Job now has suffered for months, at least. The estimate I have most heard for the duration of Job’s ordeal is around a year! A year of prolonged intensive agony!
As he writhes in every type of pain imaginable he craves God! “Oh that I knew where I might find Him (the Lord)! That I might come even to His Seat! I would order my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say unto me. Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He would put strength in me. There the righteous might dispute with Him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him. On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him. But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:3-10
And we all know .. God heard every word Job said!
Then finally, for a number of ineffable reasons … God answers! “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said ….” Job 38:1, which begins the longest direct “Speech” God makes in all the Bible! And well worth any Christian’s careful attention!
In overview, God asks questions of Job!
Not much here in the line of answers, but lots of queries!
Never once is Job told WHY he suffered so much!
Not in Job chapters 39-42 anyway.
A total of 77 questions, one study Bible informs me, God asks Job!
Job (nearly, but not sinfully so) “calls God on the carpet” in his eight verse soliloquy I’ve just printed above, from Job 23:3-10. In fact, he does use the verb “dispute!” (Job believes God has allowed him all this agony capriciously, with no apparent reason. Job KNOWS he has not egregiously sinned in God’s eyes!)
So … God (like a loving Father “chiding” his beloved son) shows Job that He is GREAT … immeasurably BEYOND human comprehension!
Yet I believe God is giving to Job a Lesson in FAITH as well.
Remember my conviction that Job (the Book) is much more about faith than suffering!
Elihu for six whole chapters (165 verses) has been (he claimed) speaking for God! (Job 33:6, straight from Elihu’s mouth to poor Job: “Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead ….” Can you believe the gall?) But the man spoke wrongly of God! I personally think God is now speaking (partly) to straighten the record, to illustrate His Glory and Power and Wisdom … largely correcting the ideas Elihu presented. (Eliphaz and Bildad and Zophar as well, for that matter.)
And here God addresses three main areas of thought in His (one-of-a-kind) sublime Oration. Here they are: He is Creator! He is Sustainer of his Creation! And He is the One Who subdues His Creation! (Anything needing subjugation!)
More tomorrow, the Lord willing.
This is enough today, GOD IS GOD!
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Or as Psalm 113:5 asks: “Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high?” Answer … no one! God is incomparable!
A Lesson Job is learning afresh, with delight.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell