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Job 34 The Message (MSG)

Elihu’s Second Speech

It’s Impossible for God to Do Evil

34 1-4 Elihu continued:

“So, my fine friends—listen to me,
    and see what you think of this.
Isn’t it just common sense—
    as common as the sense of taste—
To put our heads together
    and figure out what’s going on here?

5-9 “We’ve all heard Job say, ‘I’m in the right,
    but God won’t give me a fair trial.
When I defend myself, I’m called a liar to my face.
    I’ve done nothing wrong, and I get punished anyway.’
Have you ever heard anything to beat this?
    Does nothing faze this man Job?
Do you think he’s spent too much time in bad company,
    hanging out with the wrong crowd,
So that now he’s parroting their line:
    ‘It doesn’t pay to try to please God’?

10-15 “You’re veterans in dealing with these matters;
    certainly we’re of one mind on this.
It’s impossible for God to do anything evil;
    no way can the Mighty One do wrong.
He makes us pay for exactly what we’ve done—no more, no less.
    Our chickens always come home to roost.
It’s impossible for God to do anything wicked,
    for the Mighty One to subvert justice.
He’s the one who runs the earth!
    He cradles the whole world in his hand!
If he decided to hold his breath,
    every man, woman, and child would die for lack of air.

God Is Working Behind the Scenes

16-20 “So, Job, use your head;
    this is all pretty obvious.
Can someone who hates order, keep order?
    Do you dare condemn the righteous, mighty God?
Doesn’t God always tell it like it is,
    exposing corrupt rulers as scoundrels and criminals?
Does he play favorites with the rich and famous and slight the poor?
    Isn’t he equally responsible to everybody?
Don’t people who deserve it die without notice?
    Don’t wicked rulers tumble to their doom?
When the so-called great ones are wiped out,
    we know God is working behind the scenes.

21-28 “He has his eyes on every man and woman.
    He doesn’t miss a trick.
There is no night dark enough, no shadow deep enough,
    to hide those who do evil.
God doesn’t need to gather any more evidence;
    their sin is an open-and-shut case.
He deposes the so-called high and mighty without asking questions,
    and replaces them at once with others.
Nobody gets by with anything; overnight,
    judgment is signed, sealed, and delivered.
He punishes the wicked for their wickedness
    out in the open where everyone can see it,
Because they quit following him,
    no longer even thought about him or his ways.
Their apostasy was announced by the cry of the poor;
    the cry of the afflicted got God’s attention.

Because You Refuse to Live on God’s Terms

29-30 “If God is silent, what’s that to you?
    If he turns his face away, what can you do about it?
But whether silent or hidden, he’s there, ruling,
    so that those who hate God won’t take over
    and ruin people’s lives.

31-33 “So why don’t you simply confess to God?
    Say, ‘I sinned, but I’ll sin no more.
Teach me to see what I still don’t see.
    Whatever evil I’ve done, I’ll do it no more.’
Just because you refuse to live on God’s terms,
    do you think he should start living on yours?
You choose. I can’t do it for you.
    Tell me what you decide.

34-37 “All right-thinking people say—
    and the wise who have listened to me concur—
‘Job is an ignoramus.
    He talks utter nonsense.’
Job, you need to be pushed to the wall and called to account
    for wickedly talking back to God the way you have.
You’ve compounded your original sin
    by rebelling against God’s discipline,
Defiantly shaking your fist at God,
    piling up indictments against the Almighty One.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Job 34 New International Version (NIV)

34 Then Elihu said:

“Hear my words, you wise men;
    listen to me, you men of learning.
For the ear tests words
    as the tongue tastes food.
Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
    let us learn together what is good.

“Job says, ‘I am innocent,
    but God denies me justice.
Although I am right,
    I am considered a liar;
although I am guiltless,
    his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’
Is there anyone like Job,
    who drinks scorn like water?
He keeps company with evildoers;
    he associates with the wicked.
For he says, ‘There is no profit
    in trying to please God.’

10 “So listen to me, you men of understanding.
    Far be it from God to do evil,
    from the Almighty to do wrong.
11 He repays everyone for what they have done;
    he brings on them what their conduct deserves.
12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
    that the Almighty would pervert justice.
13 Who appointed him over the earth?
    Who put him in charge of the whole world?
14 If it were his intention
    and he withdrew his spirit[a] and breath,
15 all humanity would perish together
    and mankind would return to the dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
    listen to what I say.
17 Can someone who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’
    and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’
19 who shows no partiality to princes
    and does not favor the rich over the poor,
    for they are all the work of his hands?
20 They die in an instant, in the middle of the night;
    the people are shaken and they pass away;
    the mighty are removed without human hand.

21 “His eyes are on the ways of mortals;
    he sees their every step.
22 There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,
    where evildoers can hide.
23 God has no need to examine people further,
    that they should come before him for judgment.
24 Without inquiry he shatters the mighty
    and sets up others in their place.
25 Because he takes note of their deeds,
    he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
26 He punishes them for their wickedness
    where everyone can see them,
27 because they turned from following him
    and had no regard for any of his ways.
28 They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,
    so that he heard the cry of the needy.
29 But if he remains silent, who can condemn him?
    If he hides his face, who can see him?
Yet he is over individual and nation alike,
30     to keep the godless from ruling,
    from laying snares for the people.

31 “Suppose someone says to God,
    ‘I am guilty but will offend no more.
32 Teach me what I cannot see;
    if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’
33 Should God then reward you on your terms,
    when you refuse to repent?
You must decide, not I;
    so tell me what you know.

34 “Men of understanding declare,
    wise men who hear me say to me,
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
    his words lack insight.’
36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost
    for answering like a wicked man!
37 To his sin he adds rebellion;
    scornfully he claps his hands among us
    and multiplies his words against God.”

Footnotes:

  1. Job 34:14 Or Spirit
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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