Shall we turn in our Bibles to the book of Job, chapter 31.
Job has pretty well talked down all of his friends. Bildad has had his last word and Job is still responding, and has been responding, actually, just generally now to his friends. This last discourse of Job is his longest discourse, and he goes on and on with it. And we have been studying the final response of Job to his friends. His next responses will be to God. But Job is talking about his own righteousness, his own goodness, that which he has done. He said,
I made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not destruction to the wicked? and strange punishment to the doers of iniquity? Doth he not see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot has hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know my integrity. If my step hath turned out of the way, and my heart walked after my eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to my hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. If my heart hath been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbor's door; Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. For this is a heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. It’s a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all mine increase (31:1-12).
So these are things that Job’s friends have been hinting that he was guilty of, but he is denying his guilt. “I made a covenant before God. I’m not going to look on another woman. I’m not going to be interested in other women.” It is interesting that Jesus said, “If a man looks upon a woman to desire after her, he has committed adultery already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Job made a covenant, “I’m not going to look on other women. I’m going to be satisfied with my wife. Now if I have been guilty of adultery, then the punishment of my wife committing adultery with someone else would be a punishment that I deserved. But I’m innocent of these things. Let God weigh me in balances. Let it be fair. Let what I have received be fair from God. I’m receiving more than I deserve for I haven’t been guilty of these things.”
Job, speaking of the lust, said, “It’s a fire that consumes to destruction. It would destroy all my increase.” The Bible speaks about a man, who through foolish woman, is brought down to a crust of bread (Proverbs 6:25-26). What destruction unbridled lust can bring. It can destroy great men. It can bring them down. And so Job speaks of it, of a fire that destroys, the burning lust.
If I did despise the cause of my manservant or maidservant, when they contended with me; What shall I do when God rises up? for he visiteth, and what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? (31:13-15)
Now Job is speaking here of the fact that he had not really lorded over his servants, that he had looked upon them as equals. “We were both, all of us, created in the womb.”
It’s really a tragedy when men begin to think themselves superior to others. Rather than realizing that all of us have been created by God and in God’s eyes there is no ranking, there is no superiorities. That, of course, goes for male/female, it goes for bond or free. We are all one in Christ Jesus. And yet, it seems that man is always trying to exalt or elevate himself above others. Trying to put himself in the position of higher. “I want others to bow to me. I want others to do obeisance and the whole thing.” And that’s tragic that men develop these rankings in which they seek then to promote and give honor and flattery and all to each other.
Job said that he dealt honestly with his servants when they argued with him. He looked upon them honestly, because he said, “After all, we were all, we all came out of the womb. I’m no better than they are. I recognize that.” And he also recognized that God takes up the cause of the poor. Now it’s interesting throughout the Scripture it does speak about God hearing the cry of the poor, “When their cry cometh unto Me.” And God talks about taking vengeance upon those that would oppress the poor. That when their cries came to Him because of their oppression, He would hear and He would bring vengeance upon those that would oppress the poor.
If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; If I have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;) If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and my arm be broken from the bone (31:16-22).
“If I’m guilty of these things of not helping the poor, if I’ve allowed people to go naked, if I’ve allowed people to go hungry while I was living in luxury, then let my arms fall off.” Job is bringing curses upon himself. “If I’m guilty of these things, then let these horrible things happen to me.”
It is interesting then in those cultures, in that particular culture, and in the eastern culture, hospitality is such an important part of the culture of those people and of those days. It was extremely important that you be hospitable, that you be benevolent, that you help those that are in need. Especially if a person was traveling. You notice how Abraham entertained the people that were traveling, “Come on in, let me fix something for you, and all.” As the angels (he didn’t know they were angels at the time), but as they were traveling by, “Come on it. It’s too late; spend the night here. Let my wife fix you something to eat, and all” (Genesis 18:3-5). Hospitality was an important thing. It should be an important thing in the church. Paul tells us that when we chose those who are to be overseers of in the body of Christ, that we should pick out men who are hospitable, those who have shown themselves to be hospitable.
