I remember sitting on a beach in the Dominican Republic at the end of a weeklong Mission’s Trip to an orphanage. It was a perfect day. The temperature, the breeze, the sound of the waves, and the calm. I was filled with the blessing of serving orphans in need: playing games, teaching Bible stories, and filling their little hearts with love. I was tired, but energized from it. I thought to myself, if only I could bottle up this day, to open again when I got home to the cold winter of Michigan.
I sat on top of this hill looking over the water and just marveled at God’s creation. It was so perfect and beyond anything any human could devise. My heart was so full of God’s magnificence in that moment. It was pure joy!
Have you ever felt that way? Maybe looking at a mountain, or the vast expanse of the ocean. Or, at the zoo with all of the different animals, and the sky and all of its stars. Sometimes it catches me off-guard when I take a moment to soak up all that God has uniquely created. I’m reminded of how great he is and how small I am. Small, but not insignificant or unloved by God.
As the story of Job concludes, we finally see God appearing in a whirlwind to answer to Job. But it isn’t what we expect. Let’s read on to see how it all pans out.
S – Scripture: Job 38-42
- 38:1-7 – “Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?'”
- 38:28-33 – “Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew? Who is the mother of the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens? For the water turns to ice as hard as rock, and the surface of the water freezes. Can you direct the movement of the stars–binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?”
- 38:36 – “Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind?”
- 40:1-10 – “Then the LORD said to Job, ‘Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?’ Then Job replied to the LORD, ‘I am nothing–how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.’ Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: ‘Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty.'”
- 40:10-11 – “And since no one dares to disturb it (the Leviathan), who then can stand up to me? Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine.”
- 42:1-6 – “Then Job replied to the LORD: ‘I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I–and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.'”
- 42:8 – “So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.”
- 42:10 – “When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!”
- 42:16-17 – “Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.”
O – Observation:
- God is All-Powerful, the mighty Creator of everything, supreme, forgiving, and the giver of everything we have.
- If we are no match for God’s creations, we are definitely no match against God. We have no standing against him. He controls all and created all.
- When things fall apart it seems natural to question who God is and why he does what he does. But we have no business questioning him. That takes a lot of trust!
- Job’s friends receive God’s grace despite them speaking inaccurately about it. God knows our weaknesses and offers grace when we repent.
- Job asks for forgiveness for questioning God though he did not speak falsely like his friends did. He receives God’s blessing of twice what he had before. His life is restored two-fold and he lives a long and full life. How amazing!
- God can bless us beyond what we hope or imagine when we endure hardships and stay true to all that he says he is and can do.
- What Satan thought would be a victory, God had control over the whole time and came out on top. It could only have been God that restored Job and not by any works that he did.
- How many people were changed and blessed because of Job’s redemption story? How much more glory was brought to God by those around him and after him due to his amazing comeback brought about only by God’s hand?
A – Application:
I love this interaction between God and Job. I think I expected God to explain to Job how Satan came and wanted to test Job’s faith, saying that it was only because God had given him so much. The reason for all of his troubles, was to prove that it was Job’s faith and not his wealth that made him righteous before God.
But God doesn’t explain any of that. He reminds Job of all of the great and powerful things he has done and controls. You wouldn’t go up a Leviathan, God states, why would you consider going against the Creator of the great beast. Who is Job (or anyone) to question anything that God does?
Chapter 40, verse 8 I believe explains Job’s fault in all of this, “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right?” Job is so set on proving his innocence and God’s wrongfulness in punishing him, that he forgets that God can do anything and control everything. God doesn’t need any explanation for what he does. He is always right.
Are you okay with that too? Can you be satisfied that God gives his consent for certain things to happen and doesn’t need to give a reason why? Can you consolidate the idea that God allows us to go through seemingly unbearable trials and yet has an all-consuming, unconditional love for us. And for each and every one of us. I can’t explain either. Can you? Are we supposed to?
It doesn’t seem like, from this story, that we are to question God’s actions, only experience them and plant our feet firmly in him. We are called to trust that he has everything working the way it is supposed to, for the good of all who put their faith in him. That takes a lot of faith!
Then we see the end, where God blesses Job with twice as much as he had before once he repents and gives offerings for the sins of his friends. We witness Job standing strong and living many years later, blessed by God for enduring the tragedy of losing it all. What a beautiful conclusion.
Yes, God has the ability to allow bad things to happen. But he has even greater capacity to bless us beyond what we lost before. He has the power to deliver us and redeem us from the dark that we feel surrounded by in times of trouble.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.'” Romans 10:9-11
When all seems too far gone, and the road to recovery to long, just stop. Breathe. Step outside and feel the breeze on your cheeks, warm or cold, take it all in. God is there. Acknowledge who God is and who you are. A sinner, craving for grace. “Believe in your heart that you are made right with God…and are saved.”
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-38
Nothing can separate us from the love and power that God has. Nothing. Just sit with that for a moment. Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, just take that in. Our God is so good. He allows trials, yes, but he never leaves us to face them alone and he always provides an ending with blessing and abundant life, whether on this earth or in heaven. Trust in his amazing love today, friend.
P – Prayer:
God, life can be hard. I sometimes can’t help but question why you would allow some of the things you do. But you don’t have to give the answers and you don’t even have to make good out of those things. Yet you do because you love me, more than I know. And nothing can separate me from that love. Thank you for that.
Lord, strengthen those who are in the middle of a trial today. Help them to feel your love and power working in their lives amidst the tragedy and unknown. You allow us to see all that we need to and you work in ways we know and don’t know. You are so much more that I can imagine. Thank you for that. Amen