The Strengthening of Job
It is somewhat shocking the way the Lord responds to Job. You might almost expect the Lord to join in Job’s pity party and say, “Oh, poor Job, can I wipe your poor feverish brow? Oh, woe are you.” But He doesn’t! Here Job has been lying on the ash mound in misery ever since he gave into the temptation of vindicating himself, and because of his “anguish of spirit” he never responded to the message of deliverance that Elihu told him about. He was simply too crushed to answer him one word.
The Lord doesn’t join in his pity party. He doesn’t treat him like a little kid, He tells him to “Gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you questions and you will answer me.”
As I said, some of us are shocked to see the Lord react they way. But we shouldn’t. Job was more mature in his relationship with the Lord and more is expected of him. He was acting like a little boy and the Lord had to jerk him out of that! If you are indeed a “babe” in your relationship, He will deal gently and tenderly with you. However, as you grow and mature, He will no longer treat you as a child, but as a grown up, because He demands a more mature response to hardships.
The Lord addresses Job with very direct questions. He outlines for him the magnitude of His mighty power in heaven and on the earth, by revealing His glory before his eyes, just like he did for Moses when he proclaimed Himself as “a God full of compassion and gracious . . . plenteous in mercy and truth.”
The Voice from the Throne
Throughout chapter 38, the Lord asks him questions: “Where were you? . . . Have your ever? . . . Can you? . . . Do you know? . . . Will you? …” He is simply making Job understand where he was in the order and plan of God.
“Job, where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” as the Lord puts Job into his right position, as a creature before his Creator.
Job had told Zophar that he had understanding as well as they did when he resented being taught by his friends things he felt he knew even better than they did. His wisdom is quickly brought to nothing by the very first question the Lord asks.
If he indeed had “understanding,” he should be able to explain the mystery of his own being. Where was he at the creation of the earth? Who had determined its measure? Could he tell where the foundations were fastened? Did he know who laid the cornerstone?
If Job’s wisdom was unable to fathom these things, how could he possibly understand the mystery of his own creation, or even fathom the dealings of God with him?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors . . . prescribed for it boundaries . . . and said . . . ‘No further!’?” If the Lord was able to shut up the sea within its boundaries by His will alone, and was able to command the waves to stop, then he could certainly prescribe the boundary line of Job’s sorrows and at any time say “No further!” to those who, Job said, were overwhelming him “as a wide breaking in of waters.”
If the Lord can clothe the earth with light by commanding the morning to appear and cause the dawn to appear in the east, then He could certainly speak the Word, and bring Job out of his “darkness” and into the “light of the resurrection day”! He could certainly cause the light to “take hold” of him, so that the wicked hosts around him would be scattered and his life changed, marked with the impression of God, just like a piece of clay under a seal.
If Job has never explored the springs that brought forth the oceans or walked their depths, if he can’t even discern the shadows of death or perceive the gates—or the turning points—between life and death, how could he possibly understand the springs within his own being, or know the depths of his own heart? Earlier, Job talked about being drawn close to the land of the shadow of death, but they were obviously “words without knowledge” because only the Lord can know the depths of a man’s heart, or deal with the springs of his life. Only the Lord can control the gates of life and death.
“Certainly you know these things, Job!” The Lord says to him as he makes Job realize the folly of questioning the actions of such a God. If Job couldn’t comprehend the vast expanses of the earth, or discern the paths of light and darkness, then how could he possibly comprehend the way that he would be led to the One who is the dwelling of light?
Did Job really know all the resources of the Lord? Job said there was warfare appointed to man on the earth, but did he really understand anything of the conflict that was raging all around him? Did he know the forces that were reserved by the Lord, as a man of war, “for the day of the battle”?
Didn’t Job know the Lord had infinite resources for aiding him in this warfare? Don’t you think the Lord was a little better equipped to deal with the “indictment” that was written against Job by his adversary than Job was?
