The greatness of God is beyond our understanding


Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, with some comments to help us as we read Job 37 today:

Having considered the greatness of God’s purposes, throughout the balance of chapters 36 and 37, Elihu is moved to praise God for all his goodness, seen throughout the glories of creation.

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 wrong’? Remember to extol his work, which men have praised in song. All mankind has seen it; men gaze on it from afar. How great is God-beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way he governs the nations and provides food in abundance.”

Elihu has no idea that he is speaking not only as a worshiper of YHWH, but as a prophet as well. Elihu is about to hear the very thing he has been trying to describe through his words of praise–the voice of God. And without knowing it, he has prepared the way for the coming of the Lord in the whirlwind.

In chapter 37, Elihu continues to praise YHWH. He has no idea of what is about to happen.

At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.”

Continuing his praise of the Almighty, we skip ahead to verses 20-24 and the end of Elihu’s discourse.

Should he be told that I want to speak? Would any man ask to be swallowed up? Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean. Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, men revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”

Elihu’s speech now ends. He has directed Job back to where he started–the gracious and sovereign God. Elihu has also prepared the way for the Lord. For the next words we read in Job in 38:1 are “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm.” Everyone has spoken. Job, Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar and Elihu have all had their say. Now the Lord will come and speak and whole the earth will be silent! Here is the wisdom all have been seeking. For the suffering and obedience of Job points us ahead to the doing and dying of the man of sorrows, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the very wisdom of God incarnate. In him, we find all that we need, including the resolution to the mystery of suffering and the revelation of the saving purposes of God. Amen!

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