Job 32-37 What we forget about God

In chapter 32-37 another person speaks up after all of Jobs other friends stop talking. Elihu now speaks up as one who was younger but who felt God was compelling him to speak. We do not know how many people were present but these men would have been considered wise men so you can imagine people would want to gather around to hear wisdom especially dealing with the topic of pain and suffering.   All of Jobs friends cannot come to the conclusion as to why Job is suffering because there are no human explanations to the things he was going through. Just like many things that happen in the world today, there are things that happen that go beyond our understanding and comprehension.

Read Job 32:7-9

   Elihu saw the wrong in both Job and the three friends and he was angry at all of them because they misrepresented God in some parts of their defense to each other. Elihu was patient to wait for them to speak because they should have been the ones who brought wisdom to the situation that Job was facing but instead the men had their own theological bent that they believed about God and there was no changing their minds even though they were wrong.

Elihu could stay silent no longer and knew he had to speak or be judged by God. (Job 32:22) He also says that he is going to speak what the Spirit of God tells him to speak and will not add or subtract from it. This is something we all need to learn as we try to fill in the gaps for God instead of allowing what His word says to us stand even though we may not fully understand it.

Read Job 33:12-14

1)   God needs nothing from us

Job was putting God in human terms, and expecting God to act as a human would. Even God called Job righteous but Job’s righteousness was not based on his own actions but the fact that forgiveness would be granted to him through faith.

You are not right 

  The word “right” is where we get the word Righteous from which means to be morally in right standing with God.  Because God is righteous He is always right in everything He does and therefore cannot be wrong. Everything about God is Righteous and all His decisions and decrees have no flaws in them whatsoever.

We on the other hand are told that all our best works are worthless compared to God.

Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Job may have thought that he had something to offer God because he was a righteous man compared to the people around him but compared to a Holy God Job was seen as the worse sinner imaginable. Many people think that because they do some “good acts” that God should reward them for their duty to Him. We think that we not only know it all but that somehow our actions are worthy of consideration by God.

Imagine a billionaire giving you everything you need in your life. A house, a car and all the food you will ever need or want. To repay that billionaire you find a penny in the house he has given you and you try to give it to him. That would be a slap in the face to the one who gave you so much and the very thing you are offering is something that was his in the first place. We need to start with the premise that we have nothing to offer God and that God owes us nothing because if we do then we will understand the grace of God a little better than we have before.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Some people live their lives thinking that God owes them something and that He needs them. God loves us (John 3:16) but He can function without us just like He has done for all of eternity. Because God is God, He does not owe us an explanation for how He operates the world  even though we would not understand it even if He fully explained it to us.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 Elihu has claimed that God is speaking but Job has not understood it or has ignored it. God has revealed enough about Himself so that we can find Him and be back in a right relationship with Him but that does not mean we will ever be able to understand or comprehend how God operates.

Job 36:29-32 Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thundering’s of his pavilion? Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. 31 For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. 32 He covers his hands with the lightning  and commands it to strike the mark.

All of Job 36 is how Elihu describes God as indescribable. Elihu gave details of weather patterns that no one would understand until the radar was invented. This shows how God was speaking through Elihu to explain things that they could not understand at that time. We will never fully understand the things of God fully until we get to Heaven.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

2)   God is always speaking

Elihu continues to address Job and that he wanted to know why God was not speaking to him when he needed him the most. Chapter 33 Elihu explains to Job that God is speaking and continues to speak but Job is somehow missing what God is saying.

Read Job 33:15-18

A)   God speaks through Dreams

Both in the Old and New Testament dreams were used by God to reveal His will to people.   Abimelech (Genesis 20:3) Jacob (Gen. 31:11) Laban (Gen. 31:24) Solomon (1 Kings 3:5) Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1) Daniel (Daniel 7:1) Joseph (Matt. 1:20;2:13) Ananias (Acts 9:10) Peter (Acts 10:9-16) Paul (Acts 16:9-10) John (Revelation)

We have to be careful of trying to follow dreams now because unlike those in the Old Testament they did not have the written revealed word of God.  Although I cannot say that God no longer uses dreams to speak to His people we have to make sure that what is told to us in a dream does not go against the written word of God. Some say that people were more receptive to dreams and visions because they were quiet and still. Some of the reason  we do not hear God is because we have become such a noisy society that never pauses to hear from Him. In our society  noise seems to permeate every area of our lives from cell phones, news stations, and radios that we are constantly bombarded with distractions. Along with the noise we have also lost our ability to sit quietly for an extended period of time. We get anxious if it is too quiet instead of getting away from the noise of the day so that we can hear God.

Although I am not one who has had God speak to me in a dream there are reports of Muslims having dreams of Jesus. These dreams are to these Muslim clerics is proof that God is still speaking today through dreams and speaking to anyone who will listen. (http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2008/visions-of-jesus-stir-muslim-hearts/?mobile=false)

Acts 2:17-18 And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants[a] and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

“Some of our dreams may well represent God speaking to us, but others are simply the result of eating cold pizza before bedtime.” (Let God be God, Pg. 171, Ray C. Stedman)

God uses these dreams to keep people from total destruction which in Job 33:18 Elihu calls the pit. With that being said, I still want to give a warning that Jude 8 says that false prophets will use dreams to deceive people so we need to be careful who we listen to even if it is in our own dreams.

