‘[Elihu now responded to Job (32:2f). He said:] “The Spirit of God has made me, and the Breath of the Almighty has given me life…. I too was formed out of the clay…. God is greater than man!… He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction — so that He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from him. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from
perishing!”‘ Job 33:3-18.
Elihu shows in these verses that he was well acquainted with the creational history of man. Our body was formed out of the clay or the dust. God blew His Spirit of life into our nostrils. And thus we became a living soul.
Even in this, there is a particular work of the Holy Spirit. What Elihu is as a man, as a human personality — that he is by the Holy Spirit. For Elihu has both his spiritual and his material existence in common with Job.
Elihu here gives Job the truthful statement that ‘God is greater than man.’ He means that the moral loftiness of God’s nature, made it impossible that He should act in an arbitrary and hostile manner.
Elihu says that God speaks to man in many ways. In ways appropriate to His greatness; ways that show that His goodness is over all His works.
By this, God instructs men. For He seeks to turn them away from doing evil that would destroy them.
God also “seals” man’s instruction — seals what man hears from God; confirms it; and gives it abiding efficacy. After giving the instruction, God then closes up man’s ear and seals it — thus enclosing the instruction given so that it cannot be lost.
The object of this sealing intervention of God on man, is the gracious end of the Lord’s anticipating the sinner in his evil, and hindering it. God does this by withdrawing man from his proud and sinful purpose.
Thus God keeps man’s soul back from falling into the pit. God even uses the sword to withhold man’s life from perishing.
For God would deliver man from sin. At the same time, He would stop his life from perishing. For God would deliver man from an early death, whether natural or violent. This is the disciplinary design God has in view for man.
God’s purpose in all this, is not just to withhold man from the sin of pride. It is to preserve him from perishing. Thus God keeps back man’s soul from the pit!