Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job-- Chapter 36

Job 36

-As Elihu continues his discourse, he initially comes across as particularly cocky, but he eventually offers some wisdom that can be grasped by all. He asks for patience from his audience in his presentation, then boasts that he will definitely show them “that there is yet more to be said in God’s behalf.” He prides himself on gaining “knowledge from afar,” and he rightfully ascribes righteousness to his Maker. He claims that surely and truly his words are not false. He sums up his arrogance with these words, “One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.” Many of his statements are accurate, but he comes across as a real know-it-all, which in fact he is not (Job 36:1-4).

-He leads off this section of teaching with the truth that God is indeed mighty but does not despise anyone. His might is in His strength of understanding. This speaks to the omniscient wisdom of God. Elihu maintains that the LORD “does not keep the wicked alive, but gives justice to the afflicted.” This is also accurate in the long-term. Elihu rightly describes God as keeping His eyes on the righteous without withdrawing them, but this is not always the case in temporary settings (2 Chronicles 32:31, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). Next, earthly kings in authority are discussed. God has seated them there on the throne forever, and they are exalted. At times these kings are bound in fetters and caught in affliction. God declares to them their work, and in many cases their transgressions, when they have magnified themselves. The LORD has His way of opening their ear to instruction, and He commands that they return from evil. If these hear and serve Him, they will end their days and years of reigning in prosperity and pleasure. However, if they do not hear, the LORD will eventually execute His justice by the sword of violence, and “they will die without knowledge.” Elihu continues by correctly saying that, “The godless in heart lay up anger; they do not cry for help when He binds them.” These corrupted kings die in their youth, “and their life perishes among the cult prostitutes.” But, on the other hand, God delivers the afflicted in their affliction, and opens their ear in time of oppression.” This harkens back to Elihu’s theme that suffering should cause mankind to draw closer to God for a right relationship (Job 33:19-33). Elihu draws application to Job’s situation now that if he was enticed by the Almighty from the “mouth of distress” as one who had authority, and learned his lessons that God was teaching, he would be given freedom in a “broad place with no constraint.” Further, Job would have his table once again set with plenty, which Elihu uses the cultural idiom, “full of fatness (Job 36:5-16).” This underscores the young man’s attempt to bring Job to the point of admission to his sinfulness and corruption, which we will see elaborated on in the next section.

-The preponderance of accusation returns in these next verses as Elihu expresses his disdain for his elder in this situation. He says Job was “full of judgment on the wicked.” Now, he claims, “Judgment and justice take hold of you.” He warned Job not to scoff at God’s wrath, nor “let the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.” He ridicules the riches and strength of Job, because they cannot save him in this dilemma. He warned him not to long for the night, when people vanish from their place. This was in response to some of Job’s negative comments earlier when he was despairing on his life (Job 3:11; 14:1-22). Elihu purposefully and wisely recommends that, in this situation, Job, “Be careful, do not turn to evil.” But, he wrongly assumes that Job has preferred evil to affliction (Job 36:17-21). After all this negativity towards his elder, Elihu once again exalts God in His power and as the Master Teacher with no equal. No one has appointed His way, and no one can accuse Him of doing wrong (Job 36:22-23). These are words of accuracy, but fall flat in helping the distressed.

-Elihu chides that Job remember to exalt the work of the LORD, “of which men have sung,” for the purpose of restoration. He concludes that all men have seen it beholding it even from afar. He explores the incomprehensible aspects of the Sovereign, but he misses the point in saying that man cannot “know Him (John 17:3).” He rightly acknowledges the timelessness of God and His power over all creation to sustain and transcend it. God is the judge of all the people and gives generously at His discretion (Job 36:24-33). Therefore, Elihu exalts the LORD ascribing Him majesty and dominion in this final summation of the chapter.

-*Application* Once again we see Elihu making some great points, but his misappropriated accusations against the innocent Job take much away from his declarations. Let’s choose today to focus on the greatness, compassion, and sovereignty of God rather than trying to judge the motives and intentions of others. God is fully capable of bringing about conviction of wrong doing through His Holy Spirit, and it is usually not for us to totally figure out. Let’s not be arrogant and cocky in our spiritual walk. Else, we are no better than the brash-young Elihu.

Verse to Memorize: Job 36:5

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