In this next series of articles, I’d like to look at the questions the Lord asked Job in the Book of Job. We should prepare ourselves for a humbling, challenging ride. It will not be long before we will be forced to admit with Job that we are foolish when think we have the right to judge the Lord God of the universe and question His workings and His ways.
Before I begin, I admit that I’m often unsure of what do to with the bulk of this book, knowing that most of it is the counsel of Job’s friends, men whom the Lord rebukes. Job’s counselors thought the Lord was angry with Job, but He was actually angry with them: “After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7).1 Nevertheless, their words are Scripture, and we must deal with them. One of the initial things I’m wondering is if we can discover that although words spoken by a Christian or some religious person may seem right, what’s going on behind those words is wrong and troubling.
However, let’s return to God’s astonishing questions to Job.
God’s first question was, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2).
Think with me here for a moment. This is the Lord God Almighty speaking. He told Job that he had darkened counsel. I think if the Lord had asked this question of me, that alone would cause me to throw myself on the ground and cover my head in humbling fear. It would be one thing to hear this from a person but quite another from God Himself. Counsel is meant to bring light, not darkness. This man, who claimed to be an elder, had not brought light, but darkness. This is not a good thing to hear from God.
However, not only had Job darkened counsel, God said, he had spoken without knowledge. Job thought he knew things. Well, he did. He knew he had lost everything—his children, his house, his livestock—everything except his wife and his land. The external, circumstantial evidence of Job’s trial could not be disputed. However, he also thought he knew God, and His heart and intent. He did not. God is sovereign over all things. However, He is also good, and He is the God love. Perfect love, eternally.
Next begins a barrage of questions that rendered Job speechless. Job does not speak for four chapters. You and I would be speechless, too, I would think. This is the first question at which we would obviously just close our eyes and shake our heads in humility:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4).
We don’t have an answer to this question. God is speaking from a place where we simply did not and cannot stand. We were not there when the Lord created all things. And we, the scientists, and all the accumulated knowledge of the world cannot explain how He did it. It is a scientific fact that nothing comes from nothing. Yet, that is precisely what happened when the Lord created the universe, our solar system, our earth, and all that lives upon it. Nothing existed before He caused it to exist.
The Lord continues to ask questions about the nature of the universe, the earth, the stars, and the sea, none of which Job could answer. Here is a wonderful example: “Have you commanded the morning since your days began…” (Job 38:12).
No, Job had never commanded the morning to do anything, and neither will we. Give it a try sometime if you wish.
Although we are stupefied by God’s questions, some fascinating questions appear in this wondrous assault, ones that should cause us to confess how little we grasp about the knowledge of things:
“Have the gates of death been revealed to you or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?”
What are the gates of deep darkness? We have no idea, much less having seen them.
“Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” (Job 38:19–21).
I’m not sure what this means, because the Lord often speaks metaphorically in these questions. I don’t know if the Lord is saying that light really dwells somewhere, or if He is asking Job if he knows how He created light. I wonder if this is the case because the Lord says, “You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” I think the Lord is again challenging Job about his absence at the creation.
So, how did the Lord God create light? We just do not know.
This is the last question we’ll look at for this first post:
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:22–23).
The Lord reserves snow and hail for the time of trouble, battle, and war? How does He do that?
What kind of amazing God is this?
He is sovereign God of all that exists. He is sovereign in creation. There is no other Creator. None existed before Him, none is beside Him, and none will come after Him.
He is the sovereign God.
And He is sovereign over you, all your work, all your circumstances; all your life, forever.
1All scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001).). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.