Reading through the Bible together
Elihu, the youthful speaker had a long talk. He started in chapter 32 and now in 36 he is continuing. He speaks like someone who fears the microphone will be taken away from him. It is possible that some listeners wanted to stand up and walk away for Elihu said: “Wait awhile for me, for there are more words on God’s behalf.” He wants to give ascribe more righteousness to his Maker and feels confident that the audience will accept his words for they are not false (verses 1-4).
There are certain doctrinal points that Elihu wants to present: God is great and does not despise anyone. It is the same as saying, “He is great in strength of heart” (verse 5). God does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the poor (verse 6). He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous. We know that according to Revelation 3:21 the overcomers or righteous will sit with the King of Kings, Christ, on the same throne. So Elihu must have heard about this before since he reiterates: “and with kings to sit and he seats them forever and they are exalted” (verse 7).
Elihu does not work with an end-time view that one should try to help God build His kingdom on earth. He is using truth but in a different context. If someone is bound in chains, caught in robes of poverty [like Job], then God tells them their deeds and their transgressions for they have acted proudly. He opens their ears to discipline and asks them to repent from iniquity (verses 8-10).
Human response results in the following actions by God: If they listen and they serve [then] they will complete their days with goodness and their years with pleasantness (verse 11). Although it sounds like gospel truth, and it pretty much is, yet the catch is that without a Great Controversy history Elihu sees the fulfillment of these promises in the here and now and considers them materialistically. The bad news is that if they do not listen, they will pass away and by the sword they will perish for they did not ask for salvation (verses 12-13). According to Elihu, the setting up and binding by God is all done in the life here on earth. And if they die in their youth the same thing happens to them (verse 14).
With the socialistic doctrine of rich is bad and poor is good, Elihu suggests that God “Saves the poor in his poverty and to those in oppression He opens His ears (verse 15). Modern socialistic professors just like Elihu suggest that the poor and the oppressed are the good and everyone else is bad. Biblical oppression deals with oppression of the faithful by Satan in all his forms and spiritual poverty is the absence of the Holy Spirit in a faithful interactive relationship. Elihu focuses on materialistic poverty and materialistic oppression whereas Job, Moses, Jesus and the Bible focus on spiritual poverty and spiritual oppression. But the table of the faithful will be full of spiritual riches, and the heavenly court-sentence will support them (verses 15-16). The servant of God will deal with the evil in his life and do so not half-heartedly. If he does not deal with the evil, God will take him away and his riches will not help him because he has turned to iniquity (verses 17-21).
Between verses 22-32, Elihu wants to give us his image of God. God is very high in power; who is a teacher like Him? Who visits His ways upon Him? Who said: “You have done injustice?” Remember that you are to magnify His work which men have blocked. All humans have seen the work of God from afar. God is great and we do not know the number of his years and they cannot be searched. God increases drops of water according as He sees the need. The result is that the clouds drip it down and they distil it on great humans (verses 22-28). Elihu seems to hint to Job that if a person is a great person the rain will fall on his property. He says one cannot fully understand the spreading of the cloud, the rumblings of God’s pavilion. Behold He spreads out over it His light and He covers the roots of the see. He judges the nations. He gives food in abundance. In His hands He carries the lightning and commands it to strike. His thunder declares the coming storm (verses 29-32). Elihu says how God (the way he understands it) deals with humans. Blessed ones are informed by God but self-exalting ones are not.
You are the Great Giver of wisdom and we praise Your name for that. Without Your prophecy we are lost in explanations. Thank you for the security of prophecy. Amen
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea