Our friend Job has had 2 chapters of trouble and 35 following chapters of dialogue with no reply from from God. God finally responds.
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
2 “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?
3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
~ Job 38:1-3
“Over the previous 35 chapters (since Job 2), God has been directly absent from the account. We read nothing of God’s direct role in comforting, speaking to, or sustaining Job in the midst of his crisis. Over that time, Job has ached repeatedly for a word from God.” ~ David Guzik
God hasn’t spoken a single word of comfort to Job from the very beginning of his trials to this day. Wow, doesn’t that seem callous and harsh? Do we serve a God that doesn’t care?
On the contrary, much like a parent will allow their children to go through difficult things in order to learn and grow, God is simply doing what needs to be done. What parent teaches their child to walk without allowing them to fall down a few times? Or to ride a bicycle without letting them get into accidents once in a while? (Personally, I initially didn’t learn how to stop the bicycle. My method was to literally stop against a neighborhood car.) The difficult things that we go through are exactly what God allows in our lives in order to make us more reliant upon Him and to make us more like Him.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:2-4
If God had been coddling Job all through these trials, Job would not have learned the lessons that Job needed. And we would not have received 35 chapters of dialogue about God’s providence and His provision. All those lessons would never have occurred. And in the end we can see that God brought Job through it. He delivered Job and He set things right (we’ll see that at the end of the book of Job.) We discussed this in an entire lesson a few weeks ago in “Why Does God Allow the Righteous to Suffer?”
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
~ Revelation 21:4
When our kids were younger we were planning a big move from Spokane, WA to Corvallis, OR. In order to help the kids address any concerns they had about the Big Move, we created what we called “God’s Worry Jar”. Next to it was laid a pen and stack of scratch paper. Every time one of the kids had a worry or concern, they would write it down on a piece of paper, pray about it, and put it in the jar. Thus, these worries became God’s to deal with and not our own.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
~ 1 Peter 5:7
We were amazed at how much the kids used the jar! And if you were to read these prayer requests today, you would see that every one of our children’s worries was answered by God. The math test that was a struggle to study for, the friendship that became difficult, the worry about our move to Oregon – every single request was answered by God in His time. Was every situation without pain? No, of course not. But God was and is faithful!
The Whirlwind Itself
Notice also that God replies to Job out of what seems to be a tornado or swirling tempest of some kind.
“Repeatedly in the whirlwind is associated with the divine presence. It speaks to us of the powerful, unmanageable nature of God; that He is like a tornado that cannot be controlled or opposed.
– God brought Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1-11)
God’s presence is in the whirlwind (Psalm 77:18; Nahum 1:3)
God’s coming is like a whirlwind (Isaiah 66:15; Jeremiah 4:13 and 23:19)
God appeared to Ezekiel in a whirlwind (Ezekiel 1:4)
What an awesome God we serve, and what an incredible reminder of God’s power.
Who Laid the Foundations?
Now God continues His response to Job in a way that reveals His kingship over the entire planet:
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9 When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band;
10 When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors;
11 When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’
12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?
I love how Job so often recounts God’s sovereignty over all of creation! If God created the entire universe starting with nothing but His imagination, do you think He can overcome that hurdle you’re facing?
He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the water in His thick clouds, Yet the clouds are not broken under it.
He covers the face of His throne, And spreads His cloud over it.
He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness.
The pillars of heaven tremble, And are astonished at His rebuke.
He stirs up the sea with His power, And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.
By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
~ Job 26:7-13
(I cannot say with certainty, but I would guess that the book of Job may be the Book of the Bible that most often talks about God’s creation and with the most detail – aside from the actual creation account given in Genesis 1-3. Psalms and Proverbs also offer plenty of detail on God’s creation so I could be wrong.)
God created it all, and God is in complete and absolute control of it all.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. ~ Hebrews 11:3
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. ~ Colossians 1:16
14 It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld, And the upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.
19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place,
20 That you may take it to its territory, That you may know the paths to its home?
21 Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great?
22 “Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war?
24 By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth?
25 “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt,
26 To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man;
27 To satisfy the desolate waste, And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?
28 Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
30 The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen.
31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?
32 Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you?
35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are!’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?
37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
38 When the dust hardens in clumps, And the clods cling together?
39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 When they crouch in their dens, Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?
41 Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?
God is over it all! God is in complete control, and there is so much comfort in knowing that. When I was a little boy, I was afraid of my dark room and whatever was hiding under my bed (I couldn’t let my feet touch the floor at night!) I remember my dad, who I thought was the strongest man on the planet, saying “I won’t let anything happen to you.” That brought me so much comfort! While you may or may not have a dad that says that to you, regardless we have a Heavenly Father who says to us that as long as we stay under His protection, He will take care of us.
That doesn’t mean we won’t ever have trouble, or be injured, or get sick, or go through painful family situations, or see the death of a loved one. It means God is King. He is in control, and He will care for us through the situation.
Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55:22
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:19
As a loving father, of course God wants to help save you and I from harm. He chose to save us from the ultimate and eternal harm – death – by offering up His Son Jesus to die in our place so that we can have the ultimate and eternal reward – life with Him.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ~ Romans 10:9-10
Years ago, Billy Graham’s organization found that folks wanted actual steps to follow to become Christians. It’s so much easier than you may think, and while the Bible doesn’t offer steps 1, 2, and 3, Billy Graham’s team spelled it out simply in “How to Know Jesus”.
Now we see Job reply to God in complete humility:
Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.
Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.
~ Job 40:3-4
Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, And array yourself with glory and beauty.
~ Job 40:8-10
Then I will also confess to you That your own right hand can save you.
~ Job 40:14
God loves humility, and He works situations around us so that we would learn humility.
And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
~ Deuteronomy 8:2-3
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.
~ Psalm 149:4
Why would God want us to learn humility? Why would that be important to Him?
God wants us to rely on Him and on Him alone for our needs. He created us to love Him and worship Him. He is all-powerful, and He is worthy of our adoration.
You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.
~ Revelation 4:11
I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.[fn]
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
~ Psalm 145:1-12