Will You Put Me in the Wrong?
These chapters are the climax of the book of Job. God finally speaks. But Job (and the reader) may be surprised by what God has to say. Stop and read it, if you haven’t yet. It is a long section, but it should be read quickly and digested whole as such conversations are in real life.
Elihu’s challenge to Job ends with these appropriate words preceding a seamless flow into the words of God Himself:
Job 37:22–24 (ESV) — 22 Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty. 23 The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. 24 Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”
Following these words, God’s voice thunders down. The hurting person may wish that God came down to Job and put a loving arm around his shoulders and explained to him exactly why He allowed Job to experience all the suffering he had gone through. God sometimes does that. He cares for us with a love that even the hairs on our head are numbered. (Luke 12:7) Had Job not wished to plead his case before God, in effect putting God on trial, perhaps that would have been the response he would have received. We cannot know. But it is for our good that God responds as He does, because in life we will often not receive the answer to our question of why.
God’s response may be unsatisfying on one level, but in a more important way it is more satisfying to us than if God had explained to Job why he went through the pain that he did. If God had given Job a reason, then it likely would have little application to us. But when we hear God’s words to Job, we hear Him speaking from the whirlwind of our pain to our flagging faith. What will He say?
Job 38:4, 12-13 (ESV) — 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding…12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, 13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?
Job 40:2,8-14 (ESV) — 2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it…8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? 9 Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? 10 “Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. 11 Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. 12 Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. 13 Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. 14 Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.
What is God saying? He is saying to us lovingly, but firmly, “I am God. Who are you? Do you have understanding of all things, much less your own situation? Do you have power over the universe, much less your own situation? Are you so righteous that you would sit in judgment over the holy God? I am righteous. I am the One who has total understanding and complete power. I am God.”
There are more times than we wish in life that we must fall onto these truths in faith, not in the desperation or hopelessness of one who has no other alternative, but as one who knows them to be true even in the darkest of nights. We cling to them as one who knows that God vindicates the righteous one and God rewards the faithful one. May God grant us such faith! I am praying for you. Please pray for me.