Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

GOD'S ANSWER (Job 38-40)

Why do you confuse the issue?
Why do you talk without knowing what you're talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
and I want some straight answers.
(Job 38:2-4)

For thirty-seven chapters, Job has begged God to answer. His tone has grown increasingly strident as he has struggled with a single basic issue: What have I done, that God should treat me like this? He can't call me guilty; I'm innocent. He wants to sue God, so to speak.

At last, at last--God shows up. In some of my favorite chapters in scripture, God describes creation in incredible language. Names Himself as the "master designer" (a chorus from my youth days, in the 1960s). Some of what God mentions has been answered by scientific inquiry (where, when does a doe give birth? who controls the weather?).

God tells Job: Before I'll answer your question, answer one of mine. You want to take me to court as if I'm your equal. Can you prove that you are my equal?

This takes the concept of a "jury of your peers" to a whole new level.

In theological terms, we're talking the imminence of God and His transcendence, at the same time.

Job felt he could question God because, well, God is approachable. He is "imminent," nearby, able to be perceived, seen, herd, touched. First of all, He revealed Himself in creation. The ultimate demonstration appeared when God Himself became man. As John said, The Word [Jesus] became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. (John 1:14)

The quality of God's imminence was why Job knew he could throw accusations at God. God would understand God would listen. When God arrived on the scene, He revealed the opposite quality: His transcendence. In Jesus, we see more of God than we'll ever understand in a hundred lifetimes. Even so, Jesus made us part of His family, His brothers and sisters.

But God is so much more. Take away mankind, earth, all of the physical universe, that which scientists worship--and God still exists. He made us finite, mortal, bound by time. He is not.

God doesn't just announce this supreme power, one that lays beyond and outside of our understanding (kind of like eternity. It's not before and after time, it's outside of time.) He proves it by naming things He did at the dawn of creation--His plan, His attention to detail, His power, His ability to make something out of nothing. Job, were you there? Could you have done the same things?

I'm not sure if I could have found words to answer. Job managed to be articulate in spite of his claim to be speechless. I'm speechless, in awe--words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I've talked too much, way too much. I'm ready to shut up and listen. (Job 40:3-5)

Bart Millard (Mercy Me) expressed what I am trying to say in his song, "Word of God Speak."
I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say.

Word of God, Speak. Let me listen.


  1. We could say tooooo much and he still loves us Wants the best for us
    We can blow it And we are still his
    God bless you

    1. So very true, Chris! As Job did. I'm learning from him in this devotional quick trip.