Read Job 38
The Lord Speaks
38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom
or gives the rooster understanding?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
In today’s reading, Yahweh finally speaks! After so many monologues, dialogues, and back-and-forths, Job (and we) finally get to hear from God. God’s response comes from what is described as a whirlwind or a storm, a common way of describing His unimaginable power and presence. God delivers an amazing and poetic collection of reflective questions for Job to consider and contrast against his own humanity. Did you pick up on a little sarcasm from God in verse 21 when He points out Job’s human limitations? This passage is a reminder to us of how little we truly reflect upon all that God is capable of. God’s response to Job is a helpful instruction that we should all follow–to creatively and humbly contemplate His sovereignty every day.
God peppers Job with question after question. Before He is willing to provide any answers, God tells Job He has some questions for Job to answer first (v. 3). Honestly, this was probably not the response Job or his friends were hoping to hear. Reading these words from God today, it’s easy to assume they are coming from a place of anger. At first glance, it can almost feel as if God is belittling Job, but if we read it like that we have missed the point. Our tendency when we bring our concerns before God, we usually spend the majority of our energy selfishly making demands, instead of first reflecting on how great He is. What if Job had done that?
God’s response to Job, while a firm rebuke, is more of a loving declaration of who He is, and how He is over every aspect of creation. Like a good father, God’s response to Job is ultimately an invitation back to worship His glory. As a response to God’s appearance in this chapter (after we have read for so many weeks without God being present), let’s be reminded of how amazing it is to be loved by the one true God, who also intentionally cares over the universe we live in.
- When you think about the glory of God, what usually comes to mind first?
- Have you ever been disappointed in the way God has answered a concern of yours? What did you learn from this?
- How can you humble yourself before God today?
A great, down-to-earth Biblical commentator is Tara-Leigh Cobble. Listen to this episode (over Job 38 and 39) from her podcast, the Bible Recap. You won’t be disappointed!
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