Job had been dying to hear God speak and now that He does, it is doubtful that it is exactly what he wants to hear. God doesn’t address his suffering but questions Job instead regarding the vastness of creation, the solar system, weather patterns and various animals. What’s up with that?
A more careful reading of the questions God presents to Job reveals a pattern. God questions reveal both Job’s limitations and ability while demonstrating His own wisdom and power.
The Lord describes the vastness of His universe and challenges Job with His knowledge:
“Surely you know!” (38:5,21)
“Tell me, if you know all this.” (38:18b)
“Do you know...?” (38:20,33; 39:1,2)
The Lord describes the vastness of His power or ability as revealed in creation.
“Have you...?” (38:1216,17,18,22)
“Can you...?” (38:20,31,32,33,34; 39:10,12)
“Do you...?” (38:35,38; 39:1,2,19,20)
“Have you...?" (38:12,16,17,18,22)
Job had an epiphany after hearing the Lord describe His knowledge and ability, “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, bit I will say no more” (Job 40:3). Job begins to shrink in his own eyes.
These statements continue through chapters 40 and 41 and conclude with Job’ second epiphany, “I know that you can do all things; no plans of yours can be thwarted...My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:2,5-6).
Job’s suffering reveals his pride, inability and limitations. His wealth and health had created a sense of power that suffering stripped him of. That’s what suffering does. It teaches us that we are not all that and that we need God. Suffering sobers people who are drunk with their own prowess. God speaks through suffering and Job is listening.
God's Turn To Ask Questions
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm" (Job 38:1)
Ravi Zacharias states, “Nothing is so self-defeating as a question that has been raised that has not been fully thought through.” Job has raised questions about God’s integrity, His nearness, His justice, and the worth of serving God. While at the time these questions seemed absolutely fair, the whirlwind of God’s awesome presence dispels the fog of Job’s poor thinking and exposes the limitations of both the questions he’s raised and the questioner who raised them.
Now it is God's turn. He answers Job's questions by raising His own questions—and raise them He does! In chapters 38 and 39 alone, God raises 55 questions to Job. These questions disclose Job’s ignorance as well as his powerlessness before God. God begins by revealing Job’s ignorance: “Who is this that darkens My counsel with words without knowledge?” He continues to heap question upon question about this ignorance, so that Job eventually is forced to declare that he knows nothing. He also exposes Job’s inability, extracting from Job the declaration that God alone is mighty.
Modern science has consumed itself seeking the answers to these very questions, assuming that this set of questions exhausts the limits of the knowledge of the God of the Bible. What man does not understand (along with Job and his friends) is that God has limitless questions that they can’t even begin to grasp. In fact, His purpose actually isn’t to condemn Job, but to force Job to see that God, not Job, is the great Creator and Designer, and that all through which Job has gone will actually work for good as he submits to the design of a good God. God brings Job to have a repentant heart so that God, not Job, will be justified in the eyes of men. God’s conviction and salvation always do just that—they bring humanity to the realization of need before God and repentance from self-reliance (which is the great sin).
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- About which areas of creation does God question Job?
- What do these questions that God asks Job tell you about God and His relationship with creation?
- List the twelve animals God uses to exhibit His creative genius and providential care.
- What does God's creation of the animals mentioned teach Job about God?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the Lord for His infinite wisdom. Thank Him that He is totally reliable/trustworthy. Express your trust in Him and give those things to Him that you don't understand about Him and His ways.