Days Should Speak!

March 23, 2013

“Experience is the best teacher, but it has the highest cost.” “I got my education from the school of hard knocks.” “I’ve been around the block a time or two.” “What? Do you think I was born yesterday?” “Sonny, in my day…” “You ain’t dry behind the ears, yet.” “Mind your elders, Boy!” “I just don’t know what’s wrong with this younger generation! They jist t’ain’t got no respect at all! Why it’s pitiful, jist pitiful!”
How many of those sayings do you remember from your youth? Even scarier, how many of them have you said lately? It is amazing how the sayings that we just despise or get sick of hearing when we are kids we end up repeating when we are older. When I was raising my children it was strange how often I would catch myself and realize that I said the words, but it was really my Mother or Father that was doing the talking. You know, those folks we may have swore that we would never become because they just did not have a clue. Just proves old Solomon was right when he said that there was “nothing new under the sun.”
Why is it that we are like the old Amish proverb, “too soon old, too late smart?” Why do our parents become so much smarter when we are thirty when they were so flat out dumb when we were in our teens? If we had only listened, we would have saved ourselves so much heartache and failure.
Maybe we were just dumb. Maybe we just could not understand or maybe the adults that tried to mentor us just did not know how to get through to us. Whatever the problems were, we now are the elders, and we need to learn to overcome the barriers and make sure we are heard by the younger generation. However, we must first be sure we have something worth hearing. Days should speak, but the elder must seek the wisdom of God.

1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. (KJV)

We must seek the wisdom of God to teach the young. All through the Scripture, the parents/elders are commanded to teach the young. It is our responsibility. It is not a task to be taken lightly. What we say and how well we are heeded determines the earthly future and eternal destiny of the young within our charge.
Days should speak to the young because they are listening. (1-4) We do not know why Elihu was there. He may have been kinfolk to one of the men through marriage, but it is more likely that he was an apprentice to one of them or even a slave. At least he came from a family not well respected because Buzite comes from the word that means disrespect, shame, or contempt.
I have seen in Scripture that when a man stands up to speak and his family tree is mentioned it is almost a sermon or statement in and of itself to the situation. Elihu means the God of him. Barachel means God has blessed. Buzite means contempt. Ram means exalted.

Therefore, when Elihu rose to speak to the three “friends” of Job they may have heard this sermon in their hearts first. The God of him (Job) has blessed the one you held in contempt and he shall be exalted. Gives new meaning to the power of a good name or living up to your family name doesn’t it?
Because he was young, he was not expected to speak and he may well have been ignored or invisible until he spoke up. It was not his business and surely, he had no wisdom so he would not have been consulted. They may have thought he was not even listening, but he was. In fact, the more he listened the more he got angry. Why? He was angry because everyone was justifying themselves instead of justifying God and His sovereignty.
Days should speak to the young because they are listening, but we must realize that they expect an answer. (4-8) Elihu sat in front of these men as they were discussing one of the core questions of mankind. Why do bad things happen to good people? He wanted that question answered.  The young are naturally unsure of themselves. They are seeking wisdom albeit at times in all the wrong places. At first, they do hold their tongues and are afraid to express themselves, but there comes a time when they will speak out of their frustration or anger.
Job and his three friends were old enough that it is possible that they held a combined minimum of two hundred and fifty years of experience. They were successful businessmen. Job had a very large family and the others may have had families nearly as large. They had been through many trials. They were all men of faith in that they worshipped the true God though they did not have a correct understanding of who He really was or His thoughts. Lest we blame them, we must ask ourselves how really well we know Him and His thoughts. Are we any better off than they were? They were most likely well traveled as they engaged in business and had conversations with many groups of people about God and life. They should have had an answer, but they did not.
This brings us to another reason as to why the elder must seek the wisdom of God and that is to prevent embarrassment. (9-16)

9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
12 Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
14 Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) (KJV)

In verse 8, Elihu came to the realization that all men could experience the inspiration of God and receive understanding. The elder had better seek God’s wisdom or the young will bring about the exposure of your ignorance.
(8-13) Elihu realized that just because men are great or wise in some things it does not mean that they are wise in everything.
Age will bring experience, but it does not always result in the aged person learning the lessons in the school of experience. Some people never learn from their experiences and make the same mistakes repeatedly even if they live to be one hundred. A person that was once young and dumb may still be as dumb when they are old.

