Worldly wisdom

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-eighth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

A clap of thunder! The storm that began in Job 36 has come nearer. It frightens Elihu.

Job 37:1-4 NIV

By the word of God divine instructions are conveyed to the mind through the ear, by his works through the eye; but, because those ordinary sights and sounds do not duly affect men, God is pleased sometimes to astonish men by the eye with his lightnings and by the ear with his thunder. It is very probable that at this time, when Elihu was speaking, it thundered and lightened, for he speaks of the phenomena as present; and, God being about to speak (ch. 38:1), these were, as afterwards on Mount Sinai, the proper prefaces to command attention and awe…
Thunder is called the voice of the Lord (Ps. 29:3, etc.), because by it God speaks to the children of men to fear before him, and it should put us in mind of that mighty word by which the world was at first made, which is called thunder. Ps. 104:7, At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away, namely, the waters, when God said, Let them be gathered into one place. - Matthew Henry

Job 37:5-8 NIV Elihu describes how the Lord can bring all activity to a halt by the weather.

To Elihu the weather in all its glory is the glory of God, and God stops people from their work so they can see it. … Is not the whole book of Job about men who have been stopped from their work? It is about an enormous work stoppage, an enormous inconvenience that has fallen out of the sky and forced five busy people to drop everything they were doing and to turn for a while to a more important task. (- Mason -ref)

Job 37:9-13 NIV God is in control of the weather to effect his purposes; at least, up until the present generation he was. Today, we have learned of HAARP and cloud seeding. Elihu wold not have known of these.

Job 37:14-20 NIV Though Elihu has forgotten, Job has considered the works of the Lord. Did he not say:
He stretches out the north over the void
and hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
and the cloud is not split open under them.
He covers the face of the full moon
and spreads over it his cloud. (Job 26:7-9)
and
the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14b)
A single-minded focus or personal agenda can prevent a full recollection of related conversation.

It was not that Job had no awe of the Almighty when he pled for answers. Yet he did address God directly and ask for a hearing:
Withdraw your hand far from me,
and let not dread of you terrify me.
Then call, and I will answer;
or let me speak, and you reply to me.
How many are my iniquities and my sins?
Make me know my transgression and my sin.
Why do you hide your face
and count me as your enemy? (Job 13:21-24)

Job 37:21-24 NIV Though Elihu seems to be centered on God, his real focus is on Job. He describes a supernatural type of disturbance in the heavenlies but does not believe that God would condescend to man’s cry for understanding of his ways. Elihu does not realize that God himself is drawing near. His ending statement is that God will not regard the one who is conceited, namely, Job.

But who is wise in their own conceit? Is it Job, or is it Elihu?

In his great wisdom, Elihu does not know that God desires close communion and friendship with his own. He desires a relationship and to converse with us.

Elihu’s wisdom is worldly, defining a foundation for a faith in a God, but not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Our God is not a legalist

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-sixth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 35:1-3 NIV In any lengthy proceeding it is easy to lose track. That is why meetings have secretaries, trials have court recorders, and cities have newspaper archives.

The liar can forget what he earlier insisted on, and the honest person may forget the good things he has said. Who can keep track of all our words? Only God.

In Chapter 35, Elihu accuses Job of believing himself to be more righteous than God.

When Job said, What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? (Job 21:15) he was parroting what the unrighteous say, in effect, when they explain why they behave badly.

For himself, Job understood he was not a perfect man: If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. (Job 9:20) He was confused as to why God put him in his trial (Job 10:15), and he defended his integrity (Job 27:6), but did he ever say there was no reason under heaven to practice good behavior and do right? No.

Elihu believed that Job’s words taken as a whole implied that the Lord was unjust. Some will agree with Elihu, and others will say they heard Job crying out for answers, which we all must do when we are in a trial.

Elihu frowned on Job’s desperate moaning. Stop crying out to God on the basis of your own righteousness — as though your good behavior should merit God’s answer!

Yes, Job had felt that God loved him and heard his prayers because he carefully followed God's ways. Elihu will now explain why that way of thinking is all wrong.

Job 35:4-8 NIV First, why should man assume God is in any way affected by his behavior? He is not! Ones bad or good behavior affects only other people.

