Job 35-37
(Elihu Makes His Point)
June 2nd

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

I am going to answer you and your friends too.

- Job 35:4 (GNB)

Summary of Chapters

A fourth companion of Job named Elihu continues his speech and concludes it in these three chapters. His intent is to correct everyone. In chapter 35, he wrongly suggests that God is not likely to listen to Job or anyone else who cries for justice or help:

    "He does not answer when people cry out
       because of the arrogance of the wicked.
    Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;
       the Almighty pays no attention to it.
    How much less, then, will he listen
       when you say that you do not see him,
    that your case is before him
       and you must wait for him,
    and further, that his anger never punishes
       and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.
    So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;
       without knowledge he multiplies words.”

    - Job 35:12-16 (NIV)

Elihu had condemned Job’s other companions for not straightening him out, but he re-emphasizes the group’s assumption that Job has sinned, stating, “you are laden with the judgment due the wicked (Job 36:17 - NIV).”

In chapter 37, Elihu also rebukes Job for suggesting that God has done something wrong. He then describes the greatness of God that is beyond our comprehension, describing how he intervenes in the lives of different types of people as well as using examples from the water cycle and different types of precipitation.

    Look, God is great, not disdainful;
    his strength of purpose is great.
    He does not preserve the life of the wicked.

    He establishes the right of the poor;
    he does not divert his eyes from the just

    But he seats them upon thrones
    with kings, exalted forever.

    - Job 36:5-7 (NAB)

    Remember, you should extol his work,
    which people have praised in song.

    All humankind beholds it;
    everyone views it from afar.

    See, God is great beyond our knowledge,
    the number of his years past searching out.

    He holds in check the waterdrops
    that filter in rain from his flood,

    Till the clouds flow with them
    and they rain down on all humankind.

    - Job 36: 24-28 (NAB)

Elihu begins his concluding statement by saying there is no point in trying to establish a direct conversation with God on this topic, “Tell us what we should say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness (Job 27:19 - NIV).”

Reflection and Application

Elihu spoke many truths about God’s power and control. These are good examples to remember when we are thinking of ways to praise God, for example, “How great is God-beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out (Job 36:26 - NIV).”

In our era, we have scientific explanations for many of the wonders that Elihu describes. For example, Elihu said, “At his directions (the clouds) swirl around the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them (Job 37:12 - NIV).” We have an understanding of the atmospheric conditions that cause clouds to move, and our experts can forecast their movement, but not with perfect accuracy. How many times have “they” said it would rain, and it didn’t, or predicted a big snow storm that never happened? Moreover, there is no consensus on all of the reasons for long-term patterns that have taken place and very limited ability to forecast long-term.

Elihu was unwise in suggesting that God does not hear the cries of the people. In fact, we see that exact wording on a number of occasions when God decides to intervene and change the fate of his people - for example in Exodus. It is wise for us to acknowledge that God does hear us but also recognize the limits of our understanding of the Creator who ultimately controls the weather and all life on earth.

Job is criticized by his short-sighted compatriots but is commended by subsequent Biblical authors, such as Ezekiel and James

    Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

    - James 5:10-11 (NIV)

Job was stressed out by the situation, but said he would wait to hear back from God. This is the type of patience that James speaks about and is the type of patience implied when someone is attributed with having "The patience of Job."

Job began a dialogue with three companions and then a fourth one suddenly appeared, the young Elihu, who had been waiting patiently for his turn to speak. This young man has completed his discourse and neither Job nor his companions has anything to add. But wait. There is one more speaker coming – one who has waited with eternal patience and will surely set the record straight.

Despite the fact that he was somewhat misguided, Elihu recognized how great our God is (Job 36:27). The contemporary musician from Texas named Chris Tomlin (May 4th, 1972 - Current) penned a song using this phrase as the title and refrain. He also blended in lyrics from the Hymn "How Great Thou Art." This song was the number one song used in churches for the period from April 2011 - September 2011 and for many previous periods, according to Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) (1):

    The splendor of a king
    Clothed in majesty
    Let all the earth rejoice
    All the earth rejoice

    He wraps Himself in light,
    And darkness tries to hide
    And trembles at His voice
    Trembles at His voice

    How great is our God – sing with me
    How great is our God – and all will see
    How great, how great is our God

    - Excerpt from "How Great is Our God," by Chris Tomlin

You can check out an inspiring performance of this song in the YouTube clip below:

"How Great is Our God," performed by Chris Tomlin

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is the longest you have ever waited to hear an answer from someone?
    2. Who is the most patient person you know?
    3. How can we develop the patience and faith of Job?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in Heaven we know that you hear us, but we don't know how you do it. Help us to accept by faith that you exist but we won't fully understand how or why until the day we meet you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who need more patience and faith


    (1) "Top 25 Lists," Christian Copyright Licensing International,

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 38-42 (The LORD Responds)

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