Job Chapter Thirty-Four

 

Read Job 34:1-9

 

v1-2.  “FURTHERMORE ELIHU ANSWERED AND SAID, HEAR MY WORDS, O YE WISE men; AND GIVE EAR UNTO ME, YE THAT HAVE KNOWLEDGE.”

 

            It would appear that here Elihu has paused for awhile, perhaps to see if Job has any thing to say regarding Elihu’s discourse in chapter 33.  Now he addresses himself to them like an orator, calling on them as wise men who have knowledge to hear what he has to say.

 

v3.  “FOR THE EAR TRIETH WORDS, AS THE MOUTH TASTETH MEAT.”

 

            He says for the ear tries words just like the mouth tastes meat.  They judge by their hearing whether what a man is saying is true or false, right or wrong, and he that speaks must stand the test of the intelligent who are listening.  Just as we should prove all that we hear (1 Thessalonians 5:21) we should also expect others to prove all that we say.

 

v4.  “LET US CHOOSE TO US JUDGMENT: LET US KNOW AMONG OURSELVES WHAT is GOOD.”

 

            He wants them to come in with him and choose the right judgment.  He does not pretend to know all or to speak in an overbearing manner but is willing to join them in searching out the true meaning of all these things they have discussed.  He wants a consultation not a confrontation like was occurring between Job and his three friends.

 

v5.  “FOR JOB HATH SAID, I AM RIGHTEOUS: AND GOD HATH TAKEN AWAY MY JUDGMENT.”

 

            Now he is going to take Job to task for some of the words that he spoke.  Job had insisted upon his own innocence and when urged to confess his sin had continued his plea of “not guilty.”

 

v6.  “SHOULD I LIE AGAINST MY RIGHT? MY WOUND is INCURABLE WITHOUT TRANSGRESSION.”

 

            Job had spoken as to hold fast to the fact that he was a righteous man.  He had charged God with injustice in his dealings with him, that he had wronged Job in afflicting him and could not or would not bring him relief.

 

v7.  “WHAT MAN is LIKE JOB, who DRINKETH UP SCORNING LIKE WATER?”

 

            Did you ever see a man like Job, he talks as though to gain the scorn of all men.  He reproaches both God and his friends, makes himself the object of their scorn, lays himself open to reproach and gave occasion for others to laugh at him.

 

v8.  “WHICH GOETH IN COMPANY WITH THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY, AND WALKETH WITH WICKED MEN.”

 

            He is walking in the course of the ungodly.  He is standing in the way that sinners stand.  He didn’t in his way of life associate with them, but when he charges God of afflicting him unfairly, he joins them in his words.

 

v9.  “FOR HE HATH SAID, IT PROFITETH A MAN NOTHING THAT HE SHOULD DELIGHT HIMSELF WITH GOD.”

 

            Job is accused here of saying, in effect, that there is nothing to be gained by his service to God and that no man will be the better for it in the end.  Elihu here gathers as Job’s opinion an innuendo that Job said in chapter Job 9:22  …HE DESTROYS THE PERFECT AND THE WICKED…: which while these words have the truth in them it was ill expressed and easily taken wrong.

 

Read Job 34:10-15

 

v10.  “THEREFORE HEARKEN UNTO ME, YE MEN OF UNDERSTANDING: FAR BE IT FROM GOD, that he should do WICKEDNESS; AND from THE ALMIGHTY, that he should commit INIQUITY.”

 

            Now Elihu tells Job and his friends to listen to his words.  Never, not ever, could our righteous God do, nor will He ever do any wrong to any of his creatures, for his ways are equal, just and fair.

 

v11.  “FOR THE WORK OF A MAN SHALL HE RENDER UNTO HIM, AND CAUSE EVERY MAN TO FIND ACCORDING TO his WAYS.”

 

            God will recompense to man a just return for the work that he does, for the honor that he shows toward God and reward him according to his ways.  Abraham uses this trait of God to beg for the city of Sodom.

 

Genesis 18:25  THAT BE FAR FROM THEE TO DO AFTER THIS MANNER, TO SLAY THE RIGHTEOUS WITH THE WICKED: AND THAT THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD BE AS THE WICKED, THAT BE FAR FROM THEE: SHALL NOT THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH DO RIGHT?”

 

Deuteronomy 32:4  He is THE ROCK, HIS WORK is PERFECT: FOR ALL HIS WAYS are JUDGMENT: A GOD OF TRUTH AND WITHOUT INIQUITY, JUST AND RIGHT is HE.”

 

v12.  “YEA, SURELY GOD WILL NOT DO WICKEDLY, NEITHER WILL THE ALMIGHTY PERVERT JUDGMENT.”

