Holy God, sometimes my worship of you is all wrong. Worldly values infect my approach to you. Enable me to move through these things and truly focus on you.
Read JOB 36
36 Elihu continued:
2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you
that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.
3 I get my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
4 Be assured that my words are not false;
one who has perfect knowledge is with you.
5 “God is mighty, but despises no one;
he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
6 He does not keep the wicked alive
but gives the afflicted their rights.
7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous;
he enthrones them with kings
and exalts them forever.
8 But if people are bound in chains,
held fast by cords of affliction,
9 he tells them what they have done—
that they have sinned arrogantly.
10 He makes them listen to correction
and commands them to repent of their evil.
11 If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
12 But if they do not listen,
they will perish by the sword[a]
and die without knowledge.
13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment;
even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
14 They die in their youth,
among male prostitutes of the shrines.
15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction.
16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress
to a spacious place free from restriction,
to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked;
judgment and justice have taken hold of you.
18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches;
do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts
sustain you so you would not be in distress?
20 Do not long for the night,
to drag people away from their homes.[b]
21 Beware of turning to evil,
which you seem to prefer to affliction.
22 “God is exalted in his power.
Who is a teacher like him?
23 Who has prescribed his ways for him,
or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?
24 Remember to extol his work,
which people have praised in song.
25 All humanity has seen it;
mortals gaze on it from afar.
26 How great is God—beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out.
27 “He draws up the drops of water,
which distill as rain to the streams[c];
28 the clouds pour down their moisture
and abundant showers fall on mankind.
29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
how he thunders from his pavilion?
30 See how he scatters his lightning about him,
bathing the depths of the sea.
31 This is the way he governs[d] the nations
and provides food in abundance.
32 He fills his hands with lightning
and commands it to strike its mark.
33 His thunder announces the coming storm;
even the cattle make known its approach.[e]
- Job 36:12 Or will cross the river
- Job 36:20 The meaning of the Hebrew for verses 18-20 is uncertain.
- Job 36:27 Or distill from the mist as rain
- Job 36:31 Or nourishes
- Job 36:33 Or announces his coming— / the One zealous against evil
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Just as Jesus, who humbled himself; may we be free from the desire of always being right, from the need to impress, and from the longing to be praised by others.
I have a GPS system in my car into which I have downloaded the voice of a well-known cartoon character. Whenever we arrive at a destination he intones loudly ‘and YOU are a genius!’ It always makes me laugh as I know that, in terms of navigation, the opposite is the case: but not for Elihu. He claims communication flawlessness in verse 4: ‘one who has perfect knowledge is with you’. Plumbing new depths of arrogance, he lectures Job about his sin problem, though the narrator tells us that God long ago declared him to be blameless and upright.1 Any knowledge that we may have must be tempered with love when it is shared with another, especially one in pain. Even under the anointing of the Spirit, ‘we know in part and we prophesy in part’.2
Elihu’s message about prosperity is also troubling. He claims that if people obey and serve the Lord, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and contentment (v 11). This is contradicted by so many other scriptures that it cannot go unchallenged. Paul the apostle explains that he has learned to be hungry and in need, as well as being well fed and having plenty.3 He also sets out a long list of the deprivation and suffering that has marked his pathway as a faithful servant of the Lord.4 There are great blessings to be experienced by those who serve the Lord,5 but we should not presume upon these. God’s sovereignty means that he can choose to use adversity in times of testing, spiritual opposition, or personal growth for his glory and our ultimate good. That was certainly Job’s experience, even though his friends could not see it. Elihu came near to seeing it (v 15) but not quite.
Who do you know who could benefit from some of the spiritual knowledge you possess? Pray for the fruit of love to be evident in your contact with them.
Patient Father, I don’t want to be like those who know about you but don’t know you. I want more than spiritual information; I want spiritual transformation.
Last Updated on March 18, 2023 by kingstar