Job 37:1 ¶ At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
Job 37:2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.
Job 37:3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
Job 37:4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
Finally, the last chapter of the dialogues and Elihu’s closing remarks! Throughout this chapter he focuses on God’s greatness with the intent of making Job realize that God is also in control of what is happening to him and that His actions against Job are just.
“At this” – referencing his thoughts about the miraculous work of God in the rain cycle.
Elihu declares that the thought of the awesome power of God makes him tremble. He compares the voice of God to the lightning and thunder that have impact across the whole earth.
I can’t help but think of the verses in Psalms that compare God’s voice to thunder. Psalms 29:3–4 “The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.”
Job 37:5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
Job 37:6 ¶ For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
Job 37:7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
Job 37:8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
Elihu notes that it is by His word that God does great things that are beyond our understanding. His command controls the snow and the rain, both of which can stop man in his tracks and cause the animals to stay in the protection of their dens. This control of nature is just another testimony to man of God’s work in creation.
I liked the way Spurgeon explains verse 7: “When the Lord seals up a man’s hand, he is unable to perform his labor. The Lord has an object in this, namely, ‘that, all men may know his work.’ When they cannot do their own work, they are intended to observe his works of God.”
Job 37:9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.
Job 37:10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
Job 37:11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
Job 37:12 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.
Job 37:13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.
Elihu continues—Not only does God control the lightning, thunder, rain and snow with His word, He controls the whirlwinds that develop in the south (e.g., hurricanes) and the cold from the north (e.g., the dipping of the polar jet stream). God also controls the advent of frost and the cold that can freeze the waters.
I like the NIV for verses 11-13: “He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them. At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them. He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water his earth and show his love.”
Job 37:14 ¶ Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
Elihu takes a moment to admonish Job to listen; maybe he could tell that he was beginning to zone out. I am sure that Job was just as aware of all the wonders of God’s work in nature as was Elihu. It seems, however, that Elihu wasn’t so sure that he did according to the verses that follow.
Job 37:15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?
Job 37:16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
Job 37:17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?
Job 37:18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?
Elihu asked Job if he understood God’s control of the clouds and how he causes the lightning to flash. Did he know how God makes the clouds hang suspended in the sky—just another work of our God who knows everything? He then draws a contrast by noting how Job is subject to the weather—not in control of it. He gets hot when the warm winds come from the south.
I think the NLT has the thought of verse 18: “He makes the skies reflect the heat like a giant mirror. Can you do that?”
Job 37:19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
Job 37:20 Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.
I think Elihu is basically telling Job to teach them how to talk to God since he is so much wiser than they. Did he really think that any man can presume to confront God and not expect to be destroyed (from Hebrew for “up”).
Job 37:21 ¶ And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.
Job 37:22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
Man can’t stand to look at the bright light of the sun when it is clear and no clouds are in the sky to block it. I liked the NAS for verse 22: “Out of the north comes golden splendor; Around God is awesome majesty.”
There are several verses that indicate the north as the direction of God’s throne. This reminds me of a chorus we sang as kids from Psalm 48: Psalms 48:1-2 “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”
Ezekiel’s vision of the throne of God came from the north. Ezekiel 1:4 & 28 “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire….This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”
Isaiah reveals Satan’s desire to reign on God’s throne in the north. Isaiah 14:13–14 “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Job 37:23 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.
Job 37:24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.
Elihu closes with a declaration about the mystery surrounding our awesome God. We cannot begin to understand Him. We know, however, that He is the greatest force and the greatest righteousness. He has no weakness in the exercise of either. That is why men fear Him. He has no respect for the self-righteous.
There is much truth in what Elihu says in this chapter. His presentation is tainted, however, by his assumption that he knows more than Job and that Job is in the wrong.