Can Job explain how God establishes the clouds and causes the lightning to flash forth therefrom? Can he explain the marvelous way in which the clouds are poised in the heavens? Man has no part in causing these wonders, but only passively feels the effect of them. Beneath the sultry summer cloud when no wind is blowing, the clothing of a man gets warm. He is helpless to change the weather. The clear, dry summer skies of the land are compared to “a molten mirror” reflecting the bright rays of the sun upon the earth. Can Job “spread out” such a sky? (37:15–18).
The thought of the strong expanse of heaven stretched out by God suggests to Elihu his unspeakable greatness and unsearchableness. The young man demands that Job identify the words by which such a being can be addressed, if one sought to contend with him. “We cannot order our speech by reason of darkness,” i.e., our ignorance in the presence of the unsearchableness of God. Elihu could not imagine that anyone would wish to enter into God’s presence to strive with him. To do so would be to express a death wish, a wish “to be swallowed up” by disaster (37:19–20).
When the north wind has cleared the clouds from the sky, the light of the sun is too great to look upon. That golden splendor dazzles the beholder. Men cannot look upon the light when it shines in the cloudless heaven, much less look upon the majesty of God, surrounded as he is with awesome glory (37:21–22).
Elihu sums up his teaching regarding the greatness of God. The Lord is unsearchable. He is exalted in power. He will not do violence to justice. He would not unjustly afflict anyone. Elihu pleads with Job to join with mankind everywhere in showing reverence to God. The Lord has no regard for those “who are wise of heart,” i.e., those who are wise in their own eyes. Thus Elihu is calling upon Job to humble himself (37:23–24).
Elihu thus prepared the way for God to speak. Although he brought out aspects of the issue of suffering undeveloped by the three older friends of Job, he did not have total insight into Job’s situation. Only a clear word from heaven can speak adequately to this problem.