Job Chapter Thirty-Six
Read Job 36:1-4
v1-3. “ELIHU ALSO PROCEEDED, AND SAID, SUFFER ME A LITTLE, AND I WILL SHOW THEE THAT i have YET TO SPEAK ON GOD'S BEHALF. I WILL FETCH MY KNOWLEDGE FROM AFAR, AND WILL ASCRIBE RIGHTEOUSNESS TO MY MAKER.”
Elihu begs for patience among those of his audience, Job particularly. He has more to say in God’s behalf. He had something to offer that was not commonly known, he’s going to fetch it from afar. And he aimed to ascribe righteousness to his Maker, to maintain and clear this undeniable truth, God is righteous in all his ways.
v4. “FOR TRULY MY WORDS shall NOT BE FALSE: HE THAT IS PERFECT IN KNOWLEDGE is WITH THEE.”
Elihu is contending for truth, and doing so with plainness and sincerity so his words will not be false. His purpose is true and he means well.
Read Job 36:5-14
v5. “BEHOLD, GOD is MIGHTY, AND DESPISETH NOT any: he is MIGHTY IN STRENGTH and WISDOM.”
Behold God is mighty, he doesn’t despise anyone and his strength and wisdom exceeds all others.
Psalms “FOR HE HATH NOT DESPISED NOR ABHORRED THE AFFLICTION OF THE AFFLICTED; NEITHER HATH HE HID HIS FACE FROM HIM; BUT WHEN HE CRIED UNTO HIM, HE HEARD.”
Psalms 102:17 “HE WILL REGARD THE PRAYER OF THE DESTITUTE, AND NOT DESPISE THEIR PRAYER.”
v6. “HE PRESERVETH NOT THE LIFE OF THE WICKED: BUT GIVETH RIGHT TO THE POOR.”
Though their lives may be long, God gives no special providence to the wicked. They live only as long as the common man. He is always ready to right those who have been wronged and plead their cause. He avenges their quarrel with those who persecute them in the end. If we hold to our duty to God he will look upon us with mercy.
v7. “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.”
Psalms 33:18 “BEHOLD, THE EYE OF THE LORD is UPON THEM THAT FEAR HIM, UPON THEM THAT HOPE IN HIS MERCY;”
When God does allow good people to rise to places of honor and power, it is in mercy to them; for God’s grace will both arm them against the temptations that go along with these positions and give them what they need to use this opportunity to do good.
v8-10. “AND IF they be BOUND IN FETTERS, and BE HOLDEN IN CORDS OF AFFLICTION; THEN HE SHOWETH 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 any time God brings these men into affliction it is for the good of their souls. If they be in distress, laid in prison as Joseph, confined by pain or sickness, hampered by poverty, bound in their counsels, or held in these afflictions as Job has been, it is for their good. God’s design has, in bringing people to this position, been to strengthen and temper their souls. Those whom God chastens he teaches:
Psalms 94:12 “BLESSED is THE MAN WHOM THOU CHASTENEST, O LORD, AND TEACHEST HIM OUT OF THY LAW;”
And his intent is to cause them to have no more to do with sin, to turn from it with an aversion to it and a resolution never to return to it again.
v11. “IF THEY OBEY AND SERVE him, THEY SHALL SPEND THEIR DAYS IN PROSPERITY, AND THEIR YEARS IN PLEASURES.”
If the affliction does its work, and accomplishes its purpose, he will comfort them again. God has provided all that we need and as such we live in prosperity so we have the promise of our lives that now are and even the greater promise of peace and comforts in the life that is to come.
v12. “BUT IF THEY OBEY NOT, THEY SHALL PERISH BY THE SWORD, AND THEY SHALL DIE WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE.”
affliction does not do its work or accomplish its purpose; and man is not
reformed and thereby reclaimed, he shall perish by the sword of God’s
wrath. Just as those in
v13. “BUT THE HYPOCRITES IN HEART HEAP UP WRATH: THEY CRY NOT WHEN HE BINDETH THEM.”
God brings ruin on those that are hypocrites in heart. Elihu is speaking of those who outwardly are for God and pure religion but their piety is all a sham, a facade, a front, or act. Unfortunately man has not learned this lesson but many continue to be saints in show and saints in word but hypocrites in heart.
v14. “THEY DIE IN YOUTH, AND THEIR LIFE IS AMONG THE UNCLEAN.”
God’s reward for the hypocrite is as unexpected as it is for the young to die. Many times they have kept up their facade for so long that they sincerely believe that they are faithful but their eternal life is destined to be spent with the unclean.
Read Job 36:15-23
v15. “HE DELIVERETH THE POOR IN HIS AFFLICTION, AND OPENETH THEIR EARS IN OPPRESSION.”
God looks upon those who are poor in spirit with tenderness; those who have broken and contrite hearts, when they are in affliction he is ready to help them.
v16. “EVEN SO WOULD HE HAVE REMOVED THEE OUT OF
THE STRAIT into
Now Elihu turns to Job and tells him that if he had submitted to His providence and conducted himself well. God would then have delivered and comforted him and we would have not had these complaints of affliction because his liberty and plenty would have been returned to him and even more that he had enjoyed before.
v17. “BUT THOU HAST FULFILLED THE JUDGMENT OF THE WICKED: JUDGMENT AND JUSTICE TAKE HOLD on thee.”