If the Lord commands the forces of nature, and directs the wind and the rain to fulfill their parts in meeting the thirst of the earth, and causes the grass to spring up, then certainly the same God can control all the forces around His servants, so that in the end all their needs are satisfied, and their lives can spring forth in power and resurrection glory!
As the Lord continues to describe the majesty and glory that is rightfully His, our little finite minds can get overwhelmed and go “tilt!” I mean, all this time the Lord was talking about founding the earth, closing the oceans within the boundaries of His will; causing the dawn to clothe the earth like a garment; the recesses of the deep being laid before His eyes; having the knowledge of the gates of death; being able to breathe on the waters for the formation of frost and ice; leading and guiding the planets; on and on . . . as if they were trivial things in His hands.
No one but the Lord could summarize the forces at His command and point to light and darkness, wind and rain, hail and snow, in the same way that a Master Craftsman points to the tools that he uses to build something of honor and pride.
Then it was as if the Lord was saying; “Okay Job, forget about the starry heavens, as vast and wonderful as it is, and consider something a little closer to home, like the little creatures around you. Who provides for their needs? Did the Lord create them and then neglect them? No, he has placed within each one of them their instincts and their appetites, and when the young ravens cried for food, it was actually a cry to God, and He wasn’t oblivious to their needs.”
Now, if the Lord watches over the needs of simple creatures, then certainly he will take care of all the needs of His children. The desires of their hearts would certainly be satisfied. “Job, you should realize that it’s the instinct of all creatures to provide for the need of their young. How much more does the great father-heart of God respond to anyone that is depending on Him for its very life?”
It is written that no man can know the times and seasons that the Father has set with His own authority. Well, in the same way, no man can know the exact moment of birth and death for himself. Only the Lord knows that.
Job had cried for deliverance from his suffering, but only the Lord knew the “hour” when his warfare would be over, His purposes fulfilled, and Job would emerge once again into the full light of God.
“Job, look at the wild donkey. He is absolutely free, his ropes are untied so that he can laugh at the commotion in the town. He is deaf to the voice of the taskmaster and the mountains are his pastures. He cannot be enslaved, he only listens to my voice.” Can you imagine that kind of freedom? They are ruled by the instincts of the life that is within them, they cannot be bound by the will of men. That would be great in our lives. Whoa, that is exactly what he is calling us to.
“Job, I will do the same thing for you!” The Lord seems to say. “I will take away the bondage that you are in right now and bring you out of the furnace of affliction into a fuller life in union with Myself, when you will be able to serve Me again with the glad spontaneous outcome of My life that has been formed within you. Your ‘pasture’ will be found in the mountain of God: You will be free indeed!”
Over and over the Lord proves His sympathy, care, concern, and love for His creation as He responds to their cry for food; as He comforts them in their times of crisis, and the fact that He takes pleasure in seeing them free from any bondage and torment.
Yet, just to make sure His point is pressed home to Job, He wants him to consider some other examples of His workmanship, just to make sure Job understands the infinite resources and wisdom at His disposal.
Job will just have to ponder the workmanship of God in four specific creatures: the ostrich, the horse, the hawk and the eagle. Each one is fitted for its own sphere and designed to fulfill its own purpose in creation.
The same creative hand made them, and the same life moves in each one of them, yet it differs in its manifestation. Each one acts by the spontaneous movement and instinct of its being to fulfill God’s purpose.
The ostrich may have been deprived of wisdom (and good looks), yet when she runs she excels in speed.
The horse, specifically a war-horse, may not have the speed of the ostrich, but he has strength and force in battle, and even rejoices in the sound of the trumpet and the shouts of war.
The majestic eagle soars up to heaven above every other bird. From there, she—like her sister, the hawk—seeks out her food, her piercing vision detecting its prey as she searches for food for her young.
Job had to understand that he also had a part in God’s creation. He was a specific unit in His plan, with only a measure of knowledge and power given to him to fulfill that purpose and plan.
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