Elihu's Speech (Part 6)
The closing section of Elihu's speech is a discourse on the greatness of God and His power. Elihu addresses many topics similarly to what God Himself will declare in the chapters to come. Here are a few quotes from the end of Job 36 - "Remember to magnify His work...Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; nor can the number of His years be discovered" (36:24,26). Elihu then exalts God for His control over storms, all of which He causes to happen for one of three reasons (which he will identify in 37:13). As Elihu proclaims the greatness of the Almighty, he wonders: Who understands how God diffuses the clouds, or how He causes the lightning and thunder?

"He does great things which we cannot comprehend" (Job 37:5). This is certainly true in general although Elihu's focus is on nature (rain, clouds, lightning, thunder, snow, ice, storms, etc.). As God declared in Isaiah 55:8,9 - "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Elihu sees God's providential hand in nature! God scatters clouds "and they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy" (Job 37:12,13). Elihu believes, and rightfully so, that God uses storms to fulfill His will in three different ways. First, an example of God using a storm for correction is seen in the seventh plague. God rained down hail from heaven (and even predicted it ahead of time; cf. Exo. 9:18,23). Second, an example of God using a storm for His land is easily understood in that rain comes down, waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud (cf. Isa. 55:10). Third, an example of God using a storm to be merciful to His people can be seen in I Samuel 7:10 - "The LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel" (cf. Josh. 10:12,13). These three points clearly demonstrate that God is in control! We know God is great, but it is very difficult to comprehend just how great He truly is!

Elihu urges Job to "stand still and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14). He then challenges Job with a number of perplexing questions about the world: "Do you know...?" God will do this very thing when He speaks to Job! Elihu then spurs Job a little and essentially says: "If you are so wise, then teach us what we should say to God! How can we, as men in darkness, speak anything to God? God is too awesome!" Elihu concludes by stating that God is not unjust and will not do wrongful violence to righteous men. Yet, he will punish the wrongdoer. Men fear God because if they are "wise of heart" (i.e., haughty and proud), then God will not have any regard for them.

It is interesting that Job doesn't respond to Elihu, but why? Is it that he doesn't have a chance to do so before God speaks? Has he given up hope of convincing his friends of his innocence? Could it be that Elihu has given him some food for thought?

There are three primary views regarding Elihu's speech:

  1. Elihu is wrong about most everything he speaks of (like the other friends).
  2. Elihu has some things wrong but is also right about many things.
  3. Elihu is right about most everything he speaks of.

In my opinion, the second view is the most reasonable. Elihu spoke many truths and perhaps God was consequently more patient with him (and did not rebuke him in chapter 42 as He did the other friends). None of the five men who have spoken in this book have everything figured out, as God will make clear when He speaks in Job 38-41.