Introduction: What do you think is “righteous anger?” I think this is
anger over slights to God’s reputation and program. Regular anger
arises because of slights to me. As I understand it, righteous anger
is fine and regular anger is not. Do you agree? Ephesians 4:26 says,
“In your anger, do not sin.” That seems to suggest that some anger is
fine. We have seen that Job’s friends engage in what they surely
believed was righteous anger because they thought that Job was
slighting God and His program. This week we focus on the anger of
Elihu, one of Job’s friends. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible
and see what we can learn about whether Elihu’s anger is appropriate!
- Who Is Elihu?
- Read Job 32:1. Why would the “friends” stop arguing just
because Job thought he was right? Do you stop arguing just
because the other person thinks that he or she is right?
(They apparently thought it was useless to continue to
argue based on Job’s attitude.)
- Is this a practical lesson to make life better –
don’t argue with people who are sure they are right?
- Read Job 32:2. Would you call this “righteous anger?”
- I’ve suggested that righteous anger is okay, what do
- Do you agree with Elihu’s view of Job’s arguments?
(Job was justifying himself and challenging God’s
- Do you think that Elihu inherited an angry attitude
from his father? How would you feel if your name was
“Barakel the Buzite?” (In case you are wondering,
this is a joke.)
- Read Job 32:3. Is Elihu only angry with Job? (No! He is
also angry with the three older friends.)
- Notice Elihu is angry because the friends “found no
way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.” Was
Elihu angry because they condemned Job, or because
they found no way to refute him?
- Why were they unable to refute Job? (Because Job was
telling the truth.)
- Read Job 32:4-5. What do we learn about Elihu that is
important in judging whether he should have gotten angry?
(Elihu is younger. If a person learns that some arguments
are not worth having, that lesson most likely comes with
age and experience.)
- Elihu’s Righteous Charges
- Read Job 32:6. What is the assumption in this statement?
(That Elihu knows more than Job. This is unlikely true,
and the assumption is no doubt irritating to Job.)
- Read Job 32:7. Do you agree? Do humans become more wise
- Do you really think Elihu believes this? (I’m
doubtful because he thinks he knows more than Job and
the older friends.)
- Read Job 32:8-9 and Job 32:18-19. What advantage does
Elihu think he has despite his young age? (That the Holy
Spirit guides his mind.)
- Do you agree that a Spirit-filled young man is wiser
than an old man? (In my experience, young fools often
age into old fools. Thus, I agree with Elihu that age
does not necessarily bring wisdom. Of course, if you
have access to God’s wisdom, then no human wisdom is
better regardless of age.)
- Read Job 32:10. What is the danger of Elihu’s claim to be
lead by the Holy Spirit? (He could be wrong. He could be
- I recall a local elder who was a terrible sermon
speaker. One reason he was terrible was an obvious
lack of preparation. Repeatedly, as we were about to
go on the platform for him to preach, he would tell
me that the Holy Spirit told him to change the sermon
topic the night before – and he spent all night
writing a new sermon. What is your reaction to that
message from the Holy Spirit? (After this happened
several times, I told him that the Holy Spirit knew
in advance what he should preach, and it was unlikely
the Holy Spirit would change His mind the night
before the sermon.)
- Read Job 32:11-12. Elihu argues that it is his turn to
speak. Why? (He waited, his elders failed, and now he will
do better than his elders.)
- Read Job 32:13. Do you agree with Elihu? Is there
something wrong with letting God refute Job, assuming that
is what God has in mind?
- Read Job 32:14. What kind of arguments should we expect
from Elihu? (He says he is going to make new arguments.
We will see.)
- Job 33 begins Elihu’s argument. Let’s pick it up in the
next chapter. Read Job 34:5-6. Is this a correct statement
of Job’s position? (Yes.)
- Read Job 34:7-9. Are these the new arguments that Elihu
promised? (Yes and no. The older friends also said that
Job deserves what is happening to him. Elihu’s reference
to Job disparaging God’s fairness is an old topic. The
difference is that Elihu mentions a specific sin:
association with evil people.)
- Is there any evidence of this specific sin?
- Read Job 34:12-15. Do you agree with Elihu? Or, do you
agree with Job who said that God smiles on the schemes of
the wicked ( Job 10:3)? (Elihu is obviously right.)
- Read Job 34:17-19. Recall last week that Job charged that
the older friends were partial towards God ( Job 13:8).
Elihu says that God is an impartial judge. Is Elihu also
partial towards God? (Absolutely.)
- Is there something that we can learn in Job’s
accusation that these friends show partiality towards
God and not him? (We know, of course, that while
Elihu speaks the general truth, it has no application
to Job’s specific situation. Perhaps if the friends
looked for a way to defend both God and Job, they
might have come up with ideas that more closely
approached the reality of what was happening to Job.)
- Read Job 34:35-37. Is Elihu raising new arguments here?
(This is exactly what the older friends have been saying.
Job must have sinned because he is suffering. When Job
denies that his sin has caused his suffering, and
challenges God’s justice, then the friends argue that Job
is disrespecting God.)
- Why would Elihu say that he has new arguments, when
we find he is either repeating the old arguments or
making a false accusation? (Elihu thinks he is filled
with righteous anger, but it seems more likely that
Elihu is filled with his own vanity.)
- Elihu continues his charges for three more chapters. In
the last chapter, Job 37, Elihu modifies his argument.
Let’s look at it. Read Job 37:14-18. Have you heard
similar arguments before? (This sounds very much like what
God says to Job starting in Job 38. With this theme that
God is God and Job is not, Elihu emphasizes something that
the older friends did not.)
- Read Job 1:6-12. Is Job telling the truth when he says
that he does not deserve what is happening to him?
(Absolutely, in the sense that wrongdoing brings
suffering. However, in this case, doing right brought on
- Are the friends telling the truth about wrongdoing
bringing suffering? (Absolutely, if Deuteronomy 28 is
- So, how can things get so badly twisted when everyone
is telling the truth? (Read 1 Corinthians 13:12. None
of the humans saw the entire picture.)
- Re-read Job 1:12. Is this a defensible decision? Did it
cause Satan to later admit, “I’m wrong, I give up on
- Did God’s permission to harm Job create any positive
- Read Isaiah 45:9-11 and Romans 9:21. What important lesson
do these teach us? (We know that God has the most extreme
love for us because He died in our place. But, when it
comes to running the universe, we need to leave the matter
to Him. As you have read in these studies before, our
lives are not about us, they are about God and the cosmic
conflict between good and evil. Although Job’s suffering
may seem completely contrary to God’s rules, we know that
it was important in the conflict between good and evil. We
know it was important because of the comfort Job’s example
provides when we suffer.)
- Friend, will you agree to leave running the universe to
God? Will you simply trust Him to do the right thing?
- Next week: Out of the Whirlwind.