Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jun 13 2019 - Job 38:1-15; 40:1-14 – God's response

Job concludes his words in chapter 31 before Elihu steps in to try to put Job straight (chapters 32-37). Amongst the final words of Job are these in 31:35:

Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
    I sign now my defence – let the Almighty answer me;
    let my accuser put his indictment in writing.

Job longs to be able to come before God and present his case in the courts of heaven. He will answer all the charges of his accuser, and will prove himself innocent. He will stand proud and justified before God and will seek an explanation from God as to why he has suffered in this way.

Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever said in your heart, if not out loud, if only I could stand before God I would set him right? Well, in chapter 38 God turns up and tells Job to stand before him (38:3), but it is not that Job may question God and justify himself; God appears to question Job.

First of all, God describes his work of creation and asks Job where he was when the earth was formed (38:15). The suggestion is almost ironical; how could God have managed to do all this without Job's help and advice?

In chapter 40 verse 2, the Lord says to Job:

Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
    Let him who accuses God answer him!

So here is Job's opportunity to seek an answer from God. But he can only reply (v. 4):

I am unworthy – how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth.

Job claps his hand over his mouth. He is silenced before God and knows that he has no right to question the Almighty. God again tells Job to stand before him like a man (40:7), and asks if he could really make a better job of the moral government the world? Would Job be able to crush those who are proud while bestowing unmixed blessing on those who lived upright lives? (40:8-13). God is telling Job that his feeling that God has not treated him fairly is rooted in too small a view of the world and too small a view of God's justice. God's concern is larger than Job.

The Apostle Paul presents us with a similar challenge saying, "Who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" (Romans 9:20). In our folly we might imagine that if we ruled the world we could make a better job of it than God; but that is indeed folly. God is not answerable to us and if we were brought into his presence our mouths also would be stopped and we would be humbled before him.

Thank God that he does not treat us as we deserve. We have all fallen short of his glory and are deserving of his judgment, but, in grace, he sent his Son into the world to be our Saviour. And if he has given his Son for us, will he not with him freely give us all things? We may not understand the things that have happened to us in life or why they have happened, but we know that we can trust our Heavenly Father. He calls us to walk by faith and not demand that we see and understand.

Father God, these are hard lessons for us to learn, even as they were hard for dear Job. Help us to have a right view of ourselves and a right view of you as our God – our creator, sustainer and redeemer. Thank you that in the Lord Jesus you have shown us that you do not treat us as we deserve but always look upon us in compassion, grace and mercy. Strengthen us by your Spirit that we might know your presence and your love in every situation we face and that we may always trust you and rejoice that we know you.

Peter Misselbrook