God shows up (Job 38)

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I am still stuck on a chapter that I read the other day. Job 38. God finally speaks. Job gets his day before the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator. This is what he has been asking for through most of the book. God shows up.

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.”” (Job 38:1-3)

You can almost feel the trembling of Job. It’s time to “man up.” It’s time to face the raw power of Yahweh.

The rest of the chapter is an expression of Yahweh’s control over his creation. He may not directly answer Job’s questions, but indirectly Yahweh speaks volumes about who he is.

I’ve written before that one main lesson that I’m learning (while walking through suffering) is that God is God. As God, he doesn’t have to answer my questions, he doesn’t have to explain his ways. His character (grounded in His Word) is enough for me to walk by faith and know that He loves me and is doing everything for my best (even if that best hurts for now).

In these closing chapters, rather than giving Job answers he wouldn’t understand and that his heart couldn’t contain, God answered Job by pointing to himself, to his presence, power, and glory. He knew that Job’s instinct was to seek answers, when what Job really needed was to seek God (which is what I wrote in this post as well).

Chapter 38 seems loaded with layers of meaning. The NIV Application Commentary says that “[God] communicates about macrocosmic operations using the terminology and understanding of the ancient world-Job’s world.”

This chapter is written/spoken in poetic nature…the NIV Application Commentary is right to point out the non-scientific descriptions of how things work so that God can teach about himself…for example:

The earth has foundations, footings, and a cornerstone (vv 4, 6).

The sea has been confined behind barred doors (v 10).

The netherworld has gates (v 17).

Light and darkness have locations rather than sources (v 19).

Snow and hail are kept in storehouses (v 22).

Lightning and east winds are locations (v 24).

Rain is stored in water jars (v 37).

The chapter not so much talks about creation (creating out of nothing), but instead about God bringing order to the operations in his creation.

Weary pilgrims want answers. They (I) want to see the details that are behind the results of the mess surrounding them (a.k.a. life). I want to know (now) what will come of this suffering. Is it too much to ask how all of this will play out in the end? Is it too much to ask to see the plan while it’s unfolding?

I’ll write it again (to myself): In these closing chapters, rather than giving Job answers he wouldn’t understand and that his heart couldn’t contain, God answered Job by pointing to himself, to his presence, power, and glory. He knew that Job’s instinct was to seek answers, when what Job really needed was to seek God.

There is more to write from this chapter. This week I have been reading it often, praying that I will not find answers, but God.

Lord, open my eyes to You and your perfect character so that I can love you! Answers are nice, but you are so much better than the answers to the trials of life or the “why’s” behind the troubles that surround us! Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name(Psalm 86:11).

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