A Passion for God (Elihu)
THE PASSION OF ELIHU
Imagine yourself in a large room filled w/ pockets of people, each group discussing a different topic. As you saunter up to each group, you find some subjects quite boring and others quite interesting (nod of head, contribute an occasional comment). Eventually you come upon a group discussing a subject that grips your attn and you begin to do more than nod your head. You are in control of the discussion! The question I would like to ask is "What subject is being discussed in your group?" In other words, what are you passionate about this morning? It may be a particular sports team (friend, college football team-living room); it may be how to create a better marriage (books, seminars); for many in today’s world it is health and fitness. It could be a number of any good things. God has created each one of us with the capacity for passion in this life. Its not a question of "if" I am passionate; but, about what am I passionate.
The Bible is clear that there is a subject every born again child of God ought to be passionate about: Matt. 22:37-Thou shalt love the Lord...
I believe that one of the evidences of Christian growth is an increase in one’s passion for God. In some cases, it means the diminishing of passion for certain things in order that there can be an increase in the amount of passion for Him. In my own life I have seen this to be true. Where I once had strong feelings for a particular hobby (although nothing wrong inherently about it), I find little passion in it today. I thought I would never stop enjoying that hobby. Today it has no value in my life.
TEXT: Job 32-33
In the book of Job we are introduced to an individual who is a shining example of one who has a genuine passion for God. In fact, this individual if placed in the opening scenario would have found the discussion dealing with God and would have committed himself to it wholeheartedly. Not Job, for in some ways his passion for God had diminished. This person’s name is Elihu.(see 32:18-19). His appearance in the account of Job is intriguing b/c after Job’s statements in ch. 31, the book could have ended, or God could have responded as He eventually does later in the book. But God’s purpose isn’t accomplished. The story continues with the appearance of this young man and what a breath of fresh air he brings. That breath of fresh air being his genuine passion for God.
PROP: You and I need to have a genuine passion for God as Elihu did.
Permit me to suggest that the reason so many Christians are struggling is because their passion is located somewhere other than God. If we want to experience the right kind of marriage, then our passion should not be for the marriage, but should be for God. If we want to experience meaningful personal times with God during the week, then our passion needs to be for Him. Where is your passion this morning?
TRANS: A genuine passion for God will affect our lives in at least 3 ways:
I. Having a Passion for God will cause us to have a right understanding of sin (see 32:2-5)
A. Sin must be confronted (vv. 2-5)
If we are not careful, sin can be easily ignored or dismissed. (Illus. parenting and reacting poorly to child’s disobedience). Your passion for God is what will keep you consistent in training children. The danger exists of developing a mindset toward sin opposite of Scripture. Casually, "Its ok" "I’m forgiven" "So and so does this, too"
3 sins Elihu confronted:
1. Self-justification on the part of Job
Job claimed too much for himself; Sometimes we can convince ourselves that we are better off spiritually than we truly are.
APPL: How can we take credit for anything good in our life? Whether it’s a good position with the company, a strong and growing marriage, a sound education, sufficient income, good health, even well-behaved children. (Illus of stranger’s comment; my response "thank the Lord" not for the stranger’s benefit, but for our benefit).
Ps 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.
Is 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another
2. Judgmental spirit on the part of Job’s 3 friends
Job 4-26 we read of Job’s 3 debates w/ Eliphaz, 3 w/ Bildad, 2 w/ Zophar
His friends were condemning when they were in poor spiritual condition; Illus. pharisees Jesus called them whited sepulchres full of dead men’s bones.
3. Vain counsel (32:5) opinions vs. clear principles of Scripture When someone comes to us with a need, our passion for God will cause us to share more than just our personal feelings. We will want to impart God’s truth.
II. Having a Passion for God will cause us to have a right understanding of adversity (33:19-26)
Afflictions of the righteous the theme of this book
Purpose: To bring man into a right relationship with Him.
1. The saint
2. The sinner
The instrument of our deliverance was a "ransom" = God’s own Son "the precious blood of Christ" God spared not His Son "to save from the pit."
III. Having a Passion for God will cause us to have a right understanding of God’s character (34:10-12)
Elihu’s passionate speech for God continues. He has a proper view of God.
God is the Supreme Governor of all things
Where was God on Sept. 11? Accusation vs. honest question?