Elihu the Preacher

Pastors, let's add Elihu to our list of preaching heroes!

Elihu reminds young preachers that those who have the “breath of the Almighty” are qualified to speak His Word, regardless of their age. In truth, youth does come with a fair share of weakness–but God’s Spirit overcomes. As he started to get into the meat of his message, Elihu showed his dependence on God’s Spirit in 33:4 by repeating, “The Spirit of God has made, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”


There are many great examples for preachers in the Bible. Ezra’s passion to study and obey God’s Word (Ezra 7:10), Jeremiah eating the scroll (Jer. 15:16), Ezekiel’s forehead “like emery harder than flint” (Ezek. 3:9), Paul’s simple focus on Christ crucified (1 Cor. 2:2), Stephen’s fearlessness (Acts 7), and – of course – Jesus’ authority (Mt.7:29). But God recently showed me another example for preachers to follow: Elihu.

For twenty-nine chapters, Job debated with his friends (Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar) about the right way to interpret his hardships. Unbeknownst to the reader, a fourth friend was waiting in the wings. Finally, after Job finishes his final defense, the young Elihu steps up to the microphone. Despite scholarly debate regarding him, it seems fairly clear that Elihu is now giving the correct interpretation of Job’s hardships (note that God never corrects Elihu but seems to finish what Elihu starts). In proclaiming the righteousness of God, Elihu strikes me as a great example for those who preach God’s Word.

Elihu knew how to listen“I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.'” (32:7) Elihu listened well, genuinely seeking to understand what Job and the senior counselors were saying. His attentiveness meant he was able to interact with the hearts of his audience and their deepest held beliefs – a lesson yet to be learned by some preachers!

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