Discussion Guide for Job 36
The prophet Malachi touches on some of the same problems as Job.
Religious people were stealing from God. They dishonored Him, saying things about God that weren’t true. And generally, they lived life as if God were not just.
God answers this situation with a promise that a messenger will come. He will change the hearts of God’s people and call them to repentance.
Think About It
- What parallels do you see between the passage in Malachi and the discussion between Job and Elihu?
- What images does Malachi use to help us understand God’s molding process? (harsh laundering and refining)
- Are the processes God uses to bring His people to repentance pleasant?
- What is the end result of God’s molding? v.4
In Job 36, Elihu continues his speech calling Job to repent of his own wrong attitudes toward God.
Elihu takes a different tack from the other friends. He doesn’t assume Job is the worst person in the world, but that he is a righteous person saying some foolish things about God.
He distinguishes the righteous by their willingness to repent. While the unrighteous harden their hearts and face God’s judgement.
This still doesn’t get to the heart of Job’s problem. Our central character thinks that he is being punished while having done nothing to warrant God’s anger.
Elihu does have a good nugget of truth, however. At the end of chapter 36, he implies that God’s actions are not merely a reaction to us. His will doesn’t inversely correspond to something we did.
In His sovereignty, God does things as He pleases, not as we have dictated He should do them.
To explain many of God’s mysterious doings requires we have a heart that is willing to trust Him. We must allow Him to shape us even when we don’t understand why He’s doing it.
- Is God being gracious when he points out sin to us? Why or why not?
- What does it mean to have a soft or hard heart toward God?
- What kind of heart do you think Job has at this point?
- What role does God play in softening hearts?
- How have you seen God soften your own heart?
- Why is repentance such a big deal to God?