Brace Yourself, God Has a Few Questions
Part 2 of Meeting God
A Series of Articles on Job 38-42
"Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Job 38:3
God has shown up – blowing Job’s mind with His entrance in the mantle of a gigantic windstorm equal to any tornado known to man. That had to be a humbling thing to see. But even more humbling was to hear God’s voice coming from the midst of it. Yet, Job probably had no idea what kind of questions God was about to ask him. He had spoken the truth about God according to Job 42:7, and God was not there to question Job’s integrity or his sincerity. What God was there to question was Job’s humility when it came to understanding the providence and sovereignty of God.
The knowledge of our own ignorance is the first step in becoming wise. As long as we hold to the fallacy of man’s great knowledge, we too will think highly of our supposed wisdom and, like Job, question God’s sovereignty and wise, loving providence in our lives. As God begins, He calls Job to summon all his great wisdom and understanding, because it is time for Job to answer a few “God-level” questions.
The manner in which God approaches these questions would make anyone a little squeamish about what was about to happen. “Hey Job,” the Lord says, “Gird up your loins like a man, because I have a series of questions, and evidently you need to instruct Me?” These words were not very comforting to Job. The phrase “Gird up you loins” had to do with how a strong warrior would tuck his outer garments into his belt so that he would be ready to run into a battle. This preparation done by any strong man that faced a difficult task. Job, though, was not facing some difficult physical task or battle situation. Job needed to get ready because he was about to face the questions of God, the Creator. There would be 77 different questions coming Job’s way from God – none of which he could answer with any great knowledge he possessed. They are still unanswerable even though we’ve had several centuries to gather up all the combined human wisdom we can muster.
The arrogance of humanity is breath-taking to consider. We can’t even process and guide what is happening in our own bodies (that is why we have the autonomous nervous system to do these things for us) let alone know what is happening in our neighborhood. But to take over providence from Almighty God requires more than just a comprehensive knowledge of our own little sphere of life. God knows intimately the “goings-on” of every body, every mind, and even the action and reaction of every human and how it will affect every other human. But please add to this the knowledge of every aspect of our planet – its animal kingdom and its inhabitants down to the smallest microorganism as well. Add to this the inner workings of earth beneath its crust, as well as all that is going on in the atmosphere and on every land mass and body of water on this spinning sphere. But wait, O wise and understanding human, there is more!
God also knows and guides every planet, every star, and every last minute piece of interplanetary space dust. Not only does he know and understand it – He designed it so that it works together as a whole. He knows and guides the trillions times trillions of interactions which take place every millisecond throughout the entire universe – and knows all that can be known about all of it. But there’s more! He directs and guides it through His wisdom and divine design structure. It “works” like it does because He made it. The universe is not random – it is designed at a level our minds could never comprehend.
Have you ever thought about the fact that we set our clocks by the atomic clock that functions within the universe itself? All of everything that has ever been made functions within an interdependent, wonderful choreography set in motion and maintained by the wisdom and understanding of the infinite and eternal God. Just a second of time in God’s infinite understanding and maintenance of the universe would fry every single computer we have ever made. Imagine the wisdom involved in bringing it into existence. Now measure that with our propensity to not even remember why we came into a room – or with remembering all the information we need to pass a test . . . that we took three years ago. Yep – like I said earlier – it is breath-taking to consider the unbelievable arrogance of mankind.
Please understand, I do not think that God was making light of Job’s situation. Scripture reminds us that God’s Son faced all that we face – and yet without ever sinning. The Lord fully grasped Job’s pain and suffering (remember, His Son was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). What God was addressing was how Job was questioning God’s wisdom and questioning how the Lord was running things (at least in his own life). It’s interesting how we take for granted that our universe doesn’t crash into itself extinguishing life as a whole – or that our hearts pump some 2000 gallons of blood through our bodies daily – but we wonder about God’s ability to run things if it means suffering for us or a delay in our ongoing gratification today.
Christopher Morley said, “I had a million questions to ask God; but when I met Him, they all fled my mind; and it didn’t seem to matter.” That is what is going to happen to Job in the final four chapters of the book that bears his name. The tremendous suffering he encountered filled his mind with a million questions he wanted God to answer. It seemed to him that he wouldn’t be able to go on unless the answers were forthcoming. Then in a wondrous gift of mercy and grace Job met God. He didn’t just hear of God by the hearing of the ear – he was allowed to see God – and when the meeting came to it’s end, Job had no more questions. In fact, it didn’t matter if he ever got the answers he thought he had to have.
Most likely none of us will receive a meeting with God as He speaks out of a powerful tornado. But then again, probably none of us will face suffering so great as that which Job endured either. Hopefully it will suffice that God did show His mercy in meeting with Job – asking His 77 unanswerable questions – and ushering Job into a remembrance of just how little he actually knew. Hopefully we will read of such a thing – receive instruction from God’s Holy Spirit – and humbly lay down our accusations that God doesn’t know what He’s doing in our lives – in our sphere of influence – or even in the entire scope of space and time. Believe me, reading of it is far less terrifying and humbling than having to be there. The truly wise man will realize this and humble himself before God.
