This whole scene makes me laugh. God finally speaks after 39 chapters of Job’s lament. God responds to Job’s complaints by challenging Job. “Anyone who argues with God must respond.” I imagine Job shaking in his boots as he puts on a squeaky bravado. “I will not answer…” He pretends he has already made his case, and it is time for God to make God’s case. But truly, he is being put in his place. He has no argument left. His position is filled with holes and he is about to be blasted by a God who has had enough.
If people are going to criticize God, we had surely better have an impenetrable argument! Do we really think we can outmaneuver God?! It is at this point, like Job, we would do better to keep our mouths shut and listen. When we open our ears to God, when we give God an opportunity to have a say, we can learn so much! We can see just how small we are compared to a God that is immeasurable. And we can drop our audacity and become humbled not only by God’s grandness, but by God’s love, too.
And the Lord said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Anyone who argues with God must respond.” Then Job answered the Lord: “See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but will proceed no further.”
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?
“Deck yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on all who are proud, and abase them. Look on all who are proud, and bring them low; tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then I will also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can give you victory.
“Look at Behemoth, which I made just as I made you; it eats grass like an ox. Its strength is in its loins, and its power in the muscles of its belly. It makes its tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are knit together. Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like bars of iron.
“It is the first of the great acts of God— only its Maker can approach it with the sword. For the mountains yield food for it where all the wild animals play. Under the lotus plants it lies, in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh. The lotus trees cover it for shade; the willows of the wadi surround it. Even if the river is turbulent, it is not frightened; it is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth. Can one take it with hooks or pierce its nose with a snare?”