Job 36:1-15 “He Openeth Also Their Ear To Discipline, and Commandeth That They Return From Iniquity”

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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.

Introduction

As we saw earlier, Elihu is “speaking in God’s stead” as a type of God’s “two witnesses” who witness ‘in the streets of “that great city where our Lord was crucified’.

Job 33:6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.

This is an important point because he makes it again here at the beginning of our study:

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.

The word ‘suffer’ is the Chaldee word ‘kathar’, and it means literally to surround. It is translated variously as ‘enclose round about’, ‘compass about, and ‘beset round’. Here are a few examples of how this word is translated:

Jdg 20:43 Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.
Psa 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
Psa 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

It appears that Elihu is urging Job and his friends to gather around him and listen very attentively to what he has been given to “speak in God’s stead”. The word which is translated “I will show you” is ‘chavah’. “I will show you” it is a worthy translation, but because it is followed by “I have yet to speak on God’s behalf”, in this case it is telling us that what Elihu is ‘showing us’ is more than just his opinion. It is rather divine revelation.

Job 36:3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

Truly this is a new and divine revelation to Job as the type of us. That is the very meaning of “… knowledge from afar”. This is not knowledge which we just naturally acquire. To “ascribe righteousness to [ our] Maker”, instead of ascribing it to ourselves as Job does, is a completely unheard of revelation for us. Here is what is actually, just naturally in our hearts, when we are first compelled to demonstrate what we really believe about the source of any good or righteous deeds which we might perform. Here is how we all first answer our accusers:

Job 27:5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
Job 27:6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Job 27:7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.

Considering the fact that Job, the type of us, has made it clear that God Himself had come against him, these are very presumptuous words for us to be thinking, much less uttering. Elihu is revealing for the very first time to Job that all righteousness is of God and not of ourselves.
Job really is the type of God’s elect who can acknowledge that even the evil which befalls them is a work of God, and yet cannot at first believe that they have any wickedness within them which would necessitate such discipline as is now being administered by God Himself.
Remember how eager Job, meaning each of us, is to declare to the whole world all the good and wonderful works he (and we) have done for God. Like all of us, Job truly thought he believed in God’s sovereignty. But when it comes down to demonstrating what is truly in our hearts we do not “ascribe righteousness to God” while God was pouring out the seven vials of His wrath upon the kingdom of our old self- righteous man. Here is he to whom we, as Job, ascribe righteousness before we hear the words of Elihu:

Job 29:11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
Job 29:12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
Job 29:13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
Job 29:15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
Job 29:17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

We think we believe in a sovereign God, and we start out well:

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

But when the Sun arises upon our lives, and our circumstances are like boils all over our bodies, and everyone is looking down upon us as ‘the chief of sinners”, we discover then that we do not have not “the root of Jesse” within us and we wither before the great heat of the “Sun of righteousness”:

Mat 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mal 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

It all serves to demonstrate how it is truly possible, and even necessary, that we must at one time experience and acknowledge that we have all “held fast [ the] name [ of Christ], and were at the same time, “dwell[ ing]… where Satan’s throne is” within us.

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Rev 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

For as long we serve God and are led by God Himself to do so “in the wilderness” is where we “rebel against [ Him]… ten times”.

Exo 13:18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
Num 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

In time we can, with Job, ascribe all the evils we both endure and commit to God’s sovereignty, and confess without complaining that it is God and God alone who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11).

Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Elihu, witnessing God’s truth, will speak only what is God’s Truth.

Job 36:4 For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

Elihu is contrasting his words to those of Job’s three friends, of whom Job himself had said:

Job 13:7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
Job 13:8 Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
Job 13:9 Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?

When the Old Testament prophets spoke for God, they did so with the same authority with which our Lord spoke. “… My words shall not be false: He that is perfect in knowledge is with you”, is all referring to Elihu himself, and to this very day, men think nothing of belittling those who are faithful to the words of our Lord. Here again are the words of Henry Halley’s words about Elihu. I quote them because they reflect the reaction of the self- righteous Job within us all, to anyone who has attained not thinking above what is written, but does not hesitate to speak with authority “that which is written”:

“Chapters 32 to 37. Elihu’s Speech. Job had silenced the three Friends. Elihu was angry at them because the were too dumb to answer Job. And he was angry at Job because Job seemed to him to be righteous in his own eyes, and justified himself rather than God. And now it was Elihu’s turn to tell them a thing or two. And was he conceited? Let all the earth keep silence: Elihu is about to Speak.
Much of his speech consisted in telling them what Wonderful Things he was going to say. But, like the others, his chief wisdom was in the use of words which concealed rather than made plain his meaning. His main contention seems to have been that Suffering is intended of God to be Corrective rather than Punitive.”

There it is! God has obviously blinded anyone who dares to be so bold as to say “My words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge [ and will not “think above what is written”] is with you”, will be condemned by the wise Jobs of this world with words like “… was he conceited? Let all the earth keep silence: Elihu is about to speak.” Therefore if ever you are ‘foolish’ enough to “try the spirits to see whether they are of God” and if after trying those spirits and finding that those spirits are the prophecies of “false prophets who have gone out into [ this] world”, you are foolish enough to conclude with the apostle John…:

1Jn 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
1Jn 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

… then you need to be prepared to hear the great men of this world say of you ‘Is he conceited? Let the earth keep silence, this man is about to speak”, and they will hate you because you dare to speak only “what is written” and to speak it with authority. But take comfort when this happens to you because our Lord was also distinguished from all the speakers of His day in the same way:

Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Mat 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Can you and I also “know the Truth” and speak that truth with the same authority? How does Christ Himself answer that question?

Joh 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Is it presumptuous to want to be like Christ? Is not that the very definition of the word Christian? Is not being as Christ is exactly what we are told we are to be in this world?

