So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
Genius the gift of God.
I. The intellect of man, in all the gradations of its power, and all the variety of its faculties, comes from God. He gave to every orator his eloquence, to every statesman his sagacity, to every philosopher his faculty for speculation, to every artist his eye for beauty, to every poet his genius for song.
II. If God is the Author and Giver of all intellectual life, it is our duty to offer Him grateful praise while we are doing honour to genius. We give Him thanks for a thousand inferior gifts; we ought not to leave the nobler instances of His bounty and goodness unacknowledged. Between the worth to a nation of a great genius and the worth of a good harvest, there are no conditions of comparison. We cannot measure the physical suffering averted by the one against the intellectual benefits conferred by the other; for both it is a duty to thank God.
III. We are responsible to God for our intellectual endowments. They came from Him, and are a trust for which we shall have to give account. (1) Our first and plainest duty is to improve the intellect by wise and faithful culture. There is guilt in permitting such a gift to be wasted. (2) The highest ministry of all in which the intellect can be engaged, to which by its Divine origin it is most urgently and imperatively called, is in direct connection with religion; and it is here that intellectual responsibilities become most solemn and oppressive. (3) It is the duty of the intellect to take its part in direct acts of worship.
R. W. Dale, Discourses on Special Occasions, p. 253.
The word "spirit" means literally breath, and it is applied to the soul, not merely because of its immateriality, but for the additional reason that the Almighty can breathe Himself into it and through it. The word "inspiration" as here used denotes this act of inbreathing. Any one is inspired who is breathed in, visited internally, and so, all infallibility apart, raised in intelligence, guided in choice, convinced of sin, upheld in suffering, empowered to victory. Just as it is the distinction of a crystal that it is transparent, able to let the light into and through its close, flinty body, and be irradiated by it in the whole mass of its substance, so it is the grand distinction of humanity that it is made permeable by the Divine nature, prepared in that manner to receive and entemple the Infinite Spirit, to be energized by Him and filled with His glory, in every faculty, feeling, and power.
I. Consider what and how much it signifies that we are spirit, capable in this manner of the Divine concourse. In this point of view it is that we are raised most distinctly above all other forms of existence known to us. The will or force of God can act omnipotently on all created things as things. He can penetrate all central fires, and dissolve or assimilate every most secret atom of the world, but it cannot be said that these things receive Him; nothing can truly receive Him but spirit.
II. We sometimes dwell on the fact of the moral nature of man, conceiving that in this he is seen to be most of all exalted; but the spiritual is even as much higher than the moral, as the moral is higher than the animal. To be a moral being is to have a sense of duty and a power of choice that supports and justifies responsibility; but to be spirit, or to have a spiritual nature, is to be capable, not of duty only, or of sentiments of duty, but of receiving God, of knowing Him within, of being permeated, filled, ennobled, glorified, by His infinite Spirit.
III. Observe what takes place in the human soul as an inspirable nature when it is practically filled and operated on by the Spirit of God. It has now that higher Spirit witnessing with itself. The man is no longer a simple feather of humanity, driven about by the fickle winds of this world's changes, but in the new sense he has of a composite life, in which God Himself is a presiding force, he is raised into a glorious equilibrium, above himself, and set in rest upon the rock of God's eternity.
IV. But we do not really conceive the height of this subject till we bring into view the place it holds in the economy of the heavenly state. All good angels and glorified men are distinguished by the fact that they are now filled with a complete inspiration from the fulness of God. It is their spiritual perfection that they are perfectly inspired, so that their whole action is in the Divine impulse. Inspiration is their heaven; the Lord God giveth them light. Man finds his paradise when he is emparadised in God.
V. An important light is shed by this great truth on many points that meet us in the facts of human life and religious experience. (1) When poets and orators invoke inspiration, it is because they are made to be inspired. They want some deific impulse. A something in their nature lifts them up to this. (2) The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is grounded in the primordial nature of all spiritual beings. It is not some new idea of the Gospel. It is an advance of the Divine love to recover lost ground and bring back guilty souls among men to that which is the original, everlasting bliss and beauty of all the created intelligences of God. (3) We discover in our subject how weak and petty is the pride which looks on spiritual religion as a humiliation, or deems it even a mortification not to be endured.
H. Bushnell, The New Life, p. 26.
References: Job 32:8.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xviii., p. 271; J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 4th series, p. 22; R. Thomas, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 314; A. P. Peabody, Ibid., vol. xii., p. 341; H. Martineau, Hours of Thought, vol. ii., p. 138. Job 32-37—A. W. Momerie, Defects of Modern Christianity, p. 165; S. Cox, Commentary on Job, p. 406.
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.
Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
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.
I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.