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JOB - Chapters 32-37


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  1. (32:1) JOB'S FRIENDS - why they stopped answering him: Job was righteous in his own eyes.
  2. (32:2-5) ELIHU
    1. Who he was...
    2. His reaction to the debate: anger
      • Because of what Job had done: He JUSTIFIED himself rather than God
      • Because of what the 3 friends had done: They could not refute Job, yet they condemned him. [OR - according to ancient Hebrew scribal writings: their inability to refute Job implied condemnation of God.]
    3. Why he had been silent: he was younger than the others.
    4. Why he now spoke:
      • the three now run out of arguments
      • the end result had angered him
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FIRST SPEECH (32:6 - ch. 33)

  1. (32:6-9)
    1. Up to now, I - a young man - have kept silent, out of deep respect for the wisdom that comes with age.
    2. Yet age is not the only factor involved in obtaining wisdom; for the spirit of wisdom has its ultimate origin in God, not in mere age.
  2. (32:10-14)
    1. So, please kindly listen to me!
    2. I gave you my fullest attention while you were carefully presenting your views. And I have seen that none of you has successfully refuted Job.
    3. Don't rely on the claim that you have learned in your wisdom that God (not man) should refute Job. [A probable excuse for their silence.]
    4. I have a different point of view to present... one that Job has not refuted.
  3. (32:15-22) (Speaking as though to an audience)
    1. They have failed to answer Job; they have given up! So why should I remain silent, when I have an answer!
    2. I am excited about the answer I am about to give! (If I keep silent, I feel as though I might explode! )
    3. And when I answer, I will answer fairly. I would not dare to use flattery or show favoritism, lest I be judged by the God who made me.
  4. (33:1-7)
    1. So, listen to me, Job, as I speak.
    2. My words will be true and upright. I am dependent upon God for my very existence (as well as for what I am going to say).
    3. If you can, then please refute what I say, for I am not superior to you. We are equal before God; you have no reason to be apprehensive.
  5. (33:8-11)
    1. Yet I myself have heard you criticize God's actions.
    2. You have claimed to be innocent and pure, and that God has - for no legitimate reason - attacked and constantly harassed you.
    3. [And you are angry that God doesn't answer your charges. (See v.13.)]
  6. (33:12-22)
    1. The very fact that God is greater than you shows that your complaining is just not right. [You have things backwards!]
    2. How do you dare to complain that the Sovereign God refuses to answer man's complaints; that when man speaks, God doesn't listen?
    3. The truth is that God has spoken and man hasn't listened!
    4. For example, God has spoken through dreams, warning any who might be ready to listen, so that they will avoid wrongdoing and pride - so that they might be kept from destruction. (v.15-18)
    5. He also speaks through great suffering - bringing the individual to the very point of death. (v.19+)
  7. (33:23-28)
    1. And at this point of sickness God may allow a mediating angel/messenger to communicate to the suffering individual: to teach him the right ways, so that he might be spared from death .
    2. If this happens [and if he listens], the man will be restored to a righteous life before God. He will willingly acknowledge his sins... and God's graciousness.
  8. (33:29-30) God often communicates in these ways in order to Protect a man - to spare him from destruction (not to kill him!) and to enable him to enjoy a fruitful life!
  9. (33:31-33)
    1. So please, pay attention to what I say.
    2. If you wish to reply to what I say, then please do so. But remember: my goal is have you acquitted (of wrongdoing) and restored [in contrast with the 3 friend's goal].
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  1. (34:1-4) Pay attention, you men of wisdom. Let us together determine which viewpoint is correct [Job's or Elihu's].
  2. (34:5-9)
    1. Job has claimed that although he is innocent and in the right, God is treating him like a liar, denying him justice and punishing him beyond recovery.
    2. Is not this a scornful attitude? Is not this what WICKED men do? What an evil association Job has!!
    3. He goes as far as to say that upright behavior is of little value!
    4. [In other words, Job is claiming that God is in the wrong when he fails to reward Job's righteous behavior with blessings. In doing this Job has associated himself with the wicked...even though he might not fully realize the implications of his attitude . (But he will!)]
  3. (34:10-15)
    1. Listen to this carefully, men of wisdom:
