Job 29 – 37: Learning to Think The Right Way About God
Job 29: YESTERDAY- ALL MY TROUBLES SEEMED SO FAR AWAY.
“ How I long for the months gone by when God watched over me; when His lamp shone upon my head and by His light I walked through darkness. “
It is natural when we are in a time and season of suffering, tests and trials to remember, look back and recall the carefree days of youth and when we were in our prime. This is the essence of this chapter as Job recalls and remembers of days gone by:
- His intimate friendship with God which blessed his whole household.
- His children were with him.
- Everything he put his hand to was successful.
- Everyone respected me said Job- young and old.
- Job says I had a ministry helping people.
- I was their chief and lived like a king, says Job.
Now remembering can be a good thing or it can depress us and make us wonder why the good times are gone. The enemy wants you to be crushed by your dire circumstances, believing you will never experience happiness again. He wants you to despair and lose hope. To allow life to knock you down and stay down. Paul says: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. We are perplexed but not in despair. We are persecuted but not abandoned. Struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4)
We must admit, Job has received a series of devastating blows which would stagger anyone and bring them to the point of hopelessness and despair.
He is remembering a time when trouble seemed so far away. Remembering what God has done is a good thing. Remembering what God has done in the past should guide us like a ship guides by its rudder, to guide us in to the present. Knowing and believing God is preparing us for something. God is at work, He is always at work.
But if we are not careful our looking back at when times were better, we can miss what God is doing in the present to prepare us for future. Job is saying: Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away- this is why we often long for and believe in yesterday in times of trouble.
JOB 30: BUT NOW IT LOOKS LIKE THEY (the troubles) ARE HERE TO STAY
Job 30 begins with: “But now…”
Job begins to list all the suffering that has fallen on him, and seemingly without knowing why these things have happened to him.
Job then begins his list of woes:
*Yesterday I had their respect- Now they mock me.
*Yesterday my household was blessed- Now I have no blessings
*Yesterday God helped me- Now I have no help
*Yesterday I had a glorious future laid out before me- Now I have no future.
*Yesterday I had a thriving ministry- Now I have no ministry- I have no means for a ministry.
Yet God is at work to prepare a ministry for Job which is ministering to us even today thousands of years later! Things are not what they seem. For the things seen are temporal; but the things unseen are eternal.
Job is saying, suddenly I am not the man I used to be- there’s a shadow hanging over me. This is why I long for yesterday.
JOB 31: WHY GOD HAD TO GO, I DON’T KNOW? HE WOULDN’T SAY!
Job makes his last defense. In essence Job says he is an innocent man. He has not sinned and he mentions in his dialogue in chapter 31 some specific areas in which he has not sinned.
- Have not looked lustfully at a girl. (young woman, KJV)
- Job claims he has not walked in falsehood.
- He has not committed adultery.
- He has shared his wealth with those less fortunate.
- Gold has not become his security.
- He has not rejoiced at his enemy’s misfortune.
His challenge is directly to God: “Let the Almighty answer me: let my accuser put his indictment in writing.” Why want you tell me why this has happened to me, God?, says Job
“The words of Job are ended.” Job 31: 40
There follows as we will learn a period of silence. The three friends do not continue in their argument and Job has finally wound down and his words are ended.
Then comes after the winds – a small, still voice. The voice of Elihu a young man.
ELIHU SPEAKS: JOB 32-37
I discovered in my footnotes and references Elihu’s name means: My God is He. We discover Elihu is a young man and because of this, he has listened carefully to all that was said. He admits starting out he is young in years and was fearful to speak to his elders, especially since he would rebuke all of them. *He shows us he has the rare but great combination of humility and courage.
