Mar 28, 2023
Il Dio delle Scritture è giusto, misericordioso, misericordioso e buono (Giobbe 35; Giobbe 36)
صحیفوں کا خدا عادل، مہربان، مہربان اور اچھا ہے (ایوب 35؛ ایوب 36)
O Deus das Escrituras é justo, misericordioso, misericordioso e bom (Jó 35; Jó 36)
Le Dieu des Ecritures est Juste, Miséricordieux, Miséricordieux et Bon (Job 35; Job 36)
Бог Писаний Справедлив, Милосерден, Милостив и Добр (Иов 35; Иов 36)
El Dios de las Escrituras es justo, misericordioso, misericordioso y bueno (Job 35; Job 36)
Der Gott der Schrift ist gerecht, barmherzig, gnädig und gut (Hiob 35; Hiob 36)
Scripture reading - Job 35; Job 36
Elihu, the fourth and youngest of Job’s friends, began lecturing him in chapter 32, and his denunciation continued to chapter 37. Our devotional continues with today’s Scripture reading, Job 35 and 36.
The first, that Job misrepresented spiritual piety as unprofitable (Job 35:1-8). In fact, Elihu suggested he had implied his “righteousness [was] more than God’s” (Job 35:2). Of course, Job had not expressed such an outrageous claim. Elihu’s judgment was flawed, for he supposed Job’s statement of innocence was a declaration of sinlessness (Job 35:3-8).
A second inflammatory, judgmental statement was Elihu’s suggestion Job was motivated to pray, not out of a desire to draw nigh to God, but because he sought relief from his sorrows and afflictions (Job 35:9-13).
Now, Job had complained he did not understand the cause of his plight, and had confessed he despaired of ever again enjoying God’s favor (Job 35:14). Elihu, however, condemned Job, saying he was guilty of opening “his mouth in vain…[and multiplying his] words without knowledge” (Job 35:15-16). Stated simply, in Elihu’s opinion, Job said a lot, but failed to humble himself before God.
Continuing to evidence youthful zeal without wisdom, Elihu proposed to “speak on God’s behalf” (Job 36:2), and impart uncommon “knowledge” (Job 36:3). He confessed God “is perfect in knowledge,” and promised his words would be true (Job 36:4a). He assured his small audience, he would say only what the LORD would have him speak (Job 36:4b).
Elihu then returned to a rationale that was espoused by Job’s friends. He declared God was just, and always rewards men according to their works (Job 36:5-15). He testified, “God is mighty… in strength and wisdom” (Job 36:5), and declared He “preserveth [prolongs] not the life of the wicked: But giveth right [justice] to the poor” (Job 36:6). In that statement, Elihu failed to make allowance for God’s grace and mercies.
He did not acknowledge the LORD is “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In fact, the LORD not only prolongs the life of the wicked, He graciously provides them opportunity to repent of their sins. (Another misrepresentation of Elihu was a suggestion the poor always receive the justice they are due in this earthly life (Job 36:6b).
Elihu proposed “hypocrites in heart heap up wrath…They die in their youth” (Job 36:13-14a). In a perfect, sinless world, less God’s grace, that statement would stand as just, for there are many instances when wicked men die young. Nevertheless, it is also true the LORD is patient, and His grace is freely-offered to the worst of sinners.
Elihu also suggested Job’s sorrows had come upon him owing to his pride. He implored Job to humble himself and repent, assuring God would give him a “table…full of fatness [rich foods]” (Job 36:16). Should Job refuse to repent, Elihu warned, the “judgment of the wicked” had befallen him (Job 36:17), and no amount of riches would deliver him (Job 36:18-19).
Job 36 concluded with Elihu attempting to inspire Job to concede the sovereignty and omnipotence of God (Job 36:22-33); and that the LORD is supreme, and “exalteth” (sets up) whom He pleases (Job 36:22a). He is omniscient, and no man can teach Him (Job 36:22b). He is perfect, and none dare accuse Him of “iniquity” or wrong doing (Job 36:23b). Then, Elihu invited Job to consider the greatness of the LORD displayed in creation (Job 36:24-25; Psalm 19:1).
Closing thoughts - God is eternal, and “the number of His years [cannot] be searched out” (Job 36:26b). His power and wisdom sustain His creation, and He even determines where the clouds drop their moisture (Job 36:27-28). The clouds that a canopy, and shelter man from the sun (Job 36:29-30), bring judgment on the earth in the flood, and bear life-giving water which “giveth meat [food] in abundance” (Job 36:31). Contrary to Elihu’s assertions, God is not only just, He is gracious, merciful, and kind, for He “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
In light of Elihu’s youthful, hypocritical zeal, I close with a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!”
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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