    2. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR GOD TO DO WRONG. He is only capable of judging men correctly for what they have done. Indeed, such an accusation is contradictory to the very nature of God!
    3. God [not man] is supreme, and he defines what is right and what is wrong. His decisions are influenced by NO ONE - neither by human authority nor by any other corrupting influence. [God's rule over the earth was not a task given him by man. Rather than MAN being over God (and telling him what to do), GOD is over man.]
    4. All men are utterly dependent upon God for their existence. This being the case, it is God's right to destroy any (or all) of them as he wishes [in judgment].
  4. (34:16-20)
    1. Listen carefully to this, Job:
    2. How can you condemn one is by nature "the Just and Mighty One"? How is it possible for him to hate justice and yet govern the world for good (which he by nature does)?
    3. [Job has claimed that God is unjust in Job's situation, yet he wants God to do good to him. How could God be capable of doing BOTH good and evil?!]
    4. Look at God's impartiality to wicked rulers: he is influenced by neither power nor wealth, when he judges them.
    5. He has made all...he can judge (and destroy) all.
  5. (34:21-30)
    1. God has full comprehension of every man's ways. He has no need for further investigations because he sees it all.
    2. God destroys the wicked in the sight of all, because of the greatness of their sins and the cries of those whom they oppressed.
    3. But suppose he chooses to wait and to delay exercising his justice for a while...Who has a right to question him about it?
    4. And if he chooses to not show his presence for a while [as Job claims he is], WHO has a right to force him to appear [such as to personally vindicate Job]?
    5. Yet he is still in control over all. The godless man does not ultimately triumph.
  6. (34:31-33)
    1. Now a person can have an attitude of repentance and humility, and can be willing to submit to God on God's terms.
    2. But look at you! You are unrepentant! You demand that God submit to YOU on YOUR terms!
    3. Tell me which alternative is right and proper! [Apparently no reply.]
  7. (34:34-37)
    1. Attention wise men, this is the verdict we mush reach: Job is speaking very foolishly.
    2. Furthermore, Job ought to be tested to the utmost for his impious words, for his attitude [whether he realizes it or not] fosters rebellion.
      • View 1 (rebellion in others): In addition to his own sin, his attitude encourages others to sin.
      • View 2 (rebellion in Job): In addition to his other sins (such as his foolish speech and whatever else has been previously mentioned), he is adding the sin of rebellion, by refusing to repent.
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  1. (35:1-3) Can you claim to be right and fair when...
    1. On the one hand you expect God to vindicate you (that is, to acknowledge you as "righteous," and undeserving of the trouble He has given you).
    2. Yet on the other hand you claim that there is little benefit to you (OR: in God's sight) if you avoid sinning.
  2. (35:4-8) I want all of you to understand this:
    1. God, who is greater than the universe above you, is not influenced by the actions of mere man. Man cannot manipulate God's sovereign decisions by means of his own moral conduct, whether good or bad.
    2. Your moral conduct, however, does influence yourself and the people around you. Therefore it does have value, but not in manipulating God.
  3. (35:9-16)
    1. Those who are oppressed often cry to God for relief, but their focus is on themselves, not on God! They want to use God as a means of escape from their circumstances.
    2. They are not interested in looking to God with an attitude of trust. He would provide encouragement (example - through songs, to calm their anxieties at night) and wisdom (example - the wisdom that can be learned from observing what he has created).
    3. [The emphasis seems to be that God would take them victoriously THROUGH the trials, not necessarily OUT OF them. Men are generally unwilling to accept such an alternative for they think they inherently deserve better than what God has given them.]
    4. Therefore God does not listen to such people's meaningless prayers and empty cries.
    5. Consider Job, how much less you deserve to have God listen to your arrogant and impatient complaints!
    6. This is especially true because you claim that God is nowhere in sight and that He has delayed in dealing justly with your situation or in answering your charges. This also is true because you accuse Him of ignoring wickedness and not punishing it! (Perhaps suggesting that God is preoccupied with Himself?)
    7. In the final analysis Job's complaints are meaningless, empty words. Thus God has no reason to listen (compare with vs. 12-13).
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FOURTH SPEECH (ch. 36 - 37)