Elihu's concept of God is flawed.

If it is true that because God is so great and so high, the innocence or guilt of a petty human being is a matter of profound indifference to his Maker, on the ground that it can bring Him neither gain nor loss, we are landed, we see at once, on a very gloomy shore. We reach a conclusion fatal to all religion. - Bradley (ref)

Next, Elihu denies that God will have regard for the prideful man.

Job 35:9-14 NIV Prideful people like Job do not cry out in praise to God, crediting him for man’s unique capabilities and thankful for his divine watchcare. Therefore God does not answer nor even regard them, and much less will he regard Job who has set God on his own timetable.

Perhaps the best thing we can point out about Elihu's insights is that they are not true. Thank heavens the Lord hears the prayers of the prideful who belong to him. True, he will discipline us, but he will not forsake us.

Job 35:15-16 NIV Elihu, the dogmatist, is waiting for God to lower the boom on Job, and when he does, that will shut Job up.

Some may say that God is like Elihu –or vice versa– in that he promised: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mat 12:36-37) In the context of the passage, however, “careless” is defined as those words spoken by legalists who reject Christ.

Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, except for the blasphemy against the Spirit (Mat 12:31) Imagine! EVERY sin and blasphemy except one. God is NOT legalistic. God is love.

Job has paid his way!

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-second in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 31:1 NIV Job was a perfect and upright man. Chapter 31 details how his behavior showed his understanding of God’s law and his obedience to it. Commentators have noted that it is his Sermon on the Mount.

Job 31:2-4 NIV Job is determined to prove his innocence, answering each charge against his character, real or imagined. Except for Chapter 38 when the Lord begins his discourse, it is the longest chapter of the book.

Job 31:5-8 NIV Job went further than simply averting his gaze to avoid lustful desires. He made a firm decision that he would not do so, so the temptation never occurred. He knew that God would severely judge men who entertained such thoughts. What hurts is that he still met with calamity and disaster!

Job 31:9-12 NIV Sexual sin with a married woman, or committing it in the heart (Mat 5:28), or of watching his neighbors’ routines for opportunity, would never enter Job’s thoughts. He understood that adultery was the ruin of man.

Job 31:13-15 NIV Job did not consider himself superior to his servants. He understood that the servant’s right to justice was the same as the master’s. He believed God would confront him for such sin.

Job 31:16-23 NIV Job was diligent to help the poor and the widows, knowing that God required it. He never took advantage of the fatherless for he feared God, in fact, he was as a father to them.

Job 31:24-28 NIV Neither the lying god of wealth nor the idolatry of the heavenly bodies enticed Job from the worship of the true God.

Job 31:29-34 NIV Job was never a man to gloat over the misfortunes of his detractors or call down a curse on any man who wronged him. He provided hospitality to strangers; he was unafraid of judgment by the community— no one held him in contempt, proving his statements.

Job 31:35-37 NIV Oh! What am I being judged for? If my adversary, whoever it is, would only state their case, I would gladly wear the indictment as a crown! I want to know my wrongs! What is my sin? Why has my life been ruined? Here is my signature! May God answer me!

Job 31:38-40 NIV And one more thing— I did not acquire my lands by stealth so that it accuses me in the place of its rightful owners. Now that is all I have to say.

Job has not explicitly accused God of wrongdoing, but there is an implicit ring to that effect in his words. Perhaps we may think that he is only begging for clarity or for restoration but when the Lord answers, he asks Job: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2) … Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” (Job 40:2) God saw what was in Job’s heart.

Job believed he could be acceptable to God by his deeds, yet that has never been possible for man, whether in Old or New Testament days. But was this truth discernible before the giving of the law and ordinances that pictured Christ to the Jews? We shall see.

Job thought he could engineer God’s judgment as shown by his practice of sacrificing burnt offerings on his children’s behalf following their celebrations of each ones birthday (Job 1:4-5). Yet they were of age, living in their own homes. Can a man stand in the place of his grown sons and daughters, or will God not require adults to answer for their own actions?

Can a man bargain with the Lord?

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

Hochosterwitz 01052004 04

Search