"Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee," Job 36:18.
Our text is one of those that have quite often been applied as a gospel warning to the unconverted. While we do not quarrel with the applicability of this truth to sinners, we would fear lest the verse be ignored by the believer on this account. It is a verse meant for the people of God. Aye, even the best of saints, for it was spoken to one of the greatest men of all ages.
When Elihu says to Job, But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee, Job 36:17, he is accusing Job of joining cause with the wicked and arguing their case and, because he was reacting to God’s chastening as would the ungodly, he was prolonging his afflictions. Remember, it was said of Job in 32:2, he justified himself rather than God. Job was clearing himself of all guilt and accusing God of treating him unfairly. For this reason Elihu tells Job to beware of God’s wrath.
I. BELIEVERS NEED TO BE REMINDED OF GOD’S WRATH.
God’s wrath may be provoked by His people. Exodus 22:24, 32:7-10. Consider the following occasions of wrath.
II. IN HIS ANGER GOD MAY SWIFTLY REMOVE AN OFFENDING CHILD OF HIS
The word stroke literally means the clap of His hands. In just such a brief moment God’s wrath can fall upon those who defy Him.
III. THERE IS NO RECOVERY FROM GOD’S STROKE.
For the sinner who has long defied and disregarded His mercy we can but beg you to consider your ways. This day, hell could open up its mouth to receive you. From that most awful fate there is no recovery. As it was with Sodom, when the sun arose as on any other day but it was the day of their damnation and they knew it not. “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God,” Hebrews 3:7-12.