Job 36:16-33 “You Have Chosen [Iniquity] Rather Than Affliction”

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Job 36:16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.
Job 36:17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.
Job 36:18 Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.
Job 36:19 Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
Job 36:20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.
Job 36:21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.
Job 36:22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
Job 36:23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
Job 36:24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.
Job 36:25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.
Job 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
Job 36:27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
Job 36:28 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.
Job 36:29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
Job 36:30 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.
Job 36:31 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.
Job 36:32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.
Job 36:33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Introduction

Elihu is speaking “in God’s stead”, and he is not cutting Job any slack at all. Job is the Old Testament type of “the old… first man Adam with each of us, and God is causing us to give an accounting of all the evil which God has caused us to perform in these sinning machines, marred clay vessels in which He has placed us. God is doing all of this via Elihu as His mouthpiece.
In last week’s study, we saw that Elihu told Job that God places even His elect ‘in fetters and in cords of affliction’ by His design.

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.

It is He who “works” all of this within us.

Pro 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
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.
Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Then after He hardens our hearts, and “made [ us] to err from [ His] ways” He “commands [ us] to return from iniquity”, all for the express purpose of humbling us and bringing us “to our wits’ end” so that we will cry out to Him for His mercy upon us and show us that our old man of clay and dust is doomed from the beginning and must be relinquished and destroyed before we can inherit the kingdom of God. Knowing all of this, let’s read verses 8-10 again, and then read Ecc 1:13, along with 1Co 15:50, the verses which explain why God must show us who and what our “old… first man Adam, is and what we must understand about that doomed “old man”.

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.
Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Elihu is the first prophet in scripture who reveals that God has a process in place through which we are all being purged of the pride which is innate to our marred vessels of clay. He even outlines that godly process which is common to all men. Elihu reveals that God’s righteous elect are also evil before they are changed by God’s chastening wrath:

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. [ The destiny of our “new man”]
Job 36:12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. [ The destiny of our “old man”]
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.

The essence of what we are being told is that the “first man, Adam” in all men must die, and must be “blotted out of [ God’s] book” and replaced by “the last Adam”, and we are being told that this is common to all men. Even the righteous from whom “He withdraws not His eyes” are in the fetters of sin before they are the first to be delivered. This message is alluded to in the book of Exodus where we are told plainly:

Exo 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Then in the book of Ecclesiastes it is revealed that this process is the same for all men:

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

While we, as Job, do not realize it, here again are those who have “sinned against [ God]”.

Psa 53:2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
Psa 53:3 Every one of them [“the first Adam in all men] is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

So “every one of them… will I blot out of my book”, and every “first man, Adam” will be destroyed, and replaced by “the new man… the last Adam”.

Jer 18:3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jer 18:5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jer 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
1Co 15:44 It is sown [ by “the Potter”] a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual [“another vessel”].
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

But Job is in the midst of this process of being judged, and is completely unaware as yet that his experience is a type of what all must endure “each in his own order” (1Co 15:23). So Elihu admonishes us via Job:

Job 36:16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.
Job 36:17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.

“You have fulfilled the judgment of the wicked” means that God has been chastening Job:

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

It is God’s judgment upon us which teaches us righteousness:

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

This principle of God’s judgment being of a chastening character which causes the inhabitants of the earth to learn righteousness is just as true in the great white throne judgment as it is in the judgment which is now upon the house of God.

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

It is a white throne because it is righteous and hopeful. It is not a black throne of hopeless doom.
Yes, Job is being chastened of the Lord, but because he is yet so very self- righteous, he cannot yet see any of this. Job is who we are, and nothing he is enduring is for himself, but it has all happened to him for our admonition, because he typifies us.

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth [ our self- righteous “old man”] take heed lest he fall.
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Of course God already knows what He has “written in [ His] book” concerning each of us. Nevertheless, as always, He admonishes us to “beware lest He take thee away with His stroke”, just as He admonishes us that we should “work out our own salvation… for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”. Here is this same enigma from the lips of Elihu.

Job 36:18 Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.

This verse accords with what we are told in Rev 15:7-8.

Rev 15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

“Because there is wrath” indicates how universal Job’s resentment is toward that wrath, the seven vials of which must be fulfilled in the lives of all men before they can enter into the temple of God in heaven.
Job typifies God’s elect who endure the fire of God’s word first. As such, we are made aware that God reveals himself to Job first through all these trials. Paul speaks of those who will be in the first resurrection in these terms:

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

God wants us to know that whether we are in the first resurrection and we rule with him a thousand years and then judge angels in the lake of fire, or whether we are raised from the dead in the second resurrection to be “cast into the lake of fire”, it is all His work. So it matters not in which resurrection He has our names written in our book, He will bring us “to our wits’ end”, and only then will we cry out to be shown His mercy. So He warns us, “beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee [ From the lake of fire judgment].”
Elihu is not finished. He continues to admonish us via Job:

Job 36:19 Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.

God is not impressed with physical wealth nor the physical power of all the nations. They are all together “less than nothing” to Him.

Pro 11:4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Isa 40:15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
Isa 40:16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
Isa 40:17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

When God is dealing with us in judgment, not only are our physical riches of no profit to us with Him, but He doesn’t even allow us to die and end the misery we must endure:

Job 36:20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.

“The night when people are cut off” refers to Job’s, and our own, preference to die rather than endure the wrath of God upon the kingdom of our “old man”.

Job 3:20 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;
Job 3:21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;
Job 6:8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
Job 6:9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!

At “our wits’ end” we despair of this life and prefer death to life, and Job typifies this very critical part of our “one event”. Just listen to Job’s words while at his own “wits’ end”:

Job 7:13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;
Job 7:14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
Job 7:15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.

King David tells us that darkness, the time of death, cannot hide us from God.

Psa 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

“The night” is a type of the time of death in scripture:

Exo 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
2Ki 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
Dan 5:30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
Dan 5:31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Luk 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Christ called the time of His own death, “the night”:

Joh 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

Elihu warns us “desire not the night when people are cut off in their place”, but he knows this is exactly what he has heard Job beg for and reprove God for refusing to let him die. Job is us when we are brought “to our wits’ end” and cry out for God to take us away from this dying old man.
Here is how King David explained his own experience:

Psa 107:24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
Psa 107:25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
Psa 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
Psa 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
Psa 107:28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
Psa 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Psa 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Psa 107:31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

It is God who commands and raises the stormy winds and lifts up the terrifying waves in our lives. It is He Himself who brings us to our wits’ end, and it is there, in the darkness of our ignorance, that we are given our instructions and learn the lessons we cannot learn any other way. Elihu is actually reiterating what he has already told Job back in chapter 33:

Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Job 33:16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
Job 33:17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
Job 33:18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
Job 33:19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:

It is here in the midst of our own storms of life, that we reprove, contend with, and condemn our God for causing us to have to endure such severe fiery trials. It is right at this juncture that we are told:

Job 36:21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

Of course we all first choose iniquity rather than affliction. That is the lesson of the story of Adam and Eve, who are also types of each of us. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God rather than to obey Him, and they certainly were not willing to endure the fire of the cherubim who were “keeping the way of the tree of life. They, and all of us, first choose iniquity rather than affliction.

Job 36:22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?

The powers that be are ordained of God.

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

So it is God who has placed every earthly leader where they are when they are there. He wants us to know this about Him:

Psa 75:7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Psa 75:8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
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.
Jer 27:5 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.
Dan 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

God is not bragging because he does not need our approval. Neither does He need our worship. But God does want us to know the Truth, and that is something we do need.
So Elihu asks:

Job 36:23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?

“Who hath enjoined Him His way?” is asking us who does God have to ask to know what He should do, and this is how Isaiah poses that same rhetorical question?

Isa 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
Isa 40:14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

The answer, of course is found in Isa 45, quoted above:

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.

