24 "Remember to extol his work, of which mortals have sung. 25 All people have looked on it; everyone watches it from far away. 26 Surely God is great, and we do not know him; the number of his years is unsearchable. 27 For he draws up the drops of water; he distills his mist in rain, 28 which the skies pour down and drop upon mortals abundantly. 29 Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? 30 See, he scatters his lightning around him and covers the roots of the sea. 31 For by these he governs peoples; he gives food in abundance. 32 He covers his hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark. 33 Its crashing tells about him; he is jealous with anger against iniquity."
A. Elihu articulates a theology here-- an understanding of who God is. What is it? Do you agree with it?
B. Elihu seems to be awed by nature here and in other passages. Recall that he emphasized that humans were formed "from clay" (33:6); that the heavens were conveyers of knowledge (35:5); that the animals of the earth and birds of the air are also our teachers (35:11). How does he view nature in these verses? Which natural phenomena interest him?
C. The theme of God's unknowability or inaccessibility runs through the book (see also 11:7; the hymn to wisdom). What kind of knowledge of God do you claim to have? Why would these people emphasize God's unknowability?
1 "At this also my heart trembles, and leaps out of its place. 2 Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 3 Under the whole heaven he lets it loose, and his lightning to the corners of the earth. 4 After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard. 5 God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. 6 For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth'; and the shower of rain, his heavy shower of rain, 7 serves as a sign on everyone's hand, so that all whom he has made may know it. 8 Then the animals go into their lairs and remain in their dens. 9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. 10 By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. 11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 12 They turn round and round by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 13 Whether for correction, or for his land, or for love, he causes it to happen."
A. What is Elihu's response to his own exhortation to Job to extol God's work?
B. God seems to make a lot of noise in this passage. How so? Why is this aspect of God's personality emphasized by Elihu?
C. If the animals go into their lairs and remain in their dens (v.8), what can humans expect to do after God's intervention?
D. Normally, when we think of God in the thunder or the rainstorm or the whirlwind, we think of a blustery or a hot presence. But v.10 puts a different spin on this: "By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast." What pictures emerge in youir mind through Elihu's description?
E. We do not expect the word "love" in v.13. The Hebrew word behind it is "hesed," which may be translated as love or covenant faithfulness. It only appears three times in Job; here, 10:12 and 6:14. God has granted Job steadfast love in creating him (10:12); friends should show "hesed" to each other (6:14). How is the word used here?
F. What is the tone or dramatic situation of the text after 37:13?
Elihu is now setting the stage for God's entry. Those scholars who see Elihu's long speeches as an interruption in the "flow" of the Book of Job do not, in my judgment, understand the subtlety of the speeches. They are meant to "soften" Job, to make him "ready" to hear God. But Elihu still isn't done. He will prepare for God in one other way....