Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 18–19: Thursday
Stand and consider the wonders of God.”
Today’s Bible reading is Job 37 and Job 38, however, because Elihu finishes speaking in Job 37, and God speaks in Job 38, I’m going to do the two chapters in separate posts.
Chapter 36 began Elihu’s last speech which continues through the end of Job 37. If you haven’t read Job 36, read it as well, but before you begin reading, remember to ask God to teach you from His Word: to give you understanding of who He is and who you are, and to renew your mind as you read.
Francis Andersen writes:
“Elihu’s last word falls into two parts so distinct in tone and content as to give the impression that they are independent compositions and could have been separate speeches. The first section (36:1–21) continues the themes of the preceding chapters. The second (36:22–37:24) introduces a new line of argument. It begins to move in the direction of the Lord’s speeches that follow and so serves as a transition to the concluding cycle (chapters 38 – 42). In a similar manner, Elihu’s opening speech had two parts, the first of which (chapter 32) took off from the preceding debate. This connective tissue is evidence of the planned dramatic unity of the Elihu speeches within the whole book…
“This concluding statement contains Elihu’s best and most distinctive ideas. Up until now he has been treading on familiar and conventional ground, repeating largely the ideas which Job and his friends have already expressed. The harsh tone of that Elihu had adopted in his second and third speeches is here softened. Job 36:1–21 is a more mature and engaging statement of orthodox theology than anything found elsewhere in the book… While it does repeat some arguments that have already failed to carry the day, they are diffused by a deeper analysis and a more humane sensitivity that brings them nearer to Job’s condition. God’s dealings with men are seen not simply in terms of rewards and punishments; they are also remedial, or at least intended to be so, if rightly used. Life teaches through ‘discipline’ (the key word of Wisdom teaching…). Every experience, good or bad, brings fresh opportunities to learn more about God. The wise man rides the wave; the fool is drowned by it. Perhaps this is what Elihu was getting at when he said to Job: ‘The choice is yours’ (34:33). The meaning of suffering depends on the spirit in which it is ‘received’ (2:10). Since ‘discipline’ is imposed on a child by a parent or on a pupil by a teacher, it is intended to be beneficial. The recalcitrant and unteachable, of course, can deprive or even injure themseles by struggling against the yoke; but, correctly worn as an instrument of honourable work, it enables greater achievement and actually lightens the load.”1
Note Job 36:22–23. Elihu will begin in subsequent verses to comment on Creation.
Who is a teacher like Him?
Who has appointed Him His way,
And who has said, ‘You have worked out unrighteousness’?”
“So far as the world is concerned, God’s wisdom is seen in its variegation and in its order. So far as man is concerned, God’s wisdom is expressed in his moral conduct. Somehow the book is moving towards a synthesis of these two by ascending to God as the common Creator of all, not by descending to the dull aphorism that the ‘good’ is what is ‘according to nature’. The questions which begin to appear in verses 22 and 23 dominate the rest of the book…
“Elihu first directs Job’s attention to the splendour of God in nature, in the storm (26–33). As the discourse continues, he will elaborate on what happens in winter (37:1–13) and on the beauty of the sky when the storm is over (37:14–24).”2
Elihu is at his best in as he describes the majesty and power of God as seen in the wonders and intensity of weather.
And leaps from its place.
Listen closely to the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.
Under the whole heaven He lets it loose,
And His lightning to the ends of the earth.
After it, a voice roars;
He thunders with His majestic voice,
And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.”
And to the downpour of rain and the downpour of rains, ‘Be strong.’
He seals the hand of every man,
That all men may know His work.
Then the beast goes into its lair
And dwells in its den.
Out of the south comes the storm,
And out of the north the cold.
From the breath of God ice is made,
And the expanse of the waters is frozen.”
Or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.”
Around God is fearsome majesty.
The Almighty—we cannot find Him;
He is exalted in power
And He will not violate justice and abundant righteousness.”
Surely all wise of heart fear Him!”3
On Elihu’s final words, Andersen comments:
“Verse 24 is then the finishing touch, the application to men, especially Job.”4
In Job 38, God speaks.
Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Featured image: Lightnings sequence 2 animation-wcag.gif: Sebastien D’ARCO, animation by Koba-chan. (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Lightning at Head of Storm: Paulash35. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Feathery Snow Crystals: Amada44. Source: Jason Hollinger. (CC BY 2.0).
Kaanapali beach sunset on Maui Hawaii: dronepicr. (CC BY 2.0).
1,2,3,4Francis Andersen, Job (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1976) 277–278; 282; 288 This is Andersen’s translation of Job 37:24. He writes, “It resembles other verses which conclude speeches in this book by having a succinct bicolon with parallelism. But translators have missed it. NEB has silently removed the troublesome negative (not of RSV), but loses the parallelism by translating the same word [as] ‘reverence’ in verse 24a, but [as] ‘look’ in verse 24b.”; 287–288.
I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.
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