Have you read the book of Job yet this year?
Okay, I realize that it has only been 2013 for a week. The book of Job is quickly becoming one of my favorite books in the bible. The story of Job seems to be a popular subject when our kids are complaining. I know my own mother certainly brought up his story any time I thought my life was getting too hard.
“Oh, you think your life is hard? Aren’t you glad God hasn’t let Satan kill everyone in your family? Aren’t you glad God hasn’t let Satan taken everything from you and stricken you with boils from head to toe?”
A couple of years ago I read the book of Job all the way through for the first time. In the past I had only read the first several chapters. Once Job looses everything the book starts to get a little boring. From chapter three till the end of chapter thirty-seven not a lot happens. Job and a few of his friends take turns lamenting how horrible life can be. In the past I have given up on the book.
A couple of years ago I finally finished the book and it has had a profound affect on my life. Since then I make sure to read through it each year. It’s chapter thirty-eight where it starts to get interesting. Chapter thirty-eight is where God decides to interrupt Jobs complaining.
I saw myself in Job’s life. I’ve certainly not had as much taken from me as Job had to experience. Still, just like you I have experienced loss in my life. Just like Job I have become discouraged and have found myself frustrated with the One who has the ultimate authority in the universe. Since God has supreme authority I often experience confusion on why He lets rotten things happen.
Chapters thirty-eight through forty-two remind us of our real place in the earth. Starting in chapter thirty-eight God steps up to the microphone and has a very stern conversation with Job. God chooses an interesting way to get his point across. He asks Job questions.
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 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’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
The next three chapters continue in much the same way. I can’t imagine hearing a single sentence from God. Job gets over eighteen hundred words from the very mouth of the creator of the universe. Job’s response is quick and humble. I’m not putting it all here. You need to go read it for yourself. It’s good stuff.
I now read the book of Job at least once a year to remind myself of several things.
1. There are plenty of people in this world who have lost a lot more than me.
2. I really have no place to stand in judgement of what God has or has not done.
3. God is forgiving. Instead of punishing Job and his friends for the rest of their lives He chose to forgive them, and bless them even more than He had in the beginning.
Brace yourself like a man and read the book of Job.