Job Series Daily Reading Week Seven

Book of Job

Week Seven – Day 31

Job 32

Elihu is introduced and speaks….
32:1 So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 3 He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:
“I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit in a person,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
9 It is not only the old who are wise,
not only the aged who understand what is right.
10 “Therefore I say: Listen to me;
I too will tell you what I know.
11 I waited while you spoke,
I listened to your reasoning;
while you were searching for words,
12   I gave you my full attention.
But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
none of you has answered his arguments.
13 Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
let God, not a man, refute him.’
14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me,
and I will not answer him with your
arguments.
15 “They are dismayed and have no more to
say;words have failed them.
16 Must I wait, now that they are silent,
now that they stand there with no reply?
17 I too will have my say;
I too will tell what I know.
18 For I am full of words,
and the spirit within me compels me;
19 inside I am like bottled-up wine,
like new wineskins ready to burst.
20 I must speak and find relief;
I must open my lips and reply.
21 I will show no partiality,
nor will I flatter anyone;
22 for if I were skilled in flattery,
my Maker would soon take me away.

Notes on Job 32

“Job was silent. He had ended his defense and given oath that he was not guilty of the sins he had been accused of by his friends. Job had challenged God either to vindicate him or to pass sentence on him. The trial had gone on long enough, and it was time for the Judge to act.

Job’s three friends were silent, appalled that Job had dared to speak so boldly to God and about God. They were sure that God’s judgment of Job was the next thing on the agenda.

But God was silent. No fire came from heaven, and no voice spoke in divine wrath. The silence was God’s eloquent witness to the three friends that they were wrong in what they had said both about Job and about God. It was also God’s witness to Job that the God of the universe is not at the beck and call of His creatures. God doesn’t appear just because somebody thinks it’s time for a showdown.

However in the crowd around the ash heap, one person was not silent. It was Elihu, a man so unknown that his full pedigree had to be given so people could identify him (Job 32:2). Neither Job (1:1) nor his three friends (2:11) needed that kind of detailed identification for others to know them.”(Warren Wiersbe)

“Job’s avowal of innocence is so audacious and final that it leaves the comforters speechless. All are terrified, waiting for an answer from the heavens. But God remains silent. Then a young man named Elihu arises. Taking advantage of the silence, he asks for permission to address Job. Possessed by a compelling need to defend God’s honor, he is convinced that he can instruct Job even though the others have failed. Who should change the mood but the youthful, bombastic Elihu. What a surprise! Elihu’s verbose, overly apologetic style offers comic relief to break the tight, fearful atmosphere created by Job’s oath.

On the serious side Elihu claims divine inspiration as the source of his wisdom (32:18– 22). Enlightened by God’s Spirit, he offers special insight into the way God instructs people. Thus he functions as God’s forerunner both by his position between Job’s avowal of innocence and Yahweh’s answer and by the content of his speeches.

After a lengthy apology for speaking, Elihu delivers four unanswered discourses. His thesis is twofold: God disciplines a person to turn him from the error of his way, and God governs justly without exception. Although Elihu’s approach is close to that of the three friends, he differs from them in that he does not assume that all suffering is punishment for past sins. He teaches that misfortune may befall a person in order to awaken him to some wrongful attitude or unconscious error and thus keep him from taking a wrong course. Another major difference in his teaching is the emphasis that suffering may be an expression of God’s mercy more than his wrath. With these theses Elihu makes a significant contribution to the core issue of the book, namely, how the righteous should respond to suffering.” (John Hartley)

Vs. 1- 5, Elihu’s Introduction: Elihu is introduced and his genealogy is announced. Elihu speaks into a situation where he had not been invited. His anger with Job and his anger with Job’s friends prompts him to speak. He is angry with Job for being self righteous and angry with Job’s friends for not thwarting Job’s assaults on God’s character. Elihu’s name means “He is my God” and he takes the role of defending God’s honor in the book. His youth and his anger are the qualities that the author highlights in the introduction.

