What Can I Say?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you jumped to a certain conclusion, only to be corrected later? It happened to me recently when someone asked me what I thought was a crazy question that had already been answered, but when I paused and thought, it turned out it wasn’t a crazy question, and I hadn’t answered it. Humble pie for me. Today, as we wrap up our journey though Job, our main character has finally seen himself in proper perspective, and responds accordingly.

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further.”

Job 40.3-5

Having realised the truth of the situation through the Lord’s pretty epic reply (ch.38-39), Job now understands that he is of small account, and that he has little to say.

I’m convinced that, just as my personal example of crazy questions, when we see the truth of the situations we find ourselves in, the appropriate response will be forthcoming. As I realised that the question put to me was a valid one, here Job realises that, do you know what, I am of small account, what can I say to you, God? He realises that there is little else to say (v.5), and that he needs to be quick to listen to the Lord, and slow to speak (James 1.19).

Perhaps that is the best place for us to wrap up this journey through Job; life’s deepest questions are, in part, easier answered when we realise that we do not inherently possess the answers, that we have little to say towards the answer, and that we need to look beyond ourselves to God Almighty for the answers.

Who Made It All?

Today we hear from the Lord, He answers Job out of the whirlwind and says,

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 38.4-7

Until now we have not heard from God, although He has been spoken of many times. By asking this question, where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?, God is simply showing that “if you cannot answer these things, you do not have a place to demand answers from Me” (Guzik).

Nobody was there when all this began. Nobody knows the minutiae of its measurements. Nobody knows on what its bases were sunk, or who laid its cornerstone. Nobody knows these things except Him who made all that we see and don’t see. 

We often like to think we know far more than we really do, don’t we? We often like to think we know about how everything is made and how it all works. Could we ever even begin to comprehend how to make something so impeccably balanced and fine tuned as our world?

Would we have put the planet Jupiter in just the right place to act as a cosmic-vacuum cleaner, sheltering our planet from space debris?

Would be have created the Earth with a crust so precisely-thick that it allows just enough oxygen to be transferred through to support human life, but not too much? 

How thankful we are that the Earth and everything therein belongs to, and was made by, the Lord (Psalm 24.1). How thankful we are that in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible (Colossians 1.16). How thankful we are that He made it all and we have the pleasure and privilege of enjoying it!

Do You Know?

Here in Job 37.14-20 we see Elihu giving Job one last piece of advice and he asks, simply, are you really all that you think you are, Job? Do you know all that you think you know?

“Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
Do you know how God lays his command upon them
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?
Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a cast metal mirror?
Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?

Despite his relative youth (32.6-10), Elihu seems to be hitting closer to home with his questions of Job. Rather than just suggest that Job must have sinned somewhere, somehow (32.3), Elihu seems to have considered his response a little more deeply.

Elihu asks probing questions of Job to show that, really, you can’t understand what is truly going on here (Do you know…do you know…can you, like Him…teach us…). Elihu still holds to this idea that Job has sinned, but at least he frames the idea better that the other counsellors on hand. At the core, Elihu seems to be saying, look Job, you cannot understand all of these wonderful workings of God, so you have no chance of understanding the mystery of why you are suffering so. 

Elihu is right, isn’t he? We cannot know how the Lord lays out the skies as a master artist paints a picture, we cannot understand the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge, we cannot spread out skies, we cannot know ever truly know what to say to Him who sits on the throne, we just don’t know.

Where does this leave us? What does this leave us with?

It leaves us with trust, and with faith. There are things we will never see or understand this side of eternity (Isaiah 55.8-11), but, as Corrie Ten Boom said, 

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

So, learn all you can about our known God, and trust the unknown to Him!

Is It My Right To Question?

Lots of the culture nowadays seems to be very self-centred, doesn’t it. Things like your rightsyour desiresyour feelingsyouyouyou. Maybe you have even heard people say something like, when I get to heaven, God has some explaining to do...

Is this right? Is this one of our rights?

…Elihu answered and said:

“Do you think this to be just?

Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’

that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?

How am I better off than if I had sinned?’

Job 35.1-3

Is it our right to question God? Are we to calculate just how much we can get away with (how am I better off the if I had sinned?)? One particular consequence of a society where the individual is held up as the pinnacle is that thoughts like this will start to become more and more acceptable. What does the Word say?

Amos wrote that we should all prepare to meet our maker (Amos 4.12), and we see in the New Testament the truth that we will all stand before the throne, either to receive our heavenly reward and posting (Revelation 20.4, 2 Corinthians 5.10), or to receive the sentence for our rejection of God and His Christ (Revelation 20.11-15).

All this to say that for you, believer, there will be no need to question.

For you, the not-yet believer, the truth is this; no, there will not be an opportunity to question God, it is not your right to stand before your Maker and argue your case, to demand explanations, or bargain your way into eternity. Should you stand before Him having rejected His salvation on offer through Jesus here on earth, your standing will be a sentencing, not a hearing. Friend, your actions and decisions in the here and now will determine how you meet your Maker, please, choose wisely.

The only question that we have the right to ask is this: have I put hope, trust, and faith in Jesus alone for my salvation?

Is God in control?

Today Elihu speaks and begins by rebuking Job’s friends and Job (ch.32, 33), then starts to lay out the case for God always being just and right. He then asks this question, 

Who gave him charge over the earth,
and who laid on him the whole world?

Job 34.13

I don’t know about you, but I like to watch travel programmes on tv, or cooking programmes that involve the host going off to some interesting place. Often this ends up in a country where the main religion is not Christianity, and there are often many little gods on show and being talked about. For me, when I see this I often wonder, ‘Who decided that he/she should be a god, who is the main god, what do they do, who made that god a god, you know, where did that god come from?

The difference with the God of the Bible, the God we worship as Christians is that nobody caused Him to be, He just is (Exodus 3.14). Without taking a deep dive, there is no story of how He came into being, He simply is, He is being itself, He is pure reality without which we would not be (if you want a deep dive, email me for a paper I wrote).

Friends, our God is not a shallow creation of man to satisfy the deep longing we have for something higher and greater. Nobody gave Him charge over the earth, nobody laid on Him the whole world. It all belongs to Him (Psalm 24.1), He made it all simply by declaring it into existence (Genesis 1). Nobody gave Him charge because He is already in charge, He is in control of all He made (Psalm 46.1, Philippians 4.6-7, Luke 12.22-26, Revelation 1.17), rest easy in this truth today.