God's Sovereignty Viewed in Relation to the Death of His People
Job 34:20
In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away…

The text is part of the argument employed by Elihu to establish the principle of the Divine equity in the government of the universe. He insinuates that the suffering patriarch had at least implied certain reflections on the character of the Deity, and he remonstrates with him to show that the governor of the universe could not be unjust.

I. THE SOVEREIGNTY AND IMPARTIALITY OF GOD. Sovereignty in the highest and most proper sense belongs exclusively to Jehovah. No bounds are set to His influence, and no department is free from His control. The originating cause of death is not Divine sovereignty, but our sin. In salvation we see God's sovereignty as the originating cause; but in death man's guilt. Though death has not originated in sovereignty, yet all the circumstances of death are controlled by it. Death stands as a willing messenger at the footstool of Omnipotence.

1. God determines the hour of dissolution. The casualties which we sometimes speak of are casualties to us, but not to God. They are necessary parts of the general system which His wisdom regulates and His power controls. There is no confusion in what God does or permits to be done.

2. God deter. mines or controls the instruments by which life shall be ended. Whether by long, lingering sickness, or by a sudden stroke. There are only two cases of (apparent) exemption — Enoch and Elijah.

3. God is uninfluenced by the consideration of merely present consequences. They are all foreseen by Him. Death is a penalty that must be universally rendered. While administering equitable government, that which is particular must not be permitted to impede the universal good.

II. THE WEAKNESS AND DEPENDENCE OF MAN. The contrast is tremendous between the feebleness of the creature and the majesty of the Creator. "Man dieth and wasteth away." "He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down." We ask the question, "Where is he?" Nature gives no answer. Philosophy gives no answer. Only revelation can. It flings its light upon the future, and as in one word utters "eternity!"

(George Wilkins.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

WEB: In a moment they die, even at midnight. The people are shaken and pass away. The mighty are taken away without a hand.

Elihu's Remonstrance
Top of Page
Top of Page