Vs.6-7, Elihu’s youth: We learned that Elihu had been boiling over with anger, but had not spoken because of his youth. In verse 6 Elihu says that he is young, timid, and afraid of sharing his views and begins speaking with a long apology for speaking. He is disappointed that the previous speakers’ age had not made them more wise. So Elihu feels that he must now speak to defend God.

Vs. 8-22, Elihu’s apology: Elihu is interjecting his speech on Job and his friends. His apology is offered to make his listeners more sympathetic to what he is about to say. He starts off by telling them that a person is not wise because they have age, but because the spirit of God has given them insight. And then he continues telling them why they should listen to him.

“Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know. I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words,  I gave you my full attention. (vs. 10-12a)

He asks for their full attention and then goes after what he perceives as the problem, which is Job’s continued defense of his own honor.

But not one of you has proved Job wrong; none of you has answered his arguments. (vs 12b)

Elihu has watched the courtroom where Job’s righteousness has been on trial. He listened to all of the testimonies and has decided that he must step in to defend God’s honor. Elihu is saying that Job’s wisdom is suspect since he is under such great suffering. He then tells Job’s friends that they have failed to answer Job’s arguments and complaints. “But he has not come against me, Elihu, and I will not use your failed arguments to answer him.”

Elihu can’t believe the the friends have ended the arguments with silence. How could they be so dismayed as to not answer the terrible things that Job has said.

Vs.16 Elihu says, Must I wait, now that they are silent, now that they stand there with no reply? In other words just because Job struck you dumb with silence does not mean I have to be silent. No, Elihu says that he is full of words. The spirit is in him and is compelling him to speak. He uses a picture of a bottle of wine or a wine skin that is about to burst because it has so much to say. Elihu says he has to speak to find relief.  It’s as if the words are going to burst out of him if he doesn’t get this opportunity.  He ends using again the words of apology. “But I promise I won’t flatter any one or show favoritism when I do speak”, which is sort of ironic. Job is in the position of suffering because God complimented Job before Satan and showed how much he favored Job.

Week Seven – Day 32

Job 33

Elihu’s speech

33:1“But now, Job, listen to my words;

pay attention to everything I say.

2 I am about to open my mouth;

my words are on the tip of my tongue.

3 My words come from an upright heart;

my lips sincerely speak what I know.

4 The Spirit of God has made me;

the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

5 Answer me then, if you can;

stand up and argue your case before me.

6 I am the same as you in God’s sight;

I too am a piece of clay.

7 No fear of me should alarm you,

nor should my hand be heavy on you.

8 “But you have said in my hearing—

I heard the very words—

9 ‘I am pure, I have done no wrong;

I am clean and free from sin.

10 Yet God has found fault with me;

he considers me his enemy.

11 He fastens my feet in shackles;

he keeps close watch on all my paths.’

12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right,

for God is greater than any mortal.

13 Why do you complain to him

that he responds to no one’s words[a]?

14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—

though no one perceives it.

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,

when deep sleep falls on people

as they slumber in their beds,

16 he may speak in their ears

and terrify them with warnings,

17 to turn them from wrongdoing

and keep them from pride,

18 to preserve them from the pit,

their lives from perishing by the sword.

19 “Or someone may be chastened on a bed

 

of pain with constant distress in their bones,

20 so that their body finds food repulsive

and their soul loathes the choicest meal.

21 Their flesh wastes away to nothing,

and their bones, once hidden, now stick out.

22 They draw near to the pit,

and their life to the messengers of death.

23 Yet if there is an angel at their side,

a messenger, one out of a thousand,

sent to tell them how to be upright,

24 and he is gracious to that person and says to God,

‘Spare them from going down to the pit;

I have found a ransom for them—

25 let their flesh be renewed like a child’s;

let them be restored as in the days of their youth’—

26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,

they will see God’s face and shout for joy;

he will restore them to full well-being.

27 And they will go to others and say,

‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right,

but I did not get what I deserved.

28 God has delivered me from going down to the pit,

and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’

29 “God does all these things to a person—

twice, even three times—

30 to turn them back from the pit,

that the light of life may shine on them.

31 “Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;

be silent, and I will speak.

32 If you have anything to say, answer me;

speak up, for I want to vindicate you.

