July 26, 2021

Stepping Away from Pride and Reorienting Our Lives

Job 34–35

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Elihu Asserts God's Justice

Then Elihu answered and said:

“Hear my words, you wise men,
    and give ear to me, you who know;
for the ear tests words
...

Elihu Asserts God's Justice

Then Elihu answered and said:

“Hear my words, you wise men,
    and give ear to me, you who know;
for the ear tests words
    as the palate tastes food.
Let us choose what is right;
    let us know among ourselves what is good.
For Job has said, ‘I am in the right,
    and God has taken away my right;
in spite of my right I am counted a liar;
    my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
What man is like Job,
    who drinks up scoffing like water,
who travels in company with evildoers
    and walks with wicked men?
For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
    that he should take delight in God.’

10  Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding:
    far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
    and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.
11  For according to the work of a man he will repay him,
    and according to his ways he will make it befall him.
12  Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
    and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
13  Who gave him charge over the earth,
    and who laid on him 1 the whole world?
14  If he should set his heart to it
    and gather to himself his spirit and his breath,
15  all flesh would perish together,
    and man would return to dust.

16  If you have understanding, hear this;
    listen to what I say.
17  Shall one who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,
18  who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’
    and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’
19  who shows no partiality to princes,
    nor regards the rich more than the poor,
    for they are all the work of his hands?
20  In a moment they die;
    at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
    and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.

21  For his eyes are on the ways of a man,
    and he sees all his steps.
22  There is no gloom or deep darkness
    where evildoers may hide themselves.
23  For God 2 has no need to consider a man further,
    that he should go before God in judgment.
24  He shatters the mighty without investigation
    and sets others in their place.
25  Thus, knowing their works,
    he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.
26  He strikes them for their wickedness
    in a place for all to see,
27  because they turned aside from following him
    and had no regard for any of his ways,
28  so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,
    and he heard the cry of the afflicted—
29  When he is quiet, who can condemn?
    When he hides his face, who can behold him,
    whether it be a nation or a man?—
30  that a godless man should not reign,
    that he should not ensnare the people.

31  For has anyone said to God,
    ‘I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more;
32  teach me what I do not see;
    if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
33  Will he then make repayment to suit you,
    because you reject it?
For you must choose, and not I;
    therefore declare what you know. 3
34  Men of understanding will say to me,
    and the wise man who hears me will say:
35  ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
    his words are without insight.’
36  Would that Job were tried to the end,
    because he answers like wicked men.
37  For he adds rebellion to his sin;
    he claps his hands among us
    and multiplies his words against God.”

Elihu Condemns Job

And Elihu answered and said:

“Do you think this to be just?
    Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’
that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
    How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
I will answer you
    and your friends with you.
Look at the heavens, and see;
    and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
    And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
    Or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
    and your righteousness a son of man.

Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
    they call for help because of the arm of the mighty. 4
10  But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
    who gives songs in the night,
11  who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
    and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
12  There they cry out, but he does not answer,
    because of the pride of evil men.
13  Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
    nor does the Almighty regard it.
14  How much less when you say that you do not see him,
    that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
15  And now, because his anger does not punish,
    and he does not take much note of transgression, 5
16  Job opens his mouth in empty talk;
    he multiplies words without knowledge.”

Footnotes

[1] 34:13 Hebrew lacks on him
[2] 34:23 Hebrew he
[3] 34:33 The meaning of the Hebrew in verses 29–33 is uncertain
[4] 35:9 Or the many
[5] 35:15 Theodotion, Symmachus (compare Vulgate); the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

Stepping Away from Pride and Reorienting Our Lives



Key Verse | Job 34:12, 17-20a

"Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. . . . Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty, who says to a king, 'Worthless one,' and to nobles, 'Wicked man,' who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands? In a moment they die . . . ."

Bio | James Edwards

Hi, people! My name is James Edwards, and I just finished as a Production Team Resident for Watermark's Dallas Campus! I'm from Tyler, Texas; studied film/digital media and religion at Baylor University (Sic All the Bears!); and am an avid believer that tropical flavored Skittles are the best Skittles. I am passionate about God's people learning that Jesus did not come down to make us a smart sinner or a moral person, but to change us from death to life, for it is through faith that we have been saved. Praise God, and let's go, church!

Central Truth

We naturally take pride, or find insecurity, in the sins and blessings of others. This is an easy way to show us when our mind's focus is wrongly aligned with what is beside us rather than Who is above us.

Devotional | Job 34–35

Picture this: you walk into a worship gathering on a Sunday morning, and as you're standing in your spot, singing with the lights down, the speakers blaring, and the words piercing your heart, your hand...

Picture this: you walk into a worship gathering on a Sunday morning, and as you're standing in your spot, singing with the lights down, the speakers blaring, and the words piercing your heart, your hand begins to raise. Immediately your eyes jump open, and you become aware of the people to your right and your left, seeing if their hands are up or if they're watching you. Likewise, while listening to friends' testimony about Jesus in their lives, a moment flashes by, and you begin thinking of how much worse, better, harder, more blessed, more sinful, or different your life has been compared to theirs.

