By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. Click the image below to read previous sections.
Previously in Job…We saw Job praised in heaven for his righteousness by God before the hosts of heaven and even Satan. Despising that, Satan claimed that Job’s faithfulness was due solely to prosperity given by the Lord. So God allowed Satan to attack all that Job possessed, but Job did not lose faith in God, nor did he blaspheme God. Satan then attacked Job’s health and plagued him with sores, but Job stayed faithful still. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar arrived and sat with him in silence for seven days, and Job, in his distress, began to complain. Oblivious to the dealings in heaven, his friends imparted words of “wisdom,” claiming that the calamity was a result of Job’s sin. As their conversation circled around, Job clung to his righteousness and could not understand the circumstances at hand. After much talk from the four men, Elihu, a friend that had joined quietly, could no longer bite his tongue. Compelled to speak, he rebuked Job for his self-righteousness, and he rebuked the three friends for their flawed commentary. He effectively set the stage for the Lord to speak.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering the book of Job, chapters 38-42, the Lord speaks.
JOB – SUMMARY
This book is said to be the oldest book of the Bible, possibly chronicling events that took place as early as the time of the sons of Jacob! Job was a righteous and prosperous man who feared the Lord, and that seemingly did not sit well with the Accuser, who traveled to and fro on the face of the earth looking to fulfill his designation. Satan sought to prove that Job’s “righteousness” was fickle and to turn him against the Lord, so the Lord allowed the Devil to take all that Job was blessed with and destroy it. He allowed the Devil to attack Job’s health and cause him to suffer, but not to the point of death. Nonetheless, Job did not turn away from the Lord or blame him. His friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came to comfort him as he anguished the day of his birth, but instead they claimed that he suffered because of his own sin. Discouraged and beaten, Job doubted that the Lord would reply. Then another, named Elihu, stepped in and reprimanded the friends for wrongly accusing Job rather than realizing this was simply a trial. Elihu also reprimanded Job for doubting that the Lord would speak! After 38 chapters of exchanges between the men, the Lord finally spoke out of the whirlwind to Job in magnificent fashion. He rebuked the friends of Job for their folly and challenged Job with question after question, and Job was left silent with no response, save for utter repentance. Then the Lord blessed Job with twice as much as he was previously blessed with.
The Lord answers Job by asking forty-two compelling questions regarding the majesty of creation:
After 37 chapters of men speaking and hoping to find an answer, the Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind. Right off the bat, the Lord throws a jab at the three friends for giving Job darkened counsel because of “words without knowledge,” and in the following verses we see that knowledge looks like nothing what we “know” to be true on this earth. For example:
Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. | Job 39:19-25
A speaking/laughing horse, ready for war, clothed with a mane? This description is other-worldly, and it’s almost like horses were designed specifically and intentionally for war. These chapters are filled with heavenly perspectives of knowledge—ranging from storehouses filled with snow and hail to eagles mounting up to the Lord’s command. Job was told to prepare for the bombardment of questions (totaling 42!), and the Lord proceeded immediately with a knock-out punch:
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? | Job 38:4-7
Imagine hearing the voice of the Lord himself asking, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?!”
The questions poured forth, and I have no doubt that Job was in complete shock through it all.
Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place… | Job 38:12
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind? | Job 38:36
Ultimately, these two chapters challenge Job primarily thorough the majesty of creation and the knowledge that all of creation is subject to His sovereignty alone and that creation testifies to His power constantly.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. | Romans 1:20
Job’s response to the Lord is silence – then the Lord continues to question him with eighteen additional questions focusing specifically on Behemoth and Leviathan:
Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it. | Job 40:2
The Lord called Job out for being critical of His divine motives, and Job fittingly responded by covering his mouth! Then the Lord asks Job to prepare to answer once again:
Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? | Job 40:8
We too work tirelessly to defend our actions, and at times, we do so to the point of condemning God himself! Job remained in silence as the Lord questioned him again, and the Lord turned his questions to the splendor of two very specific beings of creation. He proclaims the might of Behemoth, a mysterious land animal, and Leviathan, an animal of the sea. The Lord describes these two to a mythological level that leaves us wondering what they might have been like to see in person!
Job finally repents – The Lord rebukes Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – Job’s fortunes are restored – Job dies after many years:
Finally after all of the discussion, the confusion, and the powerful voice of the Lord, Job repented of his sin.
Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. | Job 42:1–6
He acknowledged that he did not understand, and that the Lord’s work was wonderful nonetheless. In light of Him and all that He does, Job was nothing! After all of this, the Lord turned towards Job’s three friends and rebuked them for not speaking of Him “what was was right,” and they were shown mercy because of Job’s plea to the Lord to spare them. Interestingly, the Lord still requires a sacrifice of them, and we see:
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. | Job 42:9
The pleas on our behalf for brothers and sisters would mean nothing if their hearts were hardened and they did not listen to the Lord. The pleas of our brothers and sisters for us mean nothing if we harden our own hearts! Furthermore, it is interesting to note that:
The Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. | Job 42:10
The fruit of a heart truly reformed is displayed through Job’s interest in others over the his own interests or misfortune. He put on him the mind of Christ, long before the world was graced with the Almighty’s presence! So the Lord brought Job through struggle to teach him truth, and Job was blessed with twice as much as he had before. Job was blessed with 140 more years and was able to see four generations of his family before he ultimately “died, an old man, full of days.”