Elihu continues his rebuke of Job and his friends. Job has claimed injustice on the part of God (35:2), and believes that what has befallen him would be just if he had sinned (v. 3). So Elihu directs these men to consider God. His ways are so much higher than man’s (v. 5), that whether a man is “evil” or “good” in deed is not what God sees (vv. 6-7). Rather, these outward actions are what man cares about (v. 8). And Job is not the only one to cry out because of suffering (v. 9), but there is a huge difference between complaining about one’s circumstances, and truly seeking God in the suffering (vv. 10-13). Job is not truly seeking God (vv. 14-16).
Elihu continues by defending God’s goodness against the claims of Job and his three friends (36:2-4). He says that God does not despise any part of His creation (see Matt 10:29-30), but is mighty both in power and understanding (v. 5). God does not exalt the wicked or humble the afflicted, does not throw down the righteous or take away from them because they sin (vv. 6-9) – the point is that earthly “good” or “bad” is not assigned by God based on works. All – even the “righteous” are sinners before God and are commanded to repent and believe (vv. 10-12). And Job’s anger and disingenuous crying out to God reveals something about Job, not God (v. 13), because God never changes, but Job does based on the “good” or “bad” he has (vv. 14-16).
Elihu then warns Job not to sin further (vv. 17-21) and to learn from his affliction rather than accuse God (vv. 22-23). And Elihu joins Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar in calling Job to repentance – but not for the sins that caused his suffering. Rather, Elihu calls Job to repent for the sins he has committed in his suffering (vv. 24-28). Elihu then calls on Job to remember the greatness of God (vv. 29-33).
Elihu closes out his monologue with an exposition of God’s greatness. It is revealed through thunder and lightning (37:2-5), and through the rain and snow that fall from heaven (v. 6). And when the snow comes, both man and beast respect it (vv. 7-8). There is such power in the winter weather (vv. 8-9) – this should point us to the God Who causes it all to happen (vv. 10-13). Thus, Elihu points Job to God Who sovereignly causes all things (vv. 17-18). Yet, God’s purposes cannot be known through these things (vv. 19-21), because He is beyond understanding; yet we can know that He is always just (vv. 22-24).
Elihu rebukes all four of his elders for their error. When it comes down to it, they were judging God. They looked at Job’s condition and determined what is says about God. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar claimed that they knew why Job was suffering – God has found him guilty and was just in His punishment! Job, on other hand, claimed that God had no good reason for the suffering he was enduring. This means that God is unjust.
But Elihu tells them that they have it backwards. You don’t judge God based on earthly circumstances, you judge your earthly circumstances based on God! In other words, get your eyes off of the situation, and on to God! You can’t understand His purpose for the weather! How will you understand His purpose in earthly “good” or “bad”? How will you know what His purpose is when we suffer or when we prosper? Because whether we are on the mountaintop or deep in the valley – God is Who He is: great, powerful, just, and sovereign.
Why should our trust in Him change when our circumstances change? If it does, then according to Elihu, our trust isn’t in Him at all.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)