Day 5 - Job 38:1-18

Where Were You?

When we sit in our suffering long enough we may begin to accuse God. Job’s friends have all offered their “wise” counsel and Job has come up with some of his own theories for his suffering. By chapter 38, God has decided it is time to put a complaining Job in his place.

38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

Taking a step back from the character of Job for a second, many have wished to get the opportunity to speak to God directly like this. We think that we have just and credible evidence to hold a charge against him. Here’s the problem: we don’t have enough knowledge or proof to condemn the God of the universe. In Job’s instance, he chose to answer. You have something to say to me? Then be a man and explain the situation! I can only imagine how frightening this experience would be. Job goes from pointing the finger to stunned with silence. Take time to think about these questions:

Have you ever accused God? What about God’s character shows the truth about that accusation?

God continues to speak in one of the most popular and humbling portions of Old Testament scripture when he asks:

4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, 5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6 On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; 9 When I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, 11 And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’? 12 Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place, 13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? 14 It is changed like clay under the seal; And they stand forth like a garment. 15 From the wicked their light is withheld, And the uplifted arm is broken. 16 Have you entered into the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 18 Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.”

God lays out before Job (and us) that the world is much more complex than we think. He asks detailed questions of Job that he likely had never even thought about before. We cannot even begin to understand the depths of the wisdom of God.  God challenges Job to consider how much he doesn’t even understand the natural things of this world, so how would he expect to know more about the supernatural things of the world  as well.  Our perspective is simply not wide enough to tell God how to run the world. In fact, it’s extremely limited! Our view of unjust suffering is seen completely differently from an all-knowing God.

Suffering may cause us to become frustrated with God. We may fight him on his goodness, call him out on his fairness, and question his justice, but he is able to stand in front of us and ask us to trust him and his character. Why? Because, similar to Job’s circumstance, when we scream where are you God, he is able to respond with where were you!

God has proven numerous times throughout Scripture, history, and experience that he is worthy of being trusted for who he says he is. Regardless of the circumstances, whether we face our darkest days or our brightest moments, God is unchanging. His justice stays the same just as his mercy against an accusing people stays the same. He is in control and working all things for his glory. Rest in that truth today.

Does God’s understanding and unchanging character change your view on suffering? How?

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