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Job 33-35

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Job Chapter 33

Elihu (as did Job and his three other friends) well understood that "The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life" (Job 33:4 RSV), just as He made the first humans i.e. "The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7 RSV). See The Spirit Of God to understand the life-giving power of the "breath" of God (see also the Fact Finder question below).

Creation

"But now, hear my speech, O Job, and listen to all my words. Behold, I open my mouth; the tongue in my mouth speaks [see Speaking In Tongues]. My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely. The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me, if you can; set your words in order before me; take your stand. Behold, I am toward God as you are; I too was formed from a piece of Clay. Behold, no fear of me need terrify you; my pressure will not be heavy upon you.

Surely, you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words. You say, 'I am clean, without transgression; I am pure, and there is no iniquity in me. Behold, he finds occasions against me, he counts me as his enemy; he puts my feet in the Stocks, and watches all my paths.'

Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you. God is greater than man. Why do you contend against Him, saying, 'He will answer none of my words'? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision [see Visions and Dreams] of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while they slumber on their beds, then He opens the ears of men [e.g. see Joseph's Dreams and Nebuchadnezzar's Dream], and terrifies them with warnings, that He may turn man aside from his deed, and cut off pride from man [see The Two Kinds Of Pride]; he keeps back his soul [see Where Is Your Soul?] from the Pit [see Sheol and Hades], his life from perishing by the sword. Man is also chastened with pain upon his bed, and with continual strife in his bones; so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite dainty food. His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen; and his bones which were not seen stick out. His soul draws near the Pit, and his life to those who bring death.

If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him; and He is gracious to him, and says, 'Deliver him from going down into the Pit, I have found a Ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor'; then man prays to God, and he accepts him, he comes into his presence with joy. He recounts to men his salvation, and he sings before men, and says: 'I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not requited to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the Pit, and my life shall see the light.' [see Awaken To The Light]

Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the Pit, that he may see the light of life.

Give heed, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom." (Job 33:1-33 RSV)

Job Chapter 34

Elihu's awareness of "If He should take back His spirit to himself, and gather to Himself His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust" is a stark reality. God could end all life, "all flesh" (which includes animals - see Do Animals Have A Soul?), just as instantly as He created life (see also Christ The Creator to understand who God sent to do the actual creating).

The Word of God

"Then Elihu said: "Hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know; for the ear tests words [see Ears To Hear] as the palate tastes food. Let us choose what is right; let us determine among ourselves what is good.

For Job has said, 'I am innocent, and God has taken away my right; in spite of my right I am counted a liar; my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.' What man is like Job, who drinks up scoffing like water, who goes in company with evildoers and walks with wicked men? For he has said, 'It profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God.'

Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding, far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty [see Names Of God] that He should do wrong. For according to the work of a man He will requite him [see When Will You Be Judged?], and according to his ways He will make it befall him. Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice [see What Almighty God Can't Do]. Who gave Him charge over the earth and who laid on Him the whole world? If He should take back His Spirit to Himself, and gather to Himself His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.

If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say. Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty, who says to a king, 'Worthless one,' and to nobles, 'Wicked man'; who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands? In a moment they die; at midnight the people are shaken and pass away, and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.

For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps [see Glass Houses]. There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themselves. For He has not appointed a time for any man to go before God in judgment [see Could Christ Return Tonight?]. He shatters the mighty without investigation, and sets others in their place. Thus, knowing their works, He overturns them in the night, and they are crushed. He strikes them for their wickedness in the sight of men, because they turned aside from following Him, and had no regard for any of His ways, so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, and He heard the cry of the afflicted - When He is quiet, who can condemn? When He hides His face, who can behold Him, whether it be a nation or a man? - that a godless man should not reign, that he should not ensnare the people.

For has any one said to God, 'I have borne chastisement; I will not offend any more; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more'? Will he then make requital to suit you, because you reject it? For you must choose [see Choose Life!], and not I; therefore declare what you know.

Men of understanding will say to me, and the wise man who hears me will say: 'Job speaks without knowledge, his words are without insight.' Would that Job were tried to the end, because he answers like wicked men. For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God." (Job 34:1-37 RSV)

Job Chapter 35

Elihu continued with more plain statements of truth (although he was starting to make the same mistake as Job and his friends did with haughtiness).

Earth

"And Elihu said: "Do you think this to be just? Do you say, 'It is my right before God,' that you ask, 'What advantage have I? How am I better off than if I had sinned?' I will answer you and your friends with you. Look at the heavens [see How High Is Heaven?], and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you. If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him; or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself, and your righteousness a son of man.

Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty. But none says, 'Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?' There they cry out, but he does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God does not hear an empty cry, nor does the Almighty regard it. How much less when you say that you do not see him, that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him! And now, because his anger does not punish, and he does not greatly heed transgression, Job opens his mouth in empty talk, he multiplies words without knowledge." (Job 35:1-16 RSV)

Fact Finder: What would happen if God withdrew His "breath" from humanity? Would "all flesh" die? Is the Holy Spirit the enabling power of life?
Job 34:14-15; see also Giving Up The Ghost


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