Job 38:1-5 – “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!’”
If you have ever read Job, you know how God firmly puts Job in his place toward the end of the book. In a very direct way, God uses sarcasm to show that Job is not God. In fact Job (and all of us little humans) has no power when compared to the Almighty God! I love the questions that God asks. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?…Have you commanded the morning since your days began?…Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?…Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane?” Of course, the answer to every question is firmly “Not I,” said the peon!
What is fascinating about this is that God maintains that Job is innocent throughout his lamentations and complaints. Sure, we can bash Job all day long and say that he was a whiner and complainer and that he deserved to be put in his place. Yet, one thing that we clearly learn from the Psalms and from this book is that God wants us in all of our raw honesty. He doesn’t want us like the Pharisees as we use our lofty language that is really a second language for us. He doesn’t want us to pretend that we are perfect and without weakness. He doesn’t want us to hold back! He wants us as we are!
Job maintained his innocence, even though he whined like a baby. He remained innocent, even though bitterness and anger were rising within him. From God’s implications at the end of Job, Job’s bitterness, anger, and complaint didn’t lead him to sin. In addition, as we consider the life of Job and start to blame him and look down on him for whining, let us come down from our self-righteous thrones and recognize that we would feel the same way Job did. Job’s suffering was absolutely horrible! Have we ever lost every one of our sons and daughters and wealth and physical health, all at the same time? Many of us have suffered and many of us who have suffered have asked the hard questions in our lamenting.
As we consider Job’s honesty in his lamentation, let us remember that God knows our hearts perfectly and so he wants us as we are. Let us remember that God is really good at using broken people to accomplish his purposes. And let us remember that suffering and mourning and brokenness may come in the night, but that God promises that joy will come in the morning!