Now in this, you are not right– I answer you, for God is greater than a human being. Why do you contend against him, that he does not answer all a person's words? "For God speaks, the first time in one way, the second time in another, though a person does not perceive it. In a dream, a night vision, when deep sleep falls on people as they sleep in their beds. Then he gives a revelation to people, and terrifies them with warnings, to turn a person from his sin, and to cover a person's pride. He spares a person's life from corruption, his very life from crossing over the river. (Job 33:12-18)
Elihu states correctly that God will use dreams to warn you about the dangers that you may be in or about to face. Job was warned by God in a dream (Job 4:12-5:27) but failed to seek the Lord for understanding and wisdom to apply it to his life (Daniel 2:27,28). The goal of the chastening is stated here: to cause repentance, to effect brokenness, to save a soul from Hell, and prevent an early death (2 Corinthians 7:10. James 5:19,20. 1 Corinthians 11:30-32). However, if we do not listen to chastening, then the lesson escalates to scourging…
Or a person is chastened by pain on his bed, and with the continual strife of his bones, so that his life loathes food, and his soul rejects appetizing fare. His flesh wastes away from sight, and his bones, which were not seen, are easily visible. He draws near to the place of corruption, and his life to the messengers of death. (Job 33:19-22)
That would be scourging – ouch!
If there is an angel beside him, one mediator out of a thousand, to tell a person what constitutes his uprightness; and if God is gracious to him and says, 'Spare him from going down to the place of corruption, I have found a ransom for him,' then his flesh is restored like a youth's; he returns to the days of his youthful vigor. He entreats God, and God delights in him, he sees God's face with rejoicing, and God restores to him his righteousness. (Job 33:23-26)
I believe this passage is referring to the pre-incarnate intercessory ministry of the Lord Jesus. The ransom is Jesus’ own life, and through it, He restores our righteousness before God by giving us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). The angel is the angel of the Lord. The angel of the Lord often relays what Jesus is saying to others (Revelation 1:1). I do not believe that the angel of the Lord is the Lord; however, where you see one you will see the other. This is Jesus’ guardian angel, the one that protected Him when he was born a man (1).
Furthermore, I believe all of us are given a guardian angel (1) when we are born (Matthew 18:10). Jesus is the mediator that Job was unaware of (Job 9:33), Elihu is an example of a righteous man you can find out of a thousand (Ecclesiastes 7:28) and God the Father is the one that declares a person upright or righteous (Romans 3:21-26). Here you see the three parties that are always working together to accomplish God’s will on Earth: God, Man, and Angels. These three parties are working together to save Job – that is to save us! Job figuratively represents fallen man who even at his best is still infinitely far from the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Understand this… Job will be restored because of Jesus’ intercession for him (Hebrews 7:25).
That person sings to others, saying: 'I have sinned and falsified what is right, but I was not punished according to what I deserved. He redeemed my life from going down to the place of corruption, and my life sees the light!' "Indeed, God does all these things, twice, three times, in his dealings with a person, to turn back his life from the place of corruption, that he may be enlightened with the light of life. (Job 33:27-30)
The desired outcome for Job is stated, and it applies to us as well: repentance and brokenness leading to restoration. Furthermore, it says here that God gives all mankind two or three chances at salvation. That is, no one will be able to stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment and be able to say that they never heard of the Plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ (Revelations 20:11-15). Lastly, the goal is to have all men saved from Hell and enlightened with Jesus – the light of life (John 8:12). Unfortunately, not all will accept the free gift of God’s salvation (John 3:16-19).
Did you realize before now that the book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible, contained the Gospel? Again, Job is not about how God “allows” a righteous man to suffer to teach Satan a lesson. It is about God dealing with a self-righteous man to deliver him from Satan. That is the theme of the Gospel! (Acts 26:18)
The young man Elihu continues by asking the three friends of Job to keep listening to what God is saying to and through him…
Pay attention, Job– listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have any words, reply to me; speak, for I want to justify you. If not, you listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom." Elihu answered: "Listen to my words, you wise men; hear me, you learned men. For the ear assesses words as the mouth tastes food. Let us evaluate for ourselves what is right; let us come to know among ourselves what is good. (Job 33:31-33. Job 34:1-4)
Elihu summarizes what (self) righteous Job has been saying to his friends about himself and God.
For Job says, 'I am innocent, but God turns away my right. Concerning my right, should I lie? My wound is incurable, although I am without transgression.' What man is like Job, who drinks derision like water! He goes about in company with evildoers, he goes along with wicked men. For he says, 'It does not profit a man when he makes his delight with God.' (Job 34:5-9)
Elihu beautifully articulates God’s sovereignty and justice (Job 34:10-33). Then Elihu says the following about Job…
Men of understanding say to me– any wise man listening to me says– that Job speaks without knowledge and his words are without understanding. But Job will be tested to the end, because his answers are like those of wicked men. For he adds transgression to his sin; in our midst he claps his hands, and multiplies his words against God." (Job 34:34-37)
Then Elihu answered: "Do you think this to be just: when you say, 'My right before God.' But you say, 'What will it profit you,' and, 'What do I gain by not sinning?' I will reply to you, and to your friends with you. Gaze at the heavens and see; consider the clouds, which are higher than you! If you sin, how does it affect God? If your transgressions are many, what does it do to him? If you are righteous, what do you give to God, or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects only a person like yourself, and your righteousness only other people. "People cry out because of the excess of oppression; they cry out for help because of the power of the mighty. But no one says, 'Where is God, my Creator, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the wild animals of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of the sky?' Then they cry out– but he does not answer– because of the arrogance of the wicked. Surely it is an empty cry– God does not hear it; the Almighty does not take notice of it. (compare 1 John 5:14) How much less, then, when you say that you do not perceive him, that the case is before him and you are waiting for him! And further, when you say that his anger does not punish, and that he does not know transgression! So Job opens his mouth to no purpose; without knowledge he multiplies words." (Job 35:1-16)
Elihu continues and identifies the reason for Job’s trials.
Indeed, God is mighty; and he does not despise people, he is mighty, and firm in his intent. He does not allow the wicked to live, but he gives justice to the poor. He does not take his eyes off the righteous; but with kings on the throne he seats the righteous and exalts them forever. But if they are bound in chains, and held captive by the cords of affliction, then he reveals to them what they have done, and their transgressions, that they were behaving proudly. And he reveals this for correction, and says that they must turn from evil. If they obey and serve him, they live out their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness. But if they refuse to listen, they pass over the river of death, and expire without knowledge. The godless at heart nourish anger, they do not cry out even when he binds them. They die in their youth, and their life ends among the male cultic prostitutes. He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, he reveals himself to them by their suffering. And surely, he drew you from the mouth of distress, to a wide place, unrestricted, and to the comfort of your table filled with rich food. But now you are preoccupied with the judgment due the wicked, judgment and justice take hold of you. Be careful that no one entices you with riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside. Would your wealth sustain you, so that you would not be in distress, even all your mighty efforts? Do not long for the cover of night to drag people away from their homes. Take heed, do not turn to evil, for because of this you have been tested by affliction. Indeed, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? Who has prescribed his ways for him? Or said to him, ‘You have done what is wicked’? Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song. All humanity has seen it; people gaze on it from afar. (Job 36:5–25 NET)
Elihu definitively describes that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal (1) (Job 36;37). That is, “God is in control!” Then when Elihu finishes speaking for God (the role of a prophet), God picks up the conversation confirming everything He has said through Elihu. Think about that scenario preachers and teachers of God’s Holy Word. What a blessing it would be if when you finished your lesson – God took over where you left off confirming everything you said! God tells Job to stop the “pity party” (cf. Job 7:11,16) and they will discuss the matter…
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge? (compare Elihu's words, Job 35:16) Get ready for a difficult task like a man; I will question you and you will inform me! (Job 38:1-3)
God then proceeds to ask Job questions for which only the Creator would have the answers (Job 38:4-39). Realize, it is the arrogance of man that blinds him to his own ignorance (2 Corinthians 4:4). My, my, my, dear hearts when Father God corrects you-you stay corrected…
Then the LORD answered Job: "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let the person who accuses God give him an answer!" Then Job answered the LORD: "Indeed, I am completely unworthy– how could I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth to silence myself. I have spoken once, but I cannot answer; twice, but I will say no more." Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: "Get ready for a difficult task like a man. I will question you and you will inform me! (Job 40:1-7)
God continues in Job 40:8-24 and Job 41-34 to ask Job about things only the Creator would know. Then Job in humility answers…
Then Job answered the LORD: "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted; you asked, 'Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?' But I have declared without understanding things too wonderful for me to know. You said, 'Pay attention, and I will speak; I will question you, and you will answer me.' I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you. Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes! (Job 42:1-6)
This takes us full circle to where we started with this study with Job. Job has been convicted of pride (Job 35:12) and rebellion (Job 34:37) and repents. Satan established this pattern of pride leading to rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:12-19), and this is why God hates pride – it breaks up the family. Furthermore, pride must necessarily lead to rebellion or lawlessness (1 John 3:4) because our ways are not His ways (Isaiah 55:8).
As a young boy, I had many mischievous ideas; however, I knew better than to carry them out for fear of being caught and disciplined by my father. However, I would share these devil inspired ideas with my older brother Charlie who would do anything! Then when he was caught, I would feel terrible and would learn from the discipline that he received. Let us feel Godly sorrow and learn from our brother Job so Father God will not have to discipline us (2 Corinthians 7:9. Romans 15:4. Hebrews 12:7,8).
Again, Job is not a book proving that God is fair or that Job is perfect to Satan, but rather a book showing the futility of man to save himself. We can have many righteous actions but are still fundamentally flawed inside because of Adam’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden (1). Although Job appeared to be a “good person” on the outside, it was during the trials that his heart was revealed to be full of pride and rebellion (Jeremiah 17:9. Matthew 23:28). God knew this and after the trial Job knew it, too.
Therefore, the message of the Book of Job is – if Job, who appears to be perfect, does not measure up then no person can measure up! (James 2:10) We are all desperately in need of a Savior (Romans 7:24). Thank you, God, that You so loved the World that You sent Your unique Son Jesus to save us! (1) (1 John 4:9,10. Job 19:25-27)
The Book of Job Series:
- Job, Suffering is Part of the Job
- Job, God Planned a Happy Ending from the Beginning!
- Job, God is not Your Problem… Satan is!
- Job, God is Your Solution!
- Job, With Friends Like These Who Needs Enemies?
- Job, Do not Despise the Wisdom of the Youth!
- Job, Brokenness is the only Way to Godliness
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.