Job 35: 1-16 “He Hath Visited In His Anger; Yet He Knoweth It Not In Great Extremity”

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Job 35:1 Elihu spake moreover, and said,
Job 35:2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?
Job 35:3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?
Job 35:4 I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.
Job 35:5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.
Job 35:6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
Job 35:7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
Job 35:8 Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
Job 35:9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.
Job 35:10 But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
Job 35:12 There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.
Job 35:13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.
Job 35:14 Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.
Job 35:15 But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:
Job 35:16 Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

Introduction

Elihu’s witness to us through Job occupies six chapters of this book. It encompasses chapters 32-37. From beginning to end, Elihu is admonishing us via Job to repent of thinking that our own judgment concerning how God should deal with us is either right nor just. It is just natural for all of us to think that we could deal with mankind in a much more humane way than God is dealing with mankind. Our flesh just naturally wonders how a loving, all powerful God, who could at any moment stop all the wretchedness of mankind and all the suffering that mankind inflicts upon his fellows, can just sit there and not intervene. Such thoughts deny that it is God Himself who makes all these wicked men who occupy this earth “for the day of evil” in all these wicked men. It denies that it is God Himself who “create[ s] evil”, and causes us all to err”.

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Isa 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
Isa 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

Because it is beyond our ability to do so, we cannot see the wisdom that God has in using evil to bring forth good. That is the very purpose for all the evil that is in this world. The greater the evil in this world, the greater the good that comes of that evil:

Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
Gen 50:20 But as for you [ each of us as our “old man… the first man Adam”], ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Gen 50:21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

As long as we continue to think in that way, we are nothing less than a beast whose deadly wound has been healed, and we are still worshiping the beast God has placed within us all.

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Rev 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
Rev 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Rev 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

As the type of Job, you and I cannot make war with the beast we all are. But when Christ pours out the seven vials of His wrath upon the beast within us, He can and He does make war with our beast, and He destroys him through the judgment He brings upon the kingdom of the beast with us.

Rev 16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat [ Greek, thronos – throne] of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, [ As the book of Job demonstrates]

As Job, we truly are in total darkness, and we do not even realize that we are guilty of blaspheming God when we are condemning Him for how He accomplishes His work within us. Yet that is exactly what we are doing as we imagine and declare how much more merciful we would be if we could deal with the beast within and still bring that beast to know and love his Maker.
Here are Job’s self- righteous words to those who were sent by God to torment Job:

Job 16:4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
Job 16:5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

The very definition of life eternal is to know God and His son, and still we contend with how He is “working all things [ including those tormenting Job] after the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11):

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Elihu is speaking in God’s stead and is helping us to “know God and Jesus Christ…”

Job 35:1 Elihu spake moreover, and said,
Job 35:2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?

As we have been discussing, we don’t even realize that we really are guilty of “utter[ ing] that [ we] understood not; things too wonderful for [ us], which [ we] knew not.” So Job, as us, confesses:

Job 42:3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

King David warns us of this presumptuous sin of self- righteousness which emboldens us to place our own judgment about that of our God. He calls it “the great transgression”.

Psa 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

The fact we are given this prayer should tell us that this is exactly what we just naturally will do with the carnal mind we are given from birth.

Job 35:3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

As always we are not aware of the clear implications of our own words. This is not a direct quote, but it is God’s own assessment of Job’s accusing words toward his own God and Maker. Let’s just examine these words out of our own hearts as expressed by Job:

Job 9:13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
Job 9:14 How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
Job 9:15 Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
Job 9:16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
Job 9:17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
Job 9:18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
Job 9:19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
Job 9:20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
Job 9:21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
Job 9:22 This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

Look at our words to God: “Though I were perfect… He destroys the perfect and the wicked”. What presumptuousness to accuse God of destroying the perfect and the wicked! Far better it is to acknowledge just how far from ‘perfect’ we are in these “marred… vessels of clay. Here is what was revealed to King David, “when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba”.

Psa 51:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

But Job was before King David and knew nothing about being ‘shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin’. Elihu had rhetorically asked this question:

Job 35:2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?
Job 35:3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

Now he answers his own question:

Job 35:4 I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.
Job 35:5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.

It is always good to have a proper perspective of what we are dealing with. When we are dealing with God, it is good to realize that “the heavens and… the clouds… are higher than [ we are]”. It is also good to acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than ours.

Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Speaking in God’s stead, Elihu wants us to know how little He is affected by anything, good or evil, that we may do. We are completely incapable of either hurting or benefiting God of ourselves. The scriptural fact is that whatever are our decisions, whether to serve God or to rebel against Him, our very thoughts are given to us, and we are nothing more than “clay in the Potter’s hand”.

