MAN'S IMPOTENCE IN THE STORM
As the storm breaks upon them, Elihu himself trembles (v.1). The thunder of God's voice calls for man's close attention and His lightning spreads over the whole visible area (vv.2-3). "After it, a voice roars. He thunders with His majestic voice" (v.4). "God thunders marvellously with His voice: He does great things which we cannot comprehend" (v.5). Here before Job's eyes was an object lesson concerning the spiritual storm he had experienced. He could certainly not stop the storm, yet God would allow it only temporarily. He knows how to make the storm a calm (Psalms 107:29), as the Lord Jesus did when His disciples were torn with fear (Mark 4:38-39).
GOD'S WAYS IN WINTER
Though it was likely not snowing at this time, Elihu brings to bear another feature of the weather that God provides sometimes to speak to man's heart and conscience. He tells the snow or the rain when to fall on the earth, sometimes a gentle rain, sometimes a fierce rainstorm (v.6). Men have tried in many ways to control the weather, - a foolish, futile endeavour for they do not want to allow God to have His way. All of these things were intended to appeal to Job as regards the unpleasant circumstances he was enduring. Would Job not allow God to have His way? Thus the storm was a most important object lesson for him.
MAN'S HAND SEALED
Whatever man tries to do about it, God sends such weather as to seal the hand of every man, that everyone will know His work as infinitely greater than theirs (v.7). The beasts take refuge in dens, whether to hide from the wind or the thunder and lightning (v.8). From the south comes the whirlwind and cold from the north. Ice comes from the breath of God, - air that God sends in a cold state (vv.9-10).
STORMS AND THEIR VARIOUS EFFECTS
Thick clouds are saturated with moisture, and the clouds whirl as propelled by the wind. But all this is by the guidance of God, directed as He commands (v.12). He causes the rain to fall for three express reasons, - for correction, which man needs often; for His land, - which requires rain if it is to bear fruit; or for mercy, - at times when His creatures suffer from drought. If there is an excess of rain, no doubt this is intended for man's correction. "Praise the Lord fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word" (Psalms 148:7-8). If Job had realised this, it might have saved him some deep soul distress.
Elihu urges Job to stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Since Job thought he knew how the Lord should act toward him, did he know when and how God dispatched the rain and even caused the dark cloud to shine as light? Did he know the balancings of the clouds" (v.16) - a lesson as to God's balancing the clouds of Job's suffering in a way that Job would never have thought of. But these are works of Him who is perfect in knowledge."
ELIHU'S BEAUTIFUL CONCLUSION
"Why are your garments hot when He quiets the earth by the south wind?" (v.17). There are times of quietness and warming instead of bitter cold. Why? In fact, Job had before had the experience of summer warmth, and now was experiencing winter cold in his personal life. He had taken the warmth for granted and when the bitter cold came, he questioned why? Elihu tells him in effect that he should ask why he had experienced the pleasantness of summer warmth. Indeed, when these extremes happen is a question no-one but God can answer.
Again, had God required Job's help in spreading out the skies, strong as a cast metal mirror? (v.18). Indeed the skies are just one more example of the miraculous power of God by which He seeks to turn our eyes heavenward while taking the place of total submission to One who is so high above us.
Could Job teach his friends (including Elihu) what to say to God for Elihu himself acknowledges that he can prepare nothing to say "because of the darkness" . For God's ways are enshrouded in darkness until He reveals Himself. In other words, let God speak first before I dare to lift my voice.
"Should He be told that I wish to speak?" (v.20). Job had indicated this in chapter 23:3-4, saying he would present his case to God, filling his mouth with arguments. Did he do so when God finally spoke to him? No indeed! Rather, he said, "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth" (ch.40:3-4).
"Even now men cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies." Even though the light is bright, oftentimes men cannot see it because of the clouds, as was the case with Job. God comes from the north, the direction of mystery, yet in golden splendour, for His majesty is awesome and His greatness unsearchable. He is Almighty and we cannot discern His greatness. His power excels all that might be advanced from any direction (v.23). His judgment is supreme in wisdom, His justice pure and untainted by any questionable consideration. He does not in any way oppress, as is the case with practically every government of men, to some degree at least.
"Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart" (v.24) . Whether Job or his friends, all of whom considered themselves wise, their wisdom did not impress God, and he showed no partiality to any of them, as they may have hoped He would. All men everywhere have serious reason to fear God, and indeed to tremble in His presence.
Thus Elihu had spoken simply for God, and in this he is a type of the Lord Jesus, the one Mediator between God and men.
It has been remarked that Eliphaz in his effort to comfort Job presented his own observation as a conclusive witness that he was right in what he said (Ch, 4:8). Bildad, in following Eliphaz, appealed to the tradition handed down from older men as being reliable witness. Then Zophar virtually told Job that he was right because his own intuition told him so! All this was vain. Elihu alone insisted that mankind is totally ignorant of God unless God reveals Himself. Now God can speak!
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 37". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany