The Word Made Fresh
1“All this makes my heart nearly pound out of my chest. 2But just listen to the thunder and rumbling that comes out of the mouth of God. 3It comes under the whole dome of the sky; the lightning flashes across the whole earth, 4and is followed by the roar of God’s majestic voice in the thunder, and the storm continues unrestrained. 5God’s voice is wonderful in the thunder, and God does things so great and wonderful we can’t begin to fathom. 6God tells the snow to fall on the earth, and the heavy downpours of rain 7are a signal to everything God has made. 8Then the animals hide in their dens and lairs. 9The whirlwind comes from its closet, and the temperature drops before it. 10Ice is formed by God’s breath, and even broad lakes are frozen fast. 11God loads the heavy clouds with rain, and God’s lightning is scattered around them. 12The clouds turn round and round as God guides them, to do what God wants them to do on the face of the earth. 13God makes it happen for correction, for the land, or simply out of love.
14“Listen, Job! Stop and think about the wonderful things God does. 15Can you explain how God commands the lightning to shine out of the clouds? 16Do you understand how the clouds are balanced in the sky? It is the wonderful work of the one who has perfect knowledge. 17Do you understand how our clothes are heated when the earth is stilled and the south wind wafts warmly? 18Can you spread the skies like God, smooth as a molten mirror? 19Tell us what to say to God! We’re in the dark! 20Tell God that I simply have things to ask; no one ever asked to be swallowed up. 21No one can look directly at the sun when it is bright overhead, and the wind has cleared away the clouds. 22Incredible majesty surrounds God when we see the sun’s splendor shining out of the north.
23“But we cannot fathom the Almighty because God will never give up that awesome power and justice and righteousness. 24That is why we mortals fear God; God has no regard for anyone who is conceited enough to think they are wise.”
1-5: Elihu describes God’s majesty and might using the imagery of a thunderstorm.
6-8: Snow and rain fall at God’s command and serve, to people and animals alike, as visible signs (“a signal to everyone God has made” = “a sign that is obvious to everyone”) of God’s power.
9-13: He continues with his holy weather report – whirlwind, freezing weather, more rain and thunder and lightning. God sends all this for various reasons.
14-24: Elihu finishes his lengthy speech by challenging Job to explain how God arranges the many and marvelous phenomena of the weather. Of course, we mortals fear God, how can we not? What’s more, human wisdom is nothing to God.
God’s majesty and might is on display every day in the weather, and indeed in the most common things of nature. When Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin returned from his historic first orbital flight in space around the earth in 1961, he was reported to have said he had not seen God when he was in outer space. A Russian Orthodox priest responded, “Those who do not know God cannot see God.” Everything in nature around the world shouts out the presence of God to those who believe and stands permanently as evidence for God’s existence. Those who refuse to believe have the greater challenge to prove their stance.