1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Since judgment is now upon the house of God (1Pe 4:17), it behooves us to be bold and to speak only “that which is written”, and speak it with “authority and not as the scribes”. Elihu is the type of God’s elect who are the Christ of Christ, and as such they can, with Elihu, boldly say, “For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.” After all the Christ of Christ will never so much as “think above that which is written:

1Co 4:6 Now these things, brothers, I applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us ye might learn not to think above that which is written, so that ye may not be puffed up, one over the one against the other. (ACV)

Elihu, the type of God’s elect, can boldly speak “with authority… that which is written” because:

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.

Being physically poor is not a prerequisite to salvation, but being of a “poor and of a contrite spirit” is a prerequisite for being given God’s righteousness:

Psa 34:18 LORD is near to those who are of a broken heart, and saves such as are of a contrite spirit.
Isa 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
Isa 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

“Where is the place of [ God’s] rest?” God answers His own rhetorical question: “But to this man I will look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word.” Those are the ‘poor’ of whom our Lord speaks:

Mat 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Having firmly established that “righteousness [ is to be] ascribed [ only] to God”, Elihu no tells us:

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

If indeed our righteousness is to be “ascribed to God” then what Elihu is telling us when he informs us “with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted” is the same message Paul delivers to us as an ‘Elihu’ of the New Testament when he tells us this:

Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

So the righteous are a work of God, and placing them with Himself on His Throne is also all His own work. But the work He is doing in Job as a type of us, if we are indeed “His righteousness”, is accomplished only through a process which is common to all men of all time:

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.

The ” fetters and… afflictions” of verse 8 are the weaknesses, passions, and transgressions we have “exceeded” of verse 9. The word ‘if’ is never to be taken to mean that there has ever been a vessel of clay which was not “bound in fetters, and… holden in cords of affliction”, for all flesh is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, and is marred in the Potter’s hand” by design.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
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.

Sin and the tendency to transgress against our heavenly Father is such a innate part of these earthen vessels that our Lord had to be conceived of the holy spirit from His mother’s womb, and then given His Father’s spirit without measure, to restrain His flesh from committing transgressions. He alone has ever lived a life without sin:

Mat 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
Joh 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath ofGod abideth on him.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It is Elihu who is telling us to “ascribe righteousness to God”. Paul tells us that we are “made the righteousness of God in [ Christ]. But that “righteousness” really is righteousness. It is achieved through a process of judgment

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.

What these verses really tell us is that we are all disobedient hypocrites long before God chastens us and “opens [ our] ears to discipline”. These verses can be, and they generally are, understood as an exhortation to mankind to use his fabled “free will” to choose between righteousness and obedience on the one hand, and disobedience and iniquity and sin on the other hand. But the fact is that Elihu has just informed us:

Job 36:6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.

So when he also tells us that “He opens their ear to discipline, and commands that they return from iniquity”, what Elihu is really telling us is the same thing Paul tells us God accomplishes in us through His free gift of grace.
Paul tells us that we are “saved by grace through faith”.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

But what does God’s grace accomplish in us, and how does God’s grace accomplish His work in us? Here is what grace does. This is what grace accomplishes within us:

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

So God uses His grace to ‘teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age’. But how does God’s grace “teach us to deny ungodliness…”? The answer to how He accomplishes that within us is to be found in understanding what is the Greek word which is translated with the English word ‘Teach’. The Greek word translated as ‘teach’ in Tit 2:12 is ‘paideuo’, and that is the same word which is translated as “chasten” in this verse:

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth [ paideuo], and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

So that is how grace accomplishes what it does within us. It chastens us to forsake ungodliness. It is the same word in this verse of scripture:

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

This all sheds an entirely new light upon this verse of scripture:

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

So “grace doth much more abound” doesn’t have anything at all to do with a ‘get out of jail for free’ card which we can use our fabled free will to choose. Rather “grace did much more abound” simply means that, as the book of Job so graphically demonstrates, Job’s self- righteous condemnation of His God, is not even a challenge for God’s chastening grace. God’s chastening will always abound far beyond puny man’s ability to resist. The fact is that even when Job within us does resist, that thought to do so was “of the Lord” and not of Job within us at all:

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 [ within each of us].

“The hypocrites in heart” of verse 13 are those who know God’s word but prefer smooth things over that which is right. Job, as us, is convinced that he is a righteous man who honors God, yet he makes it clear that he prefers to avoid this entire trial, to the extent that he is found to be condemning His own God for what He considers to be just too much affliction. Because of our hypocrisy, and because we prefer to condemn God rather than simply endure our trials, we “heap up wrath.

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.

Isaiah tells us this about “the hypocrites in Zion”:

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

These two verses are essentially a condensed version of what verses 10-15 of this 36th chapter are telling us. God is in the process of destroying the old man within us, and birthing our new man within us.
Paul puts it in this way:

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.

So it is not a matter of choosing to do good versus choosing to do evil, although we will make that choice, rather it is a matter of being caused to choose the evil, before we are caused to choose to do what is right and just.
Since we are clearly told that “there is none good, no not one”, it is abundantly clear that we are all, as Job was, self- righteous hypocrites, before we repent and become obedient and submissive to the will of our heavenly Father.

Psa 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

With all of this in mind, let’s look again at what we have been told by Elihu concerning what God is doing with us and with mankind:

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 Old Testament type of ruling and reigning with Christ a thousand years].
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. [ The Old Testament type of the destructionof our old man by being cast into the lake of fire].
Job 36:15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

Next week, if the Lord wills, we will see just how true it is that we are all guilty of being disobedient, long before any of us becomes obedient. We will be shown how true it is that “there is one event to all men” (Ecc 9:2).
Here are our verses for next weeks study:

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.

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