Our Southern California culture seems to be very isolated. I have been in other parts of the United States where people seem to be more hospitable than they are here. Down in the south, people far more open, hospitable. “Oh, come on over for dinner,” you know. And there is a lot of hospitality, southern hospitality. We’re in Southern California, but we just don’t see it here. But I believe that it is pleasing to the Lord that we really show hospitality. If there is someone who is visiting, someone who is a stranger, that we open up our doors to them, that we invite them over for dinner or that we show them hospitality. The Bible says, “Be careful to entertain strangers, you don’t know but what you might one day be entertaining an angel unaware.” (Hebrews 13:2)
Now my father used to take these Scriptures very literally. Also he was an usher in the church as I was growing up and he read in James how that we do wrong when we have respect of people’s persons. If one comes into church and he’s all dressed up, wearing diamonds and all, you say, “Oh,” you know, “come on in, sit in this nice chair.” And yet if someone comes in rags, you say, “Go sit in the corner” (James 2:3). So when people would come to church in rags, hobos, he would usher them right down to the front row, with all style. And my dad was a very gallant gentleman, and a lot of flair and a lot of style, you know, and he’d usher them right down to the front row, and sit them right in the prime places, and then invite them home for lunch. We had the most interesting guests. They had the smell of the antiseptic from the mission so many times. We’ve had all kinds of…oh, I could tell you stories that you’d hardly believe of some of the people that we’ve had at our house.
We had one fellow that Dad invited home for dinner and he stayed for a couple of weeks with us. And he was a very interesting fellow. If Mom would say, “Wind up the vacuum cord,” I would wind up the vacuum cord, and when I was through, he said, “That took you twenty-seven seconds. Now you should be able to do that in fifteen seconds. Now wind it up again. And do it this time in fifteen seconds.” Always timing everything, everything had to be split-second timing. And you did it until you could do it in fifteen seconds. We later found out that this guy was a bank robber. And he was the mastermind behind many of the bank robberies and some of the most exotic prison breaks in the United States. And that’s why he was always interested in timing. Timed everything, got everything down to split second, and all. And he always, it was part of his thinking processes. When he started telling his stories, oh, was that interesting. We’d sit there just transfixed as he’d tell us about some of the heists and all that he was involved in and escape from some of the major prisons in the United States.
Actually, the way we met him was very fascinating. My father went up to the Ventura County Jail and spoke there at the jail every Sunday. And he would just, you know, one day he was talking to these prisoners and he said, “Fellows,” he said, “God answers prayer. Now Jesus said if you ask anything in His Name, the Father would do it. Now look, just get down and ask God for something you need. Put God to the test. Either His Word is true or it isn’t.” Well this guy, Jimmy Reynolds, was sitting in the back bunk; he didn’t even come out to the area where the guys were meeting. He was just sitting back there listening. He was tough, and he didn’t want to come out in the open cell with the rest of the guys and show that he was at all interested, but he was just sitting back there. And after my dad left, he turned to the guy across on the next bunk from him, and he said, “Did you hear what the guy said?” He said, “Man, I’ve sprung a lot of jails, but this would be a new one.” He says, “Hey, man, let’s you and me get down on our knees and we’re going to ask God to get us out of here by next Sunday. And if God gets us out of here by next Sunday, we’ll go down to that man’s church.” My father was also the Sunday school superintendent at the church and so we always got to church a half hour early. And this Sunday morning as we drove up to the church there was this fellow pacing back and forth in front of the church, and when he spotted my dad, he came up and opened the door for my mother and all, and he said, “Good morning, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Smith. Nice to see you today.” And he said, “I’m Jimmy.” And Dad said, “Well, it’s nice to meet you. Will you come in and go to church with us and then come on home to dinner?” And that’s how we met him.
Now after he left, my dad went to the sheriff and he said, “You know, we’ve had an interesting houseguest for the last couple of weeks.” He said, “He’s told us some very fascinating stories.” He said, “The thing I want to know, though, is how did he get out of jail?” And the sheriff told my dad, he said, “Mr. Smith,” he said, “that was a mistake.” He said, “We weren’t supposed to release that man.” He said, ”We picked him up on a vagrancy charge in Oxnard. We were holding him here, but,” he said, “on our cards, when we have a prisoner and there’s a hold on them because of their being wanted in other places,” he said, “we always type up at the top of the card a red HOLD.” He said, “We had a new trustee typing cards. And so he thought that it didn’t look neat to have that HOLD up in the right hand corner so he typed it down in the bottom of the card. And so,” he said, “that Sunday morning as they were going through the cards, they came across Jimmy Reynolds and found that we had held him as long as we legally could without filing charges. And we really didn’t have any charges to file, but we were holding him because of his prison escapes from Oklahoma State Prison and several federal penitentiaries and,” he said, “we were supposed to be holding him to extradite him back there. But,” he said, “in going through the cards that morning, they just came to his card, saw that his time was up as far as what we could legally hold him, and they didn’t pull the card all the way out. And so that Sunday morning they call, ‘Jimmy Reynolds,’ he said, ‘yep.’ They said, ‘You’re free.’ He says, ‘I’m what?’ And they said, ‘You’re free.’” And he said, “Mr. Smith,” he said, “I’ve broken a lot of jails in the country, but,” he said, “this is the first time I’ve ever had one like this!” You know.
