“God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend” (Job 37:5).
Elihu makes his final point to his description on how God speaks. God speaks through inclement weather. He offers two main points:
- God uses inclement weather conditions to command man’s attention by revealing man’s helplessness and need, “For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work” (37:6-7). Weather disrupts work. A snow storm and torrential rain prevent outside activity. Inclement weather interrupts planting season and harvest; it also reveals man’s inadequacy. Man is omni-competent via his sin nature, but all of his outside activities are hindered when rain storms drench and flood and snow storms ice his way. Inclement weather reveals man’s helplessness as it halts work efforts; man can do nothing to change the weather.
- God uses weather conditions to command man’s attention by revealing the greatness of God, “He comes from the north as golden splendor; with God is awesome majesty. As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart” (Job 37:22-23).
Throughout the ages unregenerate men have devised ways to appease the gods (through song, dance, self-mutilation and sacrifice) who they thought controlled the weather. In their heart of hearts they know Someone powerful exists who may intervene and change weather conditions. A sense of reverence overcomes men whose lives are disrupted by strong weather conditions. Suffering accomplishes the same thing that inclement weather accomplishes: it demonstrates man’s helplessness and need, and it lifts his eyes heavenward.
Job had been dying to hear God speak, and now that He does, it is doubtful that it is exactly what Job wanted to hear. God doesn’t address his suffering but rather questions Job regarding the vastness of creation, the solar system, weather patterns and various animals. What’s up with that?
A more careful reading of the questions God presents to Job reveals a pattern. God questions reveal both Job’s limitations and ability while demonstrating His own wisdom and power.
The Lord describes the vastness of His universe and challenges Job with His knowledge: “Surely you know!” (38:5); “Tell me, if you know all this” (38:18); “Do you know . . . ” (38:21, 33; 39:1, 2).
The Lord describes the vastness of His power or ability as revealed in creation: “Have you . . .” (38:12, 16, 17, 18, 22); “Can you . . .” (38:31, 32, 33, 34, 35; 39:1,10, 20); “Have you . . .” (38:12,16,17,18, 22).
Job has an epiphany after hearing the Lord describe His knowledge and ability: “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; yes, twice, but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:3).
Chapters 40 and 41 contain more statements regarding God’s great power and conclude with Job’s second epiphany, “I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You . . . . I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:2, 5-6).
Job’s suffering reveals his pride, inability and limitations. Suffering strips Job of the wealth and health that had given him a sense of power and prestige. Suffering teaches us that we are not all that and that we need God. God speaks through suffering, and Job is listening.
Question from today’s chronological Bible reading(Job 35:1-37:24):
• What does the LORD communicate about Himself to Job through re-directing Job’s attention to His creation?