In the book of Job – Elihu (who is said to be a descended from Buz the nephew of Abraham Genesis 22:20,21) speaks his mind as he joins in the discussion on Job’s predicament, (satan has stripped him out of everything that made his life content including his health, wanting Job to renounce God’s sovereignty, Job refuses.). Yet, Job justifies himself and not God, he is right and God is wrong. He has a few of his friends giving up their side of the argument and agreeing. Elihu though, sees it differently, in his speeches beginning in chapter 32 with the prologue, is angry with the way the discussion is heading, followed by Job’s presumption in chapter 33. In the chapters that follow (Scripture’s says it best), He’s inspired to explain God’s side. And so we begin with chapter 34 where he continues to tell Job and the men of wisdom (the sages) gathered to listen:
Elihu continued his speech. He said:
You men of wisdom, listen to my words: lend me your ears, you learned men. The ear is a judge of speeches, just as the palate can tell one food from another. Let us discover together where justice lies, and settle among us what is best. Now Job has said, ‘I am in the right, and God refuses to grant me justice. The judge who judges me is ill-disposed, and though I have not sinned, my wounds are past all cure.’
Are there many men like Job, who drink scurrility like water, who keep company with evil-doers, and march in step with the wicked? Did he not say it was useless for man to try to please God?
Listen then to me, like intelligent men. So far is God removed from wickedness, and Shaddai [the God of heaven] from injustice, that He requite’s a man for what he does, treating each one as his way of life deserves.
God never does wrong, do not doubt that! Shaddai does not deflect the course of right.
It is not as if someone else had given Him the earth in trust, or confided the whole universe to His care. Were He to recall His breath, to draw His breathing back into Himself, things of flesh would perish all together, and man would return to dust. If you have any intelligence, listen to this, and lend your ear to what I have to say. Could an enemy of justice ever govern? Would you dare condemn the Just One, the Almighty, who can tell kings that they are good for nothing, and treat noblemen like criminals, who shows no partiality to princes and makes no distinction between the rich and the poor, all alike being made by His own hands? They die, they are gone in an instant, it costs Him no effort to remove a tyrant. His eyes, you see, keep watch on all men’s ways, and He observes their every step. Not darkness, nor the deepest shadow, can hide the wrong-doer. He serves no writ on men, summoning them to appear before God’s court; He smashes great men’s power without enquiry and sets up others in their places. He knows well enough what they are about, and one fine night He throws them down for men to trample on. He strikes them down for their wickedness, and makes them prisoners for all to see. You may say, ‘They have so turned from Him and so ignored His ways, that the poor have cried out to Him against them and the wailing of the humble has assailed His ears, yet He is unmoved, and nothing can touch Him; He hides His face and nobody can see Him’. But nonetheless He does take pity on nations and on men, freeing the godless man from the meshes of distress. If such a man says to God,
‘I was led astray, I will sin no more. If I did wrong, tell me about it, If I have been unjust, I will be so no more’ — in such a case, do you think He ought to punish him, you who reject His decisions? Since it is you who make this choice, not I, let us all share your knowledge! But this is what all sensible folk will say, and any wise man among my hearers, ‘There is no wisdom in Job’s speech, his words lack sense. Put him unsparingly to the proof since his retorts are the same as those that the wicked make. For to sin he adds rebellion, calling justice into question in our midst and heaping abuse on God.’ ( ~Job – Chapter 34)
Elihu continued his speech, He said: Do you presume to maintain that you are in the right, to insist on your innocence before God, even to ask Him, “How does it affect You, what harm has it done You if I have sinned?” [in other words, ‘what good does it do me (to be) without sin?’]
Well then, this is how I will answer you, and your friends as well.
Look up at the skies, look at them well, and see how high the clouds are above you. If you sin, what do you achieve against Him? If you heap up crimes, what is the injury you do Him? If you are just, what do you give Him, what benefit does He receive at your hands?
Your fellow-men are the ones to suffer from your crimes, humanity is the gainer if you are good. When people groan under the weight of oppression, or cry out under the tyranny of the mighty, no one thinks to ask, ‘Where is God, my maker, who makes glad songs ring out at dead of night, who makes us cleverer than the earth’s wild beasts, wiser than the birds in the sky?’
