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FRAMEWORKS: Job

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

Context:

Because Elihu's speech covers six chapters, we provide this simple overview to help the reader see where they are in each chapter:

Ch.32: Introducing Elihu

Ch.33: God IS a Communicator

Ch.34: Job has got it wrong!

Ch.35: Misguided Questions?

Ch.36: God IS Just

Ch.37: God IS Supreme

   

FRAMEWORKS: Job 36: Elihu – Part 5 of 6: God IS Just

  

[Preliminary Comments: This is a strange chapter in that it comes from a young man who claims superior knowledge and revelation [v.3a]. Elihu's goal is clear from the outset – to show that God is just [v.3b]. God, he explains, is the sovereign overseer of mankind [v.5-7] and because suffering usually has a reason, where it is to do with sin, God explains that in order to bring us to repentance when He then blesses us [v.8-11], while ignorant rebellion results in death [v.12]. He expands on this in v.13,14 but points out that the repenting righteous will be saved [v.15,16]. He then turns to Job and counsels him to act rightly in this respect [v.17-21] and concludes that God who is supreme is worthy of our praise [v.22-25] even if we cannot understand His greatness [v.26-33]. A great deal of truth, even if lacking compassion.]

   

   

v.1 Elihu purports to speak up for God – that He IS just

v.1 Elihu continued: 

v.2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God's behalf. 

v.3  I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker.  

v.4 Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you. 

    

[Note: The word ‘perfect' used in v.4 is the same as describes Job in 1:1 and means ‘complete and straight' . He implies that it is so because God has taught him and for this reason he will say more on God's behalf to show He is just.]

 

  

v.5-7 Elihu explains: God watches over the righteous and unrighteous giving what is due

v.5 “God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. 

v.6 He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. 

v.7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalt

    

[Note: The Lord impartially brings life or allows death where appropriate, especially caring to the righteous.]

   

    

v.8-12 Where people suffer, God explains why & if they repent He blesses them

v.8 But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, 

v.9 he tells them what they have done— that they have sinned arrogantly. 

v.10 He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. 

v.11 If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. 

v.12  But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge. 

    

[Note: Those who are suffering will find God telling them what has brought it on them. and where they need correction and repent, He will save them and bless them.]

    

   

v.13-16 The suffering godless refuse to turn to God and die in their suffering

v.13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help. 

v.14 They die in their youth, among male prostitutes of the shrines. 

v.15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. 

v.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. 

    

[Note: The godless never respond well in suffering, refusing to repent and go in to die in their suffering, despite God's efforts to help them see the error of their ways.]

    

    

v.17-21 Don't let your riches lead you away to evil

v.17  But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgment and justice have taken hold of you. 

v.18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside. 

v.19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress? 

v.20 Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes. 

v.21 Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction. 

   

[Note: Elihu now applies the previous words to Job. He's the one now suffering what the wicked experience [v.17] so he should not trust in wealth helping him [v.18,19] or turn to other forms of injustice to deliver you from your affliction [v.20,21] i.e. beware looking for wrong paths out of your predicament.]

   

    

v.22-25 God who is just is only worthy of our praise

v.22   “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him? 

v.23   Who has prescribed his ways for him, or said to him, ‘You have done wrong'? 

v.24   Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song. 

v.25   All humanity has seen it; mortals gaze on it from afar. 

    

[Note: The Creator is all-wise and all-knowing – and just! So He is worthy of our praises – not our complaints [might be inferred]. A call to see God rightly and act accordingly.]

    

   

v.26-33 Having said that, the Creator is really beyond our understanding

v.26  How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. 

v.27  “He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; 

v.28 the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. 

v.29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? 

v.30 See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. 

v.32  He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. 

v.33 His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.

   

[Note: The truth is, Elihu continues, God is so great He is beyond our understanding. We might say today we can observe how the earth works but ultimately it will always be a mystery this side of heaven, why it works, why the laws of nature work as they do and not some other way.]

    

   

Concluding Comments: By way of a recap, let's itemize the things we said at the beginning of the chapter:

- Elihu's goal is clear from the outset – to show that God is just [v.3b].

- God, he explains, is the sovereign overseer of mankind [v.5-7] and

- because suffering usually has a reason, where it is to do with sin, God explains that in order to bring us to repentance when He then blesses us [v.8-11],

- while ignorant rebellion results in death [v.12].

- He expands on this in v.13,14,

- but points out that the repenting righteous will be saved [v.15,16].

- He then turns to Job and counsels him to act rightly in this respect [v.17-21] and –

- concludes that God who is supreme is worthy of our praise [v.22-25].

- even if we cannot understand His greatness [v.26-33].

     

  

CONTINUE to Chapter 37