Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Job 36:24-33 comments: the storm

24 ¶  Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. 25  Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. 26  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. 27  For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: 28  Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. 29  Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? 30  Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea. 31  For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. 32  With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt. 33  The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Job should magnify and glorify God in his suffering. God’s glory is visible to all men and evident throughout the universe. As David wrote;

Psalm 19:1 ¶  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 8:3 ¶  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Psalm 33:6  By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Ultimately, apart from His revelation of Himself and the stirrings of a need to believe in Him placed in man’s heart by the Holy Spirit, God is unknowable to us. He is far beyond even the possibility of our understanding and eternal, having always existed and always existing. The modern day atheist has substituted an eternal, inanimate object, called a Singularity, for God, as, to the atheist, this Singularity was at the beginning and all matter and energy was in it. He knows not how it began or where it came from and as far as he is concerned it is eternal. Time and space did not exist inside the Singularity and it would be unknowable to us except as a prediction of what must have been, of course, what must have been if your hard heart cannot accept or wrap your mind around the concept of an intelligent Creator. As David said;

Psalm 145:3  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

And Moses;

Psalm 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Water evaporates and becomes vapor. We understand how air is pushed up and water vapor condenses into droplets and rain that falls from clouds. Here, in verses 27 and 28 we have a clear statement of that process. A more general statement about the hydrologic cycle is made by Solomon.

Ecclesiastes 1:6  The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7  All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

The Greeks finally reached this understanding around 500BC, perhaps due to the influence of Hebrew slaves captured by the numerous Greek mercenaries that worked their trade in the ancient Near East. (36)

Joel 3:6  The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.

Joel may have been written closer to 800BC. While Job was written in the early second millennium before Christ, in all likelihood and Solomon was written around 1,000BC, the first written exposition of the water cycle in Greek literature is in the 500’s and in Chinese writings a couple of hundred years later.

Regarding verses 29 and 30; modern man has made a great study of cloud formation and atmospheric noise, which comes primarily, on a worldwide scale, from 40 lightning flashes per second or 3.5 million per day. There is white noise that comes from distant thunderstorms and impulse noise that comes from nearby storms and the most prominent radio noise is from cloud to ground flashes rather than cloud to cloud. What man hears are, of course, only one end of the spectrum of the sound of atmospheric noise. The flashes of light from nearby lightning cover the entire sky like the bottom of the sea is covered with water. We refer to things as, “bathed in light,” in our comparison of light to water. This can also be a reference to flooding that covers land like the bottom of the sea caused by extreme weather.

Elihu states that God uses extreme weather to judge people, a concept we find hard to understand because we have been brainwashed in the modern world to view weather events as purely random, with no purpose. In fact, we’ve been brainwashed, for the sake of some kind of nebulous concept of “modernity,” to view most events over which man has no control as purely random occurrences, a type of extreme humanism where apart from man all nature is simply an accident waiting to happen.

Elihu insists that it is by God’s command that clouds darken the land, blotting out the light. The same rain created by vapor that punishes also provides herds and flocks with life-sustaining water. These are tough passages because the translation is as close to the parent manuscripts as possible, even using syntax or word-order, and the exact wording. This also presents the problems fundamentalists face by taking verses out of context as if they were standalone doctrine. Verses such as this are confusing if not viewed in the context of the entire passage.

What is even harder for us is that this is part of a greater explanation of God’s sovereignty and a denial of Deism, where God is not an active force in moment-by-moment natural events but merely the entity who wound it all up and walked away, or watches from afar, waiting to intervene on some “wannabe” Moses’ behalf. God’s “hand” is in the storm. He is not in the storm. The storm is not God, but He is the cause of it, either by permission or by direct will, which is what I mean by His “hand” being in it. See 1Kings 19:11,12.

Elihu will finish his own argument in the next chapter. Then, God will Himself speak to Job and his friends.

(36) Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, "Archaic Greeks in the Orient: Textual and Archaeological Evidence," Bulletin Of The American Schools Of Oriental Research no. 322 (May 2001): 11, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed December 30, 2014).

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