He begins by stating this truth: “I thought age should speak; advance years should teach wisdom. But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.” (Job 32: 6-8)
A WORD ABOUT THE SPIRIT OF MAN
When God created man, He formed him from the dust of the ground, and then breathed “the breath of life” into his nostrils. As soon as the breath of life, which became man’s spirit, came into contact with his lifeless body of clay, the soul was produced. And man became a living soul. Hence the soul is the combination of man’s body and spirit. The Lord Jesus tells us ‘it is the spirit that gives life.’ (John 6:63) The breath of life, was not Gods’ life, which comes only at regeneration, it was what made man a living soul. We were created in God’s image and were thus triune: body, soul and spirit. Difficult to understand but perhaps this illustration will serve us, especially for this statement from Elihu regarding the spirit of man.
Let us consider the electric light bulb. The bulb represents the total man. There is electricity, the light, and the wire. The bulb is the outward body of man. The soul is the wire. The electrical current coming into the wire is the spirit which produces light which represents life. John called Jesus the ‘light of the world’. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” Jesus would later tell us- this is the verdict: light has come into the world, but men preferred darkness because their deeds were evil. Job said, they shut their eyes to the light. They close their ears and suppress the truth with their wickedness.
(The spirit of man is where God makes His general revelation of Himself as creator. They know by nature, by intuition, God is creator. In the spirit of man resides: intuition, conscience and the desire to worship. Paul explains all of mankind has received the general revelation of God through creation which reveals Gods’ eternal power and divine nature. Paul said the Gentiles who did not have the law, do by nature things required of the law, reveal God has placed this intuition in their spirit, showing they know by nature,( by intuition) there is a Creator. Then Paul writes their conscience bears witness accusing them or defending them, that is they instinctively have knowledge of right and wrong. The third part of the spirit of man draws him to worship something or someone. This is why some choose to worship the creation rather than the Creator. ) How foolish to believe that something can create someone. There must be a Someone to create someone.
So man is triune with a body- which through its five senses is world conscious. Through the soul the mind, will and emotions we are self-conscious. And through the spirit of man, we are God conscious. Paul also writes that God sanctifies us wholly- sprit, soul and body.
It is in his spirit, Elihu says the Spirit of God Almighty has revealed these truths. Elihu is about to share those truths which will condemn both Job and his three friends.
“I have seen the Light, and His Holy Name is Jesus!”
JOB 33: GOD IS SPEAKING: ARE YOU LISTENING?
Elihu is going to tell these 4 men- God is great. God is just. God is gracious and God is good. Elihu has a righteous anger at all four of these men. Starting with Job, Elihu tells Job: ‘I heard the very words, I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt. Yet God has found fault with me.’ Job in essence is saying God is unjust. Elihu is saying Job you are busy justifying yourself, rather than justifying God. In fact you accuse Him of being unjust and unfair.
Elihu says to Job: “But I tell you, in this you are not right for God is greater than man.”
He then tells Job how God speaks to man and reveals truth:
- Dreams and visions.
- Mediator. Elihu uses the term, “a mediating angel.” Jesus is believed to be the Angel of the Lord who sometimes made appearances in the Old Testament.
We know Hebrews 1 tells us God spoke in various ways in the past through the prophets and other ways which included dreams and visions, but in “these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son.
Pain and suffering which God allows is often to keep us from sinning. Therefore pain and suffering may be preventive and preparatory, rather than punishment. Paul’s thorn in the flesh is an example of this we read in 2 Cor. 12. It is to keep us dependent upon the Lord’s grace, and also to realize His strength is made perfect in weakness. It kept Paul from being prideful and by its presence produced weakness which enabled the Lord’s strength to be made perfect.
So Elihu is saying God speaks in different ways which we may not recognize. He is always speaking and acting the best way for the best possible outcome. Because of His Majesty, the combination of all His attributes: all knowing, all powerful, merciful, and loving and just- God is in complete control of everything. God has the right to do what He pleases, and He always does what is right. He cannot be mistaken.