Hospitality. Now that wasn’t an angel unaware in that particular case. Some of the things that happened when I was a kid… Oh, my. I could tell you some interesting stories about George the tramp, but that’ll have to wait ‘til another time. Ah, but my dad was quite a guy.
I’ve not allowed my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to another man’s soul (31:30).
If the men of my tent said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the travelers. If I covered my transgression as Adam (31:31-33),
Interesting he refers to Adam, isn’t it? Evidently the stories of Adam were widely circulated even by the time of Job, even though the book of Job perhaps precedes in writing the book of Genesis. That is, that it was written before. Yet he is aware of Adam’s attempt to cover his sin by sewing the fig leaves.
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom: Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door? So surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown unto me (31:33-34, 36).
I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince I would go near unto him. If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; If I have eaten the fruit thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and the cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended (31:37-40).
“I’ve had it. That’s it. I’m innocent.” And the final declaration of his innocence before his friends.
So sitting nearby was a young man whose name was Elihu.
So these three men [Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz] cease to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu against Job and his wrath was kindled, because he justified himself rather than God (32:1-2).
Now Job, in all of his complaints, was saying, “I am just in this. I am innocent.” And he was justifying himself rather than God. Now, we oftentimes do this. It is important, though, that we justify God. I know that God is good. I know that God is righteous. I know that God is fair. I don’t understand why God is doing this. You see, Job did not justify God in the issues by declaring, “Well, God is fair.” He was actually saying, “God is unfair. He is unfair to me because I haven’t done anything to deserve all of this.” So Elihu, standing by, really became angry with Job because he sought to justify himself rather than to justify God. And he was also angry with Job’s friends because they could not answer Job. They couldn’t really pin anything on him, and yet, they were condemning him without being able to pin anything directly on him.
So he waited until Job had spoken, because they were older than he was. And when he saw that they were not answering, his wrath was kindled. And he said, I am young, and you’re very old; wherefore I was afraid, and I dared not to show you my own opinion. I said, Days should speak, and the multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding. And great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment (32:4-9).
So far you’re batting a thousand, Elihu. He’s made some interesting observations. There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding. He could see the anointing of God upon a man to give to the man wisdom and understanding. But great men are not always wise. Now you don’t have to go very far to illustrate that truth. “And neither do the aged always understand judgment.”
Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I’m going to show you my opinion (32:10).
And he spends a lot of time just telling us what he’s going to say. He doesn’t really say too much, but he spends a lot of time telling you what he’s going to say.
“Hearken to my opinion.”
Behold, I waited for your words; to give ear to your reasons, while you searched out what to say. Yes, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: Lest you should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrust him down, not man. Now he hath not directed his words against me: and neither will I answer him with your speeches. They were amazed, and they answered no more: they left off speaking. When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more,) I said, I will answer also my part; I will show you my opinion. For I am full of the matter, the spirit within me is forcing me. Behold, my belly is as wine which has no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person; neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away (32:11-22).
Oh, I like this. God help me not to give flattering titles unto man. I heard flattering titles for so many years; I’m absolutely sick of flattering titles. “Ladies and gentlemen, let me present unto you, God’s man for the hour,” you know. And all of these flattering things that we say concerning man. He said, “Hey, I respect you fellows’ age, but I don’t respect man as such as far as bowing and catering and giving flattering titles and buttering up people, trying to butter them up with flattering titles. If I’m guilty of this then God’s going to take me away, take my place away.” My heart has been sickened by the way we have sought to elevate men even in the Christian community by flattering titles, declaring the greatness of their works and all. God help us.
