Sunday – February 7, 2021
Word On Worship – Sunday – February 7, 2021
Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”
As an adult, I understand there are individuals whose identity is defined by their suffering. But I have also learned that suffering, whether physical or emotional, can nourish depression, affect our health, and cause us to withdraw from friends and abandon spiritual hope. Job’s staggering losses and his friends’ shallow spiritual advice only deepened his despair. Job wanted answers, because, like all of us, we believe answers can justify the whys of life and make us feel better.
Then God shows up. At last! Now we’re getting somewhere. Get out your Bible, pen and notepad because God will give us the answers, justify the tragedies and make all the hurt go away. But, instead of certitudes, God confronts Job with questions that powerfully define the chasm between what we can know in this world and the mind of the God who is greater than creation and time. In Job 3:3, Job told his friends, “I want to speak to the Almighty.” Job wants God to explain his suffering, but he also wants to prove his friends’ disturbing religious ideas wrong.
God responds to Job with two speeches (38:2-40:2 and 40:7-41:6) with a barrage of questions, but never a direct answer. God’s voice out of a whirlwind is a force beyond human understanding and control. We learn some wonderful truths from this unique encounter. Job has felt abandoned by God, left to suffer alone. But the text reveals that God heard every word Job and his friends spoke. Tragedy and evil are not evidence of God’s indifference, but a call to seek God and hold on to him until the storm is past. God is sovereign.
We are not God. God planned and created the world, filled with marvels and tragedy. Sunlight is essential to life, yet it can scorch the ground and cause skin cancer. Crops cannot grow without rain, but rain can cause flooding and death. God’s words to Job speak of the limits placed on creation (vv. 8-10). God is not angered by nor afraid of our questions. God loves us. But we must never forget there are things we will not understand, questions that will not be answered to our satisfaction in this world. Loving and serving God can be challenging and circumstances can be confusing. Our questions seldom find easy answers.