Then they cry aloud, but He does not answer because of man’s base pride.
How idle to maintain that God is deaf, that Shaddai notices nothing!
You even claim, ‘He does not see me: my cause is exposed before Him, and yet I wait and wait’. Or even, ‘His anger never punishes, He does not seem to know of men’s rebellion’,
Hence when Job opens his mouth, it is for idle talk: his spate of words comes out of ignorance. (~Chapter 35)
Elihu went on speaking. He said: Be patient with me a little longer while I explain, for I have more to say on God’s behalf. I will range far afield for my arguments to prove my Maker just. What I say contains no fallacies, I assure you, you see before you an enlighten man. God does not spurn the blameless man or let the sinner live on in all his power. He accords justice to the poor, and upholds the good man’s rights. When He raises kings to thrones, if they grow proud of their unending sway, then He fetters them with chains, binding them in the bondage of distress. He shows them all that they have done, and all the sins of pride they have committed. He whispers a message in their ears, urging them to amend themselves. If they listen and do as He says, their days end in happiness, and their closing years are full of ease. If not, then a thunderbolt destroys them, and death comes on them unawares. Yes the stubborn who cherish anger, and when He shackles them, do not ask for help: they die in their youth, or lead a life despised by all. The wretched, however, He saves by their very wretchedness, and uses distress to open their eyes. For you, no less, He plans relief from sorrow. Once you lived in luxury unbounded, with rich food piled high on your table. But you did not execute justice on the wicked, you cheated orphaned children of their rights. In future beware of being led astray by riches, or corrupted by fat bribes. Prosecute the rich, not merely the penniless; strong-armed men as well as those who are powerless. Do not trample on those you do not know to install your relations in their place. Avoid any tendency to wrong-doing, for such has been the true cause of your trials.
Look, by reason of His power God is supreme, what teacher can be compared with Him? Who has ever told Him which course to take, or dared to say to Him, ‘You have done wrong’? Turn your mind rather to praising His works, a theme that many men have sung: a sight that everyone can see, that man may gaze on from afar. Yes, the greatness of God exceeds our knowledge, the number of His years is past computing. He it is who keeps the raindrops back, dissolving the showers into mist, which otherwise the clouds would spill in floods over all mankind. Thanks to them He nourishes the nations with generous gifts of food. And who can fathom how He spreads the clouds, or why such crashes thunder from His tent? He spreads out the mist, wrapping it about Him, and covers the tops of the mountains. He gathers up the lightning in His hands, choosing the mark it is to reach; His thunder gives warning of its coming: wrath overtakes iniquity. (~Chapter 36)
At this my own heart quakes, and leaps from its place. Listen, oh listen, to the blast of His voice and the sound that blares from His mouth. He hurls His lightning below the span of heaven, it strikes to the very ends of the earth. After it comes the roar of His voice, the peal of God’s majestic thunder. He does not check His thunderbolts until His voice resounds no more. No doubt of it, but God reveals wonders, and does great deeds that we cannot understand. When He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’ or tell the rain to pour down in torrents, He brings all men’s strivings to a standstill so that each must acknowledge His hand at work. All the beasts go back to their dens, taking shelter in their lairs. The storm wind comes from the Mansion of the South, and the north winds usher in the cold. God breathes, and the ice is there, the surface of the waters freezes over. He weighs the clouds down with moisture, and the storm clouds radiate His lightning. He Himself guides their wheeling motion directing all their seasonal changes: they carry out His orders to the letter all over His inhabited world. Whether for punishing earth’s peoples or for work of mercy, He despatches them. Listen to all this Job: no backsliding now!
Mediate on God’s orders. Can you tell how God controls them or how His clouds make the lightning flash? Can you tell how He holds the clouds in balance: a miracle of consummate skill? When your clothes are hot to your body and the earth lies still under the south wind, can you help Him to spread the vault of heaven, or temper that mirror of cast metal?