Wherefore, Job, [he said,] I pray thee, now hear my speech, hearken to all my words. Behold, I’ve opened my mouth, my tongue has spoken in my mouth. My words shall be of uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life. If you can answer me, set your words in order before me, stand up. Behold, I am according to your wish in God's stead (33:1-6):
Oh, my, he’s going now a little far. Job was saying earlier, “Oh, that there was someone between us, you know, that could lay his hand on.” Now, “I’m what you wished for. I am standing here in God’s stead.” Elihu, you’re getting carried away. So I depart from him at this point.
I also am formed out of the clay. Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee. Surely you have spoken in my hearing, I’ve heard the voice of your words, saying (33:6-8),
And now he’s quoting Job. I’ve heard you say,
I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there any iniquity in me (33:9).
And he heard Job saying concerning God:
Behold, he find occasions against me, he counts me for his enemy; He puts my feet in the stocks, he marks all my paths. Behold, in this, Job, you are not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why do you strive against him? for he gives not account of any of his matters (33:10-13).
“God doesn’t owe you any apologies, God doesn’t owe you any explanations.” Paul said concerning God that He is as a potter and we are as the clay, and what right has the clay to say to the potter, “Why have You made me like this? Why did You put that wrinkle in me?” I have no right to challenge God. As a lump of clay, the Potter has sovereignty over my life. He can make of me whatever He wants to make of me. He can do with me whatever He wants to do with me. He can make me a vessel of honor, a vessel of dishonor. He can make me a drinking cup or a garbage pail. He has absolute power over my life. And He doesn’t owe me explanations, though I’m oftentimes demanding explanations from Him. “God, what did You do this for? Lord, why did You allow that to happen?” I’m demanding that God give me an explanation. “God, give me a reason.” He really doesn’t owe me any explanations. He can do whatever He wants without having to explain to me.
Now we sing, “Farther along we’ll know all about it. Farther along we’ll understand why. Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it all, by and by. And we’ll talk it over in the by and by. We’ll talk it over, my Lord and I. I’ll ask the reasons, He’ll tell me why when we talk it over in the by and by.” Do you think I’m going to sit down in heaven and say, “Now, Lord, do you remember back in 1980, that weird thing that happened, now why did You do that, Lord?” No way! When I get there, I’m going to be so glad just to be there and so excited to get it on with whatever God’s got in store, I’m not going to be challenging God or asking God for the reasons why things happened to me here on the earth. At that point, I can care less. Just glad to be there and to enter into the excitement and the thrills and the joys of His eternal kingdom. So there are some people that may want to get to heaven and sit down and get all the explanations for life and all. Not me, I have no desire to waste my time in heaven with that kind of stuff. Just glad to be out of this mess and all of it. Just with the Lord and there in His presence and in His kingdom.
So he declares,
For God has spoken once, yes twice, yet man did not perceive it. In a dream, and in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings on the bed; Then he opens the ears of men, and seals their instructions, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword (33:14-18).
Now God speaks. Once He speaks, twice. How does God speak? He speaks sometimes through dreams. He speaks sometimes through visions. God can speak in various ways to people. I think, though, that our hearts need to be open to hear the voice of God. I believe that God is speaking and does speak quite often and we just don’t understand that it is God speaking. We don’t understand His voice. We’re looking for some echo chamber type of voice. “Charles...” Oh God! You know, just expecting things to just reverberate. But God speaks in such beautiful, natural ways that we’re not always aware that it is God speaking. God can speak to us through dreams. He can speak to us through visions. He can speak to us through angels. He can speak to us through His Word. He can speak to us through a friend. God can speak to us in many different ways, and you can’t really limit the ways by which God speaks to a man.
Elijah said there was a fire; God wasn’t in a fire. There was a horrible wind; God wasn’t in the wind. There was an earthquake; God wasn’t in the earthquake. And then there came a still small voice and God was in the still small voice (I Kings 19:11-13). Now that was that particular experience, but God can speak and did speak to Moses through the fire. God spoke to the jailer through an earthquake. God can speak in different ways. The fact is, God is speaking. Am I listening? Am I tuned in?
Would you believe me if I told you that in this room tonight there are all kinds of pictures and all kinds of voices? There is beautiful symphonic music in this room right now. And there’s hard rock. And there’s all kinds of sounds in this room right now. Now if you had a little radio and you would tune it, you could pick up all of the music that’s floating through the air. Just by turning your tuner. Tuning in. You could see all of the pictures that are floating through the air. Hear the voices. But you’ve got to be tuned into them. Even so, God is speaking, but we’re not always tuned in to the voice of God. It takes really, I think, a definite act of our own will of saying, “Lord, speak to me. Show me.” And then waiting to allow God to speak to us. Listening to what the Lord might have to say. And I think that our mistake is that we’re not asking God direct questions, and thus we’re not getting direct answers. We’re not listening enough to hear God speak to us. God has spoken once; God has spoken twice. He speaks in visions. He opens ears. He turns us from our purposes in order that He might keep us back from the pit.
