Elihu like the young mechanic who needs to get job done but lacks the right tool. Goes to his full tool box – Snap-On work of art, real showpiece. Pulls out one, gives best shot, fails to get results. Goes back, again and again and again. Eventually gives up, believing problem is just too stubborn for him to solve. No clear progression to Elihu’s arguments, further along he gets the less relevant to Job they become; more insistent he becomes that he is speaking truth. Even goes so far as to claim he is speaking on God’s behalf.
Can almost see Job (and three friends, E-B-Z) look at one another, roll their eyes: oh boy, here we go again! Maybe a few yawns, squirming around, signs of inattention. Chief Straight Arrow – Camp Good News, story of Nehemiah, very engaging way of presenting Bible truth. Borrowed a technique from Elihu. When campers start to get restless, no warning at all: “Sit up straight, eyes front.” Elihu uses similar method: v.5, 22, 26, 30 – behold; listen up, pay attention, this is important. You know what? Elihu was right; makes four significant points about God – God is mighty, God is exalted, God is great, God is light. In short, God is more than we imagine. Living in fallen, sin-corrupted world that’s the kind of God we need.
Look around – neighborhood, nation, natural world: disasters everywhere. Epidemics, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, barbaric behavior by individuals and nations, examples of injustice and suffering abound. Then scariest place of all: sinful hearts of men, women, boys and girls – Jer. 17:9“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Is that the way it is because God isn’t up to the job of fixing what’s wrong with the world? If all you look at is what you can see out there, might be tempted to reach that conclusion. Out there isn’t whole story, not even most important part. Far more important what God has revealed to mankind through his word.
A. LOOK, God is mighty v.5-21
Almighty God (Gen. 17:1-2, El Shaddai) – identified himself that way to Abraham: “the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
has all the power necessary to bring about his purpose and he uses his power to that end; has resources and will and intent
world has been and is now the way it is because it suits God’s eternal purpose – he holds all power over all his creation, even the hearts of sinful man
created it in the beginning, destroyed it with a flood; will destroy again with fire and make it new on that Great Day he has on his calendar from the beginning
mighty, even almighty does not equal distant or disengaged from his creation – God doesn’t have imaginary friends or facebook friends, is not running things with an app on his iPhone
God uses his almighty power for good because he is good: we know that a little from observation and experience, mostly from his Word
our perspective far too limited to see how what God does is good: only see a tiny fraction of all that goes on in a tiny slice of time, and our tiny minds can only comprehend a little
must rely on broader perspective that comes from God’s point of view to really get it; even then, must take God at his word since he doesn’t show us everything
God pays attention to his people and their needs (7); that his people have needs not due to lack of goodness or attentiveness on God’s part
God teaches his people how to please him – not simply a case of “told you once what the rules are, you blew it, BOOM, there’s the payback”
tells them why life is tough (9), makes sure they understand what he means (10) – especially true when their affliction = chastening / correction (Rev. 3:19)
God not only is just, he does what is just and will accomplish perfect and complete justice; can say that with assurance because he has both power and character to bring it about
man’s biggest problems with God’s justice: doesn’t act according to our schedule using our methods – if I were God, if it were up to me, I would…..
there is justice for both righteous and wicked – we don’t begin to see full scope of it even though Elihu has his nice little formula (6, 17)
for righteous: justice means Christ bearing full penalty for sin; for wicked: justice means eternal condemnation; what we observe / experience in this life small piece of whole picture
God does show mercy to those who are afflicted (15), whether affliction is for purpose of correction or for another purpose
truth be told, no one receives exactly what they deserve in this life, whether righteous or unrighteous
if God had not shown mercy, all would still be slaves to sin without any hope – Eph. 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”
talk about needing the power of an almighty God to achieve something – only God can bring the dead to life
B. LOOK, God is exalted v.22-25
world is not the way it is because God lacks wisdom or authority to change it
who can teach God anything
God is master teacher, source of all knowledge; problem evolutionists can’t solve: source of information present in universe
Bible makes it clear – it all came from God, whatever we might try to give to him came from him in first place; no wonder God told Isaiah: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9)
who can map out God’s course of action
no one can do that: it’s too big and complicated – encompasses all things in all creation for all time and eternity
besides, God already did it Isa. 46:9-10…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
who can hold God accountable
recent comment: “Praying for the best result and hope God makes the right decision”; first thought, if ever any doubt God would make right decision, time for new god
Paul asked similar question to Elihu: “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” (Rom. 9:20)
C. LOOK, God is great v.26-29
v.26 God is more than we imagine CEV
we, with tiny little minds at loss to figure out intricacies of his creation – how could we ever begin to figure out God
throw numbers around – this many stars and galaxies in the universe; this many light years across; how many species of bugs, cells in average human body, power released by sun per day
now explain what all numbers and measurements mean; wrap your mind around them, all of them, and all the rest
God spoke them all into existence fully formed and designed with embedded laws by which to function
his creative genius only one aspect of God’s thought; add in his providential governing of his creation, his eternal plan of redemption; put with that everything necessary to make it happen – got a headache yet?
God isn’t just great, infinite, immense – is beyond our words, our thoughts, our ability to conceive
D. LOOK, God is light v.30-33
scatters his light (30), covers hands with lightning (32) – dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16) sends out that light wherever and whenever he pleases, directs it to his intended target
if God is mighty, exalted, more than we imagine, should be no surprise that he is unquestioned sovereign governing his creation – what we call forces of nature actually created order following God’s purpose
just as surely as God directs track o a thunderstorm, so he directs rays of regenerating light into hearts of sinners dead in sin
no god of human design has power to give life; no god of human design has desire to give life; no god of human design has any life of its own
Charles Wesley understood the wonder of conversion. Knew from experience what was like to be dead in sin, then suddenly brought to life:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
If you have faith today in any other God than the one who does just that: brings dead sinners to life by the same power that raised his son the Lord Jesus from the dead, then your faith is worthless. If your faith is in the God of the Bible, one who is more than we imagine, then you need to talk him up. Make him look good by how you think, speak, and act; then talk about our great God to others. Tell them if they quit trusting in themselves or their manufactured gods, turn from their sin, trust in Christ and his righteousness, they too can have assurance of eternal life.
But, you say, I have faith in God but not enough to go talk about it. The size of your faith is far less important than the object of your faith. A little faith in a great God will accomplish much for Christ and his kingdom. There’s a whole world lost in darkness and sin; God sent his Son into the world to be the light of the world. Jesus expects his followers to be lights in the world, too. Take your little faith in a great God and with God’s help and by his grace bring the light of the Gospel to all who will listen.