TODAY’S READING: JOB 35-38
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that Elihu pictures Jesus in his appearing. Elihu seemingly comes out of nowhere into the story of Job. Similarly, Jesus, the son of God, seemingly comes out of nowhere into the history of men.
One of the reasons Jesus appeared, or was manifested, to reveal the true nature and character of God to us.
So, to whom does God appear? Who is able to see the kingdom of God?
From yesterday’s reading, Job 32:1 says that Job’s three friends stopped arguing with him because Job was righteous in his own eyes. And, in verse 2, Elihu was angry with Job he justified himself rather than God.
This was the prelude to Elihu appearing. And, it’s prophetic to when Jesus appears. All men had become fully righteous in their own eyes. All men justified themselves instead of God.
The last thing Elihu says before he leaves the story is quite interesting. In Job 37:24, he said, “He [God] does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”
But, I believe what Elihu really said was, “God does not appear to any who are wise in heart.”
First, the words “their own conceit” are not in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word there is leb, which simply means heart. In the Hebrew, the two nouns for wise and heart are placed together. Therefore, the two nouns together mean “wise in heart” or wise of heart.”
Second, does God not regard anyone? Does God ignore people?
1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Later in 1 Timothy 4:10, Paul said that God “is the Savior of all people.” God regards every person because all people are made in his image (James 3:9)
When Paul preached to the Greeks at the Areopagus, he quoted one of their own writers. In Acts 17:27-28, Paul said, “They [every nation] should seek God, and perhaps feel their toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.'”
God does not ignore anyone made in his image and likeness who is his offspring.
So, if Job 37:24 is not saying that “he does not regard any” wise of heart, then what is it saying?
The Hebrew word translated regard is the word jireh. It basically means to see or to understand.
Therefore, I believe what Elihu really said was God is not seen by any who are wise of heart. “God does not appear to any who are wise of heart.”
This fits exactly with what Jesus says to us.
First, Jesus says the kingdom is near or at hand. Second, Jesus says the kingdom is in the midst of us. The kingdom of heaven, God himself, is very close and all around us?
But, who can see the kingdom? Who does God appear to?
Well, Elihu says it does not appear to the wise of heart. The wise of heart are those living by their own wisdom. The wise of heart are people living by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This is exactly what we see from Job and his friends throughout the book. They are trying to determine what is good and evil and how God is responsible for both. But, because they have become like God in this way, wise in their own heart, righteous in their own eyes, they are unable to see God, to know God.
God does not appear to Job and his friends. God appears to those who know him as good, not to those who know him as good and evil. Why is this so? Because God is a father.
So, who does the kingdom of God, God himself appear to?
In Matthew 18:3-4 (and elsewhere), Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
A child does not think of himself as wise of heart. A child is trusting of his father for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. A child thinks of their father as good and good only.
When we see God as good and good only, like a child, not with wisdom of our heart, then we see God for who he truly is. It is then that God appears to us.
God is always present, always near us. But, for him to appear, for us to see him, we must stop being wise in our own heart. We must stop thinking we know what is good and what is evil, especially in regards to God. We must simply trust, believe, and have faith, that he is good and good only.