The Book of Job-Chapter Thirty-Eight:
"The Lord Answers Job"

Throughout this entire study all Job's friends have been letting him down. Why? Well, my view has been that they were too afraid and too concerned about their own lives and well-being to provide real comfort. In fact, even the strongest of us today can never fully spiritually counsel and comfort another person adequately. Even at our best we too are distracted by our own short-comings to be fully relied upon. But our purpose is not to vilify Job's friends or modern Christian Counselors. The point is that each individual today, just like Job back then, must ultimately seek their deepest comfort from the Lord Himself. He is not afraid, or distracted by selfishness and doubt. His counsel stands apart, perfect for us.

Verses 1-2: "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?"

 

Satan had sabotaged Job's relationship with the Lord through falsehood, divisiveness and innuendo (his methods have apparently not changed much over time). God is always ready to listen, and communicate, but Job has been so disturbed and up-ended by events. What about us? Even today with a Personal Savior in the Person of Jesus Christ, a New and Better Covenant sealed for us at Calvary, and the coming of the Great Comforter in the Person of the Indwelling Holy Spirit, we STILL can be toyed with by Satan as was Job. In fact, with all it's advantages today isn't the Church yet full of "miserable counselors" and the miserable?


Yes, the battle to find hope and solace in the face of earthly suffering rages on today. I can feel it in me even now. It is better to turn to God fully and quickly in tough times, but Job, like me too often, was not quite able to do that. Not right away. Instead, with misinformation from his friends, he became wary of the Lord and weary of the effort to understand Him. Devilish lies compounded by our own weaknesses can leave us spiritually wary and weary too.


And listening to the voice of the God here, it almost sounds like explaining and justifying Himself to us may weary Him:


Verses 3-4: "Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding."

 
Job never cursed God as was predicted, but he has QUESTIONED the Lord, questioned events, even questioned the wisdom of God allowing his birth! Did Job have a right to ask all that? Do you and I? 


Verses 5-6: "Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;"


Man and all the earth's creatures are not the only beings God has made:


Verse 7: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

Was Satan in this group, a legitimate member at the time? In many of these areas we are as unenlightened as Job. We all need the Lord's protection and in one way or another seek His blessings in order to prosper. But we need to understand Him too. And to appreciate Him apart, if necessary, from earthly gains. But in suffering we sometimes talk at Him or over Him, refusing to consider His goals and responsibilities:

Verses 8-11:
"
Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?"

T
he Lord defends Himself here by listing His works. Works He alone could and can do. Works that qualify Him to order and administrate all domains and beings:

Verses 12-15: "Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken."

What we theorize and observe in part, He retains forever and keeps at His absolute disposal:

Verses 16-21: "
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?"
 

We can make calendars, but we don't control the time they measure. The power to question (even to question Him) is a gracious allowance to us, an expression of His mercy. How ironic that we would use it to rebel? And it's not just atheists I'm talking about. It's all of us, especially in difficult times.

Verses 22-27: "
Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?"

Considering the power gap, the Lord's opening remarks to Job are not as harsh as they first appear. Pointed comments for sure, but really teaching questions. A personally customized guide to restore clarity to this man whose mind and faith have been fogged by terror and pain. Our God is a Teacher, but are we teachable when times are as dark as Job's had become?

Verses 28-30: "Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen."

And the "Father of the Rain" is Our Father, too. Just because He doesn't DO EVERYTHING we want or instantly EXPLAIN EVERYTHING we question does not mean He has abandoned us. Having communication problems is not the same as being disowned, but it can feel that way. I think it had for Job.

There is a nagging similarity between God's actual answer to Job here and some of the descriptions of the Lord that Job and His friends have offered us in past chapters. These fellas weren't totally wrong about God. Now we are being told directly that the Lord IS HIGHER than any of us and WAY beyond all of us...

He commands the stars (Mazzaroth refers to what we call the Zodiac constellation ring):

Verses 31-33: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?

He commands the atmosphere and the weather:

Verses 34-35:
"Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?"

He also sets up and maintains the nature and limits of all human knowledge and science:

 Verses 36-38: "Who hath put wisdom in the inner parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?"

Have you ever withheld the rain or brought relief from drought? Is that within your ability?

Verses 39-41: "Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat."

The squawks of those baby ravens are actually prayers. And they cry out to Him, not to any of us.

Can you do ANY of these things, beloved? I can't! So were Job's friends right then? Should the Lord's superiority terrorize us? Does He have a natural disdain for our needs? Is He rightfully disinterested in our problems as we might be with those of a gnat? And what if we rebel or stray from His designs for us either by accident or intentionally? Is human suffering His answer to all our disobedience? With all His power, are works and rewards with high anxiety the only relationship we can have with Him?

These questions have been haunting our entire study. Remember at one point how Job cried out for a "Daysman" (see chapter 9) or mediator who could establish and maintain a fair and open relationship between him and the Lord of All Things. Now that we are hearing from God the Father directly, it's almost overpowering? Was it unpalatable for Job to hear these Words directly from God ? God the Father Who must create and re-create and administrate and execute EVERY detail of the universe all the time, throughout all time. Who must listen to conflicting prayers from multiple beings - none of which can completely comprehend all the ramifications of their own requests. None of which can ever see the FULL overview from His perspective?

Of course Job, though he cried out for a mediator, could not be aware of Christ, God the Son, as we are. Does that make Job's story obsolete to us? Can we just ignore these difficult ancient lessons and only flee to more familiar New Testament quotes of comfort from our Savior? If we do it will be at our own loss. Our love for Christ is not an excuse to ignore the Counsel or the Person of God in the Old Testament. If you doubt that then read these New Testament quotes from the "Daysman," Himself (see John 10:30 and John 14:6-11).

The Lord will be saying more to Job, and to his friends, and hopefully to us when our study continues. 

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