thousand, To show man His uprightness,  (24)  Then He is gracious to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’;  

(25)  His flesh shall be young like a child’s, He shall return to the days of his youth.  

(26)  He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness.  

(27)  Then he looks at [other] men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right, And it did not profit me.’  

(28)  He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, And his life shall see the light.”

When read this way I believe it displays the beauty often associated with God’s word in that it agrees with the greater point of all that is being said in the given text while also being in step with all that scripture teaches regarding situations like this. 

In THIS case, I believe Elihu sees Job as self-righteous – painting himself as upright and God as less so. 

It makes sense for Elihu to say this since Job clearly has not been discerning God in the ways He has attempted to communicate with Job.

So it seems that God is at least using this young man Elihu to point out that it is in fact GOD Who is upright. That if Job will simply accord with this, God will spare him, saving him from the pit because He has found a ransom in the form of an intercessor or a covering for him.

I think intercession is often misunderstood, being seen purely as a type of prayer. In truth intercession does not always take the form of prayer which is another reason people sometimes miss it.

In the example of Phinehas, it took the form of a spear being thrust through an Israelite and a woman of Midian. I want to read this to further the learning we can get from this example of Elihu interceding for Job, but also to reaffirm a teaching we learned much earlier in this book regarding authority.

Numbers 25:1-18, HCSB “(1) While Israel was staying in Abel Hash Shettiem [Acacia Grove], the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. (2) The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. 

(3) So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the LORD’s anger burned against Israel.”

Baal of PeorBaal was the great Canaanite fertility god, and the worship of Baal was a constant enticement for the children of Israel. It would have been bad enough if they had just intermarried with these pagan people, but their worship was attached to this act and leaders in Israel were participating in it.

“(4) The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.” 

“(5) So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.” 

(6) An Israelite man came bringing a Midianite woman to his relatives in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 

(7) When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he got up from the assembly, took a spear in his hand, (8) followed the Israelite man into the tent, and drove it through both the Israelite man and the woman–through her belly. Then the plague on the Israelites was stopped, (9) but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000

(10) The LORD spoke to Moses, (11) “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites BECAUSE he was zealous among them with My zeal, so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My zeal. 

(12) Therefore declare: I grant him My covenant of peace. (13) It will be a covenant of perpetual priesthood for him and his descendants, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”

Notice that the intercession was also a ransom – an atonement!

Notice also that if Phinehas had not done this, there is no evidence that Moses was taking the clue to intercede and so ALL OF THE LEADERS would bear the punishment for the people. You see it does not just work one way. Sometimes the people pay the price for the sins of the leaders and sometimes it is the other way about. God would have spared countless thousands in Israel by destroying the far fewer number of their leaders! What would have been a horrible killing, would have been in all reality a mercy saving the rest of Israel.

Finally I want you to notice that there’s more than one way God can judge an issue and all of them would be just. 

In this case it could be weighed out in terms of pure sin or it could be weighed out in zeal for God. In other words – 

  • If those who deserved to die had done so – the greatest portion of Israel would have perished. 
  • If the leaders had died in their place, their lives being more valuable because of the authority of God which they possessed, then countless fewer would have died. 
  • But when you have ONE MAN, who was carrying the authority of the priesthood, and who was driven by his zeal for God to destroy an example of flagrant disrespect for God before Moses – it spared all of the rest. 

That one act when placed on the scales of justice outweighed all the rest!

I tell you there is MUCH to learn in scripture regarding God, delegated authority, justice, judgment and passion for God.

So it is my contention that Elihu is Job’s intercessor. God is using Elihu to excite humility in Job so that God can show grace to his servant who is currently not a candidate for grace due to his pride.

What did Elihu say earlier? God seeks to turn man from his pride so that he can show compassion to them! Aren’t you glad that is the God we serve?!

We will finish verses 29-33 in Job 33 next week as we continue to listen to the counsel of Elihu.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!