by Larry Stockstill
What a powerful witness it is to walk in the light! Paul actually states that a clean, pure walk with the Lord is what helps us to commend ourselves to others. The process is actually very simple. The Holy Spirit shines the light of Christ upon our lives, changing us "from glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV). That unveiled glory is then reflected from our faces to a darkened, oppressed world whose eyes have been blinded by the "god of this evil world" (4:4).
"For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,' has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ" (4:6). From within these "perishable containers" (v. 7) shines out the very glory of the Creator God who spoke a billion suns into existence in one moment!
We are "full of light from the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8), and as we walk in the purity of Jesus' face, a lost world will behold Him. We walk through pressure, perplexity, and persecution with victory, so that the "life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies" (2 Corinthians 4:10).
Our greatest witness? Our radiant shine!
34 Then Elihu said:
2 “Listen to me, you wise men.
Pay attention, you who have knowledge.
3 Job said, ‘The ear tests the words it hears
just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.’
4 So let us discern for ourselves what is right;
let us learn together what is good.
5 For Job also said, ‘I am innocent,
but God has taken away my rights.
6 I am innocent, but they call me a liar.
My suffering is incurable, though I have not sinned.’
7 “Tell me, has there ever been a man like Job,
with his thirst for irreverent talk?
8 He chooses evil people as companions.
He spends his time with wicked men.
9 He has even said, ‘Why waste time
trying to please God?’
10 “Listen to me, you who have understanding.
Everyone knows that God doesn’t sin!
The Almighty can do no wrong.
11 He repays people according to their deeds.
He treats people as they deserve.
12 Truly, God will not do wrong.
The Almighty will not twist justice.
13 Did someone else put the world in his care?
Who set the whole world in place?
14 If God were to take back his spirit
and withdraw his breath,
15 all life would cease,
and humanity would turn again to dust.
16 “Now listen to me if you are wise.
Pay attention to what I say.
17 Could God govern if he hated justice?
Are you going to condemn the almighty judge?
18 For he says to kings, ‘You are wicked,’
and to nobles, ‘You are unjust.’
19 He doesn’t care how great a person may be,
and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor.
He made them all.
20 In a moment they die.
In the middle of the night they pass away;
the mighty are removed without human hand.
21 “For God watches how people live;
he sees everything they do.
22 No darkness is thick enough
to hide the wicked from his eyes.
23 We don’t set the time
when we will come before God in judgment.
24 He brings the mighty to ruin without asking anyone,
and he sets up others in their place.
25 He knows what they do,
and in the night he overturns and destroys them.
26 He strikes them down because they are wicked,
doing it openly for all to see.
27 For they turned away from following him.
They have no respect for any of his ways.
28 They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention.
He hears the cries of the needy.
29 But if he chooses to remain quiet,
who can criticize him?
When he hides his face, no one can find him,
whether an individual or a nation.
30 He prevents the godless from ruling
so they cannot be a snare to the people.
31 “Why don’t people say to God, ‘I have sinned,
but I will sin no more’?
32 Or ‘I don’t know what evil I have done—tell me.
If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?
33 “Must God tailor his justice to your demands?
But you have rejected him!
The choice is yours, not mine.
Go ahead, share your wisdom with us.
34 After all, bright people will tell me,
and wise people will hear me say,
35 ‘Job speaks out of ignorance;
his words lack insight.’
36 Job, you deserve the maximum penalty
for the wicked way you have talked.
37 For you have added rebellion to your sin;
you show no respect,
and you speak many angry words against God.”
35 Then Elihu said:
2 “Do you think it is right for you to claim,
‘I am righteous before God’?
3 For you also ask, ‘What’s in it for me?
What’s the use of living a righteous life?’
4 “I will answer you
and all your friends, too.
5 Look up into the sky,
and see the clouds high above you.
6 If you sin, how does that affect God?
Even if you sin again and again,
what effect will it have on him?
7 If you are good, is this some great gift to him?
What could you possibly give him?
8 No, your sins affect only people like yourself,
and your good deeds also affect only humans.
9 “People cry out when they are oppressed.
They groan beneath the power of the mighty.
10 Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator,
the one who gives songs in the night?
11 Where is the one who makes us smarter than the animals
and wiser than the birds of the sky?’
12 And when they cry out, God does not answer
because of their pride.
13 But it is wrong to say God doesn’t listen,
to say the Almighty isn’t concerned.
14 You say you can’t see him,
but he will bring justice if you will only wait.
15 You say he does not respond to sinners with anger
and is not greatly concerned about wickedness.
16 But you are talking nonsense, Job.
You have spoken like a fool.”
36 Elihu continued speaking:
2 “Let me go on, and I will show you the truth.
For I have not finished defending God!
3 I will present profound arguments
for the righteousness of my Creator.
4 I am telling you nothing but the truth,
for I am a man of great knowledge.
5 “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone!
He is mighty in both power and understanding.
6 He does not let the wicked live
but gives justice to the afflicted.
7 He never takes his eyes off the innocent,
but he sets them on thrones with kings
and exalts them forever.
8 If they are bound in chains
and caught up in a web of trouble,
9 he shows them the reason.
He shows them their sins of pride.
10 He gets their attention
and commands that they turn from evil.
11 “If they listen and obey God,
they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives.
All their years will be pleasant.
12 But if they refuse to listen to him,
they will be killed by the sword
and die from lack of understanding.
13 For the godless are full of resentment.
Even when he punishes them,
they refuse to cry out to him for help.
14 They die when they are young,
after wasting their lives in immoral living.
15 But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
16 “God is leading you away from danger, Job,
to a place free from distress.
He is setting your table with the best food.
17 But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged.
Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld.
18 But watch out, or you may be seduced by wealth.
Don’t let yourself be bribed into sin.
19 Could all your wealth
or all your mighty efforts
keep you from distress?
20 Do not long for the cover of night,
for that is when people will be destroyed.
21 Be on guard! Turn back from evil,
for God sent this suffering
to keep you from a life of evil.
22 “Look, God is all-powerful.
Who is a teacher like him?
23 No one can tell him what to do,
or say to him, ‘You have done wrong.’
24 Instead, glorify his mighty works,
singing songs of praise.
25 Everyone has seen these things,
though only from a distance.
26 “Look, God is greater than we can understand.
His years cannot be counted.
27 He draws up the water vapor
and then distills it into rain.
28 The rain pours down from the clouds,
and everyone benefits.
29 Who can understand the spreading of the clouds
and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?
30 See how he spreads the lightning around him
and how it lights up the depths of the sea.
31 By these mighty acts he nourishes
giving them food in abundance.
32 He fills his hands with lightning bolts
and hurls each at its target.
33 The thunder announces his presence;
the storm announces his indignant anger.
4 Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way,
3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing.4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
1 O God, we have heard it with our own ears—
our ancestors have told us
of all you did in their day,
in days long ago:
2 You drove out the pagan nations by your power
and gave all the land to our ancestors.
You crushed their enemies
and set our ancestors free.
3 They did not conquer the land with their swords;
it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm
and the blinding light from your face that helped them,
for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God.
You command victories for Israel.
5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
6 I do not trust in my bow;
I do not count on my sword to save me.
7 You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
you disgrace those who hate us.
8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
and constantly praise your name. Interlude
10 Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too.
Quarrels and insults will disappear.
11 Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech
will have the king as a friend.
12 The Lord preserves those with knowledge,
but he ruins the plans of the treacherous.