Job 36:1-37:24 Reading the Passage

Biblical Counsel to Those Who Would Challenge God – Job 36:1-37:24

36 Elihu continued to speak: (2) Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said on God’s behalf. (3) I receive my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. (4) Be assured that my words are not false; one who possesses full knowledge is with you.

(5) God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone; he is mighty in the strength that comes from understanding. (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 seats them on the throne with kings and exalts them forever.

(8) But if men are bound in chains, held tight by cords of affliction, (9) he tells them what they have done—that they have transgressed and acted arrogantly. (10) He opens their ear to instruction and he commands, “Turn away from iniquity!” (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 cross the river of death and die because they lacked commitment.* (13) Those who are godless in heart harbor resentment; when God “imprisons” them, they do not cry to him for help. (14) They will die in their youth; they lose their lives engaged in the shameful conduct practiced by young men.

(15) He saves the afflicted through their affliction; he opens their ears by means of tribulation. (16) He is wooing you from the mouth of distress to a spacious place free from anguish; your table will be filled with rich food. (17) But now you are burdened down with the judgment due to the wicked; judgment and justice will take hold of you. (18) Do not let wrath stir you up against chastisements; neither let the greatness of the ransom turn you away in despair. (19) Will your cry of protest succeed in delivering you from your distress? Or can all the force of your strength deliver you? (20) Do not long for the night, when people vanish from their place. (21) Beware that you do not turn to evil, which to you may seem preferable to affliction. (22) God is sovereign; who is a teacher like him? (23) Who has appointed his way for him, or who has said to him, “You have done wrong?”

(24) Remember to extol his work, which men have praised in song. (25) All mankind has seen it; men gaze upon it from afar. (26) How great God is—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is unsearchable! (27) He draws up the drops of water from the sea, they distill as rain from his clouds. (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 over the landscape; his light reveals the depths of the sea. (31) By these rainstorms he nourishes the people; he provides food in abundance. (32) He picks up lightning in his hands and commands it to strike the mark. (33) His thunder announces his presence; the fury of the storm reveals the wrath of his holy indignation.

37 At this my heart trembles and leaps from my bosom. (2) Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. (3) He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. (4) After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, no one can hold back the storm. (5) God thunders marvelously with his voice; he does great things that are beyond our comprehension.

(6) He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,” and to the pouring rain, “Be a mighty downpour!” (7) By his storm he keeps everyone indoors, so that all men may respect his work. (8) Animals enter their lair; they remain in their dens. (9) The tempest comes from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. (10) The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. (11) He loads the clouds with moisture, he scatters his lightning through them. (12) At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth. (13) Whether for discipline—if the people are not obedient—or for mercy, he sends the storm accordingly.

(14) Listen to this, Job; be still and consider God’s wondrous works. (15) Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes lightning appear in them? (16) Do you know how the clouds are spread out across the heavens? —the wonderful work of him who has complete knowledge. (17) You who swelter in your clothes when the land lies still under the hot south wind, (18) can you join him in spreading out the sky, hard as a cast bronze mirror? (19) Tell us what we should say to him; we cannot prepare our case because of our darkness. (20) Should he be told that I wish to speak? Should a man speak when he is confused?

(21) Now no one can look at the sun, it is so bright in the skies after the wind has swept them clean. (22) From the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed in awesome majesty. (23) The Almighty is far beyond our reach, his power and justice are great, his righteousness is great—he does not oppress. (24) Therefore, men fear him; indeed, all those who are wise in heart shall see him.

*Chapter 36 verse 12 literally reads, “they die from lack of knowledge.” In some contexts the Hebrew verb “to know” means to be in covenant with another person. Conversely, the phrase “lack of knowledge” means one of the parties is no longer abiding by the terms of the covenant. (The Book of Job, John E. Hartley, footnote #16, p.471).

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.