Then Elihu charges Job with being the cause of the continuance of his trouble. He has conducted himself as a wicked man, has spoken as the wicked therefore his judgment continues just as it would a wicked man.
v18. “BECAUSE there is WRATH, beware LEST HE TAKE THEE AWAY WITH his STROKE: THEN A GREAT RANSOM CANNOT DELIVER THEE.”
Because God will punish those who contend with him, who challenge him to justify his actions Elihu tells Job that he should make peace with God quickly and get his anger turned away. If God decides to take Job away even a great ransom can’t deliver him.
v19. “WILL HE ESTEEM THY RICHES? no, NOT GOLD, NOR ALL THE FORCES OF STRENGTH.”
Riches will not deliver Job (or us) from God’s wrath, neither can all the forces of men’s strength that exist in all the world.
v20. “DESIRE NOT THE NIGHT, WHEN PEOPLE ARE CUT OFF IN THEIR PLACE.”
There is no escaping. Night cannot hide you. God’s eyes are open to the activities of men, not only in all places but at all times. Don’t wish for the night as we do not know which night may be the last that we spend.
v21. “TAKE HEED, REGARD NOT INIQUITY: FOR THIS HAST THOU CHOSEN RATHER THAN AFFLICTION.”
Take heed; do not continue this unjust quarrel with God and his providence. Elihu contends that Job has chosen to contend with God about his afflictions rather than to accept God’s judgment and God’s providence and submit to his punishment.
v22-23. “BEHOLD, GOD EXALTETH BY HIS POWER: WHO TEACHETH LIKE HIM? WHO HATH ENJOINED HIM HIS WAY? OR WHO CAN SAY, THOU HAST WROUGHT INIQUITY?”
God may, can and does set up and pull down whoever he chooses therefore it is not for anyone to contend with him. God is an absolute sovereign; he exalts or abases who he pleases. There is none who preside over him in this matter, there is none to whom he must be accountable; He is supreme and independent. God can do no wrong, so therefore because of your affliction you must have committed some iniquity.
Read Job 36:24-33
v24-25. “REMEMBER THAT THOU MAGNIFY HIS WORK, WHICH MEN BEHOLD. EVERY MAN MAY SEE IT; MAN MAY BEHOLD it AFAR OFF.”
God does nothing mean. Because of this we should acquiesce in all the operations of his providence; those concerning us in particular. His visible works, those of nature, and which concern the world in general, are such as we admire and commend, and in which we observe the Creator’s wisdom, power, and goodness.
v26. “BEHOLD, GOD is GREAT, AND WE KNOW him NOT, NEITHER CAN THE NUMBER OF HIS YEARS BE SEARCHED OUT.”
God is great, infinitely so; great in power, for he is omnipotent and independent; great in wealth because he is self-sufficient and all-sufficient; great in himself, great in all his works, great, and therefore greatly to be praised. We know what he is not, but not what he is. We know in part but not in perfection. We don’t know the duration of his existence because He is timeless, eternal.
v27-28. “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.”
Elihu here gives them an example of God’s wisdom, power and sovereign domain in the works of nature, in the clouds and the rain that he brings from them. They are like springs on this earth, the source and treasure of its moisture that is required for the things of the earth to continue to be alive. It is as necessary as blood is to the life of man.
v29. “ALSO CAN any UNDERSTAND THE SPREADINGS OF THE CLOUDS, or THE NOISE OF HIS TABERNACLE?”
Can any understand how the clouds came to be spread over the earth as a curtain or canopy; how they were stretched out and how they were poised, as they are? Though we see them daily do we pretend to understand the reasons and methods of God’s proceedings with the children of men?
v30. “BEHOLD, HE SPREADETH HIS LIGHT UPON IT, AND COVERETH THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.”
God spreads his light above the earth reaching even to cover the bottom of the sea to extract a fresh supply of vapor and to build up the clouds again after a rain.
v31. “FOR BY THEM JUDGETH HE THE PEOPLE; HE GIVETH MEAT IN ABUNDANCE.”
By the rain from the clouds he sustains this earth, and gives its people food in abundance. Paul and Barnabas in Lycaonia:
“NEVERTHELESS HE LEFT NOT HIMSELF WITHOUT WITNESS, IN THAT
HE DID GOOD, AND GAVE
v32. “WITH CLOUDS HE COVERETH THE LIGHT; AND COMMANDETH IT not to shine BY the cloud THAT COMETH BETWIXT.”
God sometimes uses the clouds to protect us from the sun, the light of the universe and we cannot account of why or how this happens.
v33. “THE NOISE THEREOF SHOWETH CONCERNING IT, THE CATTLE ALSO CONCERNING THE VAPOUR.”
Mankind sometimes doesn’t understand the significance of God’s provision and doesn’t read, perhaps, the indications of rain before it comes but the cattle do. Many times we can identify the changes that are to come in the weather by watching those dumb beasts respond by instinct to certain things that we do not understand.