Job 34 Commentary
Of course, Job did say he was innocent. But we doubt if Job ever questioned if there was any profit in pleasing God. It could be an assumption that Elihu makes from Job’s arguments. More appropriately, it’s an argument that he has developed from his own theology. Elihu’s religion is anchored on rewards and punishments.
“He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves.”
It appears the Psalmist is looking at a different God. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103 verse 10.
There is actually no contradiction. “Maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34 verse 7.
The New Testament saint understands this concept very well. The sinner is still punished, regardless. The unchanging nature of God’s justice is still maintained. Calvary provided the difference. Jesus Christ took our punishment – the maximum penalty for sin. That is exactly the essence of the gospel. No one should die in their sins when this glorious opportunity is available. And no one has committed too great a sin as to exhaust the available grace facility. Here in this book, terms like Redeemer or Mediator are direct references to the one we have come to know as our Savior, the LORD Jesus Christ.
It, therefore, remains true, and thanks to Elihu’s thoughts here: “It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.”
This is exactly Job’s problem here. The LORD of perfect justice cannot do wrong concerning Job’s case. But why this punishment when there is no sin? Of course, the reader doesn’t have this problem. We know Job’s suffering isn’t punishment. It could be something else. Maybe a painful experiment but not punishment; Job could be a perfect product exhibited during an expo by the LORD but never a recipient of punishment because of sin.
Elihu seems to suggest that regardless of the events around man, bad or good, the sovereign God remains just and right. God rewards righteousness, but should the saint always expect payment on the saint’s terms? Equally, why should the sinner decide his own punishment, when, and how? Elihu’s thoughts here are brilliantly advanced and instructive for the saint’s Christian walk today.
We begin by setting our own standard of righteousness. Next: we determine our reward and then define the time and how the reward must come. We have robbed the LORD of His sovereignty – idolatry right within the confines of the church. God forbid.
Job may not be sinful but Elihu has a point here: don’t add rebellion to your prayers. God is sovereign.
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