33 But if not, then listen to me;

be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Notes on Job 33

Elihu’s continues the apology vs. 1-7

“Turning from the general audience, Elihu addresses Job directly. Having promised to speak impartially and with genuine insight, Elihu exhorts Job: listen carefully to all my words. In addressing Job by name he does not use any titles, showing his disregard for the position or prestige of any person, as he has just promised he would do. This form of address, however, also reflects Elihu’s brash character in that he does not fear to address a distinguished elder by name.” (John Hartley)

Elihu tells us all that he is about to open his mouth and that when he speaks his words are upright and sincere. He lets Job know that he can speak for God because God made him and gave him life. Elihu challenges Job that they are equals made of the same stuff and does not recognize Job’s age or wisdom.  So he tells Job, “Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me.”

God uses suffering vs. 8-30

V.s. 8-11, Elihu does not quote Job directly but does a pretty good job of assessing his arguments. From Elihu’s evaluation of Job’s feelings, ‘I am pure, I have done no wrong. I am clean and free from sin.Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy. (Vs. 9-10),  It is clear that Elihu has heard Job.

V.s. 12-22 “Elihu begins by warning Job that no one can “out-God” God (33:12). Job seems to believe that he has caught God in an inconsistency— that his policies are somehow flawed or his execution of them lacking. To his credit, Elihu avers on principle that this can never be the case. This theological commitment is Elihu’s strength and it is what makes his position more acceptable than Job’s.

Specifically, Elihu contends that God has not been silent; rather, Job has not been listening on the right frequency. He presents dreams and visions as the first examples of the media God uses for communication (33:15–18). Everyone in the ancient world believed that dreams were communication from deity, and Job himself has referred to his dream experiences as one of the ways God has terrorized him (7 14). In ancient Near Eastern thinking, nightmares indicate that the gods are angry with the dreamer. Thus, terrifying dreams constitute one form that suffering takes. Elihu adds physical pain to the list of divine communications in 33:19 along with distress (such as Job experienced in losing his property and family). He identifies all of these communication strategies as having corrective intentions (33:17– 18).

In other words, Elihu considers these communications to be instructive and constructive rather than punitive. In this he offers a perspective not represented in the thinking of Job or his friends.”

(John Walton)

V.s. 23—24, “Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand,

    sent to tell them how to be upright,and he is gracious to that person and says to God,

    ‘Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for them—”

“In Elihu’s teaching this special angel works for the restoration of those who have strayed from the right way. This means that God does not immediately abandon any of his servants who err. The converse is the truth; he labors zealously for their full restoration to faithful service.”

John Hartley. The Book of Job (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament)

V.s.23-30 Elihu believes in God’s grace.  A person can pray and find favor or receive the grace of God. God restores and delivers.

V.s. 30-33, Elihu concludes discourse.

“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want to vindicate you. But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.

Elihu ends this speech telling Job to listen. He says, “if you have to speak Job, speak now, but if not just listen and be silent”, because Job has made his vow of innocence before God. Job remains silent waiting on his response from God while Elihu concludes this speech and gets ready for his second address.

Elihu’s continues the apology vs. 1-7

“Turning from the general audience, Elihu addresses Job directly. Having promised to speak impartially and with genuine insight, Elihu exhorts Job: listen carefully to all my words. In addressing Job by name he does not use any titles, showing his disregard for the position or prestige of any person, as he has just promised he would do. This form of address, however, also reflects Elihu’s brash character in that he does not fear to address a distinguished elder by name.” (John Hartley)

Elihu tells us all that he is about to open his mouth and that when he speaks his words are upright and sincere. He lets Job know that he can speak for God because God made him and gave him life. Elihu challenges Job that they are equals made of the same stuff and does not recognize Job’s age or wisdom.  So he tells Job, “Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me.”

God uses suffering vs. 8-30

V.s. 8-11, Elihu does not quote Job directly but does a pretty good job of assessing his arguments. From Elihu’s evaluation of Job’s feelings, ‘I am pure, I have done no wrong. I am clean and free from sin.Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy. (Vs. 9-10),  It is clear that Elihu has heard Job.

