Day 13      Job 38 ... Blast from the Storm

It seems a travesty to skip thirty-five chapters and rush to the conclusion, for those middle chapters of Job express the human dilemma as well as it has ever been expressed. Like all grieving persons, Job drifted on emotional currents, alternately whining, exploding, cajoling, and collapsing into self-pity. Sometimes he agreed with his friends, who blamed Job himself for his suffering, and sometimes he violently disagreed. Occasionally, in the midst of deepest despair, he would come up with a statement of brilliant hope.

Nearly every argument on the problem of pain appears somewhere in the book of Job, but the arguing never seemed to help Job much. His was a crisis of relationship more than a crisis of intellectual doubt. Could he trust God Job wanted one thing above all else: an appearance by the one Person who could explain his miserably fate. He wanted to meet God himself face to face.

Eventually, as this chapter relates, Job got his wish. God showed up in person. He timed his entrance with perfect irony, just as Elihu was expounding on why Job had no right to expect a visit from God.

No one - not even Job, nor any of his friends - was prepared for what God had to say. Job had saved up a long list of question, but it was God, not Job, who asked the questions. "Brace yourself like a man," He began; "I will question you, and you shall answer me." Brushing aside thirty-five chapters' worth of debates on the problem of pain, God plunged instead into a majestic poem on the wonders of the natural world. He guided Job through the gallery of creation, pointing out with pride such favorites as mountain goats, wild donkeys, ostriches, and eagles.

Above all, God's speech defined the vast difference between a God of all creation and one puny man like Job. "Do you have an arm like God's?" he asked at one point (40:9). God reeled off natural phenomena - the solar system, constellations, thunderstorms, wild animals - that Job could not begin to explain. God's point was obvious: If you can't comprehend the visible world you live in, how dare you expect to comprehend a world you cannot see!

Point to Ponder: Does God's reply to Job surprise you? In Job's place, what kind of answer would you have wanted from God?