Job 36

* Elihu speaks of man's conduct. (1-8) Why those who cry out

under afflictions are not regarded. (9-13) Elihu reproves Job's

impatience. (14-26)

14-26 As in prosperity we are ready to think our mountain will

never be brought low; so when in adversity, we are ready to

think our valley will never be filled up. But to conclude that

to-morrow must be as this day, is as absurd as to think that the

weather, when either fair or foul, will be always so. When Job

looked up to God, he had no reason to speak despairingly. There

is a day of judgment, when all that seems amiss will be found to

be right, and all that seems dark and difficult will be cleared

up and set straight. And if there is Divine wrath in our

troubles, it is because we quarrel with God, are fretful, and

distrust Divine Providence. This was Job's case. Elihu was

directed by God to humble Job, for as to some things he had both

opened his mouth in vain, and had multiplied words without

knowledge. Let us be admonished, in our afflictions, not so much

to set forth the greatness of our suffering, as the greatness of

the mercy of God.

5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He

is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is

ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy,

and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God

intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and

to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to

be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the

grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us

from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to

do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of

the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for

God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further?

We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace

which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in

its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are

consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace,

and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in

the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps

the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners

die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is

dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in

everlasting misery.
15-23 Elihu shows that Job caused the continuance of his own

trouble. He cautions him not to persist in frowardness. Even

good men need to be kept to their duty by the fear of God's

wrath; the wisest and best have enough in them to deserve his

stroke. Let not Job continue his unjust quarrel with God and his

providence. And let us never dare to think favourably of sin,

never indulge it, nor allow ourselves in it. Elihu thinks Job

needed this caution, he having chosen rather to gratify his

pride and humour by contending with God, than to mortify them by

submitting, and accepting the punishment. It is absurd for us to

think to teach Him who is himself the Fountain of light, truth,

knowledge, and instruction. He teaches by the Bible, and that is

the best book; teaches by his Son, and he is the best Master. He

is just in all proceedings.
24-33 Elihu endeavours to fill Job with high thought of God,

and so to persuade him into cheerful submission to his

providence. Man may see God's works, and is capable of

discerning his hand in them, which the beasts are not, therefore

they ought to give him the glory. But while the worker of

iniquity ought to tremble, the true believer should rejoice.

Children should hear with pleasure their Father's voice, even

when he speaks in terror to his enemies. There is no light but

there may be a cloud to intercept it. The light of the favour of

God, the light of his countenance, the most blessed light of

all, even that light has many a cloud. The clouds of our sins

cause the Lord to his face, and hinder the light of his

loving-kindness from shining on our souls.

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