Answering the Question of God’s Fairness (Job 37:14-24)

Job 37:14-24

 

14 “Hear this, O Job;

stop and consider the wondrous works of God.

15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them

and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?

16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,

the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,

17 you whose garments are hot

when the earth is still because of the south wind?

18 Can you, like him, spread out the skies,

hard as a cast metal mirror?

19 Teach us what we shall say to him;

we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.

20 Shall it be told him that I would speak?

Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?

21 “And now no one looks on the light

when it is bright in the skies,

when the wind has passed and cleared them.

22 Out of the north comes golden splendor;

God is clothed with awesome majesty.

23 The Almighty—we cannot find him;

he is great in power;

justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.

24 Therefore men fear him;

he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”

 

            For most of the book that bears his name, Job has been complaining that God has not treated him fairly.  Job has suffered, but he has not been living in rebellion against God.  While I’m sure that Job knew he was not absolutely perfect, sinless in the depth of his heart, Job did know that he was always quick to repent, to offer sacrifice for his sins, and to obey God.  Job had treated others rightly and been generous toward the needy.  Why, then, was Job suffering?  It was not fair.

 

            Here at the end of the speech of Elihu, we see a completely different way of viewing the question.  It is as if Job asked, “What color is the sky,” and Elihu answered, “Seven.”  Elihu took the question of God’s fairness to Job in a completely different direction, and Elihu was right.

 

            Elihu begins and ends his argument with one simple assumption: God is perfect.  All that God does is right.  It is God’s nature and character to be right.  Were God to do what is wrong, God would not be God.  But if God has done something, it by  bent of fact, is right—completely and absolutely right.

 

            If all that God does is right, what happens when we feel like what God has done is wrong?  The answer that Elihu is trying to get Job to see is that our feelings, not God’s rightness, is what must be questioned.  We do not know as much as God.  We cannot do the things that God does.  We did not create the heavens.  We do not command the rain and snow.  We cannot even find God if we search for Him.  God is perfect.  We are tiny, next to nothing, in comparison. 

 

            As the scene draws to a close, Job and Elihu look.  A storm is approaching—the source for many of Elihu’s metaphors.  Yet, there is something unique.  In this storm, the presence of God is manifest.  God is about to come and speak with Job.  God is about to answer Job’s queries.  How will Job answer?  He will answer with the line of reasoning that Elihu has already taken.  God will show Job that God is perfect and Job, little, tiny, puny Job, cannot possibly understand the deep workings and ways of the one and only true and holy God.

 

            What about you and me?  Is God unfair to us?  Have we been treated unfairly by God.  Do we try to make God prove that his ways are right?  Do we try to examine God’s commands for the reasoning behind them?  Do we try to subject God to our approval as if we have the right to sit in judgment over God’s decisions?  Be careful.  Be very careful.  God is holy.  We are not.  God is omniscient.  We are not.  All that God does is right.  We only do right when God helps us.  Let us remember the holiness of our God and tremble at his awesome majesty.  Let us bow before him and acknowledge that, regardless of what we can understand, his ways are perfect.

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