Job 38:1–4; 42:1–12a comment (0)
July 13, 2006
By Doug Wilson
Related Scripture: Job 38:1–4; 42:1–12a
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Submit to the Sovereign Lord
Job 38:1–4; 42:1–12a
One of the great passages of Scripture on worship is Isaiah 6, in which the prophet experiences the presence of God. He is overwhelmed by His majesty and the announcement of His holiness by the accompanying angels. That event shaped the way Isaiah looked at God, at himself and at the world.
We see a similar response in this final lesson from Job. Job is confronted by God with a barrage of questions, which he has no means of answering. He also realizes that his earlier complaints were spoken without wisdom, when he requested God explain why he was suffering. Job recognizes the folly of this when confronted by God.
The end result is a greater dependence upon God and a deeper gratitude for all He provides. Believers need to learn from these last chapters of Job. First, God is far greater than we can imagine, so we must listen to Him.
Second, submitting to God who is sovereign is the greatest act of the will we can make. Third, we are called to pray for others, including those who falsely accuse us. Finally, in every circumstance, we must trust God and rely upon His provision.
Listen to God (38:1–4)
Chapter 38 marks the beginning of an avalanche of rhetorical questions given by God. The confrontation is extensive, from inquiries about the universe and the separation of light and darkness to questions about the establishment of the constellations and the wisdom behind the water cycle. The questions addressed to Job indicate that God’s desire was to reveal the finite nature of man and the vastness of who He is. God confronts Job for darkening or obscuring His counsel and for using words without wisdom. In addition, God warns Job to brace himself for the questions He is about to ask. This section, communicated directly by God, is perhaps the longest direct revelation in the Old Testament.
Submit to God (42:1–6)
Job is nearly silenced by God’s rebuke. He confesses God’s ability to do all things and that God’s plans will surely come to pass. Job also admits that he had spoken previously in ignorance. The relationship between Job and God was transformed from the experience of Job’s losses and God’s revelation. Contrary to Satan’s prediction, Job did not reject God. Instead his faith became deeper and stronger. Here we see the necessity of every person not only to know about God but also to know Him intimately through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Intercede Before God (42:7–9)
Eliphaz and his companions presumed to speak for God in their long sermons directed toward Job. Now God speaks to them and rebukes them for their ignorance. They had failed to recognize that Job was speaking accurately concerning God and they were not. God instructs them to ask for Job’s intercession. Why would God require them to ask for prayer? This required humility on their part, particularly after their presumptions against Job.
God also was teaching Job that His plan is that forgiveness is to be granted, even to individuals who mistreat him.
Rely Upon God (42:10–12a)
Would you be willing to lose everything in order to gain a greater faith and a doubling of your possessions? Job certainly did not wish for this, but the end result was a greater abundance than before his tribulations. His extended family comforted him in his loss and gave to him generously. His numbers of livestock were twice the amount he had at the beginning of the book. Nothing can replace children lost to death, but God gave Job 10 more children.
The pain and grief that comes from losing a child to miscarriage, accident, disease or murder is unique to every parent who experiences it. Even Job and his wife had different responses. Even after the loss of 10 children for whom he prayed and offered sacrifice, Job trusted God.
In the end, God provided Job with 10 more children. They would never replace the children he lost, but they were precious gifts for a man who had learned to trust God more deeply. What will it take for you to trust God completely?