Read Job 33:19-22

B)   God speaks through Suffering

    The times you are in the most pain are the times you tend to search for God. It is unfortunate that when things are going well we ignore God but that is the habit of most humans. When pain strikes our life or the life of a loved one we have a tendency to stop the business of our lives and call out to God. As we will see as we close out the book of Job, Job experienced God in such a different way and became closer to Him because of the pain and suffering he experienced in his life.  God was teaching Job lessons that he could never learn through the joys of life.  Although Satan thought he was torturing this man of God, who did all he could to love, serve and honor God, God was using Satan to deepen Jobs relationship with Himself.

We do not like to hear that God speaks through suffering and we have been falsely taught that if you do everything that God wants you to do that you will not suffer. We believe that if we read God’s Word and do all His commandments that we can grow close to Him without having to experience any pain. Job was a very godly man and yet even he had more to learn from God that could only be accomplished through suffering.

God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is ahis megaphone to rouse a deaf world. “ C.S. Lewis

Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we would face troubles in this earth and the Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 that we were appointed to suffer. It is only with the false teachers that say that you will not suffer.     Suffering makes us tune into God and suffering makes us what we would not be with only pleasure. We know this athletically with “No pain, No Gain” but we want to believe that our relationship with God will not grow deeper without it.

Elihu reminds Job that pain is a way that God speaks to us and something we will all experience this side of Heaven.     As Christians, the suffering we walk through will one day end but for those who will not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior their suffering will never end.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Read Job 33:23-25

C)    God speaks through people

  The word is translated “Angel” but the true meaning is a close friend.  God uses other people to speak on His behalf to try and communicate with other people on the earth.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

The person (Angel) mentioned is the person who stands by their side and faces the judgement with them. Do not listen to those who just have an opinion, listen to those who are going to stand by you no matter what the consequences are. God is speaking through the people that do not have an agenda for your life but only want to see you following God’s will for your life.

D)   He speaks through His Son

I have found a ransom

Ransom is the amount owed to release the prisoner and God had been revealing to Job new truths as he suffered. We know that our ransom is named Jesus Christ but for Job he was being taught this concept through the pain and suffering he was experiencing. 

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Even today it all comes down to Jesus Christ and what you believe about Him. Every religion has to answer the question, who do you say Jesus is? Every religion has an answer about Jesus and we believe He was God in the flesh who came to earth to be a ransom for us. Jesus death on the cross freed us to be back in a right relationship with God.

Hebrews 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Read Job 33:26-30

These verses are the beautiful thing that happens to us when we repent and give our lives to Jesus Christ. The most important thing for us to remember is for us to be concerned more about the life to come than the one we currently have.   God’s whole purpose for your life is not to make you a better person it is to make you a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17)  and that was made possible through Jesus Christ.

E)    He speaks through His Word

Although Elihu did not say this and it is not in the book of Job I wanted to add it to the list.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

We may not be hearing from God simply because we do not take the time to be still and read His word. God is speaking but we may not be hearing because we have allowed other noises in life to drown out the voice of God.

Job 34:9-12

3)   God is fair

Job had another complaint against God that it did not seem that serving God was worth it.   If we are honest we all have felt that way especially as we watch people who do not care about God continue to live happy normal lives. Elihu is correct when he says that when you begin to say God is not fair then you are being just like the ungodly because the ungodly have the wrong view of God. When we realize God owes us nothing and all we have from Him is a gift then we have nothing to complain about when He takes things away.  Elihu even says that if God chose He could take oxygen away and we would all shrivel up and die.

He repays man for what he has done 

Elihu mentions that God owes us nothing but then he also talks about how fair and just God is. God will not only give us entrance into eternity through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) He will reward us for the things we have done in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10)    I have been mentioning there will be different rewards in Heaven but some believe there will be different levels of pain in Hell. (Revelation 20:11-15; Luke 12:41-48) God is fair and He is just and although it may seem unfair that the wicked get to continue God will judge us all fairly at the end of time.

Read Job 34:22-23 

     When people stand before God in judgement He will not need to listen to their side of the story because He knows them and everything they thought and did will be exposed to Him. God knows everything about us ,(Psalm 139:1-4, 11-12) and every thought and action will be laid out before Him to judge.

4)   God hears your cries

Read Job 34:28

God hears your cries of injustice and everyone will be held accountable for their actions. Satan is the instigator behind the things that happened to Job but those who participated with Satan in the destroying of his servants and the livestock will be held accountable. Pain has a way of making us feel alone and sometimes even separated from being able to be heard by God.

Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossing’s; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book.

  This goes along with God being fair but this means He is also compassionate to what we are experiencing. God has not distanced Himself from His creation but He is compassionately aware of all that we are going through. This is one of the ways that Christianity is separated from all the other religions because God has stepped into our world to experience our pain and emotions as a human.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

I think it is easy to think God has forgotten you but He sees, He hears and He cares deeply for you.

Closing 

God does not need us and He needs nothing from us to get His approval. Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we can be made righteous (in right standing with God). God is speaking but you may not be listening. If you have access to the Word of God then I would encourage you to sit down, read and be still and listen and see what God says to you. Even if you are skeptical about God speaking to you I would encourage you to do it and really search for Him so that you can know the truth.  He loves you and cares for you and He sees all that you are going through. In the midst of your pain and confusion listen for His voice to speak.

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