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As we continue to move through the book of Job to help us resist a resistant or hardened heart, we find God’s next comments to Job centered on His formation of animals. He started with His creation of earth and the heavens. Now He’s saying things like,
“Can you hunt the prey for the lion,Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
When they crouch in their dens
And lie in wait in their lair?
“Who prepares for the raven its nourishment
When its young cry to God
And wander about without food? (38:39-41 NASB).
Then He continues with questions like,
“Do you know…?”
“Do you observe…?”
“Can you count…?”
“Can you bind…?”
“Do you give…?”
“Is it by your understanding…?”
My! My! God is not only creative in creating animals, but He’s creative in knowing how to ask questions! Would you have thought of so many different ways of calling someone to humility? He’s good at it!
And if that’s not enough, God talks about lions, ravens, mountain goats, deer, wild donkeys, wild ox, ostrich, horses, and the hawk.
Commentator Matthew Henry writes, “All these beautiful references to the works of nature, should teach us a right view of the riches of the wisdom of Him who made and sustains all things. The want [lack] of right views concerning the wisdom of God, which is ever present in all things, led Job to think and speak unworthily of Providence.”
As I think of God’s interaction with Job, I’m impressed with the time and effort He takes. He doesn’t just say, “Man, if you don’t get it, forget it!” And unfortunately, for people like me, it takes awhile to get God’s message. It would most likely take as long and with as many examples as God gives Job. I wonder for how long I would try to come up with defensive replies. How long I would blame God for expecting too much. How long I would think of other people whom He should focus on.
I might even be creative enough to come up with my own questions:
But what about…?
Why do you expect perfection?
How long do I have to go through this trial?
Why does it have to be so hard?
Can’t you just give me instant solutions?
Thankfully, Job doesn’t question. Chapter 40:1-2 tells God’s next question:
Then the Lord said to Job,
“Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him who reproves God answer it.”
Some commentators believe that the “then” above, includes a pause. In Wesley’s Notes, he writes, “Having made a little pause to try what Job could answer. This is not said to be spoken out of the whirlwind, and therefore some think God said it in a still, small voice, which wrought more upon Job, (as upon Elijah) than the whirlwind did. Tho’ Job had not spoken any thing, yet God is said to answer him. For he knows men’s thoughts, and can return a fit answer to their silence.”
What a wonderful thought. Since we’d be so overwrought being questioned by God, I would fear that my silence or my feeble words would give God the wrong impression.
But God knows my heart! He knows your heart! Even if you express yourself with the wrong words, God knows your heart and will respond to the truth.
But! It also means that we can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes. We might try to make ourselves look good or even lie, but God can’t be fooled. He knows our hearts–not just our words. Our motives are most important to Him.
Those two truths are both comforting and sobering. Let us take them into consideration! And in the meantime, we’ll continue to work through God’s questions in Job next time.