Job 38:1-7 - Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
When I read the book of Job, the thing that strikes me most is the difference between how Job's friends deal with him—and how God does. You'll remember the basic storyline: Job follows God faithfully, but then suddenly he loses everything—property, children, and even his own good health. Job's friends come to comfort him, and they begin arguing about why these things have happened. And they come to the usual human conclusion: you must have done something to deserve it. God is punishing you. You are a rotten excuse for a human being, and you brought all this evil on yourself. What wonderful comforters they are!
And then, all unexpectedly, God Himself speaks up. But His words don't seem any more comforting, at least to start with. "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me." Whoa! This doesn't sound like pity or mercy to me. It sounds like a short, sharp slap in the face.
And God follows it up with a million questions—none of which Job can answer. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding." To this Job might have said, "Uh, nowhere, Lord. I don't know. I have no idea about the sea or the stars, or how the lightning reaches the earth. I don't know how the mountain goats give birth. The eagles don't listen to me, and I've never seen an alligator—if that's the creature You're talking about. Maybe I'd just better stop talking now."
So far, this sounds pretty terrible. But think for a moment. God is answering Job. Not with the answer Job wants, an explanation of all the evil in his life. In fact, the answer seems to be, "You wouldn't understand Me if I told you." But God is in fact talking to Job—is treating him like a person worthy of a reply—is taking his anger and complaints seriously. God shows respect to Job—a respect that Job never got from his human friends.
God takes Job seriously. Job matters to God—even when he's angry, even when he's shooting off his mouth. And you matter to God—matter intensely—even when you're angry at God, or yelling, or weeping, or on the verge of despair. God takes you seriously.
You may never hear God's voice from the whirlwind. But you have something better—God's Word, Jesus Christ, who is God Himself born into our world. Jesus came because of you—because you matter, because God wants you, because He intends for you to belong to Him forever. On His cross, Jesus broke the powers of evil and death. And now He calls you to trust in Him and to share His own joyful, resurrected life forever.
THE PRAYER: Lord, help me when I am suffering and don't understand why. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. How do you comfort people who are sad or grieving?
2. When have you asked "Why?" about some evil in your life?
3. Is Jesus an answer to your questions? Why or why not?
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