Daily Thought for: 8th February


Job 35. 1-16

In verses 2-3 of this chapter Elihu outlines what he perceives to be Job’s reasoning about how God is treating him in his suffering. Some translate the last clause of verse 2 by words such as ‘I will be cleared by God’, rather than ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’. The sense of the verse seems to be that Job questions the benefit of uprightness rather than sin. Elihu seeks, in the rest of the chapter, to examine such attitudes against the background of the greatness of ‘God my maker’, v. 10.

He argues, in verses 4-8, that God, the Creator, is far above mere human creatures. He is not reduced nor injured by their sin, nor is He enriched by their good deeds. Other mortals will be harmed or benefited by good or evil deeds, but not God.

As to the fact that God does not always rescue the afflicted as they cry in pain, Elihu argues, in verses 9-13, that this may be because they do not acknowledge God. They are ignorant of the fact that our faithful Creator can give joy in suffering, if we know Him. He can give us the ability to understand that suffering can be blessed by God. We are not dumb beasts, but sinful pride can keep us from receiving this understanding of God’s ways. That may be why people cannot see God intervening.

In verses 14-16 Elihu applies this to Job’s complaints. Does Job not see God at work on his behalf? Does he think his case lies before God unheeded? Does he chafe, waiting for God to act? ‘Waiting’ rather than ‘trusting’ is in question in the last clause of verse 14. Verse 15 is very difficult to translate. It seems to charge Job with thinking that God’s slowness to act against sin and folly excuses Job’s wild torrent of complaints.

Elihu may not have touched the heart of Job’s problem in this chapter, but he has established one great principle - that God is incomprehensibly great and always consistent. He acts according to His perfect justice and grace, and for our good. It is wisdom on our part to acknowledge Him, to wait for His intervention on our behalf and to expect an outcome which will explain what has perhaps long remained dark and inscrutable. We notice that, at the end of the book, God rebukes the first three friends of Job, but He does not condemn Elihu.


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