What a beautiful thing when after all our anguish, complaint, tears, and wailing the Lord answers.
I think of “the Lord answering from the whirlwind” as a person being put in the center of a fresh revelation of God. This winnowing force that blows the chaff, the dust, the death off our bodies as we are overwhelmed by the full magnitude of truth.
He doesn’t just answer, He envelopes us in the stirring centrifuge of His person.
The moment this occurs for Job is in the midst of an impassioned rebuke from a young man named Elihu.
Many have considered Elihu to be a presumptuous young man in the same camp as the three wicked friends.
I disagree with this assessment for two entirely superficial reasons:
- If Elihu was one of the wicked friends there would be 4 wicked friends not 3.
- And Elihu’s name means “my God is He.”
- Bildad on the other hand means “Old friend.”
- Zophar means “rising early, crown.”
- Eliphaz means “the endeavor of God.”
Zophar, and Eliphaz have some good, strong, proud names. Names of religious work, crusade, and self-righteousness. Not bad names, in fact, these men were named well by respectable, ambitious fathers. But these names are definitely the kind that puff up, and denote a propensity toward the life of “the rich young ruler.” (Mark 10:17-27)
Bildad’s is the name of our past. The old friend. The friend of our old man.
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside your old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. Colossians 3:9-10
Job was being called into new knowledge of the One who created him. The works of the flesh, including the diligent and dutiful living of the religious elite who were dependent on cerebral allegiance to the law and ritual atonement had to be laid aside.
Yet, Elihu’s allegiance was to God. “My God is He” speaks of a simple submission to God with no praiseworthy act of man included. Elihu’s name says: “Beginning and end, the whole of my faith and devotion is that my God is He.” Nothing else.
There is a fantastic article that is way more descriptive and exegetical than my etymology of names that you can find here (after you finish this of course cause I haven’t gotten to the good point yet!): Why is Elihu so Mysterious
The good point is this: Job comes into that whirlwind in the middle of a rousing sermon from Elihu.
All the other speeches are complete discourses with complete answers. We get definitive starts and stops; speeches and replies.
Elihu’s speech just fades into chapter 38:1. Elihu is talking and then in one seemingly continuous thought God picks up where Elihu is cut off. The Lord begins speaking from the whirlwind in the same tone and logic that Elihu was using.
Hasn’t this happened to you? One minute you are in church listening to the preacher’s words, and then suddenly you are enveloped in the spirit of truth? Your ears are perceiving the language of the preacher but your heart is enraptured in the ministry of the Holy Spirit; simultaneously He is piercing your soul with conviction and nourishing your spirit with correction and reconciliation. Haven’t you been within the whirlwind?
I hope so. Because this is why we sit under teaching, attend revival meetings hearing the evangelist proclaim the gospel, and flock to Sunday service to be caught up– not in the music, the sermon, or the coffee cart– but to be caught in the middle of the whirlwind where in one moment we are listening to “My God is He” and the next minute we are experiencing his God; and He becomes anew, our God.
This is spiritual warfare speech. These are words worth speaking: words that convict, conversations that get taken over by the voice of the Holy Spirit.
We will be committing the last posts of this series to positive speech– speech that is suited with the Armor of God that wrestles out victory for ourselves and our friends.