God Speaks

Bible Reading: Job 38; 39; 40; 41; 42 - Listen

God finally speaks to Job. At first glance, it seems a bit disappointing that God doesn't display more compassion and encouragement. Yet, answering the tone of Job's intellectual sparring match with his friends, God reveals his own superior knowledge and their lack thereof. Instead of answering Job's demand for an explanation, God asks Job, "Why are you using your ignorance to deny my providence?" (38:2 LB). After listening to Job and his friends try to outdo each other with their long-winded intellectual arguments rooted in conjecture, God answers with his own intellectual argument rooted in true knowledge. In a lengthy discourse, he points out Job's ignorance about how the universe is run. He speaks with great delight about the objects of his creation. If Job cannot comprehend how God controls the wonders of nature, how can Job, with his finite mind, even begin to imagine how God works in the lives of people? How can he question God's fairness when he cannot possibly understand God's mind and character?

Job is finally granted his hearing with God. He had presumed that God wasn't listening when he presented his case and demanded his day in court. God heard every word. Now God turns the tables and says, "I will question you and you will answer me" (38:3; 40:7). When given an opportunity to argue his case and defend his worthiness before the Almighty, Job puts his hand over his mouth in complete humility and utters, "I am unworthy" (40:4). God asks Job, "Are you going to discredit my justice and condemn me so that you can say you are right?" (40:8 LB). Job humbly replies, "You ask how I dare question your wisdom when I am so very ignorant. I talked about things I did not understand, about marvels too great for me to know.... My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes" (42:3-6, TEV/NIV).

Though God rebukes Job for questioning his sovereignty and justice, he says that Job has spoken the truth about him, unlike his three friends. While angry at the trio, he expresses acceptance of Job. He restores Job's happiness, prosperity and honor, and blesses him more in the latter part of his life than the first.

While Job demanded justice from God, God demanded humility from Job. While Job wanted God to acknowledge and reward Job's impeccable performance, God wanted Job to take a closer look at God's unmatched wisdom, power and sovereignty. When Job's eyes were opened to the unfathomable mysteries of God, he laid down his demands, his anger, his pride, and his despair, and bowed in awe and humility before his Creator.

May I, too, open my eyes to God's greatness and humbly realize my ignorance about things I don't understand, about marvels too great for me to know. May I lean into God's goodness and wisdom when I lack the capacity to comprehend his purpose and plan. May I fall on my face before my Maker and lay at his feet my pain, my anger, my expectations, my doubts, my fears, my past, my future, ...my life.