Remember where Elihu began this final speech of his: “Bear with me a little, and I will show you That there are yet words to speak on God’s behalf.” (Job 36:2) Elihu the self-appointed spokesman for God, determined to make sure Job knew all the facts about God. Starts out big and bold and brash, confident he had all right answers. Job and friends just needed patience to hear him out – would eventually be obvious he was right.
Like before, makes some valid points as he goes along, grows in his self-assurance with each challenge he offers up to Job. Works his way through the seasons: rains accompanied by thunder and lightning of autumn; hibernating animals, cold winds and ice of winter; fresh winds and rain of spring followed by intense heat of summer. Elihu sees hand of God in all this – the weather and change of seasons bear clear testimony to a majestic and glorious God at work.
Issues three strong imperatives to Job, each one growing in volume and intensity: listen to the thunder of his voice, Job; consider his wondrous works, Job; tell us what to say, Job. Then suddenly, Elihu becomes aware of something – when he began describing storm with its rain / thunder / lightning, far off in the distance and maybe not even coming their way. While he has been talking, storm has come nearer, now is nearly on top of them. And it’s no ordinary storm – Elihu has sinking feeling that he’s about to be overwhelmed, his voice and bravery trail off into the raging wind.
A. Listen to the thunder of his voice, Job v.2-13
imagine telling Job this!!! Job, who has been pleading for God to speak, respond to his demands for answers, and all he’s heard is deafening silence – tell him to listen attentively to God’s voice, right…..
yet Elihu is right – when God speaks, things happen; 7x, Genesis 1, “God said” and his command was instantly obeyed
when God spoke to Moses, gave ten commandments, awesome things happened: “Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.” (Ex. 19:18)
what God actually accomplishes with his voice goes far beyond what we can even comprehend, much less achieve
how many times did you have to tell junior to clean his room? do his homework? co-worker to do his job? – not so with God
apostle Peter helps understand how God uses his voice throughout all history: “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:5-7)
snow, gentle / heavy rain, freezing of ponds-lakes-rivers, seasonal behaviors of animals – hibernation of bears and woodchucks, migration of hummingbirds and monarch butterflies and geese — all evidence of God’s authoritative commands at work
but…Job probably thinking: never doubted God and his voice of command, sustaining his creatures and their environment; how does what you just said help me? I want God to speak to me in the midst of my pain and affliction and confusion!
Heb. 1:1-2 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”
sometimes God thunders, other times he hides himself from view and hearing; always speaks to his people through his word – written and living
in written word have record of suffering of the living Word – that heart-wrenching cry from Calvary: “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”” (Mark 15:34)
what words do we hear from that Suffering Servant? the one abandoned and afflicted by his Father?
Isa. 53:5-6 “I was wounded for your transgressions, I was bruised for your iniquities; The chastisement for your peace was upon Me, And by My stripes you are healed.All you like sheep have gone astray; you have turned, every one, to your own way; And the LORD has laid on Me the iniquity of you all.”
because of what Jesus accomplished for his people, can say with Paul: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)
B. Consider his wondrous works, Job v.14-18
if Elihu’s intention to encourage Job, give him hope – totally blew it with next portion of his speech, series of rhetorical questions
expected same answer from Job for all of them – umm, no, of course not; that is God’s job, I have no clue
Elihu’s point? if you can’t figure out how and why God does everyday things, how can you expect to understand what God is doing in your life
and, btw, he hasn’t written it yet, but remember Isaiah 55:8-9 ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
but…Job probably thinking, again: never doubted God’s power and wisdom; but how does what you just said help me? I want God to explain himself, I need God to explain himself to me in the midst of my pain and affliction and confusion!
far better for God to reveal himself than explain himself! which would you rather have – explanation about God or encounter with God?
Job will soon learn – encounter with the living God far more satisfying than anything else, was exactly what God knew Job needed most
in that encounter Job will learn that God can be trusted…without reservation of any kind
C. Tell us what to say, Job v.19-21
Elihu’s last shot at Job – Ok, you’re so smart, since God is like this in his glorious majesty, tell us what we should say to him!!
if you can’t even look at the sun when it is out, how will you possibly look at God and presume to question him?
fair question! God is certainly all that Elihu portrayed; he just didn’t go far enough, but still, how did beloved disciple act?
Rev. 1:12-17Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”
D. Shutting up now v.22-24
perhaps Elihu looked over his shoulder, saw this was no typical storm; his confidence evaporated, head hung down, voice trailed off to mutter, God was in that whirlwind
speaking on God’s behalf no longer necessary, God was about to speak for himself, at least to Job
the other four – maybe like those with Daniel when saw vision of glorious man by River Tigris: Dan. 10:7 “And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.”
so who is right, Elihu or Job? Elihu offers no hope of real relationship between man and God; in his view, distance too great
God is God, clothed with awesome splendor and majesty; God does what God does, tiny little man can never figure out God or his ways; would be swallowed up (20) if he tried to speak to God
Elihu’s best advice: suck it up, do your best, take whatever God sends you and quit your griping
Job could agree with a lot Elihu said, even part about immense distance between God and man; unlike Elihu, Job recognized solution to his need
remember what he said few chapters ago: Job 9:33-35 “Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.Let Him take His rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me.Then I would speak and not fear Him, But it is not so with me.”
here’s what Lord Jesus does as Mediator:
takes away rod of God’s anger – God need not be angry any more, sinner’s penalty is paid
takes away fear and dread – presence of Mediator guarantees acceptance of believer, no need for fear
stands between to reconcile and bless – ongoing work of Mediator standing between with hand on both that keeps believer reconciled to God; blessings of God for believer flow only through Mediator
this Mediator not your average well-dressed lawyer type; is glorious Son of God seen by Daniel and John, whose prayer had been answered:
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”John 17:1-5
We worship a God who is glorious indeed. We have a glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus. Don’t be satisfied with anything less than greatest understanding of God and his glory that he will give you. Moses pleaded with God: “show me your glory”. Don’t be shy, use Moses as your example, plead with God to show you his glory, wherever and however he chooses to do so. Moses didn’t get what he asked for, but didn’t come up empty either! Same will be true for you – sincerely ask God for more of himself. Don’t settle for anything less.