Today’s reading: Job 38-39.
“Everyone – pantheist, atheist, skeptic, polytheist – has to answer these questions: ‘Where did I come from? What is life’s meaning? How do I define right from wrong and what happens to me when I die?’ Those are the fulcrum points of our existence.” Ravi Zacharias
We’ve all got questions. “How I am I going to handle _____?” Why can’t I ______?” “What was ______ all about?” Job has been questioning God ever since his suffering began, begging for him to show up and give him answers, and finally the LORD appears. But instead of giving Job answers, God starts asking his own questions.
“Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?” Job 38:28-32
Drawing from the world he created, God grills Job about the many mysteries of nature. He covers earth, the heavens, and a multitude of animals, but I would boil his questions down to two big categories:
Do you know? How the world was created? How the sea was formed? How to make the clouds? Where the light and darkness come from?
Can you do? Can you bind or loosen the stars? Can you lead the constellations into their place? Can you order the clouds to release their rain or send the lightning?
Of course Job doesn’t know the answer to any of God’s questions. He can’t do any of the things God asks him to do. He isn’t God, after all …
Do you see it? I think Job saw it. He wanted answers to life’s big questions (Why is there suffering? Why isn’t life fair?) and God said, “All right, but here is what you’ll need to know in order to understand my answers.” God isn’t dodging Job’s questions. Job, and you and I, aren’t able to comprehend the answers any more than we are able to tie a lasso around the moon. Job wanted to know the why but God is only able to show him the who – God himself present with Job.
When God thus spoke to Job, He gave him no explanation of the mystery of his suffering. The method of God was that of unveiling His glory before the mind of His servant, thus leading him to more perfect confidence in Him with regard to experiences which were not yet explained. The first movement in this unveiling had to do with the simplest facts of the material universe, which are sublime beyond the comprehension of man. Through all, God was suggesting His own knowledge, and the stupendous ease of His activity. Job was being led to forgetfulness of himself in a contemplation of God. G. Campbell Morgan
Intellectual apprehension of the innumerable and far-reaching threads of Divine purpose and the secrets of the Divine will is not attempted. But the moral nature of man is brought into touch with the glorious righteousness of God. Thus the reconciliation is revealed for which the whole poem has made preparation. Job has passed through the furnace of trial and the deep waters of doubt, and at last the way is opened for him into a wealthy place. Till the Son of God Himself come to clear the mystery of suffering no larger reconciliation is possible. Accepting the inevitable boundaries of knowledge, the mind may at length have peace. Expositor’s Bible Commentary
We should be able to say to people, “I’m not looking for a specific sin in your life that God is punishing you for or chastising you for. God may be permitting this calamity to come into your life just to refine very beautiful faith. Your faith is like gold, but it does have straw in it, and God loves you so much that he is now going to burn out a little more straw.” John Piper
Image by Leo Reynolds on Flickr, CC by-nc-sa 2.o