He Who Argues With God, Let Him Answer It

Yeah, there are lots of mysteries. And your point would be?

Job 39:9-40:2 (ESV)

“Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your manger? Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you? Will you depend on him because his strength is great, and will you leave to him your labor? Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain and gather it to your threshing floor?

“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider.

“Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. His young ones suck up blood, and where the slain are, there is he.”

And the LORD said to Job:

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

God has asked Job a total of 43 questions, none of which he could hope to answer, plus schooled him on a few things. Job has to be glad it’s over. His face must be burning with embarrassment.

But he’s got to be relieved that his punishment is mere words. This is a great example of a loving father calling his child on the carpet. He makes him feel terrible, but there’s no real punishment. The purpose is teaching, and this technique accomplishes that perfectly.

The book of Job is all about the great mysteries of life. Job is confounded by what has happened to him and wants an explanation. God’s first step in answering Job is to pile 43 more mysteries on top of the ones that are bugging him.

So, part of God’s answer is, “Yeah, there are lots of mysteries. And your point would be?”

But that answer isn’t satisfying, especially to us. We knew that before we started reading Job.

But the full answer is starting to form. We already saw some of God’s purposes (e.g., education and character development). We just need to see how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

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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.