Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.


The book of Job presents the story of a man who patiently endured the hardest time of his life for a period of nine months.  (See James 5:11) The Bible says Job was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.  Unfortunately, through fear Job opened up the hedge of protection God had placed around him and his household, allowing the enemy to attack him with tremendous fierceness.  (See Job 1:4-5,1:9-11, 3:25.)  Job’s ten children were tragically killed and all his property destroyed.  (See Job 1 & 2 and John 10:10).  Lastly his own body was attacked with sores and so he sat on an ash-heap scrapping his sores and lamenting his losses.  In her grief, his own wife told him to curse God and die.

But Job repeatedly called for God’s justice.  He sought his day in court to argue his innocence before God.  With great self-righteous confidence he cried out in protest to the Lord.  (See Job 13:15-24; 23:3-7.) Meanwhile, his three confused friends sat with him quietly for seven days and then they each gave their discourse, which went from blaming Job to trying to make theological sense of his misfortunes.  Finally, a young man named Elihu came forward to speak to Job and his friends.  Elihu said he had been quiet all this time (more than 25 chapters) to allow those older than him to speak first, but he could no longer hold his peace.  He showed them that wisdom doesn’t necessarily come by age but rather it’s the breath or the Spirit of the Almighty God that gives men understanding.  Compare these translations:

Job 32:8  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. KJV

Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.  NKJV

Good news translation puts it this way:  “But it is the spirit of Almighty God that comes to us and gives us wisdom.”

So Elihu was professing to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who gives men understanding as opposed to the knowledge of those older men. It is the Holy Spirit who gives all of us understanding.  Eph.1:18 says that He enlightens the eyes of our understanding.  Isaiah 11:2 calls Him the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding.  There’s a lesson here:  By giving attention to the Holy Spirit, our youth can become wiser than the aged yet God’s wisdom will enable them to be swift to hear, slow to speak and able to be relevant when they do speak.

Anyway, in the midst of the hardest time of his life, Job heard from the Holy Spirit through this young man Elihu who spoke more sense than the other so called “Job’s comforters.”  In Job 33:4, he further acknowledged the Holy Spirit as the One who made him, and gave him life.

You can find the rest of Elihu’s discourse in Job 34-37.  Then in Job 38, God Himself answered Job out of a whirlwind.  The whirlwind or breath here represents the moving or action of the Holy Spirit.

Job 38:1-2  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:   2 “Who is this who darkens counsel  by words without knowledge?  NKJV

The Lord God by the Spirit of understanding in this whirlwind began to reveal who He is to Job.  He talked to him about creation and asked him where he was when He (God) laid the foundation of the earth.  (See Job 38-41.)  God challenged Job’s self-righteousness and revealed Himself to him as an awesome good God. How would you like for God to preach to you for four long chapters?  At the end, Job answered: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.  6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”  (Job 42:5-6 NKJV)  The Spirit of Understanding helps us make sense of things during hard times.  After this, God restored Job’s loses with double what he had lost and gave him 10 more beautiful kids.  Then he lived for 140 years and saw four generations of his children.  Glory to God!

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