Friday, December 30, 2016

Insight:Discipling the Outcast

After the way, Job's friends treated him he must have felt like an outcast.  The following commentary, previously published,  reveals that the Lord has a place in His heart for outcasts, also.  

Discipling the Outcast

As we did last week, we will review the Biblical definition of a disciple, expand on it, and tie it to the kind of people our lesson is focusing on.  Let us, then, review again the Biblical definition of disciple.  We read in Luke 14: 27, 33 that it is someone who bears their cross and forsakes all and follows Him.  We also have read in John 15: 5 - 8 that a disciple is someone that abides in Christ and bears much fruit.  Three weeks ago we added that since a disciple is a follower of Christ they have responded to Christ invitation come unto Him, take His yoke, learned of Him to be humble and meek and found rest (Matthew 11: 28 – 30).  Two weeks ago we added that discipleship is based solely on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on following after a particular belief, doctrine or cause.  Love and service toward others are the natural outcome of obedience to the Jesus.  Last week we added that a disciple is drawn to Jesus; which means that a disciple is attracted to Christ's love and the Cross (Jeremiah 31: 3; John 12: 32 – 33).  This attraction produces in the disciple an attraction to the cross and follows its path.  The disciple lays down his life for others as Christ did for us (1 John 3: 16).  As Paul says in Ephesians,

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour (Ephesians 5:1, 2).

Ellen White states,

We are to follow the example set by Christ, and make Him our pattern, until we shall have the same love for others as He has manifested for us. He seeks to impress us with this profound lesson of love. . . . If your hearts have been given to selfishness, let Christ imbue you with His love.  He has made love the badge of our discipleship. . . . This is the measurement to which you are to reach,—"Love one another; as I have loved you." What height, what depth and breadth of love! This love is not simply to embrace a few favorites, it is to reach to the lowliest and humblest of God's creatures. Jesus says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." . . . {OFC 27.4}

So, will a disciple love the outcasts?  But, who are the outcasts?  And, since the lesson is called discipling the outcast, then how do you make these outcasts followers of Christ?  An outcast is someone rejected by their society or social group.  By rejected we mean ostracized or marginalized.  They are treated like waste or refuse.  Our lesson points out some of those who were outcast in Jesus time: harlots, publicans (tax collectors), adulterous women, and demoniacs.  The privileged classes, like the Pharisees, thought themselves better.  But, Jesus showed them that God loved all men.  Let us read what Ellen G. White said about the Pharisees concerning the publicans,

'The Pharisees beheld Christ sitting and eating with publicans and sinners. He was calm and self-possessed, kind, courteous, and friendly; and while they could not but admire the picture presented, it was so unlike their own course of action, they could not endure the sight. The haughty Pharisees exalted themselves, and disparaged those who had not been blessed with such privileges and light as they themselves had had. They hated and despised the publicans and sinners. Yet in the sight of God their guilt was the greater. Heaven's light was flashing across their pathway, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it"; but they had spurned the gift" (The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1,088.).

Is it that to God some sin is greater than other?  Again from Ellen White,

God does not regard all sins as of equal magnitude; there are degrees of guilt in His estimation,  as well as in that of man; but however trifling this or that wrong act may seem in the eyes of men, no sin is small in the sight of God. Man's judgment is partial, imperfect; but God estimates all things as they really are. The drunkard is despised and is told that his sin will exclude him from heaven; while pride, selfishness, and covetousness too often go unrebuked.  But these are sins that are especially offensive to God; for they are contrary to the benevolence of His character, to that unselfish love which is the very atmosphere of the unfallen universe. He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of his shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give.  {SC 30.1} 

Because of what Ellen White has stated, to God, pride is the worst of all Sin.  We look at how Christ treated the adulterous woman.  He did not overlook her Sin, but rather forgave her.  He did not intend to condemn her, but to restore her.  Ellen White says,

"In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical Pharisees denounce, Jesus bids her, "Go, and sin no more." (The Desire of Ages, pp. 460-462).

