This is the moment we’ve been waiting for in this study: God has finally come to talk with Job. But where we might have expected God to start explaining His overarching purposes for Job’s suffering, God takes a different approach. Instead of standing as the defendant, answering for His actions, God takes on the role of the prosecutor. Turns out God has some questions He wants answered. What God does in Job 38–39 is lay out the scope of creation, asking Job what part he had in making it all happen. Effectively, God puts Job in his place.
Before we get to the reason why God takes this approach with Job, we might do well to consider these chapters as a testimonial to the unbridled greatness of God in creating all things. We gain a better perspective on ourselves and our issues when we consider the realities of creation fashioned by the Creator’s hand.
From the size and movement of our planet to the boundaries of the vast ocean waters, we see God’s hand at work in things we cannot comprehend (Job 38:12–15). From the heights of the stars to the depths of the lowest trench, we are left to ponder the expansive work of God (v.16–21). At God’s instruction, the wildest creatures in the animal kingdom are perfectly cared for and ordered, all without a bit of help from us (ch. 39).
For the most part, we live without an awareness of our place in the grand scheme of creation. We believe and behave as if we rule the universe. We act as though we possess wisdom enough to determine what is good and fair. But if we allow the untamable realities of God’s creation to shape us, we’ll see we aren’t as great or wise as we thought we were.
With untethered appraisals of ourselves, we can grow pretty confident. And yet, in comprehending the discretionary power of God in the whole of nature, we’re left with no choice but to acknowledge we’re not as brilliant or powerful as we thought. God’s question, “Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding?” leads us to realize our limitations in the sight of our Creator (Job 38:36).
And this is right where we should be. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven requires us to become like children (Matthew 18:3), not theologians. So how do we get there? Perhaps a little time spent outdoors, considering the vastness of the natural world around us would be a start. There in the silence, we might learn how to listen to God, to ask Him about His creation and His ways. Indeed the heavens declare His glory. May we learn to praise Him and worship Him for who He is and all He has done.
Written by Jeremy Writebol