Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

God, the Great Teacher

Even as Job flunks God's quiz, God teaches him with incredible grace.

Job 38:31-39:8 (ESV)

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together?

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young? Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open; they go out and do not return to them.

“Who has let the wild donkey go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey, to whom I have given the arid plain for his home and the salt land for his dwelling place? He scorns the tumult of the city; he hears not the shouts of the driver. He ranges the mountains as his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.”

God continues to pepper Job with questions he cannot answer, but He also throws in a few facts. Of mountain goats He says, “Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open; they go out and do not return to them.” Of wild donkeys He says, “He scorns the tumult of the city; he hears not the shouts of the driver. He ranges the mountains as his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.

These are familiar facts to people who’ve seen lots of nature films, but not to Job. This is amazingly graceful, almost enjoyable. Even though He’s in the middle of calling out Job, God never stops being the great educator.

This is the key to the book. God is teaching Job some advanced lessons. Life is full of trials, but they lead somewhere. God is always up to something, and we’re privileged to be part of His plan. It’d be nice if we knew where all this is going, but we’re rarely told the higher purpose for our day-to-day struggles.


And that’s what happened to Job. We may not get to see the point of our trials but we will for Job’s, and it’ll be all about taking Job’s character to the next level. That’s encouraging.

Trials can be painful, and the resulting character development often doesn’t seem to be worth it.

But that’s our perspective, not God’s.


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

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

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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