Worldly wisdom

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-eighth in a series

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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

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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.

Who is Elihu, really?

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-fifth in a series

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Job 34:1-4 NIV Elihu addresses Job’s friends In Chapter 34, and indirectly, Job. Perhaps he did not feel comfortable to confront him since Job was older and due respect.

He starts by inviting any wise men to hear him. Evidently he considered himself wiser than the others.

Job 34:5-6 NIV Though Elihu invited those present to truly hear him, did he afford that same courtesy to Job? He heard Job’s words, but did he listen to him? Listening requires more than the ear; the inner man must hear, too.

Elihu heard Job incriminate himself, but he did not pay attention to the cry of his heart to reestablish his relationship with God.

In the previous post, we asked, Could Elihu be a Christ figure to Job? Is he a messenger who ransoms the sinner? Early on, the answer is: no. If anything, in Chapter 34 Elihu reveals himself to be more a Satanic figure, an accuser whose goal is to discourage.

It is not hard for Satan to use anyone whether young or old, to carry out his schemes, unless we are on guard and resist his advances. In this instance, he came as an angel of light, a divine messenger. (2 Cor 11:14)

Job 34:7-9 NIV Once again, Job comes under the glaring spotlight of a critical man who judges him for his words without regard for his extreme circumstances. Job gets no ‘wiggle room’ from anyone.

Do your friends throw each word you say into your face? If so, would you consider their behavior a character flaw?

If one expresses pain in painful circumstances, is he a scornful man? Should Job be allowed to say some things without being judged?

God will call Job a faultfinder, but does he consider Job to be ‘fair game’ for men to criticize him? What happened to Miriam and Aaron and to Korah when they criticized Moses? (Num 12:4; 16:16) What happened to Laban when he sought to undermine Jacob? (Gen 31:12) What happened to Ham (Canaan) when he scorned Noah? (Gen 9:24-25) But was Job special to the Lord as were Noah, Jacob and Moses? If so, why? We will return to this question in later posts.

Already, Elihu sounds like the friends of Job whom he considers to be less wise than himself. His accusations are biting and devouring of Job’s spirit.

Job 34:10-12 NIV Elihu is in agreement with the friends that Job’s sorrows are evidence of his misdeeds and crimes. God will not pervert justice for he is also righteous.

Job 34:13-15 NIV The all-powerful God is in complete control and could easily erase us.

Listen, wise men:

Job 34:16-22 NIV God is no respecter of persons.

Of course, these words are directed to Job, not to his friends, for it is obvious to all that Job is that noble man who came under the impartial judgment of the omniscient God.

Job 34:23-28 NIV Here, Elihu is answering Job’s plea for God to meet with him to explain what he has done wrong to deserve such desolation. He states that God owes no wicked man a trial or an audience. The wicked are merely done away with and in a visible fashion so that their judgment by God is plain. This is deserved because of their sins against the poor and afflicted. Furthermore, God is not amenable to man’s entreaties nor his pleas for mercy:

Job 34:29-30 NIV Elihu believes God will not restore the man who sins. This is one way he prevents the godless from reigning— and ruining a populace.

Job 34:31-33a NIV Perhaps this was a direct question to Job. Or, is Elihu challenging the older men to decide whether God will bow to man’s requests for an audience or for his kind consideration if a man will repent?

Job 34:33 NIV Elihu challenges the friends to agree with him that God should not bow to the requests of an evil man.

In this he goes further than the friends who promised Job God would renew his life if only he would turn from his evil. Elihu believes God owes no man the favor of restoration. If a man rejects God’s law in the first place, why would God owe him or show him any mercy? Not possible!

Job 34:34-35 NIV Elihu insists the men should agree with him that Job will receive no mercy from God. Job's terrors prove he is guilty!

Unlike Job’s friends, Elihu does not believe God will help the man who repents. Even were Job to reject his own sin, he could not expect to live without penalty. But in any case, he has not confessed and repented!

Job 34:36-37 NIV Elihu finishes his speech by revealing his heart of stone. He is pharisaic in his view that God is an unforgiving, unrelenting taskmaster. But that description fits Satan, not God.

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

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