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Chapter 36:16-33 (ESV)

Posted on June 21, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 36:16-33 (ESV) - “He also allured you out of distress
    into a broad place where there was no cramping,
    and what was set on your table was full of fatness.

“But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
    judgment and justice seize you.
Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,
    and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,
    or all the force of your strength?
Do not long for the night,
    when peoples vanish in their place.
Take care; do not turn to iniquity,
    for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
Behold, God is exalted in his power;
    who is a teacher like him?
Who has prescribed for him his way,
    or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?

“Remember to extol his work,
    of which men have sung.
All mankind has looked on it;
    man beholds it from afar.
Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
    the number of his years is unsearchable.
For he draws up the drops of water;
    they distill his mist in rain,
which the skies pour down
    and drop on mankind abundantly.
Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
    the thunderings of his pavilion?
Behold, he scatters his lightning about him
    and covers the roots of the sea.
For by these he judges peoples;
    he gives food in abundance.
He covers his hands with the lightning
    and commands it to strike the mark.
Its crashing declares his presence;
    the cattle also declare that he rises.

Question to consider: What is the difference between remorse and repentance?

Today’s passage was a warning for Job from Elihu to repent from his sin rather than merely asking to be restored to prosperity. Elihu began by pointing out that God had taken Job from a place of blessing to one of judgment. His concern was that the extreme nature of the judgment would cause Job to scoff at God and eventually turn from the faith and succumb to his wickedness. He believed that Job felt remorse for his lowly state but had not repented of his sin. Usually you can tell the difference between remorse and repentance when someone is more concerned with their punishment rather than their sin. However, in Job’s case, it hardly applies because Job had not sinned.

While it is true that calamity can cause someone to either draw closer to God or to walk away from Him, Elihu had yet to point to a specific sin from which Job needed to repent. There was also no indication that Job was wrathful toward God. He merely wanted the opportunity to be vindicated before God of the blame being put on him. I find it interesting that we have not heard about Job’s sores or discomfort since he first gave voice to them before being accused by the elders as having done something wicked to earn his awful state.

From the moment the elders started speaking, the entire conversation had been an all out assault on Job’s character, forcing him to experience one barb after another with no consolation or mercy. Facing his accusers while God seemed to ignore his pleas was at the very least adding salt to his wounds.

Elihu held a view where God sits up in heaven and watches the earth looking for the wrongs people have done in order to smite the guilty. Like Zeus with his lightning bolt, this view of God is one where men must do mighty acts to appease His ongoing wrath. While God rules over His creation, I believe most of it runs providentially. God puts systems in place like our hydrologic cycle to bring rains throughout the earth. God is not like that of the deists who believe He has no concern for His creation, but God also does not play with people like action figures and barbie dolls. God intervenes at key points in history to bring about the repentance of His people and establish His heavenly kingdom. His love is in sending His beloved Son to reconcile this people to Himself. It is not based on anything worthy in us to receive this gift.


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to see our sin before You so we may repent and be reconciled to You in Christ. Thank You for giving us Your word which reveals You to us. Help us to love and cherish it as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Amen.