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

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gleanings from Job #19

...concluding my devotional series on the book of Job

Let God be God (38-42)

We come to the final chapters of the book of Job.

We have witnessed the false accusations by Job's three friends against his character. We have read Job's response to those accusations, and then read what his fourth friend said to re-orient Job back to having a biblical perspective.

Now, coming to chapter 38, the creator of the universe breaks His silence. This is the moment Job has been waiting for. Only God's response is not what is expected. Job was looking to have God answer Him in his suffering. Job wanted a legal hearing to prove His innocence to God. However, rather than explaining the role of evil and answering the "why" of Job's suffering, God rebukes Job and his friends for challenging His ways.

Through out chapters 38-40, God asks Job a series of 70 questions. It is the longest discourse recorded of God's direct speech. He begins in 38:1 and speaks through to 41:24. Interestingly, the author of the book identifies God by His covenant name, Yahweh.

God's response over the next four chapters demonstrated His absolute authority, His divine power, and His qualification to preside over all of creation. In contrast, God's words demonstrated Job's ignorance as a man, his impotence, and impatience. The question is quite simple:

How can Job (and his friends) pretend to comprehend and explain God's ways with man when he cannot even comprehend and begin to control the government of all of creation?

But, even though man cannot even begin to understand God's ways, they can for sure trust Him. Such glory must lead to praise and worship.

There are three broad areas of the created order God directs Job's attention: The earth, the heavens, and then the animal world. With each area God asks Job what knowledge or power, if any, does he have over these realms. The obvious answer is none.

I. God's Dealings with the earth (38:4-12)

After gripping Job's attention, along with his friends, by a display of power in a whirlwind, God challenges all of the arguments of Job and his 4 friends. Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? It is a humbling rebuke by the creator of the universe.

After that rebuke, God draws Job to consider the creation of the earth (4-30). He opens His discourses by framing everything He is about to reveal with a question, Where were you Job when I laid the foundation of the earth? God then provides a series of illustrations from the planet earth, and follows each illustration with a series of simple, but challenging questions. In other words, what were you doing Job (and your buddies) when I created? Oh, you weren't even around, huh? The point being, Job has no authority to question God's purposes when he can only know about creation if God tells him about it.

II. God's Dealings with the heavens (38:30-38)

God moves from descriptions of the earth to asking Job about what he knows about the heavens. He points Job to the sky so as to consider the constellations and the stars and then asks him if whether or not he knows anything about their dominion and ordinances, which is to mean the laws regulating their orbits. They maintain their positions in heaven and come about in their season as God has determined. God then points Job to the weather system on earth and asks him what he knows about clouds, rain, and the lightening. His silence only speaks to his sheer ignorance in these matters.

III. God's Dealings with the animal kingdom (38:39-41:34)

After questioning Job's knowledge about the creation of the earth and heavens, the remainder of God's discourse describes the ways of various animals familiar with Job. There are at least 12 animals mentioned: Lions, ravens, goats, deer, wild donkeys, oxen, ostriches, horses, hawks, eagles, and then two strange beasts I personally believe refer to dinosaurs, the behemoth and the leviathan.

All of these creatures of God both great and small expose the fallible person Job is. After brazenly demanding a day in court with God to vindicate him before his friends, God gives him his day and Job falls dreadfully short of what it takes to make such demands from God.

But, in spite of his miserable short-comings, the God of all creation is ready to dispense grace.

IV. Job's Renewal (42)

The only appropriate response Job could give to God after such a withering rebuke was to put his hand over his mouth and repent. That is exactly what he does.

1) Job's Repentance - Job recognizes his foolishness in light of who God is. Thus he confesses his reckless accusations that questioned the character of the living God. He had not understood, but now he truly saw (5).

2) Job's Reconciliation - Job is declared to be God's servant. He now stands as a priest for his 3 friends whom God declares acted in folly against Job.

3) Job's Restoration - After his repentance, Job is restored to his former time of blessing. In fact, God gave him twice of what he owned before. The family who had forsaken him returned and ate food with him, implying they had a restored fellowship with Job. Moreover, they comforted him and consoled him as to all the adversity he had suffered. Then lastly, God restored to Job a new family of children, 7 sons and 3 daughters.

He then died a blessed man, old and full of days.

Through out the book, it is apparent Job bemoaned the calamitous situation brought upon him by God. It is not sinful to bemoan calamity brought on by God. It is only human to grieve over horrendous circumstances that befall a person. What is sinful, however, is charging God with folly, or lack of wisdom, or that He is malicious in character. Such would be foolish on our part, for we know not what God is doing. What is perceived as foolish and unwise and malicious, is really the holy purposes of a wise and good God working things out on behalf of those whom He has set His love.



Blogger Joe Blackmon said...


Thank you for this encouraging series. I hope you don't mind but I have linked to this post.

5:49 PM, October 23, 2008  

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