May 30th, 2021 - Job 38-39
We sometimes sing a song in church written by Chris Tomlin entitled “Indescribable “. Please allow me so share some of the words. “From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea, creation’s revealing your majesty. From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring, every creature unique in the song that it sings. Who has told every lightening bolt where it should go or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow. Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night. You placed the stars in the sky and you know them by name you are amazing God. All powerful, untamable, awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim you are amazing God.” As the tune for this song runs through my head, and I look at the words, some of them are close to what God is asking Job.
As the storm came and God spoke to Job we see that the answer to Job’s problems was not an explanation about God but instead, a revelation of God. The four men had declared and defended the greatness of God but had failed to persuade Job. But now God is displaying his majesty and greatness and it humbled Job and brought him to a place of silent submission before God. This was the turning point. My guess is, it would be for us as well. Swiss psychologist Dr. Paul Tournier wrote this, “For God’s answer is not an idea, a proposition, like the conclusion of a theorem. It is God himself. He revealed Himself to Job and Job found personal contact with God.” It would be much easier and much preferable for God to speak to us in the sunshine, when everything is going well. But sometimes God speaks out of the storm. Think back to Moses, the Israelites, and Mount Sinai. God descended on the mountain in thunder, lightning, thick darkness, fire and smoke. Years later Elijah experienced the same thing and still later, Ezekiel saw the glory of God in a storm and heard the voice of God speaking to him. No doubt experiencing this made Job very attentive to what the Lord had to say to him.
God asked Job 77 questions, none of which Job had a chance of answering. The purpose for all this? Gods wanted to show Job his own inadequacies and abilities to meet God as an equal and defend his cause. Job had said to God…then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak and you reply. God’s address to Job had three parts, two of which we see in today’s reading. The first is…can you explain my creation…chapter 38. Chapter 39 is God’s question can you over see my creation and in chapters 40-41 God asked Job can you subdue my creation. Question one dealt with God’s power and wisdom in bringing the universe into being. Next came God’s providential care of His creatures. We see this in the New Testament as well when Jesus speaks of God tending to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. Lastly, the third centered on two creatures whose identities are debated. These creatures are the behemoth and the leviathan…perhaps a hippopotamus and a crocodile. These two defy man’s ability to subdue them.
The writer of the Book of Job is now calling God, the Lord. This means Jehovah God, a name that has not been used for God since chapter two. In their speeches the men have called God, God or The Almighty, but not Jehovah. This is the same name God used for Himself back in Exodus 3:13. This is the name that speaks of God’s self existence. This is I AM, I AM WHOM I AM. This is the covenant name God used with His people. He is serious here. Any delusions of wisdom Job might have had went right out the window with God’s opening statement to him. “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” You can almost hear Job gulp. This could be a long conversation for Job! Notice God did not deny Job’s integrity or even his sincerity. The only thing God questioned Job about was his ability to explain the ways of God to the world. Job had spoken the truth about God, something the evil one said he would be ever do, but what Job said, lacked humility. Oops. Like us perhaps, Job thought he knew about God. Now, with one or two statements, Job realizes he knows very little about God. One can almost picture God with his hard hat and tool belt as he describes the forming of the earth. He measured, surveyed, poured the footings and laid the cornerstone. Had Job been around for that? And as God worked, it was so amazing the stars sang like a choir and the angels shouted for joy. If Job doesn’t knows about all of this, he really doesn’t know much about God. And so the meeting between Job and God went. God moved from the earth to the seas. This is not building but birth! The seas were knit together. This sounds like Psalm 139. After the seas were knit, they burst forth like a baby being born. The seas were clothed not with cute baby outfits but with clouds and darkness, and God set their limits. Next God moved to the sun. We see God commanding His heavenly troops…the heavenly host. God wondered if Job had ever told the sun to rise or the darkness to go away, unfolding the dark sky and gradually making the features of the earth bright enough to be seen. Putting away the darkness also removes the evil deeds done under the cover of darkness.
Verses 16-24 ask about the vast dimensions of creation…the heights and depths of the universe. Did Job measure? So far the deepest ever measured comes from the Pacific Ocean…35,810 feet deep. And as for height, voyager 2 spent 12 years going 4.4 billion miles into space and this year NASA has landed on Mars. Indescribable indeed. Did Job know where to find the storehouses of snow, hail, thunder, and lightening bolts? And what about the wind? God is working at deflating Job’s pride and bringing him down to his knees in repentance. Did Job know about the rain and how it turned into ice or snow? Perhaps by this time Job was wishing he had never asked for an audience with the Lord. But now it was too late. Could Job understand how the heavens moved and worked? The stars and planets? We can study them all we want but we cannot control them. EVER. There was even a wee bit of sarcasm on God’s part. Job if you understand so much about the heavenly bodies that are thought to affect the earth, why not use some of that authority and change the situation you are in? Could Job tip the jars of rain onto the earth? It was one thing to create everything. It is quite another to maintain them.
In chapter 39 God brought forth a parade of six beasts…lioness, goats, deer, wild donkey, wild ox, and horse. He also mentioned five birds…raven, ostrich, stork, hawk, and eagle. Job did not create them nor did he know how to care for them. In Psalm 145:16 we read, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” God keeps everything moving and running. God spoke about young being born. Shepherds and farmers assist their animals when they give birth but the wild animals give birth alone. God watches over them. Many of the wild animals take care of themselves because God taught them how to care for themselves. He contrasts two of the birds and asks Job if he can explain why they are so different. The stork has beautiful wings that allow it to fly, but the ostrich can only fan the air with her wings. But, why make a flightless bird that can run as fast as a horse? The comparisons between animals and birds continues and we end today’s reading in the middle of God’s discourse. Tomorrow’s reading finishes the discourse between God and Job, as well as the book. Job received what he asked for but not what he expected from God. That happens to us as well sometimes.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W
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