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 2 "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Job 38:1-2 (NASB)
These are probably not the words any of us really would want to hear, let alone the situation in which we’d want to hear them. Yet God posed them to Job – and recorded it so that we could “get in on the fun!” I am hoping that by describing to you the way that God chose to reveal Himself and the words He spoke will get your attention – as they have truly gotten mine.
Here we see God speak out of the whirlwind to Job. God and the whirlwind are often revealed together. This particular passage in Job 38 was preceded by Elihu’s description of God drawing near in chapter 37. It is a disconcerting chapter to read. God was approaching in a massive storm that made Elihu tremble. He describes a storm that includes lightning, thunder in amounts that should get our attention. He speaks of clouds with ice (hail maybe?) as well as clouds loaded with moisture. These clouds are described as thick and seem to be described as swirling or at least changing direction all over as they approach.
The word “whirlwind” means a windstorm – and can be tied to several kinds of storms in that region. There are the massive wind storms (shaboob storms) that can sweep up massive amounts of water and form a waterspout over the sea – and dust storms that take your breath away as you see them darkening everything on the horizon as they reach heights of 6000 feet or more. The main aspect of them, of course, is the wind involved. There was also another storm, the one that terrified the disciples when they were in the boat with Jesus in the gospels. The description of such storms that came off of the mountains to the north and hit the Sea of Galilee relate them as if a giant hand had come from heaven and hit the surface of the sea so that it seemed instantly consumed by hurricane force winds and a turbulence that shakes everything around it.
This is what was approaching Job in chapter 37 – and has arrived in chapter 38. If such a storm itself was not disconcerting enough, the sound of the voice of God coming from the midst of it had to be utterly terrifying. But then again God and the whirlwind were often seen together in Scripture.
Whatever this is – it is awesome and fear inspiring as we read of it. Job must have been terrified as this storm approached – and petrified as it slowed and God’s voice came from the midst of it.
Forgive me – but as someone who grew up in “tornado alley,” I’ve seen the arrival and effect of such storms. My house was destroyed by one when I was 4 years old and we huddled in our basement hoping we would survive it. I remember my father describing it to me. The storm itself was unbelievably powerful with winds whipping every way – and the sound of sheets of rain pelting the windows. Then he said it suddenly became quiet – and he ran with my two brothers in hand for the basement. He said behind him it sounded like a dozen freight trains all descending on the spot where we were.
In the movie “Twister” the final scene focused on a force 5 tornado that was being tracked. When they moved toward it – they were shocked at a tornado that was over a mile in width as it destroyed everything in its path. Now imagine such a thing coming toward you no matter which way you turned. As you were ready for your life to be crushed by its power – it slows as it reaches you. Then if that were not enough to scare you to death – you hear the mighty voice of God speaking to you from the midst of it. That is a pretty astounding situation – and the level of fear Job must have felt could not be measured.
Even more terrifying is what God has to say to you. The words had to thunder to be heard over the raging of the storm. “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Suddenly Job knew this was about him and the words that he had spoken without a full understanding of Who God is. You see we have a tendency to speak such words when we feel that we could do a better job of managing our own providence – that the sovereignty over our days would be in better hands if it were placed into ours. We might even complain of the things we experience in life – and gripe and moan a little at circumstances that are – how do I say it – difficult.
Honestly – our circumstances cannot come within miles of those that Job experienced. His is an epic story of suffering and hardship as God was working out His perfect will – and Job’s absolute best. Yet, when things get very difficult – we can be very difficult people to deal with as we speak with and of God. So it is with a less than thrilled acknowledgement that we see ourselves in the same light, albeit far, far less severe than that of Job.
Here He comes. God is showing up at the perfect time to do and say what only he can say and do. His timing is perfect and His ways are perfect. We may not want to hear that at the start of things – but by the end of it we will have no more critical comments about Him. He will reveal Himself – amazingly in questions we cannot fathom answering – and – it will be over. We will repent (if we are wise) and He will be praised.
Maybe you, like me, need such a meeting. Maybe you are not all that sold on your current providential situation in the hands of a loving, all-wise God. Maybe we need the Lord to approach us in a way that will leave us speechless and motionless in fear and trembling. Maybe in such a setting we will once again realize how infinitely small we are in this world – and how unbelievably lacking in wisdom and perspective we can be. Maybe – just maybe – we need to field all of God’s questions here – so that we grasp how very little we know. Maybe – just maybe we need to come away humbled, repentant, and focused on knowing Him, walking with Him, and yes – even loving Him as we are reminded why we need to trust Him with absolute trust as He works out and in our lives during the short time of our stay on this earth.
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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