“For we live by believing and not by seeing” (2 Corinthians 5.7 NLT).
Elihu is the younger man who proclaimed God’s Faithfulness to Job (Job 32.1-3) just before God revealed Himself in a whirlwind (Job 38.1). He spoke with boldness and faith about an all-powerful and mighty God, and he confronted Job’s older friends with their inability to illuminate the majesty of our Creator. Elihu’s daring proclamation of faith is much like the young King David when he declared victory over a giant because he believed in the faithfulness of His God. (1 Samuel 17.45).
What if Elihu is the younger manifestation of Job? What if Elihu lost all he had and changed his name to Job, meaning “Persecuted, hated,” much like Naomi did when she told her friends to call her Mara – “bitterness” (Ruth 1.20). Scholars have suggested that Elihu is actually related to Abraham*; however, the Bible offers no lineage of Job, save his three daughters conceived in the second half of his life (Job 42.14). Wouldn’t it be interesting if Elihu handed off his story of persecution and restoration to his relative, Abraham, so he could add the story of Job into the records of God’s faithfulness in the Bible?
I only say this because I had my own Elihu moment. God was doing a work in me – deepening my faith. He brought me full circle to the moment six years ago when He gave me my Kingdom Promise. I had so much faith in Him then. I believed God could do anything. Of course, much of my belief was due to my ignorance. His promise for my life was planted in a world foreign to me, and I had no idea of the scope of its difficulty.
Over the course of six years, God stripped me of all my ignorance, and I become fully aware of how unfeasible it was for me to accomplish what He promised. And I struggled… I struggled with clinging onto the faith I once had. I struggled with claiming God’s faithfulness even in the face of impossibility. I struggled with holding onto hope even though I felt ridiculous. I struggled with believing the Word of my Father even though everything in this world said that I must have made a mistake.
I opened up my Bible and read the fresh words of Elihu, spoken in confidence to the ears of a broken man who had lost everything and questioned the faithfulness of His God. As I read Elihu’s powerful declaration of faith, I saw my younger self materialize in my mind. She spoke of God’s faithfulness and her belief in His promises. She walked with confidence into the purpose God established for her before time began. She demanded that I carry the weight of her faith with joy and trust even though my own experience told me not to.
And God asked me, “Do you still believe like you once did?”
Will I still believe like I did six years ago even though everything in my life says God’s promise is a lie? Is my faith dependent on God’s Word or the evidence surrounding me? Will I choose to grab hold of hope or drown in disillusionment? Will I still boldly claim that God has given me a promise and He is faithful fulfill it: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10.23 NLT).
God revealed Job’s inner most source of his faith. He stripped Job of everything and then asked him, “Do you still believe like you once did?” Job wrestled with God for many chapters, and his friends could offer no help because they had not been exposed to the core as he was. However, Job remembered his early years when his faith was vibrant and new, and he allowed Elihu to remind him of the faith he once had.
Finally, Job could reach out to Elihu and grab hold of his faith – the purest form of it – based on nothing more than God’s faithfulness alone. And in Job’s brokenness He believed, and God revealed Himself to Job in a raw and untamed way. At last, Elihu could live up to his name, “My God is YAHWEH,” because in the pit of his suffering, He claimed his true faith. And God fulfilled all of His promises to Job, even when circumstances left him for dead.
Before God fulfills His promises, He will test you. He will make sure that you believe in His faithfulness alone. But you have to walk down that path with Him. You must allow Him to make you uncomfortable and to strip you of any proof that your promise will come true. He will bring you to your knees, and give you a choice to reject or believe Him. You must be like King David and look the Giant of Evidence in the eye and yell, “This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17.47b NLT).
“The life of faith can take comfort from a word, and rest a world upon a promise.” – Cecil
* “Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him” (Job 32.2 NLT) (emphasis added).
“[Elihu’s] His Country. ‘The Buzite.’ Buz the second son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Gen. xxii. 21)” (The Preacher’s Homiletic Commentary. 1996 Baker Books. Volume 10. Page 202).