He is chastened also with pain upon his bed [that is, man], and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: So that his life abhors bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that they were not, they stick out (33:19-21).
So he’s sort of describing Job’s condition. “Man, you know, you’re in pain, and your bones are sticking out, and your health is taken away, and all. God is trying to speak to you, Job.”
If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show man his uprightness; Then he is gracious unto him, and he says, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: and he’ll render unto man his righteousness. He looks upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul (33:23-28)
“If you’ll confess,” he is saying,
He’ll deliver your soul from the pit, and your life shall see the light. Lo, these things God works oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I’m going to speak. And if you have anything to say, then answer: speak, for I desire to justify thee. If not, then listen to me: hold your peace, and I am going to teach you wisdom (33:28-33).
So this young kid’s telling Job, “If you’ve got anything to say, say it, but if not, then just let me talk on, because I’m going to teach you a few things here.” Now, what he is saying is basically pretty sound, and that is that God oftentimes uses chastisement to turn us away from the pit. You know, as a child of God, you’re in a very good position, because God’s not going to let you get away with evil. Now everyone around you may get away with it, that’s because they are not children of God. But because He’s your Father, and He’s watching over you, He’s not going to let you get by with perversity, with crookedness. And God uses chastisement to keep His children out of the pit. God’ll stop you. He’ll allow you to be caught up with. “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5-6). And if you are not chastened, then you’re like a bastard; you’re not really His son.
If you can do evil and get by with it, then I would very worried. If you can cheat and get by with it, then you have cause to really be worried. But if you’re a child of God, He’s not going to let you get by. You’re going to get caught up with. That’s because He’s trying to save you from the snare, from the pit.
Furthermore Elihu went on then [Job didn’t answer], he said, Hear my words, O ye wise men; give ear unto me, that have knowledge. For the ear tries words, as the mouth tastes meat (34:1-3).
That’s a very picturesque phase, isn’t it? The ear tries words even as your mouth tastes meat. You taste it, see what it’s like. Your ears listen to it, you know, and judges it, see what it tastes like.
Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good. For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God has taken away my judgment. Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression (34:4-6).
This is what Job is saying. And then Elihu answers,
What man is like Job, who drinks up scorning like water? (34:7)
Here you guys have been scorning him and the guy is just drinking it up like water. You ever see anybody like that? He’s saying, “I’m righteous,” you know. “I’m afflicted for nothing.” This guy is just drinking up your scorn like water. Have you ever seen anybody like Job?
For he hath said, It profits a man nothing that he should delight himself with God. Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Yes, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? If he set his heart upon man, if he gathers unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. If thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words. Shall even he that hates right govern? and will you condemn him that is most just? Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, You are ungodly? How much less to him that accepts not the persons of princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor? for they are all the work of his hands (34:9-19).
God has created all men. And we’re really…Paul said, “Who are you, oh man, who judges another man’s servant.” Before his own master, he either stands or falls. God is able to make him to stand. We’re not really to be guilty of condemning and judging our neighbor. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1). So Elihu is sort of pointing out this very same thing. God has made each man.
In a moment they will die, the people will be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without a hand. For his eyes are upon the ways of man, he sees his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God. He will break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. Therefore he knows their works, he overturns them in the night, and they are destroyed. He strikes them as wicked men in the open sight of others; Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways: So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he hears the cry of the afflicted. When he gives quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hides his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a single individual: That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared. Surely it is necessary to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more (34:20-32).
So he’s really saying to Job, “Now, Job, you’d be much better off to say to God, ‘If I have borne this chastisement, I won’t offend You anymore and, Father, show me what it is. Teach me if I’ve done inequity that I will do it no more.’”
Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether you refuse, or whether you choose; and not I: therefore speak what you know. Let men of understanding tell me, and let wise men hearken unto me. Job has spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom. My desire is that Job may be tried to the end because of his answers for wicked men. For he hath added rebellion unto his sin, he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God (34:33-37).