V.s. 12-22 “Elihu begins by warning Job that no one can “out-God” God (33:12). Job seems to believe that he has caught God in an inconsistency— that his policies are somehow flawed or his execution of them lacking. To his credit, Elihu avers on principle that this can never be the case. This theological commitment is Elihu’s strength and it is what makes his position more acceptable than Job’s.

Specifically, Elihu contends that God has not been silent; rather, Job has not been listening on the right frequency. He presents dreams and visions as the first examples of the media God uses for communication (33:15–18). Everyone in the ancient world believed that dreams were communication from deity, and Job himself has referred to his dream experiences as one of the ways God has terrorized him (7 14). In ancient Near Eastern thinking, nightmares indicate that the gods are angry with the dreamer. Thus, terrifying dreams constitute one form that suffering takes. Elihu adds physical pain to the list of divine communications in 33:19 along with distress (such as Job experienced in losing his property and family). He identifies all of these communication strategies as having corrective intentions (33:17– 18).

In other words, Elihu considers these communications to be instructive and constructive rather than punitive. In this he offers a perspective not represented in the thinking of Job or his friends.”

(John Walton)

V.s. 23—24, “Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand,

    sent to tell them how to be upright,and he is gracious to that person and says to God,

    ‘Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for them—”

“In Elihu’s teaching this special angel works for the restoration of those who have strayed from the right way. This means that God does not immediately abandon any of his servants who err. The converse is the truth; he labors zealously for their full restoration to faithful service.”

John Hartley. The Book of Job (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament)

V.s.23-30 Elihu believes in God’s grace.  A person can pray and find favor or receive the grace of God. God restores and delivers.

V.s. 30-33, Elihu concludes discourse.

“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want to vindicate you. But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.

Elihu ends this speech telling Job to listen. He says, “if you have to speak Job, speak now, but if not just listen and be silent”, because Job has made his vow of innocence before God. Job remains silent waiting on his response from God while Elihu concludes this speech and gets ready for his second address.

Week Seven – Day 33

Job 34

Elihu’s Second Discourse

34:1 Then Elihu said:

2 “Hear my words, you wise men;

listen to me, you men of learning.

3 For the ear tests words

as the tongue tastes food.

4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right;

let us learn together what is good.

5 “Job says, ‘I am innocent,

but God denies me justice.

6 Although I am right,

I am considered a liar;

although I am guiltless,

his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’

7 Is there anyone like Job,

who drinks scorn like water?

8 He keeps company with evildoers;

he associates with the wicked.

9 For he says, ‘There is no profit

in trying to please God.’

10 “So listen to me, you men of understanding.

Far be it from God to do evil,

from the Almighty to do wrong.

11 He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves.

12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,

that the Almighty would pervert justice.

13 Who appointed him over the earth?

Who put him in charge of the whole world?

14 If it were his intention

and he withdrew his spirit[a] and breath,

15 all humanity would perish together

and mankind would return to the dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;

listen to what I say.

17 Can someone who hates justice govern?

Will you condemn the just and mighty One?

18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’

and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’

19 who shows no partiality to princes

and does not favor the rich over the poor,

for they are all the work of his hands?

20 They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and they pass

away; the mighty are removed without human hand.

21 “His eyes are on the ways of mortals;

he sees their every step.

22 There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,

where evildoers can hide.

23 God has no need to examine people further,

that they should come before him for judgment.

24 Without inquiry he shatters the mighty

and sets up others in their place.

25 Because he takes note of their deeds,

he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.

26 He punishes them for their wickedness

where everyone can see them,

27 because they turned from following him

and had no regard for any of his ways.

28 They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,

so that he heard the cry of the needy.

29 But if he remains silent, who can condemn him?

If he hides his face, who can see him?

Yet he is over individual and nation alike,

30  to keep the godless from ruling,

from laying snares for the people.

31 “Suppose someone says to God,

‘I am guilty but will offend no more.

32 Teach me what I cannot see;

if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’

33 Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent?

You must decide, not I;

so tell me what you know.

34 “Men of understanding declare,

wise men who hear me say to me,

35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;

his words lack insight.’