In being treated with love the former demoniac and the woman at the well became disciples immediately.  They gave witness about the great things Christ had done for them.  As a result of this others believed.  Another quote from Ellen White gives us more insight in this,

"We are saved by hope." Romans 8:24. The fallen must be led to feel that it is not too late for them to be men. Christ honored man with His confidence and thus placed him on his honor. Even those who had fallen the lowest He treated with respect. It was a continual pain to Christ to be brought into contact with enmity, depravity, and impurity; but never did He utter one expression to show that His sensibilities were shocked or His refined tastes offended. Whatever the evil habits, the strong prejudices, or the overbearing passions of human beings, He met them all with pitying tenderness. As we partake of His Spirit, we shall regard all men as brethren, with similar temptations and trials, often falling and struggling to rise again, battling with discouragements and difficulties, craving sympathy and help. Then we shall meet them in such a way as not to discourage or repel them, but to awaken hope in their hearts. (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 164-165).

As we partake of the His Spirit, His love will flow to others.  You will recognize yourself in them.  After all, who has not ever felt rejected, worthless and despondent?  In spite of how you felt, and whether it was warranted or not,  Christ was merciful and loving toward you.  He let you know how much you are worth to Him.  You were bought with a price.  You are not your own (1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20).  He owns you. Deliver yourself to Him.
Raul Diaz

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Character of Job

If Job was "blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil" of what and why did he repent?  As we read the book, we realize that Job used the pronoun "I" a lot.  Job's experience revealed Job lacked something.  The experience in Job revealed hidden self-righteousness.  Job was willing to let God reprove him and cleanse him of this Sin.  The humility exhibited by Job is what made him, "blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil."  The following commentary shows that throughout the Bible God's people have displayed the same humility.  

With the Rich and Famous

Last week I made the mistake of giving a title of the lesson that it did not have.  I called it discipling the outcasts.  The real title was "Jesus and the outcasts."  This week's lesson does not use the verb discipling either.  It is entitled "With the rich and famous."  Omitting the verb discipling is not, I believe, a trivial matter.  Most of the other lessons that talk about categories of people talk about how to make them disciples.  We have covered in the previous weeks the Biblical definition of a disciple, and what it implies.  Can this definition apply to the outcasts, the rich and the famous?  The chosen titles for the lesson seem to be giving an incorrect understanding that these categories of people will not be disciples. 

The woman at the well told everyone about Jesus, so did the man freed from demons (John 4: 28 – 30; Mark 5: 19 – 20).  Then we have Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  Ellen White says about Nicodemus,

When at last Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus remembered the teaching upon Olivet: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." The light from that secret interview illumined the cross upon Calvary, and Nicodemus saw in Jesus the world's Redeemer.  …  After the Lord's ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples, and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence in other days. He became poor in this world's goods; yet he faltered not in the faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus.  {DA 177}

Nicodemus became a disciple of Christ in all the sense of the word.  Now, we need to make sure we understand that although the words of Christ to the woman at the well were different from the words to Nicodemus, they are in essence the same concept.  Christ used words that each of His listeners would understand.  The woman at the well understood the Gospel from the perspective of Living water.  Nicodemus understood the Gospel from the perspective of being born again and light versus darkness.  These two metaphors are not that non-relatable.  Fetuses are in darkness in the womb: once born they are exposed to the light. 

Once born, the fetus cannot go back in.  Imagine a fetus that could rationally think about setting goals and planning for the tenth month in the womb.  Then all of the sudden this baby is born.  Whatever goals and plans the baby had will never be.  It is a new world.  It is a new life.  New goals and plans must be set and made for the new life.  Such is the new birth experience.  The life in the womb represents, in this metaphor, the life of the flesh.  The life outside the womb is the life in the Spirit. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).  The problem with many of us is that we refuse to leave the womb.  It is warm, cozy, and comfortable – like the Shunamite's room when her lover comes knocking (Songs 5: 1 – 3).  We like its darkness.  Consider what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3,

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

The problem of Nicodemus is the problem with Laodicea.  It prefers to live in deception. It prefers its spiritual blindness.  "If I cannot see it, I do not have to deal with it.  I do not know. Therefore, I should not be held accountable."  If a man is diagnosed with cancer and refuses to know what he has, the disease with still kill him.  Choosing to hear the diagnosis, and undergo the treatment of the condition could prevent the man's death.  What is the problem with Laodicea?

Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Like Nicodemus, Laodicea is living comfortably in its delusion, unaware of its true condition and how it makes God feels.  God wants so much to heal Laodicea. We read God's plea on the following verses,  

 Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This message is akin to the young rich ruler.  "You think you have all that, but you lack one thing.  Therefore sell all you have, and give it to the poor, and follow me."  It is a call to discipleship.  We are Nicodemus.  We are the young rich ruler.  Christ's plea to them is His plea to us.  

Raul Diaz

Friday, December 16, 2016

Job's Redeemer

Christ, Our Sacrifice

Two aspects of sacrifice shine out in the lesson: the death and the blood.  The sanctuary had three compartments. In each of them, something happened that pointed to Christ as a sacrifice.  Let enumerate them,

1.       Outer court – Passover (from an article in Wikipedia - )

a.       The killing took place in the court of the Temple at Jerusalem.  The killing might be performed by a layman, although the blood had to be caught by a priest.  Rows of priests with gold or silver cups in their hands stood in line from the Temple court to the altar, where the blood was sprinkled.

b.      These cups were rounded on the bottom so that they could not be set down; for, in that case, the blood might coagulate.

c.       The priest who caught the blood as it dropped from the victim then handed the cup to the priest next to him, receiving from him an empty one and the full cup was passed along the line until it reached the last priest, who sprinkled its contents on the altar. The lamb was then hung upon special hooks or sticks and skinned; but if the eve of the Passover fell on a Sabbath, the skin was removed down to the breast only.

d.      The abdomen was then cut open, and the fatty portions intended for the altar were taken out, placed in a vessel, salted, and offered by the priest on the altar, while the remaining entrails likewise were taken out and cleansed.

e.      The family would take their lamb home to roast it and eat it according to God's ordinance. 


2.       Outer court and Holy Place -  Daily sacrifice

a.       In this sacrifice, te priest took the blood in the Holy Place to sprinkle it there.

3.       Outer court and Most Holy Place – day of atonement

a.       In this sacrifice, the High Priest took the blood into the Most Holy Place. 

In summation, in each event, an animal was killed, and blood was shed and sprinkled in a particular part of the sanctuary.   Let us look now at the killing of the animal.

I.                    The death

Each of these sacrifices prefigures Christ.  They were a representation of what Christ would accomplish at the Cross.  He is the Lamb that was slain from the beginning to take away the sin of the World (Revelation 13:8).  How did He take Sin away?

"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24, NASB).

This verse is a reference to Isaiah 53.  Here are some excerpts,
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 … and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:7 … he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, …
Isa 53:8 … he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken…
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, …
Isa 53:11 … by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
 "Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. 'With His stripes we are healed.'"—The Desire of Ages, p. 25.

It was an exchange: the priceless for the worthless.   Christ died so that we would live.  Ellen White says,

"Nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith."—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 660.

Simply, for humanity to be saved Jesus had to die.  There was no other way.  Paul says,

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Christ's death reconciles to God.  Paul says in Rom 5:10, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, …" We are reconciled to live with him.  Let us read Romans
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Notice the language: baptize into Jesus, buried with Him, planted together…We were in Him, when he died and resurrected.  And, now we are in Heavenly places in Him (Ephesians 2: 6). 
II.                  The Blood
Genesis 9: 4, Leviticus 17: 11, and Deuteronomy 12: 23 says that the life is in the blood.  Therefore any reference to blood signifies life.  When Jesus says on Mar 14:24 "… This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many," it is His life he is pouring.  We read in Hebrews 9,
Heb 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Understanding then that the blood is a reference to the life of Jesus which accomplishes our redemption, let us read the following quote from Ellen White,
The law requires righteousness,--a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God's holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ. God can "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Romans 3:26. {DA 762.2}
Let us then allow for His blood to cleanses us, to purge our Sin away, to transform our minds and hearts after the similitude of Christ.

