37 “At this my heart pounds
and leaps from its place.
2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
and sends it to the ends of the earth.
4 After that comes the sound of his roar;
he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
he holds nothing back.
5 God’s voice thunders in marvellous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
7 So that everyone he has made may know his work,
he stops all people from their labour.
8 The animals take cover;
they remain in their dens.
9 The tempest comes out from its chamber,
the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;
he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around
over the face of the whole earth
to do whatever he commands them.
13 He brings the clouds to punish people,
or to water his earth and show his love.
In the preceding chapters Job and his friends had been conversing about the nature of God and in reality clutching at straws as if any of us can truly describe the nature of God or second guess his actions and reasons for specific actions.
They were about to have an encounter with the almighty. God himself would speak to Job. Then the men would start to see him with awe and holy fear!
It appears that Elihu was led by the Holy Spirit to express some things about God that the friends had been off point about and then to usher in the presence of God. Elihu was sent to “introduce God”.
But God is too great for a mere man (Job 33:6) to introduce him. Nobody can control God (Job 36:23). Nobody can force God to act (Job 34:29). So in reality, God introduced himself.
God is on record as speaking to people in many different ways (Job 33:14). Elihu described a dream (Job 33:15) and a servant of God (Job 33:23). Sometimes God has spoken to people in a whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13). But God spoke to Job from a storm (Job 38:1).
Before God spoke Elihu described the storm. He described it’s awesome power and noise. It’s impact on people and the livestock, the fact that it cannot be controlled or managed, it will not necessarily do what you expect it to do. In the storm and indeed the weather system there is great complexity. God is more than this.
To look at a storm can be breathtakingly beautiful but at the same time extreme storms can be extremely frightening. I know there have been times when I have been sailing with my dad and I have been afraid because we were at complete mercy of the weather.
God is more…
14 “Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
hard as a mirror of cast bronze?
Elihu appears to be demonstrating that everything is in control and God has it all covered. He wanted Job to believe that God caused this trouble for him because he was not faithful to God and that God’s did this to give Job the opportunity to repent. We know of course from the intro to the whole book in the opening chapters that this occurred because of the opposite that Job was fiercely loyal to God and was counted as a faithful servant.
Perhaps Job’s greatest error was that he was too focused on himself. It’s not surprising when you consider what he was going through. His speeches seem to have focused on the fact that he was innocent and his own rights. (Chapters 29 and 31). However, God is always right (Job 32:2). Job should have really been focused on God’s greatness but instead preferred to speak about himself. Like most of us, he was the centre of his universe.
In verse 18 Elihu has a bit of a dig and implies that Job thinks he is equal with god in terms of his knowledge. This sounds absurd but in reality we all assume that position at some point. It is our core problem, that we think we know better than God and therefore do things our own way rather than his way.
19 “Tell us what we should say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
21 Now no one can look at the sun,
bright as it is in the skies
after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendour;
God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”
What would Job do if he had an audience with God, Elihu was asking an excellent question. He reasoned that the wisest thing would be to remain silent for what can we bring to the presence of God that is worth anything at all? To speak in the presence of God may invite judgment!
He uses a lot of irony on these verses and is goading Job on with provocative words. He reasoned we can barely look at the sun, let alone stand in the presence of God.
The men had argued about who was the wisest. This is amusing when you think about the scenario with the disciples in Mark 9:30-36 when they were all arguing about who is the greatest. Human nature has not really changed, We all want to be one better than those around us. There is something comically ugly about this.