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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14 - Job 38-39: Job Receives His Answer

Today’s Reading: Job 38-39

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Job at last receives his reply from God. But it’s not what you would expect.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God answers Job, "I am going to ask you questions and I want straight answers. Pay attention and stop talking.
"Where were you when I created everything and set it all in order? Do you understand the oceans, the sky, or the universe? Do you really understand death? Do you know how the earth works and the way in which animals live? Are animals able to do their jobs unattended? Did you set animals on this earth to take care of it?"

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God’s reply is unsettling.

As an American, I want Job to end happy. I want God to come and say, "Job, I realize this has been an extremely difficult time for you. But I allowed this to happen because I had to prove to the Accuser that you would not curse me. Here are you children, your herds, and your respect back as if they were never gone." Then Job would wake up from what seemed like a dream.
But this story does not end that way. And I don’t like it. If you have followed my discussions of this book you know what’s coming next. This book isn’t meant to settle our minds. It brings our souls to the brink and demands it to submit to God.

God’s reply is not mocking Job but setting him up for a disconcerting comforting.

"Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?" (38:1, The Message). At first, I thought this was another iteration of the messages Job had heard in the past. Yet that is not how it ends.
God is preparing to bring comfort to Job. But he is not going to do it in the same way we, especially Americans, would expect. He has to remind Job of how small he is compared to creation. Once Job understands this God can lift him up. God does this through examples.

God mentions animals to show Job his strengths not his failings.

God shows Job how these creatures are all stronger, faster, and/or wilder than man. God did not give husbandry of the earth to these animals because they were not created in God’s image. That is the subtle message left for Job. Job thinks his entire existence is futile. God must remind Job that, although a small part of the universe, humans are God’s special creation with His spirit.

What else did you see reading this passage? Questions? Comments? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.