Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels j shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
“There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Who said it? And about whom was it said? This was God speaking about Job. Now, there is only way it is possible for God to speak this way about a human being, and he tells us what it is.
“…everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6)
Job was a man who trusted God. The faith that was planted in him continued to guide and direct his life. He believed God’s Word and that God would provide the promised Savior from sin. That’s what faith does to a person.
Job was not just a man of great faith but also a man of great wealth and earthly blessings. He had 10 children, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and many servants. In other words, he was the richest of the rich for that time. There are plenty of “Christian” preachers that will use this type of Scripture to say that if you are faithful you will be blessed and prosperous. If you have great faith in God, then you will have great blessings from him. If you are God’s child, then you should get everything that makes you happy. However, that just doesn’t seem to fit with the main purpose for God’s Word. God’s wants people to be saved. On every page of his Word the point is to point people to Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the victory over the devil that he accomplished for us, and the home we have in heaven.
That’s probably why God allowed all this stuff to happen to Job. In one day all of the earthly blessings were gone, poof! If you would lose everything, what would your reaction be? Anger? Misery? Bitterness? Shock? Depression? Do you remember what Job said? He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
The next day it was his health. Boils festered on his skin to the point where he sought relief by scraping himself with broken potsherds. You would expect most people to become more than a little upset in these circumstances. It might not even surprise you if some would curse God, but Job said, “shall we accept good from God, but not trouble?”
This is when three of Job’s friends come into the picture. They didn’t exactly help the situation. In times of terrible grief, you might want friends to grieve with you and comfort you. You might need them to point you again and again to Jesus and his promise of salvation and peace and hope. Nevertheless, when you read through chapters 3-37, you will find that Job’s friends weren’t the positive people that Job needed in his time of trial. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did not point him to peace and hope through God’s promises of salvation. They tried to give him reasons for his devastating loses. Their idea was to say that Job was a good man who didn’t deserve such disaster. He must have done something wrong to upset God. In order for Job to fix his problems, they encouraged him to ask God for answers.
Job’s friends were useless. With no help from them, Job began to question God. He didn’t lose faith or curse God, but he did get a little bit of that childish “why me” attitude. He thought that somehow, he deserved answers to all his questions. When Christians get that kind of attitude, it’s not going to help you.
What if God’s gives the honest answers? What if the Creator of heaven and earth speaks to the sinful created ones? What if the Lord of lords and King of kings comes to the lowly servants with his almighty, booming voice? What if the one who fills all things decides to zero in on one puny, tiny little man who happens to think he has a bone to pick? What happens then? Well, then it’s time to brace yourself!!
In chapter 38 the Lord actually did this to Job. He didn’t use a church or a cathedral for his message. No Old Testament prophet or priest was needed. No, the Lord’s pulpit was a raging storm. Ask the disciples in that boat during that torrential turbulence on the Sea of Galilee what it’s like. Fear might be an understatement!
It is not just the storm from which God speaks that causes uncomfortable feelings, but it is the questions God asks: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” Show of hands: who wants to answer the question that God just asked? No one! Really! Job didn’t answer, and neither would I. That’s because you and I know the answer to that question. “I am. I am the one who brings darkness to your light, Lord. I don’t possess all knowledge like you. I don’t know the perfect game plan for my life like you do. It’s my fault when I don’t trust your power and plans. I’m the one who is too often filled with fear and not faith in all your promises.”
The questions didn’t stop there. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
With each question, Job and all of us, get smaller as God gets bigger. Do you want to know about this world and how it’s made? The Lord describes all the details of creation as the expert builder. He marked off the dimensions of the globe and the universe. It was his work, not Job’s, not ours.
Next, our God is the only one who knows at exactly what time the angels were made. At some point during creation, God made his messengers and heralds and they were singing his praise and shouting for joy all the way.
Then, the topic changes to water. You know, we can’t do much to contain bodies of water. We put up the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. We dug a few canals. We try to hold flooded rivers under control. We try, but there isn’t much we can do with water. God talks about water like it’s a little baby.
God describing his power should not make us afraid, but these verses paralyze Job and us because that’s what sin does. It makes the perfect, holy, all-powerful God terrifying. It is sin that makes God’s control unsettling. It is sin that makes faith so hard and fear so easy.
Job was blameless and upright. He shunned evil. But he still had sin, and you can see what sin does. Sin fights with faith. Sin wants me to be the master. Sin wants me to have control. Sin wants me to have all the answers so that I won’t need that faith nonsense. Sin makes me tell God what I want and what I don’t want. Sin leads me down the road of fear to utter destruction.
I hope you notice that the problem is not the Lord, the problem is you and me. When Job was demanding answers, God says, “brace yourself like a man.” God turns it around the way it should be and tells Job, “I will question you, and you shall answer me.”
In all the verses from the first lesson, did you hear one peep from Job? Nope. The Lord asks Job two full chapters of questions and in chapter 40:4 Job finally says something, “I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” That was a smart thing to say. Job didn’t have an answer, and neither do you. Sinners can only brace themselves when God asks questions.
Thankfully and only by God’s grace, we aren’t left in our uncomfortable quandary. God does not want us to be filled with fear but faith. So, are you ready for this? Brace yourself!
God did not just ask the questions. Instead God does something that no one can even understand. He came up with something to Job, to you, to me, and to the whole world lost in fear. God says in his Word, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
God is done asking questions. He knows no matter who it is, Job or present-day people like you and me, we can’t give an answer. So God prepared an answer for us. The one who can answer all the questions that God gave to Job and that God gives to us is… Jesus Christ, the Savior. The Bible says, “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
You can’t answer God, but God answers for you anyways. Jesus stands up on our side. He says, “I was there when the foundations of the world were laid.” Jesus tells his Father for us, “I was holding the measuring line when you stretched it out. I was there when the footings were set. I was there when the seas burst forth. I was there, Father. And if that’s not enough, I was there when the soldiers carried out Pilates orders. I was there when the nails were pounded into the cross. I was the one who said ‘It is finished.’ I am the one who conquered sin. I was there when this world began and I was the one who saved this world from certain destruction. I am He.” Because of Jesus, you have the answers you need. Don’t be afraid any longer. Find the strength and relief that God has given you through Jesus.
God takes care of everything else. Faith in him will always be better than fear. Job experienced that. God had allowed it all to be taken away. Job wanted answers, but God gave him the only answer he needed. God gave Job a living Redeemer. He is the answer to all of God’s questions. And above all that, in the last chapter of Job, God doubles everything – the camels, the donkeys, the servants – all of it. Job deserved none of the blessings, but God is rich in grace and rich in love. He did not provide those things to show us that faith equals an earthly return. He is a kind and gracious God who will provide all your needs. Simply trust his power and promises to do that.
The same answers that God gave Job are for you. God gives you the inconceivable. He gives you his Son as your Lord and Savior. He gives you his showers of grace while you live here. And he gives you an eternal home. So, brace yourself, because in Jesus, God gives you more than you can ask for. Amen.