Job 36 Commentary
God doesn’t take His eyes off the righteous. He enthrones them with kings. Is this Job’s case? Yes. Regardless of his present circumstances? Yes. The saint must know his status regardless of the present circumstances.
The saint also knows that if an individual faces affliction as a consequence of some sin, the LORD will make it plain to them, one way or the other. Elihu’s thoughts here make the basis for the New Testament doctrine that the saint’s suffering comes along with peace, and a quiet and ever-present assuring love from above. And because the LORD hasn’t said anything to Job, all should be well.
The righteous should not react to suffering like the wicked, Elihu warns Job. There is a faint suggestion that Elihu doesn’t want Job to think of buying his way out of his present calamity. For Job, it would be a thought that his own righteousness, and we know he has it, can buy his way out. Which saint hasn’t gone to the LORD with this kind of argument! Even for a bit of righteousness within me, please LORD, get me out of here. But it doesn’t work because this kind of suffering isn’t defined by righteousness or the lack of it.
However, Elihu is aware of another kind of suffering that is wrought on self by wickedness. More often than not, and when repented, this kind of suffering disappears when grace appears. We know Job’s suffering is the kind that flourishes in grace and with grace. No wonder Elihu advises Job not to react like the wicked. Of course, Elihu isn’t sure of the kind of suffering affecting Job, hence the speech is taking turns and twists.
“Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes.” Verse 20. Elihu may be speaking to the general and tempting thought that probably it is better to be like the wicked since they have it easy. This may not be Job’s problem. When the way of the wicked appears more blessed than the way of the righteous, the temptation to ‘admire’ becomes greatest. Job is warned.
Then Elihu draws our attention to God’s awesome power and unlimited knowledge. In the context of the troubling questions of Job, is Elihu suggesting that we simply don’t know enough to judge the saint’s suffering? Elihu has boasted about his vast and unique knowledge in the opening verses of this chapter. Is he indirectly saying to Job that even when we feel like we know, we simply don’t know enough? “How great is God – beyond our understanding,” Elihu exclaims.
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