It was Elihu's own explanation of his boldness which caught my attention in Job chapter 32. In verses 6 and 7, Elihu begins by explaining why he had not spoken up earlier.
Elihu was being polite and respectful to his elders, yet to his dismay, he did not hear what he considered to be the truth about Job's current situation. He held his tongue until his elders had finished speaking. In itself this is a good lesson, but what happens next is really the exciting part of this story. The remaining verses in chapter 32 are an explanation of his need to speak. In particular, what struck me were verses 8 - 10.
..."I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.
I said, 'Let days speak,
and many years teach wisdom.'
But it is the spirit in man,God alone brings the wisdom, through the Holy Spirit. It is He that makes us understand truth because He is Truth. We understand love because He is Love. We can only understand anything at all, because He IS.
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
It is not the old who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.
Therefore I say, 'Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.'
Elihu goes on to say,
I also will answer with my share;
I also will declare my opinion.
For I am full of words;
the spirit within me constrains me.
Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent;
like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak, that I may find relief;
I must open my lips and answer.
I will not show partiality to any man
or use flattery toward any person.
For I do not know how to flatter,
else my Maker would soon take me away.
This boldness continues for pages and pages, as Elihu exclaims God's glory and majesty, then dares to rebuke the elder men around him with the Truth that the "breath of the Almighty" had shown him. Elihu did not flatter them in any way. His impartiality toward these men was because of the truth that the Holy Spirit placed within him; the same Holy Spirit that indwells every believer today. We have full access to that Truth in our everyday lives. What a generous gift.
Now I don't see this as a license to go about spouting my opinion on any and all things, rather I see it as a sober responsibility to ensure that the opinions expressed are those gained from the wisdom imparted by the Spirit. That being said, it was a great revelation to me that spiritual wisdom is as much granted as it is learned, and that I may trust the Holy Spirit to help me see the truth and to share that with others as it becomes appropriate. I figure that there will always be someone older than me; certainly someone wiser also, yet God promises to give me the wisdom, if I will ask for it.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."
-- James 1:5 ESV