Revelation is always a difficult thing to preach. In fact, it is very probably impossible. The best a preacher can do is perhaps to take the role of Elihu whom we read about in Job.
Job, as many of you know, was a man “blameless and upright.” One who “feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1). Job became a proving ground for a great cosmic showdown between the Lord Almighty and Satan. Satan had dared make the accusation before God that the only reason Job served God was that God had blessed Job with wealth and progeny. ‘Okay,’ said the Lord. ‘If you think that just go ahead and test him. I will allow you to and you will see that Job’s devotion is much more than that. Job is a man of true integrity.’ (Or something like that!)
And Satan did so. In short order he took everything from Job including his health. Worse than that Job’s wife only criticized him and urged him to give up and die (Job 2:9). Then, on top of it all, Satan sent along three discouragers to further accuse and try to misguide Job.
But after these three had done their worst and Job had ended his replies, then spoke Elihu. Elihu, a youth, had been listening all this time, letting those older speak first, but now he had the floor. Elihu had complaints against everyone: the three friends, but also Job. But what Elihu did in the end was direct Job’s attention upward… to God.
“God is bigger than all this,” Elihu essentially says (32:12). “Look up to the heavens and see…” (35:5). “God does no wrong” (c. f. 34:10). “God owes us nothing! He can do as He pleases.” Then Elihu begins to describe the greatness of God: “He unleashes His lightning… God’s Voice thunders… He commands the snow and directs the winds, He is “beyond our reach and exalted in power…” (ch. 37).
Then in chapter 38 God speaks!
Elihu had turned Job’s attention to a segue, away from the hubbub of religious philosophical debate and to open his heart to hear from God. The final words are from God, and they are not comforting…
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” (38:2-4, NLT).
For the next four chapters God goes on. Job is experiencing a revelation and is rightly terrified. But revelation, Job finds, answers all his prior questions.
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (42:3, 5-6).
Revelation is what we all need — our eyes too need to see God, and when we do we will fear, and we will most certainly be changed.
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