Job’s response to the Lord is completely humble:
Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
This verse is worthy of a stone-etched reminder as my hasty words often shoot out of my mouth: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
Job knows he isn’t God–that’s not a big revelation. But what he learned through this preposterous story is a full understanding of God, not just the Creator, not just the one who made everything, Job walked away from the conversation with a new sense of who God is:
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
The story of Job is summed up in the deep truth that God is God. The narrative took us on a journey through troubled times, through anguish, pain and hurt. We read about friends who came to console, yet scorned. The words of the younger proved more accurate, but we weren’t satisfied until we wrapped our mortal minds around the concept of the Lord himself.
I fall short so many times. It seems I am guilty all too often. Grace after grace is required to keep me humble. As we dig deeper into the word of God, may we continue to gain insight that will help us shine his light into this dark world.
Finished with Job, the Lord speaks to the three amigos:
After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7
Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar did not speak properly about God. Their pious point of view prevented them from seeing his majesty and his wisdom escaped them as they argued from selfish perspectives. We should learn from these examples. In addition, notice Elihu is not mentioned in this group. Sometimes it’s good enough to simply NOT be named! We don’t need the spotlight to be moving in the right direction. Just because someone has the microphone, doesn’t mean their right.
I’m reminded of a NeedToBreathe song, Through Smoke, that includes these compelling lyrics:
Before the Truth will come to fill our eyes
The world comes down in the form of fire
And when the the answers and the Truth have cut their ties
Will you still find me
Will you still see me
Songwriters: Nathanial Rinehart / William Rinehart
Through Smoke lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing
When we lie to you, Father, will you still find me? Will you still find me? Yes, says the Lord, I will still find you, though it may be painful and difficult to understand or impossible to comprehend.
What do we do with Job?
It’s time to take inventory of the lessons revealed in Job, to weigh our understanding of the narrative, of the wisdom literature appropriately placed in the center of our Bibles where it’s easy to find, even if it’s difficult to understand. Is this the book to offer the new believer to study? Or perhaps to someone who is considering Christianity? Before you jump in with a resounding, “No,” consider the portrait of God that is vividly painted. If someone is truly seeking to find answers, the description of God here is quite compelling and sets up the Gospel message quite well. Honestly, this is not my “go-to” book, but I hope I’m not afraid to engage in the discussion with someone who is far from God if Job happens to be the book of debate. All the more reason to study the Bible, to have an understanding in my own words and thoughts. Not that this makes me right, but I hope it gives the Holy Spirit something to work with!
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.