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HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE

Elihu the young friend of Job is convinced that Job has been punished for some hidden sin.  He is getting into preaching a fiery sermon which nature is beginning to join in on.  He ascribes to God the power to move the heavens to strike down the hypocrites.  In his zeal he is missing another voice that is rising around him; the real message of God.

At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.  Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.  He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.  After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.  God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.  Job 37:1-5

Elihu’s heart trembles because the skies are thundering, and he hears the noise of that voice.  Elihu is impressed, and he sees the lightning without considering that the God he speaks of is speaking now. 

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.  He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.  Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.  Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.  By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.  Job 37:6-10

He goes on declaring the power of God even as it manifests around him.  How do I know this storm is happening as he speaks?  I cheated; I read the next chapter.  At my age I have read this several times, and it’s about time that I finally noticed what I was reading.  I need to hear what he is saying above what I am saying.  Elihu has spoken of the whirlwind, and it is becoming prophetic.

Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:  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.  He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.  Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.  Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?  Job 37:11-15

So Elihu reveals that God sends the clouds of water and light to correct and cleanse.  He challenges Job to consider God’ works.  He asks if Job understands how the storms are powered and directed.

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?  How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?  Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?  Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.  Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up. Job 37:16-20

The works of God swirling around them now may have been much like the Arizona monsoon portrayed above.  Israel is a similar climate, and I know this was a spiritually motivated storm for them.

And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.  Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.  Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.  Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart. Job 37:21-24

Storms and the God who formed them are unknown to man, but Elihu insists that God will not afflict the righteous.  He warns that God does not respect those who think themselves to be wise.  Elihu has made a prophesy against himself.

What is worse than an open enemy?  A dishonest friend, because he steals trust and leaves injury.  At least Elihu makes his charges to Job’s face.  A worse neighbor is one who leaves an anonymous note or prank.  They lack the courage of honest face to face words.  Fear is not of God, but rather it is of Satan. 

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