Job 38-40

Don’t criticize what you don’t understand

“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers? Job 40:2 NLT

God finally speaks. Job has heard from his three friends and Elihu, the young, arrogant upstart. But now he hears from the only one who matters. God Himself. And God’s response if full of not-so-subtle sarcasm. Over and over again He questions Job. He starts out His response to Job by saying, “Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them” (Job 38:3 NLT). God tells Job to brace himself like a man because He has a few questions for him. “Who are you…?” “Where were you when…” “Have you ever…?” “Can you…?” “Do you know…?”

At one point, God’s sarcasm comes out. He says, “But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!” (Job 38:21 NLT). God is questioning Job’s right to question Him. Who is Job, a mere man, to question the intentions of a holy, righteous, powerful, world-creating God? Job can’t answer a single one of God’s questions and he knows it. When given a chance to respond, all he can say is, “I am nothing––how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say” (Job 40:4-5 NLT). Good answer, Job! You’re learning. The moment Job has been waiting for has finally come. His chance to defend himself before God. And all he can do is put his hand over his mouth. He knows he has nothing to say in response to God Almighty.

Once again, God commands Job to gut it up and prepare himself to answer a few questions. And the first one is, “Are you going to discredit my justice and condemn me so you can say you are right?” (Job 40:8 NLT). God seems to be accusing Job of doing the same thing his friends had done to him. In his effort to defend his innocence, he had overextended his understanding of what his suffering was all about. He knew it wasn’t about something he had done wrong, so that left him to make false assumptions about the justice of God. He questioned God’s goodness and righteousness. Job’s perception was limited. His understanding was incomplete. He could not understand all that was going on behind the scenes. He was jumping to conclusions based on circumstances just like his friends had done. And God makes it perfectly clear that Job is just a man.

All right then, put on your robes of state, your majesty and splendor. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.  – Job 40:10-14 NLT

Job is NOT God. That seems to be God’s main point. Job is just a man. So am I. And I need to remember that. I don’t have the strength, power, majesty, holiness, wisdom, judgment, or justice of God. If I did, I could save myself. But the sad thing is, I live as if I do have all those things and I DO try to save myself on a regular basis. But it never works. Because I AM NOT GOD! There is only one God and I will never understand or fully comprehend Him. I do not know His ways. I cannot explain His actions. I have no way of understanding why He does what He does. And He does not have to explain Himself to me. God seems to be trying to get Job to understand who it is he is talking to. God doesn’t necessarily condemn Job for his words, but He does blast him for making wrong assumptions about Him based on ignorance or arrogance. Before we condemn God, we should take some time to remind ourselves just who it is we are condemning. He can handle our questions, but He wants us to bring them to Him in fear and respect. We do not have a peer-to-peer relationship with God. We are not His equals. Just because we can come into His presence, does not mean we can do so flippantly or cavalierly. He is still God. And He still deserves our honor and respect.

Father, too often I come to you in anger, demanding answers. I forget just who it is I am talking to. But the amazing thing is, You don’t just blow me away. You actually listen to me. But You do want me to treat You with the dignity and honor You deserve. Forgive me for my disrespect. You are God and I am just a man. I don’t understand Your ways. I can’t see what You see. I can’t comprehend what You are doing behind the scenes. But I can know that You are powerful, mighty, just, righteous, and always in control. Let me place my hand over my mouth before I would ever try to answer You without stopping first to remember just who You are. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men