These moments occur throughout our entire lives because our pride always follows us—a pride that doesn't simply mean "better," but can easily translate to "worse" or "insecure." This pride focuses its attention on the subject present in every one of these scenarios: you. Our sinful nature always desires to view things in light of how they affect ourselves. Yours, mine, and Job's sinful nature are no different.

As we see Job's argument with his three other friends, Elihu begins to boil his position down into a simple phrase: God is right, and Job is wrong. Conversely, as Job puts it, "I am in the right, and God has taken away my right" (Job 34:5). With Job's viewpoint directed at what he can see, his faith begins to fall away from who he knows God to be—just, powerful, and loving.

What Elihu tells Job is a great reminder for all of us who find ourselves coming to God and demanding to know why something wrong has happened, or why our lives seem worse than our neighbors, or why we don't have enough. "Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty?" (Job 34:17b). When we see only what we are able to, or what we desire to, then we must make sure that we come in a posture of humility to the One who declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10a).

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Discussion Questions

1. In what areas of your life do you become more aware of other people's opinions of yourself? What Scriptures can you cling to and use to combat that pride or insecurity, reminding yourself of your identity?

2. If you could clearly and efficiently describe Elihu's argument in Job 34-35, how would you? Where does he correctly remind Job of truth? Where does he fail?

3. Read Jeremiah 9:23-24. Where should you put your pride, and how is Job failing to do that?

7 Comments available

Linda Green 2 months ago

Your devo, James, was spot on! My personal spotlight on me has an automatic-on switch. Joy is the reflected glow when my personal spotlight is on God- His character and Heaven awaiting- instead of me!

Have thought about question #2 a lot- Elihu is speaking to defend the honor of God, boldly declaring God’s goodness and righteousness. But maybe he still believes that Job has done something to deserve his suffering (Job 34:11). Think that is our human default reasoning.

God is always good and loving (Psalm 86) but I have to remind myself (and others!) that God’s scales of justice won’t be fully balanced until after Jesus returns.

Sue Bohlin 2 months ago

Hey James, thank you!

What I keep seeing again and again in Job is the reminder that all these speeches flow out of hearts (and mouths) that don’t see the whole, big, accurate picture. I am convicted to keep this awareness front and center when listening to (and judging) ANYTHING!

Greg Jones 2 months ago

1/1 I like the mention of focus in the devotional. Things like texting require a certain kind of fixed focus. Things like driving require a certain kind of scanning focus.

Q2-That’s complicated, answering questions in Job34:17-19 is a good start.

V17a-Yes. V17b-That is a different question. V’s18&19-I believe yes.

Job34:5-9 and Job34:35-is Elihu’s assessment of Job. Job1:8-is God’s assessment of Job. I would say either God’s assessment is right or Elihu’s right.

In light of Job1:8 is Elihu’s assessment of God in Job34:24-27 right?

34:28-[They], caused the cry of the needy. Elihu’s assessments include Job within [they], and excludes himself from that category. Elihu’s focus excludes a statement like 34:35 as being unjust.

Elihu is unknowingly answering the questions of v29.

35:1”Then Elihu said. See ch34.

Greg Jones 2 months ago

2/2 Q1-Great question-Best in interactions with those people. Worst-outside interactions with those people.

Scripture:Job34:3

When it comes to pride me interpreting that verse this way. Have I tasted the___I’m trying to feed someone? Insecurity interpreting this way. Am I tasting the___I’m feeding myself? Knowing the difference, 34:3 straight up, because I know I’m just like the guy who said it until I know more.

Hugh Stephenson 2 months ago

2 of 2

Q2 – The ESV SB summarizes it as (paraphrasing) “Either Job is wrong, or God is wrong”. Even though God is the heavy favorite in this contest I’ll take Him and give the points.

What righteousness does Job, or I have before God?

I am blessed to have been taught the truth that:

THE ONLY THING I BRING TO THE CROSS IS SIN AND REBELLION!

Q3 – Among my favorite life verses.

I am called to put my pride at the foot of the cross and shout praise at God’s patience, mercy and grace, (Psalm 8).

Praying today that I “understand and know Him” more and more every day. He has given me purpose, plan and passion. May I always be grateful and faithful.

Hugh Stephenson 2 months ago

GM James. Love this devo. Top-to-bottom. Your Key Verse and Central Truth jump out at me and my highlighter. Your devo is convicting, and your questions are penetrating.

Q1 – In virtually every area.

I delayed in downsizing from a big house to small.

I still have my old giant SUV, but I now virtually always drive Amy’s 16-year-old beat up and rusted-out tiny Toyota. Zero cents a mile. Better stewardship but… “What will people think?”

With Amy’s help, (Proverbs 31), I am very careful about how I describe anything I have or am doing/have done because my sinful nature wants to impress the other person.

In conversations, I have been taught to constantly ask the other person open-ended questions about themselves rather then tell them about me. This is called W.A.I.T. or Why Am I Talking?

Endless more additions.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Elihu continues

5 Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.

This will be like a preacher’s dream. He speaks of the heavens and soon a whirlwind will form as he speaks. And God will speak out of the whirlwind not criticizing Elihu.

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