Elihu is still talking. Wraps up what he has to say about how God deals with clouds and rain and all related things (snow, ice, thunder, lightning, etc.) with these words. These words give only three possible reasons for why God does what He does, but these three are a cross-section of His reasons and give an idea as to the full scope of why He does what He does.
The first reason Elihu gives is correction. This has been the subject of Job and his friends’ conversation through the whole book. God is correcting you. You did something wrong. Blah, blah, blah. Now we know that Job did nothing to warrant what was happening to him as the introductory chapters tell us as much. God was talking about how great Job was as a righteous man and Satan was given leave to test Job. Correct is not why all of this started. Correction is how it will wrap up, though. Job has been spouting off about things he does not fully understand and God will show up to personally correct Job. The point of what Elihu is saying is that sometimes God does things to correct us. An illness, a business failure, the loss of a job, a broken friendship, and so many other things can potentially be God’s correction. It bears note that He corrects out of love Or, as Elihu mentioned in the verse for yesterday, because He wants to justify us.
Next on the list is for His world. This tells us two things. First, that the world belongs to God. Notice that it is His world for which He is doing something. Second, God loves His world. He does some things solely for the purpose of doing good to His world. In The Law, God told Israel to take a sabbath year every seventh year. They were to work hard and do their thing for six years and year seven was to be a year of no farming. Give the land a break. Just grab whatever happens to grow on its own. Since Israel did not obey this command (among others), God sent them off into captivity. It “just so happened” that the length of their captivity was precisely equal to the number of years of rest they had denied the land. Some things God does for His world.
Last on the list is for lovingkindness. The King James renders this as for mercy. Sometimes God allows one “bad” thing to happen in order to avert a much worse thing. Maybe I got a speeding ticket, but the alternative was to be T-boned by a vehicle at the next intersection and be left paralyzed. I would definitely count the second option as “worse.” I do not see all the branching possibilities, but God does and He chooses the one that ultimately results in Good for me. God will sometimes let a “bad” thing happen in order to turn us away from doing something truly Bad. Years back, God had instructed me to stop going to industrial clubs. I did not share this with anyone (and I should have) and a friend invited me (not knowing) out to an industrial club. We had been before and she was just extending an invite to go dancing with a friend. I accepted, despite knowing that God had said I should not do it. That morning, I slipped and fell and in the shower and bruised my tail bone to the point of walking being painful. What would have happened? I do not know. But I can trust that God let that happen and one of the possible reasons is for mercy.
These three are far from being the full gamut of why God does things, but they are an excellent representational sampling. Some things He does to correct us; some things for His world; some things for mercy. He has, I am sure, millions upon millions of other reasons to do the things He does. The point, I think, of this sampling is to remind Job (and me, by proxy) that God’s reasons are Good and that everything God does has a reason. Let me learn to trust that everything God does is done with a reason and that reason is Good.