Time for Ultimate Wisdom (Job 38–39)
For most of the book of Job, it seems as if God has stood back and silently eavesdropped on the conversations between Job and his wife, Job and his three friends, then Job and Elihu. After listening as others tried in vain to explain what He had allowed to happen to Job, God answered Job directly and in a spectacular fashion: out of a whirlwind. But God had some questions of His own to pose, questions designed to take Job to a place he couldn';t have expected.
The first question God posed to Job is, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much” (Job 38:4). Over the next two chapters (Job 38–39), God poses one question after another, all of which lead Job to one conclusion: He';s talking to his Creator, and He';s a Creator filled with power and wisdom.
As the questioning continues, God asks Job some very pointed questions: “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east?” (Job 38:12). “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you walked about and explored their depths?” (Job 38:16). “Can you hold back the movements of the stars?” (Job 38:31). “Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain?” (Job 38:34).
For thirty-seven chapters we have read of the suffering of Job and of the questions that suffering brought to his mind. However, not one of those questions is answered. Instead of giving Job what he wanted and thought he needed — namely, answers to his questions — God gives Job a closeup explanation and look at His person and glory.
Job can only listen as God makes His point. Job can';t answer — though he knows the answers to all those questions is “No!” — but he does come to an understanding of who he is talking to. God had reminded Job of some valuable pieces of information, all of which would benefit him over the remainder of his life:
God is the Creator, and Job was the created one.
God is in control, and Job is at the mercy of what happens around him.
God is infinite in his wisdom, and Job cannot understand lofty things.
God is all-powerful, and Job is limited in what he can do.
With the questioning concerning who was the Creator and who was the created finished, God poses the question: “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God';s critic, but do you have the answers?” (Job 40:2). Of course, Job realized he had spoken out of turn — far out of turn: “I am nothing — how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say” (Job 40:4–5).
What criticisms or questions have you had of God, and how did He use them to teach you more about Him and help you to know Him better?
What is your response when you are faced with a situation in which you feel out of control or that makes no sense?