Friday, January 27, 2012

Job 36 & 37 - God is Great

LINK: Job 36 & 37


Elihu is concluding his long speech by saying, "Bear with me a little longer, and I will show you there is more to be said in God's behalf" (36:2) with a proclamation of God's justice and power in his purposes for man (36:3-25) and His mighty power in nature (36:26-37:13).

In 36:3-25, Elihu asserts that God is just and mighty, but He is not lacking in mercy. Elihu asserts that suffering leads people to repent of pride and wrong conduct (36:8-12). He agrees with the other three friends: that God always rewards people in this life according to how they live their life. Job has already disagreed with the others, but the others stressed punishment for sinful actions while Elihu stresses the sinful attitude of pride.  The truly godly will respond to suffering with an acceptance of God's dealings with them.  God wanted to take him to a spacious place (36:16) through the path of suffering but he was not to do it through the path of money, accomplishment, or suicide.  Elihu tried to turn Job's attention to the power of God instead of his pain. Job should praise God rather than reprove him.

The key verse in these two chapters is 36:26:"How great is God -- beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out" (NIV). Job is a poetic book. (The other poetic books are Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) One theme in the poetical literature is that God is incomprehensible. We can never know enough about Him to answer all of life's questions (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Some things will always be a mystery to us. In 36:26-37:24, Elihu uses images from the physical and natural world to show God's creative power, majesty, and might that are incomprehensible (36:26,29;37:5). Even nature is under His control and does His bidding, both for cursing and blessing. God is sovereign over all of man's ways. 

Elihu made a path for God to finally speak to Job.


This chapter reminds me again of the Malaysian thunderstorms that I mentioned in Job 26. The whole incomprehensibility of God comes out in there too when Bildad exclaims, "Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; and how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand" (26:14)? We really cannot totally wrap our minds around how big God really is. We can have a little knowledge of Him, but there is no way we can plumb His depths and really figure Him out. I like that about God. For others, it can be really hard. They want to know all the answers to life's questions and want to know why God does or does not do certain things. I think Job might have been one of those types of people. We will see tomorrow how God responds to all of that. 

Stay Tuned!


God, You know all. Help us to rest in that and respect You for it. Amen. 

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