Tell me what to say to Him: we shall hold no discussion by reason of darkness. Can my words carry weight with Him? Do man’s commands reach His ears? There are times when the light vanishes behind darkening clouds; then comes the wind, sweeping them away, and brightness spreads from the north. God is clothed in fearful splendour: He, El Shaddai [“El Shaddai” – “God Almighty” ], is far beyond our reach. Supreme in power, in equity, excelling in justice, yet, no oppressor— no wonder that men fear Him, and thoughtful men hold Him in awe. (~Chapter 37)
Elihu ends his speech. He’s saying before you acquit yourself of any wrong doing, look deep inside yourself with truthfulness. Before you blame your wretched state on God come clean with your own behavior. No one knows the awesomeness of God Almighty or even know the end from the beginning nor perform His accomplishments. To actually see the majesty of His creation and know that He is justified. God is Omnipotent (Rev. 19:6). His knowledge of men (Psalm 139) exceeds our comprehension.
In the next chapters God gives Job his answer, asking questions of His own. God is Supreme over all His creation. Job had wanted a debate with God. God confronts him with the mystery of His wisdom, manifest in His works. Leaving Job with a fresh appreciation of the true nature of God. ‘Previously Jobs conception of God had been conventional and secondhand, but now he experiences the mystery for himself and bows down before the Almighty.’ God also rebukes the sages for not speaking truthfully. At the end Job bows to the Creator’s wisdom. No one can fully comprehend the enormity of God’s creation and all its functions stay in check by His command. Nature itself and all its formulation speaks of a Supreme Being, beyond our scope of understanding. Yet, God in His infinite wisdom manifested Himself in the person of Jesus Christ to reconnect us to His Majesty. He’s not indifferent to our needs or what happens on earth. He took on the form of humanity, experience every pain, mental as well as physical leading to the cross. Taking the penalty of sin upon Himself and giving us life. God is all goodness and love wanting His children to posses the same qualities. Giving humanity their choice to decide. He forces no one to love Him. Anything that does not reflect goodness, righteousness, obedience to His will in love, is destructive to self, others, nature and brings nothing but death. Least we forget who the author of those traits really is. The father of lies has forfeited his eternal status and the very thing he covets, believers get to enjoy in the New heaven, new earth. Hence his hatred for humanity, ‘the women’s seed’. Don’t kid yourself in believing his lies and furthering his cause for in the end he will be dealt with along with all his minions both flesh and spirit. Everyone that isn’t with God is obviously against Him, there is no middle ground. There is good and evil – choose well your path, one brings life everlasting and the other doesn’t.
God is in control of everything, He is God of the Universe! El Shaddai, God Almighty. He alone deserves our worship, our praises and our thanksgiving. Our rebellious state comes from lies, our trials come from believing the lies and continuing in that mindset; whether it’s from our making or not. Believers are called to come out of darkness and into the light (1 Peter 2:9) of truth. Honesty is valued. God never does anything without giving fair warning. It’s up to us to take our chastisement and look inside ourselves and with the Lord’s saving grace, with prayer, change ourselves to reflect His goodness. Not letting the evil one dictate his whims on our psyche but overcome them with God’s word. God cares! He’s looking for repentant hearts who choose to love Him back! Choose to accept His gift of forgiveness.
A great read the book of Job, full of wisdom we all need. Where patience in our daily life and steadfastness in God above everything else wins in the end. Job endured his trials and tribulations questioning God and don’t we all have our moments, if we’re honest with ourselves and that little voice inside us saying ‘come to me’ (Mat. 11:28)… We would do well if we too, heed the warning and not loose faith. Everything has its season and works together for our good. It might not always be to our liking, God’s answer for us, but God knows the end from the beginning. He knows our personal journey, the ups and downs of life for He went through them. We need to trust Him and keep marching forward with Him. Keep our focus on Him, while we deal with our everyday lives. Let’s brace ourselves like brave soldiers with His armor on to combat the arrows that are constantly being thrown at us. All lessons to be learned in this life, not to give up but look up in prayer, honesty and patience. God is NOT indifferent, He is always there listening, watching and waiting for us to invite Him into our hearts, mind and life. And together we face each day straight on without fear for ‘He who is in us is greater’, still (paraphrasing 1 John 4:4). For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 John 3:20). With confession and repentance comes Forgiveness. And the help to walk with God because you want too.
I encourage you to read not only the end which ends well for Job, but the whole book of his story. Like John’s revelation of Christ, this book also ends well.
Thank you for visiting 🙂 God bless