Remember to Extol His Work!

I’ve done enough reading to be okay with the fact that I don’t know quite how to peg Elihu, commentators varying among themselves as to how to understand his intervention in the book of Job.

Elihu, the young, upstart peanut-gallery, who somehow has been able to listen in on Job’s debate with his friends. Elihu, the only guy in the book who bears a Hebrew name. The guy who eventually hits the wall and has to interject his two-cents-worth when Job and the three amigos are done jawing back and forth. Elihu, the guy who, for me, seems to get what’s going on more than the other three comforters, but . . . doesn’t totally get what’s going on.

And I guess that’s in line with the overall purpose of the book of Job. Not about providing answers as to the why of Job’s suffering, but providing focus on the Who of Job’s situation and His nature.

Furthermore, when God eventually tells Job to pray for his detractors, Elihu isn’t mentioned. In fact, God doesn’t acknowledge Elihu at all in the epilogue of the book. How come? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because while the kid didn’t know everything, he was closer on some things. Maybe because, if nothing else, Elihu did pretty well as the “opener” for God’s revelation of Himself to Job.

For, as I continue to read Elihu’s six chapters of uninterrupted discourse this morning, I do think I see him shifting the conversation in the right direction–away from Job’s plight and towards God’s person. Away from what’s happening on earth and towards Who reigns in heaven. And something in Elihu’s words resonates as a solid piece of advice to heed, if not as a command to obey, for how to endure in situations that are hard, have no end in sight, and make no sense.

“Behold, God is exalted in His power; who is a teacher like Him? Who has prescribed for Him His way, or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?
Remember to extol His work, of which men have sung. All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar. Behold, God is great, and we know Him not; the number of His years is unsearchable.”

(Job 36:22-26 ESV)

Remember to extol His work.

When you don’t know what God’s doing, don’t forget to magnify what you do know God has done. Or said a little differently: let not your circumstance inform your opinion of God, but let your knowledge of God provide the context and foundation for working through your situation.

Behold, says Elihu, God is exalted in power. Behold, God is great.

Behold what God has made known of Himself, what all mankind can look upon and know of God and, for many, have sung about through the ages.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

(Romans 1:19-20 ESV)

And in these last days God has spoken to us by His Son (Heb. 1:1-3). Revealing even more of His wondrous works through the finished work of the cross, the redemption of sinners saved by grace, and the grace of taking those who once were far off and adopting them as family.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

(1John 3:1 NKJV)

Remember to extol His work. When you’re getting hammered by life’s circumstance. When you’re feeling like you’re going down for the third time. When nothing is making sense. Remember to magnify what you do know He has done.

Look around and be reminded of His power in creation. Look back and know again His love through the cross. Look in and don’t forget His provision through the indwelling Spirit. And then, look up, . . . . look waaaay up! . . . and behold your God exalted in power . . . behold your God arrayed in greatness . . . behold Your God who makes Himself known by His Son through the Spirit.

And then sing. Even in the makes no sense, I don’t have answers, situations of life, sing of all you do know.

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Haven’t got Elihu totally figured out, but I think the kid’s on to something.

Because of grace. For God’s glory.

This entry was posted in Job and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Remember to Extol His Work!

  1. Carol Riddle says:

    I like that reminder: look around, look back, look in, look up and then sing of His greatness. Thank you, Pete.

  2. Pingback: Stop! (Elihu, Part 2) | My Morning Meal

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