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Job 38: 1-7 (NIV)
1 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone –
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?”
The Book of Job was included in the Hebrew Scriptures, along with other wisdom literature, among “the Writings”. Much of Job, with the exception of a prologue and an epilogue, appears as poetry. It may be appropriate therefore to accept as poetic descriptive passages like this one, the first in which the LORD speaks since chapter 2.
Elihu, the last of Job’s interlocutors to address him, richly described the coming of the storm (from 36: 27 and through chapter 37). Then (37: 22) Elihu anticipated the appearance of God to Job with, “Out of the north comes golden splendour; around God is awesome majesty.”
God’s apparent interrogation of Job uses rhetorical questions through chapters 38 and 39. Job had wanted an opportunity to question the Almighty and to learn what had caused God to inflict such suffering on Job. God’s response effectively revealed to Job the inability of human intellect to comprehend the mind of God or to appreciate God’s wisdom.
We are reminded of the book of the prophet Isaiah (55: 8-11)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Much happens in our lives and much is reported to us from across the world that seems unfathomable. It can be so difficult to see goodness in the strife and human suffering which we can feel is about to overwhelm us. We look for cause and effect; we find justice absenting herself from the affairs of humankind.
Faith in the Living God requires that we accept God’s plan as being outworked regardless of the evidence around us to the contrary. We can relate to the despair of Jesus’ disciples on that grim Friday night and through that silent Saturday before his glorious Sunday resurrection – and we live in hope.