Daily Devotional Friday 24th September 2021by William Moody
Elihu Extols God’s Greatness
36:1 And Elihu continued, and said:
2 “Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.
3 I will get my knowledge from afar
and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
4 For truly my words are not false;
one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
5 “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.
6 He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.
7 He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
8 And if they are bound in chains
and caught in the cords of affliction,
9 then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
10 He opens their ears to instruction
and commands that they return from iniquity.
11 If they listen and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
12 But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
and die without knowledge.
13 “The godless in heart cherish anger;
they do not cry for help when he binds them.
14 They die in youth,
and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.
15 He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
and opens their ear by adversity.
16 He also allured you out of distress
into a broad place where there was no cramping,
and what was set on your table was full of fatness.
17 “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
judgment and justice seize you.
18 Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,
and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
19 Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,
or all the force of your strength?
20 Do not long for the night,
when peoples vanish in their place.
21 Take care; do not turn to iniquity,
for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
22 Behold, God is exalted in his power;
who is a teacher like him?
23 Who has prescribed for him his way,
or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?
24 “Remember to extol his work,
of which men have sung.
25 All mankind has looked on it;
man beholds it from afar.
26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
the number of his years is unsearchable.
27 For he draws up the drops of water;
they distill his mist in rain,
28 which the skies pour down
and drop on mankind abundantly.
29 Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
the thunderings of his pavilion?
30 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.
33 Its crashing declares his presence;1
the cattle also declare that he rises.
Hebrew declares concerning him
Elihu in this final part of his speech is more conciliatory but he begins by expressing too high an opinion of himself (v4). Humility is an important quality that is needed when helping those who are hurting.
Elihu continues in teaching that God punishes the wicked and brings justice for the afflicted (v6). He then speaks of how a righteous king is exalted but when he is guilty of sin God brings suffering to reveal to him his sin (v7-9). God uses suffering to open the ears of sinners so that they will listen and receive future blessing (v10-11).
Suffering is there to cause sinners to cry out to God for help but the godless are too stubborn to cry for help and therefore perish in their youth (v13-14). For Elihu, suffering is God’s way of getting our attention and it is through suffering that people are delivered by God as they repent and trust in Him (v15). Elihu hasn’t got the full picture on Job’s suffering, but he is right that God often uses suffering to cause us to repent of sin. When this happens suffering is a tough but precious gift from God.
Elihu finishes this chapter with a very exalted view of God (v22-26) which is very evident in His control of the weather (v27-33). Take time to ponder these verses and marvel at the God who this reveals.
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