Raul Diaz

Friday, December 9, 2016

"Out of the Whirlwind"

God answers to Job from God's account of creation.  For Job, who we assume knew much less of science than we do, with all our advancement, the answer sufficed.  But, today, the study if nature and science have helped to lead many away from God.  Our lesson uses a quote to address this issue.  Let us read it,

"Alfred North Whitehead, an influential mathematician and author who lived in the previous century, said the following: "Fifty-seven years ago it was when I was a young man in the University of Cambridge. I was taught science and mathematics by brilliant men and I did well in them; since the turn of the century I have lived to see every one of the basic assumptions of both set aside. . . . And yet, in the face of that, the discoverers of the new hypotheses in science are declaring, 'Now at last, we have certitude.' "—A. N. Whitehead, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead. What should this tell us about how careful we need to be in accepting what the world's "great men" teach us, especially when what they teach blatantly contradicts God's Word?"

Ellen White warns of the grave danger of abandoning basic biblical beliefs about creation,

"God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. It may be innocent to speculate beyond what God's word has revealed, if our theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those who leave the word of God, and seek to account for His created works upon scientific principles, are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation. Because the Creator and His works are so far beyond their comprehension that they are unable to explain them by natural laws, they regard Bible history as unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments, will be led to go a step further, and doubt the existence of God; and then, having lost their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity." — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 113.

The following commentary addresses how subtle it is to forsake Biblical facts.  And, how far from truth will this departure take us.

A Degree Off the Path

 If you are 1 degree off the route to your intended destination how far off would you be if the destination is 1000 miles away?  For a precise answer, we would have to use mathematics, but a rough rule of thumb is "the rule of 1 in 60" which says that each degree of variance in heading will result in being one mile off for each 60 miles out.  That would be about 92 feet for every mile; which is not a lot considering.  However, the farther you go the distance away from your destination is greater. 

 For instance, if you were 2 degrees off heading (assuming no wind conditions), you would be 2 miles off at 60 miles out, or 4 miles off at 120 miles out, and so forth.  For the question above, if you divide 1000 by 60, you find yourself 16.7 miles off at 1000 miles out for each degree you were off.

 For a more accurate result, use the formula for the circumference of a circle (Pi times the diameter). So, if your "circle" has a radius of 1000 miles, it has a diameter of 2000 miles. Multiply that by 3.14 and divide the result (6280) by 360 degrees and you find that each degree at that distance would equal approximately 17.4 miles off.  Our "rule of 1 in 60" gave us 16.7.  However, there is a difference between 92 feet for a mile and 17 miles for 1,000 miles.

 A flight from Tokyo to Chicago is a 6, 313 miles.  Following the math, if you're off 1 degree off the flight path, you would be off approximately 113 miles. That is you would probably end up in further south in Illinois or further north in Wisconsin.  All this while still thinking you are headed to Chicago.  Of course, the more degrees you're off, the farther you are from the intended destination. 

 This can be applied spiritually.  Very rarely those who apostatize reject God outright.  What they go through is a gradual process of syncretism.  They mix beliefs and practices of other religions with their own.  At first, it is something subtle and seemingly innocent.  This subtle mix opens the door to more heresy and falsehood.  It may take months or years to realize how far you are from the truth.  Ellen White speaks of this works, 

 "What astonishing deception and fearful blindness had, like a dark cloud, covered Israel!  This blindness and apostasy had not closed about them suddenly; it had come upon them gradually as they had not heeded the word of reproof and warning which the Lord had sent to them because of their pride and their sins. " (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pg. 280).

 Israel had been blind to this perversion of truth, so compromise came easily. Content to allow an "alternative" worship style, Israel saw nothing wrong with the worship of God and the worship of Baal co-existing.  The people of Israel still thought they were worshipping God.  This confusion would explain why Elijah asked the people,

 1Ki18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

 The people could not discern the difference.  And, it took Elijah to point it out.  He came to weed out truth from error.  John the Baptist had a similar mission.  The spiritual darkness in Jesus time was intense.    People did not now truth from error, John the Baptist came to correct them; which is why Christ referred to John as the Elijah of His time (Matthew 17: 11 -13).  Christ was referring to Malachi's prophecy,

 Mal4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

 In our day we also suffer from the same maladies of the past.  Ellen White says,

 "The apostasy prevailing today is similar to that which in the prophet's day overspread Israel" (Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 170). 
"Baal, Baal, is the choice. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord" (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 467, 468).