36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost

for answering like a wicked man!

37 To his sin he adds rebellion;

Notes on Job 34

“Because Elihu is so overly apologetic in a boastful manner, his stature has suffered greatly in biblical interpretation. For example, some of the early church fathers consider him to be overconfident and arrogant. It must be taken into account, however, that Elihu’s relationship with Job differs from that of the other three comforters. He is not a friend who is bound by loyalty to seek his restoration (cf. 6: 14– 23). Rather he is a young, promising wise man who attempts to offer some new insight into the issue of Job’s suffering. He hopes to instruct and encourage Job while everybody is awaiting God’s answer.”  (John Hartley)

Elihu’s Second Discourse

Elihu defends God and attempts to convince Job that his complaint against God is unwarranted.  Elihu believes that God’s discipline is one of the ways that God speaks.  At the same time he is afraid that Job is beginning to harden his heart to God’s discipline.

Listen vs. 1-4 In the previous chapter Elihu told Job to listen. Elihu now directs the whole listening audience to do the same. Listen and let us test Job’s words and decide what is right and what is wrong.

Elihu challenges Job vs. 5-33

  1. Elihu speaks to everyone: vs. 5-15. Elihu speaks to the crowd giving them a synopsis of Job’s complaint. Job is scornful and bitter. Job keeps saying he is guiltless, and God has hit him with an arrow that leaves a wound that can never be cured. Elihu addresses the crowd. LISTEN. It is unthinkable that God could do anything wrong.
  2. Elihu speaks to Job: vs. 16-33. Now Elihu begins to speak to Job directly. Again he says listen. He ask Job a pointed question, “Will you condemn the just and mighty One?” Elihu goes on to say that that God is just. God does not show favoritism based on money, position or lineage. God’s eyes are on all, and He sees all they do. There is no shadow or place that evil can hide. God has seen all and he doesn’t have to examine people any more than He has. When God punishes the wicked He does it out in the open where all can see. Elihu stresses that God punishes the wicked. In vs. 32 he says what a wicked sinner like Job should say, “Teach me what I cannot see if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.”

Judgement of Job: vs. 34 -37. Elihu asks Job how can God reward you when you refuse to repent. Elihu argues that he and Job’s friends agree the Job has no understanding of his suffering. Elihu declares that Job is not only guilty of sin but rebellion in his accusations against God.

“Elihu has endeavored to refute both Job’s claim of innocence and his complaint that God does not always execute justice in matters on earth by elaborating the thesis that God, the sovereign Lord, governs the world justly. Nothing escapes God’s attention, nor does he allow any wicked person to exert his influence unchecked. From this perspective Elihu cannot fathom how any human being could demand that God grant him judicial hearing by filing a complaint against God himself. In fact, such a demand reeks of rebellion against God’s rule. Job, therefore, needs to accept God’s disciplinary punishment rather than questioning God’s motives. Otherwise he is deserving of the severest penalty.

This speech seems to contrast sharply in tone and emphasis with Elihu’s first speech. That is, Elihu’s compassion and openness seem to have hardened into a rigid concern to protect God’s just rule from the challenge of a rebel like Job. In his view Job has added unbelief to his sin by complaining so bitterly against God. He believes that that is why Job never receives any response from God. Elihu thus locates Job’s plight in his inflamed rhetoric rather than in any continuance of past sins. Therein Elihu departs from the judgment of the comforters that Job is suffering because of some hidden sin that he had committed.

Elihu has also misjudged Job, however, and he has overstepped his intention of instructing Job. He too fails to allow for the particulars of an individual case. Nevertheless, he forewarns Job that he will have to abandon his complaint against God and his avowal of innocence if he is ever to find reconciliation with God. In this way Eiihu prepares Job for a proper response to the theophany, but unfortunately at the high price of blatantly condemning him and making him apprehensive about being smitten with worse suffering.” (John Hartley)

Week Seven – Day 34

Job 35

35:1 Then Elihu said:

2“Do you think this is just?

You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’

3 Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,

and what do I gain by not sinning?’

4 “I would like to reply to you

and to your friends with you.

