It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Job has said his piece. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have had their say. Elihu has made his argument. Now, God Himself speaks!
We are told that God answers Job out of the whirlwind (38:1). This “whirlwind” signals the presence of God in the Old Testament, and at times, His anger. Both are in view here. God tells Job that he has spoken foolishly by questioning Him (v. 2), and so He tells Job to “man up,” because God is asking the questions now (v. 3)!
Oh, how eloquently Job and his friends expounded God as Creator! Now, God asks Job to explain the creation to Him! Where was Job when it happened (v. 4)? How big is it (v. 5)? Was Job part of the angelic celebration when God began to create (vv. 6-7)? Does Job know how the oceans are contained, how the clouds stay in the sky, and how the waters stay separate (vv. 8-11 – see Gen 1:6-7)?
Has Job caused the sun to rise and cover the earth in light (vv. 12-13) that the world can be seen (v. 14) and the works of sinful man exposed (v.15 – see 24:13-17)? Does Job know how deep the ocean is (v. 16)? Can he say where the land of the living ends and the place of the dead begins (vv. 17-18)? Does he know where the righteous and the wicked go in death, or how to get to either place (v. 20)? “Come on, Job, if you’re so old and wise, surely you know (v. 21 – see Eliphaz’s similar sarcasm in 15:7)!”
“Where do snow and hail come from (v. 22), and when will I use them (v. 23)? How is light distributed on the earth, or wind (v. 24)? How about rain and thunder – how and why do they exist (vv. 25-28)? How does water freeze (v. 29-30)? How about the stars, Job? Can you hold them in the sky and determine their paths (vv. 31-33 – see Gen 1:14-18)? Can you make a rainstorm to wet the dry land (vv. 34-38)?”
“Can you provide for lions or birds (vv. 39-41)? Are animals born by your providence (39:1) – do they grow and leave their litter according to your will (vv. 2-4)? Are the wild animals under your control (vv. 5-12)? Have you designed ostriches to be stupid (vv. 13-18), horses to be mighty and majestic (vv. 19-25), or birds of prey to be great hunters (vv. 26-30)?”
“OK, Job. You want to find fault in Me? You want to question me? Answer all my questions and I’ll answer yours (40:1-2).”
And Job answers: “I am nothing. I cannot answer You. I’ll stop talking. I’m sorry I said anything” (vv. 4-5 – we’ll see tomorrow that God is not letting old Job off the hook just yet).
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do the wicked seem to prosper? Why did God allow this or that to happen? Where is God in my suffering? If God is all good and all powerful, why does evil exist? Why isn’t God answering my prayer?
God’s answer to all these questions? Stop asking questions.
What I love about the book of Job is it’s clear message. God is in control. He does everything for a reason. Some of His reasons are revealed in Scripture. Others are not. We should not ask “why” beyond what He has revealed. We very often cannot know the “why” anymore than we can know “how” God created the world! We don’t know why God allows suffering any more than we know why horses are so strong and ostriches so stupid.
Here is where faith comes in: We don’t know why…Will we trust Him anyway?
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. – Romans 9:20–23 (ESV)