Yet we have very intelligent men who actually teach that God had to learn how to create the universe, and the doctrine is that it took God thousands, or maybe millions of years to create this vast universe. Here is what God Himself informs us of how long it took Him to create this entire universe:

Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

How long were those six days? We are not left to guess because the length of those six days are qualified so as to negate any false speculation as to what is meant by “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” Here is how long those particular days were:

Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God tells us that in six “evening[ s] and morning[ s]” He simply spoke everything in the heavens and the earth into existence. In Isaiah He reiterates this fact in this manner:

Isa 48:3 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

The former things from the beginning went for out of God’s mouth, and He did them suddenly. The Hebrew word for suddenly means instantly, it does not mean millions of years.
Here is Strong’s entry for that Hebrew word:

H6597 pith’o m pith’o m pith- ome’, pith- ome’ From H6621; instantly: – straightway, sudden (- ly).

Which doctrine magnifies God’s work which men behold? Which is the greatest God, the God who has to learn how to go about creating this physical universe, or the God who does it all instantly, in six days consisting of six evenings and six mornings? It is within Job, and within all of us, to think we can reduce the Great Creator of ourselves and of the entire creation to a mere man who we can reprove, contend with and condemn. So Elihu admonishes us:

Job 36:24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.
Job 36:25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.
Job 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

It is much better to magnify and glorify God rather than to attempt to reduce Him to our mere created human level. God is certainly having no part of any such lies and foolishness. God will not lie to us about Himself. Instead he has chosen to reveal Himself to us, and He has ordained that revelation would be both hidden and revealed by our Lord and His Christ. One word for the Christ of Christ is “the clouds”, and the “drops of water” of those “clouds” are interpreted by the scriptures as the truths of His Word. So Elihu tells those who have been given ears to hear:

Job 36:27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
Job 36:28 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.
Job 36:29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
Job 36:30 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.

These verses are only a sample of the “manifold wisdom of God” which is revealed to us by His “clouds”. These verses tell us but a little of what God does through His “spreading of the clouds” and through “the noise of His tabernacle”. He does it all through the agency of His “cloud of witnesses”. Let’s look at how the scriptures us this concept of “the clouds”.

Jdg 5:4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.
Psa 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Psa 18:12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
Psa 57:10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
Psa 68:34 Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.
Psa 97:2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
Psa 104:3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
Isa 45:8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
Dan 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Clouds are God’s way of making the earth bring forth fruit. They are His strength, and they are God habitation, His chariot and His witnesses.
What else does God do by His clouds?

Job 36:31 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.

God judges His people by His clouds. Who else are we told will judge His people?

Luk 22:28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
Luk 22:29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
Luk 22:30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

God’s “clouds” bring the nourishing water of His Word, but the same clouds are used by God to keep the light of His Word from being seen by those who His is blinding. His clouds are like their master who, as a cloud, led Israel to the Red Sea to be baptized in it. That one cloud was both bright light to the one while being total darkness to the other:

Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exo 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
Isa 5:6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
Jas 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Job 36:32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.
Job 36:33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

So God’s clouds are “a cloud of witnesses” and “by them… He… judges the people. But it is also by His clouds that He covers the light and it is by His clouds that He “commands… the light… not to shine”, just as Joseph concealed himself from his own brothers while he was judging them for the evil they had committed against him.

Gen 42:21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
Gen 42:22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.
Gen 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpret er.
Gen 43:18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.

God Himself either shows us mercy or He hardens our hearts. But it is through His clouds that He does both, causing His words in the mouth of His clouds to either be received and bring the rains which cause the earth to bring forth much fruit, or He causes His words in the mouth of His clouds to be rejected and to produce a great famine in the land of those to whom He sends His great cloud of witnesses.
Next week, if the Lord wills, we will learn that God’s clouds “do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.”

Job 37:1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
Job 37:2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.
Job 37:3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
Job 37:4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
Job 37:5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
Job 37:6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
Job 37:7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
Job 37:8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
Job 37:9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.
Job 37:10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
Job 37:11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
Job 37:12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

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