The young will wait for awhile as you put together your answer, but they will not grow old doing it. At some point they will say it is enough and will let you know that you are not as smart as you thought you were. Often, the rebuke comes from their disappointment as well as their anger because they realized that you are not as smart as they thought you were and they were counting on you.
The three men had made great speeches, but none of them could truly rebuke Job or find an answer to his situation. They wanted the final say to be that God brought Job low because of sin and not something within the normal trials of man or happenstance. The trouble was they would not admit their ignorance and set themselves up for Elihu’s tirade because of their pride. Unless you are seeking wisdom from God, you will not be able to answer their rebuke. (14-16)
If you want to be the teacher then you best be sure you know what you are teaching and not just grasping for straws or pontificating. Paul had to chastise some folks in the book of Hebrews because they were of age and experience to be teachers, but they had missed the lesson and had to be taught the basics all over again. (Hebrews 5:11-14) James also cautions us to not just teach for the title or praise because we masters or teachers are to be held accountable for what we teach more than the one who is taught. (James 3:1) Oh, be careful little mouth what you say. Shoe leather is not very tasty no matter how you season it.
Elihu admitted that Job had not asked him what he felt. He was not speaking within the proper etiquette parameters of his culture. He had to speak, but he was not going to use their fancy and prideful speeches to get his point across.
Elihu hit the bulls’ eye because the three of them could not answer a word. It was quiet in the house! He waited for a rebuttal, but they had none. Since he was speaking out of line, Elihu was probably waiting for the chewing of his life, but it did not come because he was right.
Elders must seek the wisdom of the Lord to prevent rebellion. (17-22)

17 I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
19 Behold, my belly is as wine, which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
20 I will speak that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

In verse 17-19, it looks like Elihu is really spouting off and giving them the what for, if you please. His actions could be construed as total disrespect for his elders and flat out rebellion. This is where many would jump in and try to control the situation with some of the phrases that began this sermon. We would pull him back into check and make him toe the line. We are supposing it is rebellion.
Sometimes it is, but is just as often an inner struggle. Some of what we see in the young we caused by our failure to seek God’s wisdom. If there is some rebellion or showing out of their inner struggles we must realize that discouragement breeds it. (17-19)
Life is tough and the young person or young Christian has many questions. They look to the older ones to share their victories and their failures so they can learn. If we project ourselves to be someone other than what we are and just give them pithy sayings or pious platitudes we show them disrespect. How then do we expect to gain their respect?
Elihu is frustrated, but he is not in rebellion. He is disappointed and is giving his opinion, but he was still looking to the aged to correct him if he is wrong. He had to get it off his chest. He was full of the matter!! It was distressing him to hold it in. He felt like it was fermenting within him and if he did not vent, he would literally burst! Old people need that passion! Oh, that we would be full of the wisdom of God and speak it or burst!
Discouragement breeds rebellion and it needs a release. (20-22) Elihu released the inner struggles he was having and vented his discouragement in a positive way. He expressed his opinion in the manner of Matthew 18 though that had not been written yet. He could have just waited until everyone had went home and told all his friends what a bunch of old fools Job’s friends were and showed those men utter disdain each time they met. Instead, he dealt with it in a godly and mature manner.
In so doing, he learned to keep his trust in God and prayed to keep men in their proper place. He would not be one to just flatter men to find their favor. Up to this point, he may have been doing that. He would never do it again. He even came to the point that he realized how grievous an error it was and that by doing so God might even take his life or at least his position. Idolatry can be costly.
Elihu is so full of the matter that he speaks for five more chapters!!! He also directs his comments towards Job and expounds his theology. For a young whippersnapper, he did very well because the next one to speak after him is God! Is that not every preacher’s dream and goal to open for God? Days should speak, but sometimes they need to listen to the young and then hear God.
Are you burdened for young people or young Christians? Do you want them to hear you? If so, you must seek the wisdom of God! It is the only way they will listen to you and for you to give them the answers they expect. To speak in your wisdom is only going to show your ignorance and incur their rebuke.
Speaking in God’s wisdom will prevent rebellion by not causing discouragement. When you come across a discouraged or rebellious young person or Christian, speak in God’s wisdom and you will give them a positive way to vent that inner passion or struggle and restore them to stability in Christ. Days should speak! Do it in God’ wisdom and may He cause much fruit in your life and of those you teach!


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