Pro 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

What Elihu is telling us is that even Job’s self- righteous condemnation of His own God “is from the Lord”. Another proverb tells us:

Pro 20:24 Man’s goings [ good or evil] are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

Jeremiah adds these words:

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Man cannot direct his steps because everything we do was “written in God’s book before we were even born:

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them. (ASV)

So then if “the days ordained for [ us] were all written in His book when as yet there was none of them”, then Elihu’s conclusion is the only logical conclusion:

Job 35:6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
Job 35:7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?

One of the most difficult scriptural doctrines to proclaim is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty over not just the good and righteous deeds we are granted to do, but also the sins that we commit against God and His Christ and against any of our fellow men. Nevertheless, here is that doctrine, which demonstrates that our sins cannot hurt God, because it is God who makes us to err and who “means” all of our sins to work His own will, all in His time “to save much people alive”.

Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

“God meant it unto good” is the purpose for all evil of all men of all time. In His time all evil will all be “unto good”. Even our sins, according to the scriptures, are not really our sins at all, but are the direct result of “the law of sin which is in [ our] members”.

Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but [ the law of] sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but [ the law of] sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

And as James teaches us, there is but “one law giver who is able to save and to destroy”.

Jas 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Therefore nothing we do against God, or for God, either benefits Him or hurts Him.

Job 35:8 Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
Job 35:9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.

“Thy wickedness” is not a particular act of Job’s wickedness, but refers back to the previous two verses in which Elihu had made this general statement:

Job 35:6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
Job 35:7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?

Verse nine continues with the fact that men just naturally perpetrate oppressive acts upon their fellows. Job himself is being “oppressed… by reason of the” very people who had once claimed to be his friends, but who are now, because Job is being judged, just naturally falsely accusing him even in his tormented state. Now Elihu reveals to us what it is within us which causes us all to take such a long time to fulfill these verses:

Job 34:31 Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
Job 34:32 That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

It is our own pride in our own self- righteousness, which causes us to contend with and condemn our own God, and it is our own pride which sustains our defense of our own ways in the face of God’s judgments at the hands of His fiery word.

Job 35:10 But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;

When Elihu says “None saith, Where is God my Maker…” he is referring to “the oppressed [ who]… cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty”. None of us, “because of the pride of evil men” which we all have by nature, are willing to so much as acknowledge that our suffering is part of the “all things” which God Himself is “working… after the counsel of His own will”. When finally we are granted to do so, at that moment we are given hope that all our trials are “meant unto good”, and though we are still suffering “in the night” we are also “given songs in the night”. This is a Biblical phrase which denotes the hope given us when we are granted to appreciate the righteous sovereignty of God in all things, including our “fiery trials” (1Pe 4:12).

Psa 42:8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
Psa 42:9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Psa 42:10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
Psa 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

King David asks us: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Elihu continues with that thought, and tells us what it is that keeps us “cast down [ and] disquieted within”. He is now going to reveal what it is that is within us which keeps us from “hoping in God”.

Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
Job 35:12 There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.

Who teaches us…” refers to “God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;”

Job 35:13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.

There is nothing more ‘vain’ than our worthless pride, which keeps us from saying:

“I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more” (Job 34:31-32).

Job 35:14 Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.

That was indeed the essence of these words of Job:

Job 23:3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
Job 23:4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
Job 23:5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
Job 23:6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
Job 23:7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

“Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” indicates how far from God Job was, who didn’t even realize that God was so close to him that he was at that moment being judged and chastened by a loving heavenly Father.

1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Job 35:15 But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

“Because it is not so” refers to Elihu’s admonition “therefore trust you in Him” in the previous verse. It is because we do not trust in God to do what is best for us, that our loving heavenly Father is forced to “visit us in His anger”. Thankfully He does not visit us in the “great extremity [ of] His anger”.

Job 35:16 Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

It is only because of the mercy of a loving heavenly Father, who holds back “the extremity [ of] his anger” from us, which permits us to “open [ our] mouth in vain, [ and] multiply words without knowledge… contending with, reproving, and condemning” our own God. In next week’s study we will learn that God opens our ears to discipline, which ‘discipline’ is also said to be “in oppression”:

Job 36:1 Elihu also proceeded, and said,
Job 36:2 Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.
Job 36:3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
Job 36:4 For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.
Job 36:5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
Job 36:6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.
Job 36:7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.
Job 36:8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
Job 36:9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.
Job 36:10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
Job 36:11 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
Job 36:12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
Job 36:13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.
Job 36:14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
Job 36:15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

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