Elihu’s Third Speech
When God Makes Creation a Classroom
35 1-3 Elihu lit into Job again:
“Does this kind of thing make any sense?
First you say, ‘I’m perfectly innocent before God.’
And then you say, ‘It doesn’t make a bit of difference
whether I’ve sinned or not.’
4-8 “Well, I’m going to show you
that you don’t know what you’re talking about,
neither you nor your friends.
Look up at the sky. Take a long hard look.
See those clouds towering above you?
If you sin, what difference could that make to God?
No matter how much you sin, will it matter to him?
Even if you’re good, what would God get out of that?
Do you think he’s dependent on your accomplishments?
The only ones who care whether you’re good or bad
are your family and friends and neighbors.
God’s not dependent on your behavior.
9-15 “When times get bad, people cry out for help.
They cry for relief from being kicked around,
But never give God a thought when things go well,
when God puts spontaneous songs in their hearts,
When God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom,
using birds and beasts to teach wisdom.
People are arrogantly indifferent to God—
until, of course, they’re in trouble,
and then God is indifferent to them.
There’s nothing behind such prayers except panic;
the Almighty pays them no mind.
So why would he notice you
just because you say you’re tired of waiting to be heard,
Or waiting for him to get good and angry
and do something about the world’s problems?
16 “Job, you talk sheer nonsense—
Those Who Learn from Their Suffering
36 1-4 Here Elihu took a deep breath, but kept going:
“Stay with me a little longer. I’ll convince you.
There’s still more to be said on God’s side.
I learned all this firsthand from the Source;
everything I know about justice I owe to my Maker himself.
Trust me, I’m giving you undiluted truth;
believe me, I know these things inside and out.
5-15 “It’s true that God is all-powerful,
but he doesn’t bully innocent people.
For the wicked, though, it’s a different story—
he doesn’t give them the time of day,
but champions the rights of their victims.
He never takes his eyes off the righteous;
he honors them lavishly, promotes them endlessly.
When things go badly,
when affliction and suffering descend,
God tells them where they’ve gone wrong,
shows them how their pride has caused their trouble.
He forces them to heed his warning,
tells them they must repent of their bad life.
If they obey and serve him,
they’ll have a good, long life on easy street.
But if they disobey, they’ll be cut down in their prime
and never know the first thing about life.
Angry people without God pile grievance upon grievance,
always blaming others for their troubles.
Living it up in sexual excesses,
virility wasted, they die young.
But those who learn from their suffering,
God delivers from their suffering.
Obsessed with Putting the Blame on God
16-21 “Oh, Job, don’t you see how God’s wooing you
from the jaws of danger?
How he’s drawing you into wide-open places—
inviting you to feast at a table laden with blessings?
And here you are laden with the guilt of the wicked,
obsessed with putting the blame on God!
Don’t let your great riches mislead you;
don’t think you can bribe your way out of this.
Did you plan to buy your way out of this?
Not on your life!
And don’t think that night,
when people sleep off their troubles,
will bring you any relief.
Above all, don’t make things worse with more evil—
that’s what’s behind your suffering as it is!
22-25 “Do you have any idea how powerful God is?
Have you ever heard of a teacher like him?
Has anyone ever had to tell him what to do,
or correct him, saying, ‘You did that all wrong!’?
Remember, then, to praise his workmanship,
which is so often celebrated in song.
Everybody sees it;
nobody is too far away to see it.
No One Can Escape from God
26 “Take a long, hard look. See how great he is—infinite,
greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!
27-33 “He pulls water up out of the sea,
distills it, and fills up his rain-cloud cisterns.
Then the skies open up
and pour out soaking showers on everyone.
Does anyone have the slightest idea how this happens?
How he arranges the clouds, how he speaks in thunder?
Just look at that lightning, his sky-filling light show
illumining the dark depths of the sea!
These are the symbols of his sovereignty,
his generosity, his loving care.
He hurls arrows of light,
taking sure and accurate aim.
The High God roars in the thunder,
angry against evil.”
37 1-13 “Whenever this happens, my heart stops—
I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath.
Listen to it! Listen to his thunder,
the rolling, rumbling thunder of his voice.
He lets loose his lightnings from horizon to horizon,
lighting up the earth from pole to pole.
In their wake, the thunder echoes his voice,
powerful and majestic.
He lets out all the stops, he holds nothing back.
No one can mistake that voice—
His word thundering so wondrously,
his mighty acts staggering our understanding.
He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’
and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’
No one can escape the weather—it’s there.
And no one can escape from God.
Wild animals take shelter,
crawling into their dens,
When blizzards roar out of the north
and freezing rain crusts the land.
It’s God’s breath that forms the ice,
it’s God’s breath that turns lakes and rivers solid.
And yes, it’s God who fills clouds with rainwater
and hurls lightning from them every which way.
He puts them through their paces—first this way, then that—
commands them to do what he says all over the world.
Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love,
he makes sure they make their mark.
A Terrible Beauty Streams from God
14-18 “Job, are you listening? Have you noticed all this?
Stop in your tracks! Take in God’s miracle-wonders!
Do you have any idea how God does it all,
how he makes bright lightning from dark storms,
How he piles up the cumulus clouds—
all these miracle-wonders of a perfect Mind?
Why, you don’t even know how to keep cool
on a sweltering hot day,
So how could you even dream
of making a dent in that hot-tin-roof sky?
19-22 “If you’re so smart, give us a lesson in how to address God.
We’re in the dark and can’t figure it out.
Do you think I’m dumb enough to challenge God?
Wouldn’t that just be asking for trouble?
No one in his right mind stares straight at the sun
on a clear and cloudless day.
As gold comes from the northern mountains,
so a terrible beauty streams from God.
23-24 “Mighty God! Far beyond our reach!
Unsurpassable in power and justice!
It’s unthinkable that he’d treat anyone unfairly.
So bow to him in deep reverence, one and all!
If you’re wise, you’ll most certainly worship him.”