Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gleanings in Job #12

Who God Is (Job 25-26)

My purpose with these studies on Job is to acquaint the reader to a book of the Bible that is often neglected. Folks tend to know about the first few chapters where Satan, under the divine hand of providence, subjects Job to severe trial. We may even know about the last few chapters of the book where God speaks to Job. However, it is the middle sections of the book that are often overlooked because they tend to be difficult to understand. Hopefully, these studies can shed some light on those overlooked sections.

When Job's friends come to him to offer comfort in his suffering, their main line of argument was that he suffered because God was punishing him for a variety of unconfessed sin. Each of his closest companions, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, give three speeches to Job calling him to confess his sin.

With this post, we come to Bildad's third and final speech and the shortest in the entire book, a mere six verses. His primary theme in these verses is the majesty of God in contrast with the insignificance and iniquity of all men.

I. His Case (25:1-5)

God has dominion. In other words, God is absolute sovereign over the affairs of the world.

- He has the authority and ability to command the armies of men (25:3), and in fact controls them even when they may not realize it.

- He is omnipresent (25:3). Bildad declares, "Upon whom does His light not rise?", meaning God's presence shines upon all men everywhere. There is no where where God is not.

- He is holy (25:4-5). Contrasted to men, God is absolutely pure, implying the holiness of His character. Pulling from a rather unique illustration, the fact that the moon only reflects the sun's light, Bildad says God's holiness outshines the moon reflecting the sun, and even the stars. And He certainly can outshine man, who is basically a maggot or a worm, the most base creatures on the earth.

II. His Conclusion (25:6)

Bildad concludes his short comments by pointing out that in light of who we know God is, we as men are nothing before Him, just a lowly worm, a decaying refuse eating fly larva. When we know the truth of who God is, how then can Job claim to be able to stand before God and have Him judge his case?

In contrast to Bildad's short, six verse speech, Job's words from Chapters 26-31 are the longest.

III. Job's Response (26)

In chapter 26, Job explains to Bildad that he knows who God is. His tone in the opening verses is one of annoyance, like he is offended that Bildad would lecture him on such an obviously revealed truth of God.

Job recognizes that God's Majesty, His sovereign authority, extends to several arenas in our world:

- God is sovereign over death (26:5-6). Interestingly, Job describes death in personal terms. He speaks of "the dead" as those who are still in existence, but not in our world. This can easily be taken to mean Job had an understanding of life after death.

The dead are said to tremble. They know the reality of their fate. When we depart this world in death, we do not cease to exist as many in our day and age wish to suggest. We will face judgment as Hebrews 9:27 reminds us in the NT. Additionally, Job describes those dead who are "under the waters and those inhabiting them." This could be taken to mean those who were perhaps drowned in the judgmental waters of Noah's flood. Job and his friends lived close enough to this event that it would still be fresh in the minds of their culture. Moreover, Sheol and Destruction are naked before God. Basically, no man can escape the gaze of God even in death. There is no where to run or go from His presence.

- God is Sovereign over heaven and earth (26:7-13). Job describes the power of God over the things above, below, and on the earth. The description he gives of God's ability is remarkable:

> He has set the foundations of the earth, hanging our planet in space (7).

> He controls the weather (8, 9), binding up the water in thick clouds which distill upon the earth in rain.

> He orchestrates the turning of the earth so that life on our world enjoys day time and night time (10). The description Job provides is of God drawing a circular horizon of the waters and setting the boundary of light and darkness. The pictures we have from space show the circularity of the atmosphere around our world. This image is particularly pronounced when seen contrasted against our oceans. Additionally, there is the termination line (see picture above) where the darkness of night is divided from the day as the earth rotates. Amazingly, Job knew about these things in his day.

> He commands the seas (12). The power of the ocean and its ability to sink massive oil tankers in a storm is easily controlled by God. As a footnote, who else in the Bible had the power to command the waves of the sea?

> He sets the splendor of the heavens (13). The wonder of our universe as seen through our limited telescopic instruments here on the earth reveal the wonder of God's creative Spirit. Looking further and further into space only to see more radiant objects that never seem to end only demonstrates the omnipotence and eternity of God.

Job's conclusion is almost an understatement compared to what he has just reminded us of: "Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!"



Blogger Charles E. Whisnant said...


Love the book of Job. Enjoyed the article. Great stuff.

God is sovereign, amen.


9:37 AM, May 05, 2008  

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