The Mediator tells man what is right. The Mediator gets God to be gracious to you. The Mediator spares you from going down the pit, because the Mediator says I have found a ransom for you. Then Elihu says you will be renewed like a child and restored as in the day of your youth. What a picture of regeneration and being born again. WE have an Advocate, the Mediator, our High Priest who intercedes for us- who paid the ransom to set us free. Then God was able to place His very Spirit and Life within my spirit. His Word divided asunder the soul and spirit which had become merged in my lost condition.
Elihu is righteously angry at Job’s attitude that God has not been good and gracious to him.
Listen to the wisdom God has revealed to Elihu’s spirit: “I sinned and perverted what was right; but I did not get what I deserved. He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light. God does all these things to a man- twice, even three times- to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.” Job 33: 27-30
Elihu is telling Job, God will alter his situation if he will humble himself. Admit God has been better to him than he deserved. God had not treated him as Job deserved to be treated.
JOB 34-37: HEARING TEST
Elihu now addresses the three friends, these ‘wise men.’
“Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
Elihu then re-states what Job has been saying: “Job says, I am innocent but God denies me justice. Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, His arrows inflict an incurable wound. “ There has only ever been one who was perfect, completely innocent and that was the Son of God who became flesh. He was called a liar and a blasphemer when he spoke the truth. And the Lord Jesus paid for sins He did not commit and suffered the wrath of God He did not deserve, so we could receive the grace and forgiveness we did NOT deserve.
Elihu further says, “For he (Job) says it profits a man nothing when he tries to please God.” Whereas Jesus tells us, ‘it profits a man nothing if he gains the world but loses his soul.’
Elihu tells these men: Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Elihu is saying God is perfect; God cannot be unjust or mistaken. He is also gracious. God is in complete control. Every breath I take is a gift from Him.
God is just. But thanks be to God, He is also loving and gracious. In His wisdom God devises a plan of redemption that satisfies both His Justice and His love. God can redeem sinners and still magnify His righteousness and uphold his Holy Law.
God foresaw man would sin. This is why we are told the plan of salvation was in place from the very beginning before the foundation of the earth.
God created man to live for eternity. However, sin would bring death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. He is like the wise watchmaker, who makes and designs a watch to run and keep time. However, knowing the watch will stop, the watchmaker made a way the watch could be reset. This what God has done in His plan of salvation. He has made a way to be born again of the Spirit and receive the very life of God via the Holy Spirit. Thus ones’ sinful condition is reset and restored to the place where God can forgive our sins and maintain His Holiness and Justice for the ransom has been paid. God is satisfied with His Son’s substitutionary death which satisfied God. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
JOB 36-37: GOD IS GREAT.
Elihu states: God is mighty! He is mighty and firm in His purpose. He says God is able to make us listen to correction. If we obey Him and serve Him, they will enjoy prosperity and contentment.
Elihu says: “God is wooing you from the jaws of distress to the spacious place free restriction.” Jesus says if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. Paul writes it is for freedom that Christ sets you free.
“How great is God- beyond our understanding.”
Elihu then closes with a poetic and inspired description of God’s majesty as displayed throughout his creation. Elihu speaks of God’s Sovereignty and how he reigns over all creation. Snow, rain, thunder, lightning, the heavens and how they display God’s majesty. A perfect lead-in to God’s breaking of His silence to speak to Job in chapters 38-41.
“The Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84:11)
Job is about to learn how to think the right way about God.
Can you imagine coming to the place in your walk with God where you believe with all your heart that everything that comes into your life was a part of God’s wise plan? This how God longs for you to see Him. God wants you to think the right way about Him… Jesus said, “I you only knew…”
The only way the creation can learn the reason for their creation is from the One who created them. He tells us what the chief end of man is- it is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Jesus tells us how to Glorify God, the Father. “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.
The Five Secrets of Living.
- The secret of living is fruit bearing.
- The secret of fruit bearing is abiding. ( Apart from Him we can do nothing)
- The secret of abiding is obeying.
- The secret of obeying is loving. (If you love Me, keep my commandments.)
- The secret of loving is knowing. (This eternal live, to know the true and living God and the One whom He has sent.)