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Job Says God "Hangs the Earth on Nothing."

And we thought Galileo was ahead of his time.

Job 25:1-26:14 (ESV)

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

“Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high heaven. Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does his light not arise? How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!”

Then Job answered and said:

“How you have helped him who has no power! How you have saved the arm that has no strength! How you have counseled him who has no wisdom, and plentifully declared sound knowledge! With whose help have you uttered words, and whose breath has come out from you? The dead tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud. He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke. By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

Bildad’s point isn’t false; no man is in the right before God. But the same point has been made at least three times already. Does that explain his abrupt ending? Did he suddenly realize that he’s being boring? Did Job just cut him off? We can’t know, but in any case he’s done.

Job’s reply begins with his usual point – you guys aren’t helping. But then he gets into a great truth – God deals with things beyond our view. We can’t see the dead. Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. He sees the Earth from an outer space point of view. He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.

Wait. What? This is amazingly early in human history to be saying something so counter to the flat Earth theories. Job doesn’t completely describe the heliocentric model of the solar system but what he does say is accurate.

And he’s light years ahead of the folks who think the earth sits on the backs of turtles.

Despite its title, the book of Job isn’t about Job; it’s about God – and this passage reflects that. The main theme of the book is that God’s priorities are not our priorities. Here, the point is that God’s perspective is not our perspective.

Job’s examples are surprising: the view from the grave, and the view from outer space.

The Bible is nothing if not surprising. It’s supposed to stretch our minds. It’s an infinite subject.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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