I love the book of Job – but I love the message, not necessarily the long-windiness of everyone’s speeches. (Even God talks a lot when He does talk).
Frankly, I have a hard time understanding exactly what point everyone is making. I wonder why God didn’t have a better editor so we could just get to the main points and move on.
I’ve relied on preachers and commentaries to tell me that Job’s friends unjustly accuse him of being sinful in some way to the end that God meted out pain and punishment.
And I knew that after all that suffering and God’s direct intervention, Job repented.
But I still don’t get it all. Or even much.
In today’s reading, I think I understand that God uses His control over creation as the proof of His vast superiority over Job:
“Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrifying.”
(Job 39:19-20 ESV)
Based on His exalted position, God questions Job’s right to argue with God, to question God’s ways:
(Job 40:1-2 ESV)
Not surprisingly, Job is speechless:
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth….”
(Job 40:3-4 ESV)
Here’s the part I don’t get. I would have to read back over Job and really dig to understand exactly what it was that Job argued with God about.
I sense in some way that Job mildly called into question God’s activity in his life. Since Job was righteous (comparatively speaking), he felt that God was unjust to deliver such pain (which if you think about it, is another way of saying exactly what his friends said: “Good guys don’t suffer; bad guys do.”)
But here’s the bigger point I get as I think about it.
There are folks like Job who have a closer walk with God, a deeper understanding of the Divine Way than the rest of us. Job was in a different club than his friends. He knew things about God that they just didn’t understand.
Really, it was a waste of his time even to defend himself. They didn’t get it that the innocent could suffer. They just weren’t where he was spiritually – and had no way to understand what God had not yet revealed to them about His character. They thought they were wise, but Job knew better.
We’ve all been there with other people who have less spiritual insight than we have.
And, yet, despite Job’s greater intimacy with God and insight into the things of God, Job had a long way to go. He realized it as God called him on the carpet. And he shut up.
Sure, he was closer than the others. Yet he was very far off. Off the mark in comprehending God’s ways.
A good lesson.
No matter how spiritually mature we sense we are when standing next to others, we know nothing. We are light years from God. There’s never room for thinking “I’ve arrived.” There’s ALWAYS room for humility.
Gotta remember that…
Today’s Readings: Job 39:1-40:24, Psalm 101:1-4, Proverbs 23:29-30, 1 Corinthians 6:1-20. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).