  1. (36:1-4) Please remain patient. I have more to say in defense of God's justice. What I'm about to say is true and accurate!
  2. (36:5-12)
    1. Even though God is mighty and uninfluenced by man's moral conduct, He still takes an interest in mankind.
    2. First, He is unchanging in his purpose: He eventually does punish the wicked and bless the righteous.
    3. Second, He teaches those who are afflicted concerning their arrogant sins and their prideful, self-centered attitudes. These are the reasons that He placed them in affliction!
    4. If they listen, repent, and submit to Him, then they are blessed. If not, then they perish without even knowing why it happened.
  3. (36:13-15)
    1. Those who are godless will remain unresponsive, resentful, and unrepentant to death.
    2. The righteous, however, are delivered from (OR: by means of) their suffering. They also learn through it and are better off for it.
    3. Note: There are obviously many arrogant people in the world who do not suffer affliction at the present time. The affliction described here probably refers to affliction placed upon those who CLAIM to be followers of God, whether or not their claims are true. Through such trials the true followers of God are strengthened (cf. 1 Peter 1:7; James 1:3, 12). In contrast, the "faith" of those who are not true followers is destroyed or shown to be false (cf. Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21; 1 John 2:19).
  4. (36:16-21) What all this means to Job
    1. God is desiring to deliver you from a much greater sorrow to come, from a much greater distress, and to a blessing that you could not otherwise experience! God wants to provide an escape from the "obstructions" that presently lie hidden in your heart.
    2. To accomplish this you presently are experiencing discipline. This is a judgment justly given and is comparable to what the wicked should receive. (Remember that they WILL be judged sooner or later!)
    3. Be careful that you keep your eyes on God!
    4. For example, do not focus your attention on wealth or blessings for they cannot deliver you.
    5. In vs. 19-20 the original text is difficult to translate. One possible meaning might be: Do not look to anything as a means of escape from God's discipline (that is, as a substitute for repentance and submission to Him; compare with vs. 15). Another possible meaning might be: Do not look to death as a means of escape.
    6. Do not turn to evil as a means of escape. Based on the evil implications of your complaints (see chapter 34), this appears to be a tempting alternative to you!
  5. (36:22-26) Rather, look to God!
    1. Focus your attention on God and on His great power!
    2. Look at His great and awesome skill by which He teaches men! He even instructs man about his hidden sins! (Compare with vs. 8-10.) Who is capable of doing better? Who is capable of legitimately questioning His ways?
    3. Praise God for what He does! Don't question and challenge Him!
    4. Look at God's greatness! Even the tiny amount of His greatness that we can comprehend is overwhelming!
  6. (36:27-33) Apparently a thunderstorm is beginning to form on the horizon.
    1. Look at the greatness of God's power! Observe what He teaches us from creation!
    2. Look at the thunderstorm! He is in total control of it, but we can hardly comprehend it.
    3. Through it He teaches us about His gracious care for mankind as well as His wrath and judgment. We benefit from His efforts if we are willing to learn.
  7. (37:1-13)
    1. Look at such marvelous power! It leaves me in awe!
    2. Pay attention to the way God communicates through the storm. He does so in wondrous ways that elude our full comprehension. God's ways are so great!
    3. God's display of His power is so mighty that it stops the activity of man and beast alike!
    4. With the storm God accomplishes His desires, whether they involve mercy or judgment.
  8. (37:14-18)
    1. So listen! Stop your complaining! Shift your attention from yourself to God!
    2. Do you have the knowledge it takes to bring the rain? No! God, however, is perfect in knowledge!
    3. Do you have the power it takes to prevent the rain from coming and instead to bring burning heat? No! All you can do is weakly swelter in the heat!
  9. (37:19-24)
    1. If you cannot understand things like these, how could you ever have enough understanding to be prepared to argue about your own circumstances before God? You would have nothing to say!
    2. How could a mere man dare to approach God?? Would not such a man be utterly consumed or "swallowed up" by the greatness of God's power? (NOTE: When God does appear, the cloud that shows God's greatness also partially conceals Him. Therefore those who witness the event survive.)
    3. We can't even gaze at the sun's brightness. How much less could we survive the presence of God?!
    4. But look! Here comes God! He comes in golden splendor and awesome majesty!
    5. God in His greatness is beyond our reach! He is powerful and just! He does not oppress men in spite of your accusations.
    6. Therefore fear God and don't dispute with Him! Remember that He will have regard only for those who are truly wise. [An alternative view might be: Remember that He will have no regard for those who are wise in their own eyes.]

"The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:12)

"The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom." (Job 28:28)

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Dennis Hinks © 1989
1 Peter 3:12 quoted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R). NIV (R). Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984
by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.