One of the most intriguing aspects of the book of Job is that God steps in and takes part in the discussion. This is unique in the pages of the Old Testament, at least in this fashion. And it provides some good insight into the nature of God’s character and activity on behalf of men.
God shows up to the discussion between Job and his friends. And when he does, he gives quite a speech, so long that it covers five chapters in Job, chapters 38-42.
Right away, we can see the infinite contrast between the knowledge and power of God, and those of man. God decides to answer Job’s complaint. But he does so in an unexpected fashion: he speaks out of the whirlwind. Job 37:1-2 seems to give some foreshadowing of the storm in which God appears, as Elihu speaks to Job. Perhaps the storm was on the horizon. The whirlwind is often used as a symbol of judgment. Out of the midst of the whirlwind, God answered the challenge of Job, and shows that if man cannot explain everything in God’s natural creation, how can man, then, hope to understand everything about God’s moral creation?
Job’s cry has been heard. “Let the Almighty answer me!” he called out in Job 31:35. God now answers out of the storm. Perhaps Job didn’t expect God to hear and answer. His cry seems to be one of desperation. Perhaps he regrets it. Perhaps he didn’t think it through, and just uttered it under his breath. Matthew 12:36 states: But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
Aren’t we careless and flippant in our words? From joking and sarcasm, and lighter uses, to those moments when we accuse and turn on God for something? Job shows us that we will be held accountable for the things we say.
God begins by asking Job a question. “Where were you…?” Job is silenced. He has no answer now that he is face to face with God! No human being was present when God laid the foundation of the earth. Man was not yet created. God’s speech dwells on the ignorance, impotence, helplessness, and infinitesimal smallness of man, compared to God, and asks question after question which awed Job and drove him to his knees, as the unveiling of God’s might continues in Job 39.
Job’s response is humility. Our response should be the same.
Job replies with the understanding that he is insignificant (Job 40:3-4). Some older translations may have “vile.” That is a mistranslation. Job meant, “I do not count, I have been answering and arguing, I will say no more!” Job knows he is not equal to the task imposed. He will keep his mouth firmly closed (Job 40:5). A man may justify himself before man; but he cannot justify himself before God, apart from Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1-2 makes this clear: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
You and I find ourselves in the same position as Job. We cannot begin to understand how he created or continues to maintain his creation. If we can’t even begin to understand the basics of natural law, who are we to question anything more from God? Our only response is to stand in humility before him, and know that our only hope comes through God’s own actions on our behalf, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
In the end, God exonerates Job, and restores him. But not before Job fully repents and seeks that reconciliation. In the same way, God offers that same restoration to you and I, and gives us the means to do so, through Christ.
Question: Can you see the shadow of Christ in the book of Job? What do you need to do to stand before God in humility and repentance? You can leave a comment by clicking here.