Today: [Job Thirty-Seven] Turn Your Heart Toward God’s Glory in Time of Trial. In this chapter Elihu continues to extol and glorify God. He is stunned in light of the majesty of God in the earth that Job and his friends would speak about their so-called understanding of God in such a cavalier manner. Job’s friends use God to win their arguments. Job shakes his fist at God and demands his answers. Elihu just wants to fall on his face and acknowledge the glory of God in the earth. What is your response in the midst of pressure and problems? Do you turn toward God in worship or allow yourself to be distracted by the enemy?
(Job 37:1-24 KJV) 1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. 2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound [that] goeth out of his mouth. 3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. 4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. 5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. 6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou [on] the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. 7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. 8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
In this chapter Elihu continues his reflection on the greatness of God. His heart trembles as he compares the majesty of God to the unsanctified and virulent words of Job and his friends against the Almighty. He is astonished that in view of the glory of God that fills the earth they would dare to speak of Him in such vulgar terms and presume to suggest that God thinks like they think or acts in a manner that they insist they have full knowledge of. We can never forget even in our inquiry of the word of God itself who we are dealing with. Even in regarding the bible there is no book, no sermon, no teaching that can encapsulate who God is or the scope of His character or depth of His dealings with men upon the earth.
When God speaks to us it becomes necessary for Him to restrict Himself in His revelation of His person to the limits of our own finite understanding. In Romans 11:33 Paul actually quotes Job 9:10 when he writes:
Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
This is not simply because God is so great but also because we are so limited. The consequences of the fall have corrupted our capacities to understand God beyond our comprehension. Elihu in extolling the unsearchable greatness of God is saying that this should be our response at all times even when we are suffering and tempted to question God. We must remember who we are and who we are dealing with.
Psa 92:5 O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep.
Ecc 3:11 He hath made every [thing] beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
In v. 7 Elihu says that God seals up the hand of man or the work of man that we might know God. This gives us further understanding as to why God expelled man from the garden to prevent him from eating the tree of life. We also understand from this verse why God came down and confounded the languages of the people at Babel lest they succeed in building the tower and unite all humanity under Nimrod the Great. The point is not that God was angry at man’s attempt to accomplish something but to spare us from becoming irretrievably immersed in our own self-indulgence that we would become incapable of humbling ourselves and seeking God.
Fallen humanity despises the rule of God in the earth. In Paradise Lost Milton wrote “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven…” Many find the Lordship of Christ so repugnant they reject the idea of divine accountability because they find no greater authority than themselves. Unfortunately in the seeker sensitive character of modern Christianity we court this rebellion by deemphasizing the Lordship of Christ suggesting that Jesus is nothing more than a spiritual condiment to make men’s lives more palatable to their tastes as they go on their self-directed paths of determination. Elihu in his praise of God is reproving the deeply self-interested motives of Job and his friends that is evident in their often blasphemous statements about God and against God.
9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. 10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. 11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. 13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. 14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. 15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? 16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? 17 How thy garments [are] warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south [wind]?
Elihu marvels at the manner in which God reigns in mastery over the clouds bringing rain and snow and frost. When we read about God influencing the clouds and causing the rain to fall it evokes the metaphor that compares men to clouds. We are clouds and our lives are mist that God influences in His great purposes. Jude 1:12 speaks of men that are clouds without water. Hebrews 12:1 references God’s people as a great cloud of witnesses. Matthew 24:30 says that Jesus will return coming on the clouds of heaven. He isn’t just talking about a cloud of moisture vapors in the upper atmosphere. He is also talking about you and I. About the return of Christ Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians:
2Th 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day.
What this suggests is that Christ is coming IN US before He comes for us. No doubt this visitation in us is what will be necessary to take the church from a corrupt politicized monstrosity that it seems to be today and transform her (us) into the bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle. We don’t see at this time what the people of God will look like that Jesus will return for. There is coming a transformation – a bridal company brought forth – bright clouds of God flashing out His glory to a lost and dying world. Zecheriah spoke of this outpouring of God’s spirit upon men in the same language that Elihu employed comparing men with clouds:
Zec 10:1 Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
Today because revivals of religion have not been a common phenomena even Christian leaders reject the idea of another Great Awakening. Be assured however that God in describing to us His purposes promises what we can only define as a supernatural outpouring of God’s spirit upon humanity that shifts culture and softens our harden societies toward the claims of Christ. Through the prophetic scriptures we read of a last day outpouring and ingathering and the words of Elihu and the metaphors he employs are consistent with that vision.
18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, [which is] strong, [and] as a molten looking glass? 19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; [for] we cannot order [our speech] by reason of darkness. 20 Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up. 21 And now [men] see not the bright light which [is] in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. 22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God [is] terrible majesty. 23 [Touching] the Almighty, we cannot find him out: [he is] excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. 24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any [that are] wise of heart.
The molten looking glass that Elihu refers to is not something in which he was attempting to describe the physical sky. In Rev. 1:4 John saw the floor of the throne room of God as a “sea of glass like unto crystal”. When Ezekiel saw the glory of God in the plain of Chebar he saw above the living creatures in the sky above them a “terrible crystal” beyond which the glory of God sat enthroned. It is interesting that Ezekiel under the Old Covenant looks up from below through this crystal to see the throne of God but in the New Covenant John stands ON this terrible crystal looking directly at the throne of God. This speaks of our access to the heavens which the blood of Christ has purchased to us.
In all of these words of Elihu we see something about God’s heart toward us and His thoughts that He would have us direct ourselves to even in a time of trial. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up it was during a time of terrible persecution and ungodliness in the southern kingdom. The temple had been profaned. The ruling king was a deeply wicked person who led all of God’s people into idolatry. Yet when Isaiah approached unto God the Father didn’t address any of the problems that were pressing upon Isaiah. Instead he caught Isaiah up into a vision of the glory of the throne. We always have to ask ourselves in times of distraction “what is the enemy distracting us from of God’s glory by this trial?” Then press into that. Don’t give into the tyranny of the urgent but give ourselves over to seeking the kingdom and being presence driven to seek out the heart of God instead!
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