Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Journaling through the book of Job, part 5

Thoughts on chapters 32-42

Chapter 32
Friend #4, Elihu, after patiently waiting finally enters the conversation. He is the youngest of the group (v.4).

Elihu is very upset with Job because “Job justified himself rather than God.” (v. 2)
Elihu is also very upset with Job’s friends:
Job 32:3 He burned with anger also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong.
Job 32:18 (Elihu) For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me. 32:19 Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent; like new wineskins ready to burst. 32:20 I must speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer.

Elihu says that he must speak or he will burst. This seems to me to be an explanation of something spiritual happening inside his heart. It appears it is the Lord who has so filled his heart that he will burst if He does not let it out. It is very much like God, throughout the Bible, to use the least (or youngest) to accomplish what he wants (I think of Joseph, David, Jeremiah, and the small city of Bethlehem where Jesus was born). Elihu is later left out of the Lord's rebuke given to Job’s other three friends, which indicates that Elihu's words were accurate and not sinful.

Chapter 33
Elihu first rebukes Job. He speaks kind but tough words to his friend.
Salvation is illustrated:
Job 33:26 then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. 33:27 He sings before men and says: 'I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. 33:28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.'

Chapter 34
Elihu maintains that God is just.
Job 34:10 "Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding: far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.

Chapter 35
Elihu continues to confront Job with God’s justice.

Chapter 36 & 37
Elihu speaks of God’s greatness and majesty:
Job 36:15 He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.
Job 36:22 Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? 36:23 Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, 'You have done wrong'? 36:24 "Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. 36:25 All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar. 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.

Considering that God begins to speak in the very next chapter, Elihu seems to be the preceding agent, preparing the way for God’s word (not that He needs it but Jesus didn't need it either - yet He assigned John the Baptist to this task of preparing the way).

Chapter 38-40
God speaks. The Lord questions Job in order to show Job’s finiteness, weakness, temporaries, and foolishness also in order to highlight God’s infiniteness, glorious power, eternality, and unfathomed wisdom.

Do you not see my glory and majesty displayed in the created universe. If so how could you or why would you question me? Do I make mistakes? Do I not know what I am doing? Has one star fallen out of existence without my knowing or my allowing it to do so? How would you mere clay vessel question the potter who made you? You questioning shows your blindness and your foolishness. Brace yourself. All creation shudders at my voice, at my very breath yet would you dare to speak wrong of me? I even feed the lions and the ravens - not even they in all their God-given resourcefulness can sustain themselves apart from my provision.

Job 40:3-5
Entirely humbled and in trembling Job says he will speak no more and covers his mouth.

The Lord continues to speak to Job:
Job 40:8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?

Chapter 41
The Lord references Leviathan, which seems to be a veiled reference to Satan.
Job 41:33 On earth there is not his like, a creature without fear. Job 41:34 He sees everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride."

This reference seems to indicate that God is using Satan in order to show that God's sovereignty over all things including him, and that God even allows him to be used as God wills and for His purposes. Satan runs not free but only at the length of leash given Him by God. Satan would that he could unleash his wickedness and wrath at will, but he is only allowed to do so at God's discretion. Even when he is allowed to run at a prescribed length, his is able to do so it only because it serves the purposes of God and the premier example of this is found in 1st Corinthians 2:8.

1Co 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (ESV)
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (KJV)

Chapter 42
Job 42:1-6 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 42:2 "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 42:3 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 42:4 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' 42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 42:6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

The Lord rebukes Job’s three friends (who are named v. 42:7-10). Elihu’s distinction of not being named in this rebuke is evidence of his righteousness in dealing with Job (his right words in this matter). Verses 8-10 displays an Old Testament example of a New Testament principle: pray for your enemies (which includes even your friends that become enemies - which can sometimes be more difficult to pray for than your non-friend-enemies). The Lord accepted Job’s intercessory prayer for his befriending-enemies.

Job is blessed by God after this entire incident more than he had been at first.


Job’s suffering was not in vain. An enormous burden was placed upon Job, that through his devastating situation God might be seen. Glimpses of God are very costly.

God’s truth is always and has always been eternally true. Therefore the truths of Romans 8:28 and Psalm 84:11 were true long before they were ever written in the Scriptures.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Because of these truths we can view the book of Job through the lens of such texts and see that God had purposes in allowing Job's suffering. No suffering of God’s people is ever in vain. In Job’s case, he and his three friends saw more clearly who God is through Job‘s trying ordeal. A glimpse of the infinitely holy, breathtakingly glorious, majestic, and all wise God is worth whatever price solely because God is infinitely valuable.

Job’s tragedy was God’s designed method of allowing more of Him to be seen. The ultimate example that the seeing of God is absolutely priceless is the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The infinitely valuable God, became Man, and lived and died to bear our much deserved punishment and to bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18). All this that God may be glorified (seen for who He is) and that He may give us an eternity of seeing Him and enjoying Him, something otherwise too infinitely expensive for us ever to purchase.

Thank you Lord for the costly visions of You in the lives of your suffering servants and in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

mwh said...

Thanks for sharing all this!