 

            No, God will not pervert His judgment.  It is inconsistent with the perfection of his nature, and so it is also with the purity of his will.  He neither can nor will do a wrong thing, nor deal wickedly with any man.  He will never inflict the evil of punishment except where he finds the evil of sin.

 

v13.  “WHO HATH GIVEN HIM A CHARGE OVER THE EARTH? OR WHO HATH DISPOSED THE WHOLE WORLD?”

 

            He has independent absolute sovereignty and dominion over this earth.  No one gave it to him.  He has the sole administration of the kingdoms of men, and has it of himself.

 

v14-15.  “IF HE SET HIS HEART UPON MAN, if HE GATHER UNTO HIMSELF HIS SPIRIT AND HIS BREATH; ALL FLESH SHALL PERISH TOGETHER, AND MAN SHALL TURN AGAIN UNTO DUST.”

 

            The power of God is such that if he should gather unto himself the spirits or men or the breath of men the all flesh would perish together, at the same time, and man would return to the dust from which he came.  After all we are here but because of his providence, we live at his will, when he chooses to end the existence of this earth it will happen in the twinkling of an eye just as Paul says in I Corinthians 15:52.

 

Read Job 34:16-30

 

v16.  “IF NOW thou hast UNDERSTANDING, HEAR THIS: HEARKEN TO THE VOICE OF MY WORDS.”

 

            Up until now in this second section of Elihu’s discourse he seems to have been talking to the entire gathering.  Now he seems to turn his attention directly to Job.

v17.  “SHALL EVEN HE THAT HATETH RIGHT GOVERN? AND WILT THOU CONDEMN HIM THAT IS MOST JUST?”

 

            Job, since the righteous Lord so loves righteousness, in comparison to him we would all be considered unrighteous.  Who are we to correct God?  Who are we to condemn his decisions of the one who is most just?

 

v18.  Is it fit TO SAY TO A KING, thou art WICKED? and TO PRINCES, ye are UNGODLY?”

 

            Would we dare to turn to our earthly rulers, our kings or princes or magistrates and tell them that they are wicked?

 

v19.  How much less to him THAT ACCEPTETH NOT THE PERSONS OF PRINCES, NOR REGARDETH THE RICH MORE THAN THE POOR? FOR THEY ALL ARE THE WORK OF HIS HANDS.”

 

            The rich and the poor stand upon the same level before God.  A great man shall never find any higher favor than any other, for his wealth and greatness mean nothing to God.  We are all created by his hands, provided for by his providence and have equal value in his sight.  God is no respecter of persons, Peter learned that in Caesarea when God sent him to preach Christ to the Gentiles:

 

Acts 10:34  THEN PETER OPENED his MOUTH, AND SAID, OF A TRUTH I PERCEIVE THAT GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS:”

 

v20.  “IN A MOMENT SHALL THEY DIE, AND THE PEOPLE SHALL BE TROUBLED AT MIDNIGHT, AND PASS AWAY: AND THE MIGHTY SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY WITHOUT HAND.”

 

            God does not fear the mighty.  He that is mighty is made such by the providence of God.  If God chose, in a moment we would die, Elihu compares it to being troubled at midnight and passing away.  He has allowed our passing to become a factor of time, in most cases, but he doesn’t have to.  It is not a work of time with God, to bring down his enemies; he can do that when he pleases.

 

v21-22.  “FOR HIS EYES are UPON THE WAYS OF MAN, AND HE SEETH ALL HIS GOINGS.  there is NO DARKNESS, NOR SHADOW OF DEATH, WHERE THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY MAY HIDE THEMSELVES.”

 

            God sees and knows all that there is to see and know.

 

Jeremiah 16:17  FOR MINE EYES are UPON ALL THEIR WAYS: THEY ARE NOT HID FROM MY FACE, NEITHER IS THEIR INIQUITY HID FROM MINE EYES.”

 

There no darkness so deep that God can’t see through it like it was daylight.  There is nowhere that the workers of iniquity can hide their deeds.

 

v23.  “FOR HE WILL NOT LAY UPON MAN MORE than right; THAT HE SHOULD ENTER INTO JUDGMENT WITH GOD.”

            As God will not punish the innocent, neither will he exact of those who are guilty of sin more than their iniquities deserve.  Just how punishment is to proportioned vs the sin committed God will judge and judge with righteous judgment.

 

v24-25.  “HE SHALL BREAK IN PIECES MIGHTY MEN WITHOUT NUMBER, AND SET OTHERS IN THEIR STEAD.  THEREFORE HE KNOWETH THEIR WORKS, AND HE OVERTURNETH them IN THE NIGHT, SO THAT THEY ARE DESTROYED.”

 

            God can and shall bring down mighty men and great kingdoms.  Yet when he destroys tyranny, he does not replace it with anarchy.  An example would be Belshazzar.  Or, if he desires them to repent, like Nebuchadnezzar, he can bring them to their knees without destroying them.

