Read Job 34
34 Then Elihu said:
2 “Hear my words, you wise men;
listen to me, you men of learning.
3 For the ear tests words
as the tongue tastes food.
4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
let us learn together what is good.
5 “Job says, ‘I am innocent,
but God denies me justice.
6 Although I am right,
I am considered a liar;
although I am guiltless,
his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’
7 Is there anyone like Job,
who drinks scorn like water?
8 He keeps company with evildoers;
he associates with the wicked.
9 For he says, ‘There is no profit
in trying to please God.’
10 “So listen to me, you men of understanding.
Far be it from God to do evil,
from the Almighty to do wrong.
11 He repays everyone for what they have done;
he brings on them what their conduct deserves.
12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
that the Almighty would pervert justice.
13 Who appointed him over the earth?
Who put him in charge of the whole world?
14 If it were his intention
and he withdrew his spirit and breath,
15 all humanity would perish together
and mankind would return to the dust.
16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
listen to what I say.
17 Can someone who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’
and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’
19 who shows no partiality to princes
and does not favor the rich over the poor,
for they are all the work of his hands?
20 They die in an instant, in the middle of the night;
the people are shaken and they pass away;
the mighty are removed without human hand.
21 “His eyes are on the ways of mortals;
he sees their every step.
22 There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,
where evildoers can hide.
23 God has no need to examine people further,
that they should come before him for judgment.
24 Without inquiry he shatters the mighty
and sets up others in their place.
25 Because he takes note of their deeds,
he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
26 He punishes them for their wickedness
where everyone can see them,
27 because they turned from following him
and had no regard for any of his ways.
28 They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,
so that he heard the cry of the needy.
29 But if he remains silent, who can condemn him?
If he hides his face, who can see him?
Yet he is over individual and nation alike,
30 to keep the godless from ruling,
from laying snares for the people.
31 “Suppose someone says to God,
‘I am guilty but will offend no more.
32 Teach me what I cannot see;
if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’
33 Should God then reward you on your terms,
when you refuse to repent?
You must decide, not I;
so tell me what you know.
34 “Men of understanding declare,
wise men who hear me say to me,
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
his words lack insight.’
36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost
for answering like a wicked man!
37 To his sin he adds rebellion;
scornfully he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.”
Elihu continues to speak and inaccurately accuses Job of calling God unjust. Elihu twists Job’s words, brings false accusations against him, and presents the idea that Job is rebellious and lacks knowledge and insight (v. 35). This argument from Elihu conflicts with what we have previously learned about Job. We can assume that this accusation caused Job to feel even more misunderstood by those around him in the midst of his suffering.
While the accusations against Job are not in line with truth, Elihu accurately describes God. A picture of God’s character is presented. It is true that God cannot do wrong. He cannot sin against us. It is not in his character. While things in our life may feel messy or difficult, they are not a result of God sinning. As stated by author and speaker Jackie Hill Perry, “If God is holy, then He can’t sin. If God can’t sin, then He can’t sin against you. If He can’t sin against you, shouldn’t that make Him the most trustworthy being there is?” The characteristics of God we see in Job should bring us peace and a more complete understanding of God.
In the same way, God is omnipotent, and all authority belongs to Him. Should he choose to do so, he could “gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust” (v. 14b-15). He is fully in control of all happenings of the earth and he sees all things. He sees the depths of our sin and there is no place to hide from him (v. 21-22). While we cannot get away from God, we also cannot turn to him on our own. It is by his Spirit that we are drawn to repentance. While this may seem more ominous than kind, being aware of our sin and being drawn to repentance is a gift. Romans 2:4 further explains this: “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” This is our God. He is just and he is kind. He extends grace and mercy and he draws people to himself.
While Elihu is not accurate in his perspective of Job and the events that have taken place so far, we can learn from Elihu’s accurate description of God.
- Do you believe God is the most trustworthy being in your life?
- What aspect of God’s character do you take comfort in?
- What aspect of God’s character do you need to press into more?
By the Way
These verses continue to describe the heart and character of God towards us. Read them and meditate on them. If a verse stands out to you, write it down and place it in a location that you will come across regularly to remind yourself of truth.
- “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
- “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
- “Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?” Psalm 77:13
“It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.” Isaiah 40:22-23
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