Elihu’s Rebuke #6: Conclusion

Elihu succeeded in preparing Job for what is to come, as we will see next week. Because of Elihu’s words, Job’s heart is softened and ready to receive God’s words. You see, effectually all that Elihu was saying to Job: “Your God is too small, Job. Let me make it bigger for you.” We need a big God. We need to see our God as big as He really is, because we will suffer. Being declared right before God on the basis of Jesus’ work does not exempt us from suffering. Maybe even on the contrary! And when we do, how we view God is crucial. Our God is gracious, just, and great.

By His sovereign grace, God chose us from before the foundation of the world. By His sovereign grace, God justified us freely through the gift of saving faith. And by His sovereign grace, God is sanctifying us through suffering according to His infinite wisdom. We should not “… despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Pro. 3:11-12). And, as John Piper beautifully says, “its aim is that our faith might be refined, our holiness might be enlarged, our soul might be saved, and our God might be glorified.”

Elihu’s Rebuke #1: An Introduction
Elihu’s Rebuke #2: God Is Gracious
Elihu’s Rebuke #3: God is Just
Elihu’s Rebuke #4: God is Great
Elihu’s Rebuke #5: Suffering as a Discipline
Elihu’s Rebuke #6: Conclusion

Elihu’s Rebuke #4: God is Great

In his final speech, Elihu seeks to persuade Job to focus on God’s character in two ways, preparing him to fully open his heart for when God speaks:

He first proclaims God’s greatness in His dealings with humans: “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any; he is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives the afflicted their right. He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne he sets them forever, and they are exalted. And if they are bound in chains and caught in the cords of affliction, then he declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly. He opens their ears to instruction and commands that they return from iniquity. If they listen and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness. But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword and die without knowledge.” (Job 36:5-12)

Elihu felt that Job needed a better theology on how compassionately God treats the righteous, never withdrawing His eyes from them but continually protecting and blessing them, and that if they do stray that He does everything to draw them back to faithfully serve him. The implication was that the unrepentant Job should welcome God’s discipline for He loves those He reproves and disciplines.

He then proclaims God’s greatness in His dealings with nature: “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?” (Job 36:26-29) “God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it. Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.” (Job 37:5-10)

Elihu wanted Job to not only appreciate the greatness of God, but also the submission of creation. The implication was that unrepentant Job should submit to God the way His creation does.

Elihu’s Rebuke #1: An Introduction
Elihu’s Rebuke #2: God Is Gracious
Elihu’s Rebuke #3: God is Just
Elihu’s Rebuke #4: God is Great
Elihu’s Rebuke #5: Suffering as a Discipline
Elihu’s Rebuke #6: Conclusion