 

v26.  “HE STRIKETH THEM AS WICKED MEN IN THE OPEN SIGHT OF OTHERS;”

 

            These wicked men, or wicked rulers that God punishes; he does so in full view of many others.  Men around them know why, how and who is doing the chastising.

 

v27-28.  “BECAUSE THEY TURNED BACK FROM HIM, AND WOULD NOT CONSIDER ANY OF HIS WAYS: SO THAT THEY CAUSE THE CRY OF THE POOR TO COME UNTO HIM, AND HE HEARETH THE CRY OF THE AFFLICTED.”

 

            Those that God did strike were rebels against his will.  They turned back from him, cast off the fear that they should have had of him, for they would not consider any of his ways, took no heed either to his precepts or to his providence, but lived without God in the world.

 

v29.  “WHEN HE GIVETH QUIETNESS, WHO THEN CAN MAKE TROUBLE? AND WHEN HE HIDETH his FACE, WHO THEN CAN BEHOLD HIM? WHETHER it be done AGAINST A NATION, OR AGAINST A MAN ONLY:”

 

            God has absolute dominion over all the affairs of the children of men, and so guides and governs whatever concerns both communities and particular individuals.  That, just like what he designs, cannot be defeated or changed.

 

v30.  “THAT THE HYPOCRITE REIGN NOT, LEST THE PEOPLE BE ENSNARED.”

 

            Elihu obviously had never heard of Washington, D.C. where many of our rulers today are hypocrites.  But his point is well taken, God is as wise concerning the welfare of the public in general as he is his own children and continues to provide through his providence for that welfare.  Those hypocrites in Washington or Baton Rouge or wherever they may be can be peacefully removed if enough of us decide that removing them is what should be done.

 

Read Job 34:31-37

 

v31-32.  ”SURELY IT IS MEET TO BE SAID UNTO GOD, I HAVE BORNE chastisement, I WILL NOT OFFEND any more: that which I SEE NOT TEACH THOU ME: IF I HAVE DONE INIQUITY, I WILL DO NO MORE.”

 

            Now Elihu starts to give Job instruction about what he should say to God to gain his forgiveness.  He thinks that he has found better words for Job to use than Job used in his earlier discourses.  He directs Job to humble himself before God, beg forgiveness for his offenses.  He tells him to ask God to show him what his sins are and to promise to sin no more.  But Job was already a righteous man, wasn’t he?  He had done nothing to bring on the affliction that he was suffering, that was allowed by God but brought by Satan.

 

v33.  should it be ACCORDING TO THY MIND? HE WILL RECOMPENSE IT, WHETHER THOU REFUSE, OR WHETHER THOU CHOOSE; AND NOT I: THEREFORE SPEAK WHAT THOU KNOWEST.”

 

            Elihu here reasons with Job concerning his discontent and uneasiness under his afflictions.  We are ready to think that all things should be as we think they are.  But it is fit that all things should be as God desires, not the way we think they should be.    He is the Creator, we are his creatures, he is infinitely wise and knowing; we are frequently foolish and short sighted.  He is in one mind, we are in many.  We frequently even have trouble in making up our minds.

 

v34.  “LET MEN OF UNDERSTANDING TELL ME, AND LET A WISE MAN HEARKEN UNTO ME.”

 

            Elihu now appeals to those who are present and have heard Job’s discourses and his words to this point.  Tell me whether you can do any better; give me your wisdom if you have a better explanation.

 

v35.  “JOB HATH SPOKEN WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE, AND HIS WORDS were WITHOUT WISDOM.”

 

            Elihu cannot say that Job is without knowledge and wisdom but he says rather that he spoke without knowledge and that his words were unwisely chosen, that he did not rightfully understand himself, but that he had talked foolishly.

 

v36.  “MY DESIRE is that JOB MAY BE TRIED UNTO THE END BECAUSE OF his ANSWERS FOR WICKED MEN.”

 

            He appealed above to those listening that there was sin and folly in what Job had said.  He would have the matter thoroughly investigated and brought to a conclusion.  Some say in reading this verse that he is appealing to God that Job be tried to the end; or let the trial continue until an end is reached because of Job’s answers he considered to be those of a wicked man.

 

v37.  “FOR HE ADDETH REBELLION UNTO HIS SIN, HE CLAPPETH his hands AMONG US, AND MULTIPLIETH HIS WORDS AGAINST GOD.”

 

            Elihu claims that Job, because he has protested his affliction and has challenged God to show him why this was brought upon him, is in rebellion against God.  He adds that he has insulted God’s friends by rejecting their arguments and triumphed over them.  He has spoken against God and to speak but one word against God, by whom we speak and for we ought to speak, is a great sin; and to multiply those words against him, as if we could out talk him is a greater sin.