Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 36

In this chapter, Elihu continues in his speech to describe and defend God. Yet his view of God is still incomplete and distorted.

Even more, I can only imagine what must have been going through Job’s mind when he heard Elihu say verse 4! Further evidence that Elihu has a very serious case of “young man’s disease”.

Yet, at the same time, I am grieved to think of how many times in my youth (and even now in my relative youthfulness compared to others) I spoke in similar ways. Much more interested in spouting off my thoughts, ideas, etc. than I was in listening and learning, especially from those whom I may have thought were less educated or trained than myself. Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace to all of us who, at one time or another, have had “young man’s disease”.

Again like the previous chapter, Elihu says true things about God, particularly from verse 22 to the end of the chapter. Elihu declares the greatness of God, His power and authority over all of creation. This is most certainly true and for all of this (and much more) God should be praised and worshiped.

Yet prior to these verses, Elihu makes the same assertions as before and as have been made by Job’s other friends. The godless and wicked suffer throughout their lives and unto the end of their lives. If the righteous are suffering it is due to personal sin and when they repent they will be restored.

Like the others, at the end of the day, Elihu seems to think all of this is quite simple. The problem, of course, is Elihu is continuing with the same line of thinking in the previous chapter and is therefore presenting a distorted and incomplete view of God’s character.

Theologically, the term “simple” has a technical meaning: “In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. The general idea can be stated in this way: The being of God is identical to the “attributes” of God.” In other words, God is not complex. You cannot rightly describe or understand God by simply focusing on or emphasising one of His attributes because God is always all of His attributes. He is always God.

An interesting affect of this truth is that God’s simplicity means, from our perspective, as we seek to understand Him and His work in our lives and in this world, everything is more complicated than simple, formulaic explanations satisfy.

As God works in our life and in the world in which we live, all of who He is, is at work in all that He does. It is never just His omnipotence at work without also His omniscience; or His omniscience without His justice; or His justice without His mercy – in fact He, in the entirety of all of Who He is, is always at work in everything He does.

The simplicity of God helps us see just how truely awesome God is. He is worthy of our praise and worship. He is wholly unlike us.

We can become buried in the complications of our life and the uncertainties of our understanding. At these times we can formulate in our minds incomplete and distorted views of God, His nature and character. We need to turn away from our limitations and look to the limitless One in faith, trusting Him fully with all of our questions.

Soli Deo Gloria

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