 Compromise is rampant.  Again, it starts subtly, with seemingly innocent things.  And, it is mostly attributed to styles of worship.  How many conservative churches now have praise teams?  How many conservative churches are removing their wooden lectern and replacing with the Plexiglas lecterns.  All these are subtle compromises, seemingly innocent.  But, they open the door to even more heresy.  While it is true that God may not have a preference: 1. for how many people lead in the singing, and 2. whether the lectern is wood or Plexiglas, He does try to warn us to prevent us from going in a direction that leads us far away from Him.  Discernment is much needed, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14); this is something the Spirit of Elijah will bring.  

Raul Diaz

Friday, December 2, 2016

Elihu—Friend or Foe?

Years ago I read the book of Job and was impressed with several things.
1.  It is a story.  And, we should read it as such.  It has a plot with a crisis and a solution.  
2.  The story wants to answer the question: why did this happen to Job?   Every character seems to think they have an answer to the question.  
3.  Most of the story is a lengthy conversation.  We should note who says what.  What is their reasoning?  
4.  Did Job ever credit God for his righteousness?  Not once do we hear Job crediting God.  As much as Job loved the Lord, he was self-righteous; this was Elihu's point.  
5. The question, "why did this happen to Job?" is answered.  Ellen G. White talks about this,
"The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace."—Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 10.

Following are James Rafferty's thoughts on Elihu.  I pray the will enlighten our minds as we read.

Lessons from the book of Job
Elihu—Friend or Foe?
Elihu exemplifies one of the major reasons why we might not listen to what someone has to say about God. Young and obscure, Elihu presents a testimony that carries little weight among many intellectual greats. This may be one reason why God has employed farmers, shepherds, fishermen and even children (the child Samuel) as messengers of inspired truth. Heaven has a way of placing truth beyond the ken of intellectual pride.
Yet even if God speaks to us through a little child, or perhaps a donkey, He always gives us enough evidence to discern His voice. In the case of Elihu there is more than enough evidence to recognize this young man as heaven sent.
Elihu is not out to terrorize Job or overwhelm him with guilt. He assures Job that he, too, is only a vessel of clay (Job 33:6-7). 
Instead of condemning Job, he desires to justify or clear him (Job 33:32).
He does not use the same words Jobs three friends did; accusing Job of secret sins or assuming that Job's suffering proves his guilt (Job 32:14).
Elihu's approach is identical to God's. They both assert that, at times, Job had spoken without wisdom and knowledge (Job 34:35; 35:16; 38:2). Both affirm that Job has sought to "rebuke God," "annul His judgment" and "condemn" Him; that Job had "justified himself rather than God" (Job 32:2; 40:2, 8).
Elihu also introduces, in chapter 37, the same mysteries that God picks up with in chapter 38, the marvels of creation.
We should also remember that while God rebukes Job's three friends, He does not rebuke Elihu or group him with the other three (Job 42:7).
Elihu claims to be filled with the spirit of God and to speak in God's behalf, which is proved true when we compare his words with God's as noted in the previous references (Job 32:8, 36:2, 3).
Elihu is also never rebuked by Job, like his three friends were. Even when Job is given opportunity to speak, Elihu does not hear a cross word from him (Job 33:5, 32, 33).
In addition, Job repents of the very mistake both Elihu and God had brought to his attention—speaking words without knowledge (Job 42:3).
A final indication that Elihu is speaking for God is his theology, which is extraordinary, especially as it unfolds in chapters 34 and 35.
Job himself seems impressed with the compassionate entreaty of this young man, for he does not answer him. The empathy and sincerity of Elihu, his words of correction mingled with love, were perhaps a balm to Job compared to the accusations of the others. Some of this young man's thoughts may even remind Job of his own arguments and the light that had brought hope to his own soul. Elihu's picture of God is definitely different from the three friends.
If we have a problem some of the words Elihu spoke to Job, we may need to reconsider what God said to Job:
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 'Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said: 'Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it. Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?'" (Job 38:1, 2; 40:1, 2, 8).
How does Job respond to the stern rebukes from God? He repents, affirming not only the words of God and Elihu, but also reminding us why Job was called a "blameless" man in the first place (Job 1:1).
James Rafferty

Raul Diaz