Elihu is really laying it on. “Job, I wish God would even do worse to you, man. I wish He’d take you right out to the end. ‘Cause here you are clapping your hands at us and yelling at us and this kind of stuff and telling us that God is not fair.”
Elihu continues to speak, he said, Do you think this to be right, that you said, My righteousness is more than God's? (35:1-2)
Now Job didn’t actually say that, but he is taking Job’s words and showing that this would be the conclusion of what Job had said. “Do you think it is right that you said, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’?”
For you said (35:3),
Here is what Job actually said,
What advantage will it be unto me? and, What profit shall I have, if I am cleansed from my sin? I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee. Look to the heavens, and see; behold the clouds which are higher than you. If you sin, what do you against him? or if any transgressions be multiplied, what do you do unto him? If thou be righteous, what do you give to him? or what receiveth he of your hand? Thy wickedness may hurt man as you are; and thy righteousness may profit the sons of men (35:3-8).
In other words, Elihu is saying to Job, “What can you add to God or what can you take away from God? If you live a righteous life, what’s it going to do, what’s it add to God? If you live a sinful life, what does it take away from God?” God is above man. So far above man. What advantage can God have in me living a good life? What does it disadvantage God for me to live a wicked life? You see, I can’t really touch God. Now, it touches others if I live a sinful life, others around me may be hurt by it. They may be disadvantaged by my lying or cheating or stealing. Or if I do good, others may be benefited by my good. If I feed the poor or help them out, then they can be benefited. Man can benefit by my righteousness or sinfulness, but what does it do for God? What does it add to God that I live a righteous, holy life? Interesting questions. What can a man add unto God?
By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. But none says, Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night; Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the fowls of the heaven? There they cry, but none gives answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. Although you say that you shall not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knows it not in great extremity: Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplies words without knowledge (35:9-16).
Elihu continued (36:1),
He’s really taking him on.
Just allow me a little more, and I’m going to show you what I have to speak on God's behalf. I’m going to fetch my knowledge from far off, I’m going to ascribe righteousness to my Maker. For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee (36:2-4)
“Here I am, folks.” This young guy is really getting carried away. “He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.”
Behold, [he said,] God is mighty, and despises not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom. He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. He withdraws not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. And if they be bound in fetters, and be held in cords of affliction; Then he shows them their work and transgressions where they have exceeded. He opens also their ear to discipline, and commands that they return from iniquity. If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasure. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and shall die without knowledge. But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he binds them (36:5-13).
Now he’s talking really about Job making a direct application because Job is saying, “I’m innocent. I haven’t done anything.” So this is ascribing now to Job as a hypocrite in his heart. He heaps up God’s wrath. He doesn’t cry when God has bound him.
They die in youth, their life is among the unclean. He delivers the poor in his affliction, and opens the ears in oppression. Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness (36:14-16).
If you’d only have repented, if you’d only asked for forgiveness, God would have taken you out of these straits.
But you have fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice have taken hold on thee. Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: and a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will he esteem your riches? no, not gold, nor the forces of strength. Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place. Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this has been chosen rather than affliction. Behold, God exalts by his power: who teaches like him? Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he makes small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof (36:17-27);
Now, evidently as Elihu is talking, this storm is moving in. And so the kid is so busy talking, he starts now using some of the rain that starts to fall, as so forth, and he started to weave it into his speech. But he is actually now drawing from the weather as this storm moves in. In a few moments, God is going to speak out of the storm; out of the whirlwind, God is going to speak. But evidently this storm is building up and the thunder begins and the lightening, and he begins to sort of interweave this into his speech. He said,
For he makes small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? Behold, he spreads his light upon it, and covers the bottom of the sea. For by them judges he the people; he gives meat in abundance. With clouds he covers the light; and commands it not to shine and by the cloud that cometh between. The noise thereof showeth concerning it, and the cattle also concerning the vapor (36:27-33).
At this also my heart trembled, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directs it under the whole heaven, and his lightning to the ends of the earth. And after it a voice roars: and he thunders with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with his voice; great things doeth he. And out of the south comes the whirlwind (37:1-5, 9):
And the waters…and he goes on and uses actually this gathering storm and weaving it into his speech with Job. He’s not really saying much, just a lot of words. And then, Fair weather comes out of the north: with God is awesome majesty. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. Men do therefore fear him [or reverence him]: and he respecteth not any that are wise of heart (37:22-24).