By Mike Dawson
Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Columbia
Focal Passage: Job 40:1-14
Remember how ‘God’s voice’ sounded in Hollywood films years ago? The Ten Commandments movie portrayed God speaking in a deep and resonate voice, in Shakespearean English, accompanied by rolling thunder and heavenly-sounding music.
None of the secular films starring “God” could adequately portray His true voice. But five men from the Book of Job could tell us precisely what His voice sounded like: Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu.
The “know-it-all” Elihu had finished his long, tiresome speech about God. Now the “All-knowing” God begins speaking. And — as our church choir sang almost every Sunday morning during my teen years — “Let all the earth keep silence before Him!” In previous studies of Job’s story we’ve seen the five men boxing each other with words. Now they all keep silence as GOD HIMSELF SPEAKS.
Over the past few weeks we’ve heard Job and his three friends speaking (chapters 4-31) and Elihu speaking (chapters 32-37); today it is GOD speaking (chapters 38-41). The three friends and Job had spoken from confused hearts; Elihu had spoken from an angry heart; God now speaks from a perfect, omniscient heart.
God asks Job some intense questions, worthy of intense study (chapters 38-39), with a “P.S.” from God in Job 40:1-2. Job feebly confesses his unworthiness to contend with God (40:3-4), and God completes His weighty questions to Job (40:5 through 41:34). Today we pick up at “God’s P.S,” then check out Job’s short reply, and finally study God’s power-packed challenge to that reply.
God’s powerful ‘P.S.’ (Job 40:1-2): The writer of the book of Job — and it’s uncertain who that actually was — stops writing down God’s speech (chapters 38-39), and picks it up in chapter 40, verse 1 with what I’m calling God’s P.S. (Postscript): “Moreover the Lord answered Job.” “Moreover” means in addition to what God has already said. His answer is not for the last speaker, Elihu, but for the one who’s been “correcting” and “rebuking” God throughout his ordeal, Job himself.
Job’s repentant reply (verses 3-5): Job was repentant in recognizing how ‘vile’ he was and how quick to speak when he should have been silent; but Job’s focus is still on himself more than God. Job uses the pronouns “I” and “my” seven times in these two short verses. One of God’s reasons for allowing His children to suffer is to clear up our “I” problems. But Job is still an “I” specialist!
God’s continued challenges (verses 6-14): God answers Job “out of the whirlwind,” verse 6. His words are not like some gentle, balmy breeze here — they’re more like a tornado! God gives Job an “I” exam: four questions, each beginning with two words “Would? Would you? Have you? Can you?” (verses 8-9) It’s as if God now thunders, “If so, you must dress like Me (verse 10), and judge like Me (verses 11-12), and condemn like Me (verse 13). Then, God says in verse 14, you’ll be able to save like Me. Impossible! In the Gospel we discover that only Christ Jesus has the power to save. Neither Job nor any other ‘good’ person can save — except our crucified, resurrected, glorified Lord Jesus.