5 Look up at the heavens and see;

gaze at the clouds so high above you.

6 If you sin, how does that affect him?

If your sins are many, what does that do to him?

7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him,

or what does he receive from your hand?

8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,

and your righteousness only other people.

9 “People cry out under a load of oppression;

they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.

10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,

who gives songs in the night,

11 who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth

and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?’

12 He does not answer when people cry out

because of the arrogance of the wicked.

13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it.

14 How much less, then, will he listen

when you say that you do not see him,

that your case is before him

and you must wait for him,

15 and further, that his anger never punishes

and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.

16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;

without knowledge he multiplies words.”

Notes on Job 35

“In his concern to defend the truth that God is just, Elihu appears to be as critical and condemnatory of Job as the three comforters have been…. Elihu is less concerned to prove that Job has committed some hidden sin that has led to his plight than to show that Job’s asseverations of innocence and his charges against God are presumptuous folly. While he has made Job appear to be more arrogant than he really has been, he helps Job reflect on the presumptuous nature of his bold claims. In this manner he prepares Job for the possibility that he might have to surrender his avowal of innocence when God addresses him.” (John Hartley)

Vs.1-7“Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I am in the right, not God. (vs. 2) This is not a direct quote of Job’s words, but Elihu is pushing Job in his vow of innocence by saying, “how can you put your innocence up against God’s”. Elihu goes on to convince Job by saying that Job’s sins and his righteousness don’t impact God and His effectiveness. Elihu addresses his remarks towards Job and his friends. He tells Job that his wickedness and his righteousness don’t affect God but they do affect other people.

Vs. 8-13- “In 35:8–13 Elihu contrasts two different ways of approaching God. The first involves prayers for relief from oppression (35:9); the second involves a search for God and recognition of his grace as he teaches wisdom (35:10–11). Elihu suggests that God is not responsive to the former (35:12–13). In this he suggests that people should be more interested in coming to know God better rather than on trying to get God to solve their problems. He should be the object of our inquiry rather than the object of our complaints. He is not at our beck and call and cannot be called to heel like a dog— he is our Maker!”

“If God’s “job” is not to field people’s complaints, then Job should not expect God to be responsive to his calls for attention. Elihu would say that we should think in terms of us responding to God rather than God responding to us. God responds according to his own purposes and timing. People cannot call him to account for the way he interacts with them nor to criticize him in accordance with their own expectations.” (John Walton)

Vs. 14-16 Job has grieved that he has not seen or heard from God. Elihu is criticizing Job, who in his estimation, has hurt his relationship with God with all his complaining. So Elihu says “then God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it. How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him.” Elihu goes on to say to Job, “You need to believe that your case is before God and wait for him.” Elihu’s advice to Job is that waiting on God is the best position to place himself. Job’s crying and lamenting has not gotten God’s attention.

Elihu ends the chapter saying, “Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.” Job has endured painful losses, critical attack from his friends and now he has to listen to this young man tell him that he is self-righteous and speaking nonsense. The one truth of Elihu that is clear is that Job is left in the position of waiting. Job’s case is before God and Job can do nothing else but wait for him.

 Week Seven – Day 35

Job 36

36:1 Elihu continued:

2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will

show you that there is more to be said

in God’s behalf.

3 I get my knowledge from afar;

I will ascribe justice to my Maker.

4 Be assured that my words are not false;

one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

5 “God is mighty, but despises no one;

he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.

6 He does not keep the wicked alive

but gives the afflicted their rights.

7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous;

he enthrones them with kings

and exalts them forever.

8 But if people are bound in chains,

held fast by cords of affliction,

9 he tells them what they have done—

that they have sinned arrogantly.

10 He makes them listen to correction

and commands them to repent of their evil.

11 If they obey and serve him,

they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity

and their years in contentment.

12 But if they do not listen,

they will perish by the sword

and die without knowledge.

13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment;

even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.

14 They die in their youth,

among male prostitutes of the shrines.

15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;

he speaks to them in their affliction.

16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress

to a spacious place free from restriction,

to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.

17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked;

judgment and justice have taken hold of you.

