Elihu is still speaking and he is still condemning Job, and Elihu says in Job 36:6-15, “He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean. He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.” In verse 6 Elihu says that the people who have problems are the “wicked” because God punishes them. Elihu is implying that Job is one of the wicked because of all that Job has been suffering. In verse 7 Elihu is saying that if Job had been a “righteous” person, then God would not have withdrawn blessings from Job. Elihu states that a king stays in power because God keeps him in power, and therefore God cast Job down for a reason; and the only reason possible in Elihu’s mind was sin on Job’s part. In verses 8 and 9 Elihu is stating that Job is in “affliction” because of “transgression.” Therefore, Elihu states in verse 10 that the solution for Job is to turn from his sins and turn to God. Elihu says that people who are suffering should “return from iniquity.”
Verses 11 and 12 once again summarize everything that Elihu has been saying: “ If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.” In Elihu’s mind there are only two possibilities: those who serve God and thus prosper, and those who do not serve God and thus suffer for it. Of course, Elihu is wrong, very wrong. Many wicked prosper for years. And many believers do suffer even when they do not deserve it, which is one of the things that the book of Job demonstrates to us.
In verse 13 Elihu calls Job a hypocrite because Elihu says that Job is not crying out to God the way that Job should. In verse 14 Elihu says that the wicked die young, and if they live they are “unclean.” Elihu is really getting ridiculous now. In verse 15 Elihu says that God delivers the poor. That is not what Jesus said. Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always.” This life is a life of suffering. Bad things happen to good people. That is the reality. One of the reasons that we look forward to being in heaven with Jesus is that there will be no bad things there and no sufferings.
Elihu is still speaking, and Elihu says in Job 36:16-22, “Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness. But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee. Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place. Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction. Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?” In verse 16 Elihu is saying that God would have already taken away Job’s sufferings and restored Job to a good place if Job was rightly related to God. That is why Elihu said to Job, “thy table should be full of fatness.” In verse 17 Elihu said that Job received the “judgment of the wicked.” In verse 18 Elihu says that Job received the “wrath” of God. In verse 20 Elihu is saying that Job will not be able to escape even more sufferings, not even in the night. According to Elihu, Job might just die at night, that is, be “cut off.” Elihu thinka that only more bad things are going to happen to Job now, because Elihu is so smart that he now knows the future too. Of course, Elihu is so certain that Job must be living in sins, and that Job’s sins have now caught up to him, and there will only be more suffering unless Job accepts what Elihu is saying and turns to God in the way that Elihu is telling Job to do. That is why Elihu says to Job in verse 21, “regard not iniquity.”
In verse 23 when Elihu says about God, “who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity,” Elihu is accusing Job of stating that God did wrong in causing sufferings to come to Job. If Job did not deserve the sufferings, then that must mean that Job is saying that God was wrong to bring the sufferings. Of course, Elihu’s logic is all wrong and Elihu’s understanding of life on earth was very limited too especially in regards to suffering.
Elihu continues to speak, and Elihu says in Job 36:24-33, “Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea. For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt. The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.” In verses 24 and 25 when Elihu speaks of men viewing one’s actions even from far off, Elihu is saying that he saw Job’s actions and thus Elihu is knowledgeable to speak about Job’s actions and to evaluate them. After all, according to Elihu, Elihu has great wisdom from God. Wow, was Elihu arrogant and self-righteous, and Elihu found many ways to express his justification for condemning Job.
All of the things that Elihu says about God are for the purpose of elevating himself and justifying himself. In verse 26 Elihu said, “God is great.” Of course, that is true. In the rest of the verses in this passage Elihu is talking about the rain and the clouds and the animals. Elihu is saying that God is involved in all things on the earth. And in the midst of saying these things, Elihu says in verse 31, “For by them judgeth he the people.” Elihu is stuck on his assumptions: 1. God does all things. 2. God brings judgment. 3. If you do wrong, you will be judged. 4. If you do not do wrong, you will not be judged. That is it. That is what Elihu was saying over and over in all of his speeches t Job. Here is one thing that Elihu left out: sometimes the innocent suffer. Jesus was innocent and He suffered on the cross of Calvary. And Jesus said that the servant is not greater than his Lord.
Elihu continues speaking and he says in Job 37:1-7, “At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.” Elihu understands the power of God’s words, and that is what Elihu is talking about in these verses; but Elihu uses this truth to condemn Job, because Elihu says that Job is not listening to God. That is why Elihu says to Job in verse 2, “Hear attentively the noise of his voice.” Elihu should have listened closer to his own teachings. At the end of verse 5 Elihu said, “which we cannot comprehend,” meaning that men cannot understand all of God’s doings. That is correct, and Elihu could not understand what God was doing in Job’s life.
Elihu continues speaking and he says in Job 37:8-18, “Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” In verses 8 through 12 Elihu mentions that God is in control of the animals and the weather. They are just examples that what God decides to do is the explanation for what happens in all the world. God has His plans and His purposes and we do not know what they are. Maybe this truth finally got through to Elihu and maybe right here at the end of his speaking Elihu is realizing that what he is saying applies to him and his ideas. He says in verse 13, “He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.” Elihu thinks of three reasons that God might be doing what He is doing: 1. Maybe someone needs correction, and God is doing something to correct that one who needs correction. Elihu mentions this first because he undoubtedly thinks that this is the reason that the sufferings came into Job’s life. 2. God is taking care of His land. It is His land and He gets to decide what happens to it and how he wants to take care of it. 3. God does what He wants to do in order to show forth His mercy. But in order to show His mercy, He must bring people to the point of knowing that they need His mercy. This should have been first on Elihu’s list. This is God’s main purpose. It is why He sent Jesus into the world: to die for the sins of the world, so that everyone would have a chance to come to Christ and be saved and thus be in heaven forever. God is at work, and His main work is the Holy Spirit bringing people to Christ. Entire events may change in order to bring that to pass in someone’s life. Eventually enough “coincidences” add up to the point where the Holy Spirit can touch someone’s heart so that they will see their need of Christ.
In verse 14 Elihu is attacking Job again. Elihu tells Job, “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God,” as if Job is not doing that already. In the rest of these verses through verse 18 Elihu is telling Job that Job does not know what God is doing. That is why Elihu starts verses 15 and 16, “Dost thou know,” implying that Job does not know. Guess what: Elihu knows even less than Job.
Elihu continues speaking and he says in Job 37:19-24, “Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up. And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.” In verses 19 through 24 Elihu is saying that man does not know what to say to God. For example, Elihu says in verse 19, “we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.” At least Elihu says, “we,” but I think Elihu is being too negative. God loves to hear from us and to hear our thoughts, even though there is always a lot that we still do not know about what God is doing or why He is doing it. That is what faith is all about. We do not know a lot of things, but we trust the One who does.
The last thing that Elihu says is the last part of verse 24 that God “respecteth not any that are wise of heart.” In other words, do not boast about how much you know about God. Be careful of arrogance and conceit. Elihu is right about that. He should have taken his own advice. We should always be those who rely upon God and realize how little we know about the infinite Master.
Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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