The book of Job finds the main character, God, teaching a majestic doctrinal truth about His worthiness. Job will learn that the Creator is worthy of reverence, worship, and awe because of who He is regardless of what He does or does not do. God used the rebellion of Satan to teach this marvelous lesson. When the book opens, Job is in seemingly perfect bliss. However, very quickly, he winds up in a pitiful state. He lost his whole family, with the exception of his wife. She passed on some “wonderful” words of wisdom. She told Job to curse God and die. Job lost all his wealth and his health. His friends mocked him. Much of the rest of the book is a running conversation between Job and his friends.
Job and his friends are at best ill-informed and misguided. Each of them had their own particular worldview informed by the general truth taught in Proverbs that usually good things to happen to people who obey God’s commands. We know from Scripture and from experience that is not always the way things turn out. Although the Bible describes Job as righteous, multiple unspeakable tragedies befell him. Because of God’s silence in the face of such misery, Job reached his breaking point. In the conversations, Job and his four friends take turns attempting to explain why Job is in such an awful condition. All five of them speak from ignorance made worse by their over-inflated view of their own personal opinions.
By chapter 38, God has heard enough. Job 38:1-7 records just the beginning of God’s response to Job and friends, Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on 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?” (NASU)
The next two chapters paint some of the most powerful pictures in all the Bible. They are two of my favorite chapters anywhere. God drills Job and friends with question after question after question. This Fab Five, legends in their own minds, had no answers. You and I can’t answer those questions either; not now, not ever. These two chapters are designed to humble you and me; to show us that God is God and we are not; to cause us to come to Him with the proper awe, reverence, respect that He so richly deserves.
God, as always, had restoration and redemption in mind. When God eventually stops the questions, Job responds with three little words, “I am unworthy.” (Job 40:4, NIV) The book closes with Job and his friends restored, accepted by God. He loves you. He wants you to come to Him. He sent His Son to suffer and die in your place, so that you can come to Him. However, you will come with the proper view of things, “He is God and you are not.” He judges you. You do not judge Him. Get that wrong and you can’t come at all. You must come to a saving knowledge of Christ, or you will spend eternity separated from God. Declaring your unworthiness is the first step.
STEVE ELLISON is director of Ouachita Baptist Camp in Arkansas. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.