18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches;

do not let a large bribe turn you aside.

19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts

sustain you so you would not be in distress?

20 Do not long for the night,

to drag people away from their homes.

21 Beware of turning to evil,

which you seem to prefer to affliction.

22 “God is exalted in his power.

Who is a teacher like him?

23 Who has prescribed his ways for him,

or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?

24 Remember to extol his work,

which people have praised in song.

25 All humanity has seen it;

mortals gaze on it from afar.

26 How great is God—beyond our understanding!

The number of his years is past finding out.

27 “He draws up the drops of water,

which distill as rain to the streams;

28 the clouds pour down their moisture

and abundant showers fall on mankind.

29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,

how he thunders from his pavilion?

30 See how he scatters his lightning about him,

bathing the depths of the sea.

31 This is the way he governs the nations

and provides food in abundance.

32 He fills his hands with lightning

and commands it to strike its mark.

33 His thunder announces the coming storm;

even the cattle make known its approach.

Notes on Job 36

“In a more compassionate tone Elihu returns to the theme of God’s disciplinary use of suffering. He teaches that God protectively watches the righteous. If they commit a transgression, he lets them know what they have done wrong, often using the cords of affliction to instruct them. If they respond to his rod of discipline, they will be restored and behold the divine splendor in awe. But if they persist in their transgression, they will die. After warning Job, Elihu focuses on God’s glory that is revealed in a thunderstorm.” (John Hartley)

Vs. 1-4, Elihu introduces his last speech with the apologetic tone that he used in his first speech.  “Just bear with me a little longer”, he tells Job and his friends. “I will defend God and I have lots of material to use on his behalf”. Elihu makes the claim that his knowledge and wisdom not only come from God the creator, but will prove that God is in the right. Elihu begins apologetically but then he moves to justifying and elevating himself, “Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.”

Vs. 5-15, God is great and mighty Elihu tells Job, but yet he still watches over the affairs of men. God’s purposes work on behalf of the righteous.

Read how God treats the righteous in this way,

He never takes his eyes off the righteous; he honors them lavishly, promotes them endlessly.

When things go badly, when affliction and suffering descend,

God tells them where they’ve gone wrong, shows them how their pride has caused their trouble. He forces them to heed his warning, tells them they must repent of their bad life.

If they obey and serve him, they’ll have a good, long life on easy street.

But if they disobey, they’ll be cut down in their prime and never know the first thing about life…….But those who learn from their suffering, God delivers from their suffering.

(The Message)

Elihu’s point is this, we all have to learn from our suffering.

Vs. 16-21, Elihu tells Job how God is trying to woo him away from the jaws of danger. God wants to bring Job, Elihu says to a wide open safe place with food and blessing. But for Job there are still dangers. Job might try and get out of the situation by trying to use money to bribe his way out of the distress that he is in (vs.18 & 19). Or Job might try and take his own life, thinking that is preferable to learning the difficult lesson that God is trying to teach him through suffering (vs. 20-21).

Vs. 22-26, In this section Elihu tells of God’s greatness and power. He is an amazing teacher, and no-one has had to teach God, and no-one can tell God that he has done wrong. No, the proper response before God is to rave about his works and to worship him in song.

“Take a long, hard look. See how great he is—infinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out! (vs. 26 in the Message)

 

Vs. 27-33, Elihu illustrates God’s greatness using a storm. For those who live in the desert a thunderstorm is a glorious thing. The rain is how God provides for his creation. Only God can turn a dry and desert place into a fertile garden. “This is the way he governs the nations and provides food in abundance.” (vs. 31)

“Like a warrior God lifts up lightning in his hands and orders it toward its mark like an arrow shot from his bow. These arrows are released with such sure aim that they always strike their target; this phenomenon is utterly amazing since they are hurled forth in a zigzag pattern. In their trajectory they obediently follow God’s command. The thunder announces God’s presence, and the fury of the storm reveals that his indignant wrath is burning hotly. God makes his passion visible in the storm.” (John Hartley)

The storm is an illustration of God’s power and goodness to Job and to us. See how great he is—infinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!