Today’s passage is full of helpful lessons. Let’s break it down into smaller pieces.
Job 36:1-4 (NIV) 1 Elihu continued: 2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf. 3 I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. 4 Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you.
On verses 1-4: Elihu is oozing with self-confidence here, even to the point of possibly coming across as arrogant. For example, he says to Job, “one perfect in knowledge is with you” (v4) – hopefully he is referring to God and not to himself! What can we learn from this? Because arrogance repels, be careful to present what you think you know to others in a humble way.
Job 36:5 (NLT2) 5 “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone!…
On verse 5a: God is higher than everyone and yet He does not look down on anyone. Rather He looks at us with eyes of compassion. Ironically and sadly, we are so much lower than God and yet we can be so quick to judge, condemn and vilify people. Is there anyone you are looking down on today? Could it be that God is asking you to see that person more with eyes of compassion than eyes of judgment?
Job 36:5 (NLT2) 5 “…He is mighty in both power and understanding.
On verse 5b: God isn’t just powerful, but full of understanding. As Pastor Joseph Prince might say, Jesus is velvet and steel. He is perfect wisdom and gentleness combined with perfect strength and power. The more you spend time with Jesus, the more you grow in power and understanding too.
Job 36:6 (NIV) 6 He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights.
On verse 6: God takes a firm stand against the wicked and takes a firm stand for the afflicted. God has the heart of a hero.
Job 36:7 (NIV) 7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.
On verse 7: God never takes His eyes off you. That’s how constant God’s love is for you. Even the most loving mother needs to close her eyes and sleep, but God never takes His eyes off His children. He even “enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever”, for if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you are a member of God’s royal family, made to reign with Jesus for eternity.
Job 36:8-12 (NIV) 8 But if men are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, 9 he tells them what they have done– that they have sinned arrogantly. 10 He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. 11 If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. 12 But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge.
On verses 8-12: Here Elihu is sounding a lot like Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar by suggesting that any affliction a person goes through is the result of sin (v8-9). But as we learned throughout the book of Job, just because a person goes through trouble does not necessarily mean that the trouble is the result of that person’s sin. God can have other reasons for allowing a person to go through pain, such as to refine them (make them stronger), to remind them (that heaven is our final home, not earth), and to reveal His power through them.
Job 36:13-14 (NIV) 13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help. 14 They die in their youth, among male prostitutes of the shrines.
On verses 13-14: What is the sign of godlessness, or being far from God? The first is when I harbor resentment (v13a). When I hold grudges and refuse to forgive others, it shows that my own heart is far away from God’s heart. The second sign of a godless heart is when I refuse to cry out to God for help in my pain and instead look to other people and things for the help that only God can give me (v13b).
Verse 14 shows the result of godlessness. When I don’t pursue God in my life, I stop truly living – “they die in their youth” (v14) – and like a prostitute I sell myself short, giving myself to people and things that are worth far less than the God I was made to live for.
Is there someone I am refusing to forgive? Is there an area where I need to go to God for help instead of looking to others?
Job 36:15 (NIV) 15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.
On verse 15: God is a deliverer. His heart is to bring hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless and rest to the distressed. As Elihu said, God “gives songs in the night” (Job 35:10). So if you are in distress today, remember this: God wants to deliver you, so cry out to Him. As Psalm 107:19 says, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.’
Job 36:16 (NIV) 16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
On verse 16: God is wooing you to come to Him so He can save you. Long before you ever reached for God, God was reaching for you. He first did that when He sent Jesus Christ His Son for you. He continues to woo you today by His Spirit, alluring your heart to come to Him.
Jesus, thank You that You never take Your eyes off me. Thank You that long before I ever thought about You, You saw me, pursued me, and wooed me with Your love. Thank You for being the lover of my soul and the deliverer of my distress. May I not be afraid to cry out to You today, knowing that with You is all the deliverance I need. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!