Job 31:35-37; 38:1-11, The Lord Responds to Job
by Rev. Dr. Kimberly "Kace" Leetch
Finally, after 37 chapters, and all the human beings have had their say, the Lord speaks. Instead of answering Job’s lament directly, the Lord turns the tables on Job. Job’s first challenge was to unravel creation. The Lord’s first response is to reiterate the power of God’s creation, and the power of the one who created it. He puts Job in his place, “Where were you…?” It is a reminder that we are not gods, that we do not know everything, and that there are questions we will never have the answer to, such as the question of suffering.
The question of suffering continues to plague us today. We may never know why there is suffering, but there are some things we can learn from Job’s plight and conversations. We know that God delights in creation, and does not apologize for its magnificence. We know that God does not delight in suffering, nor is it a punishment for sin. We know that suffering is universal, as is hope. In all of these, we can cling to God for hope and we can cling to one another for strength.
When I was in college a few years back, I would often find myself overwhelmed by assignments, deadlines, social pressures, and depression. On those days I couldn’t stand it any longer, I would take a drive to a local mall, where I knew there would be plenty of people. I would sit for hours watching people, imagining what their lives were like, what their struggles were, who they would turn to in times of crisis. It helped me to put in perspective the pain I was experiencing. To see a bigger world and realize that my pain had absolutely no impact on the lives of the people in the mall helped me to see that the things that haunted me were not as big as I imagined them to be. Without them, the world would continue to turn. As I grew older, I realized that many of those things that cause suffering simply pale in comparison with God great and grand creation, and the billions of people whom God loves that walk upon the earth. By becoming small in comparison to God’s creation, I became powerful in comparison to the things of my suffering. Perhaps that is God’s point to Job: that in seeing one’s place in the grand scheme of creation, we can also put suffering in its place and cling to the hope that our suffering is not bigger than we are.
Daily Reading for Today: Job 31:35-37; 38:1-11
Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me like a crown; I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him.
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?— when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?