Job Humbles Himself the Right Way

He doesn't make excuses.

Job 40:3-14 (ESV)

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?

“Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.”

Job does the right thing and grovels profusely, but then God goes on to make sure that Job understands exactly what he did wrong.

Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?

The funny thing is that Job wouldn’t have said the things he did if his “friends” hadn’t shown up and made a bunch of ridiculous accusations. Job has a fair excuse in that he was goaded into his errors.

But making excuses wouldn’t go over too well right now. Job just needs to pay attention to the lesson.

And the lesson is simple – God can’t be in the wrong. He invented right and wrong.

God doesn’t just get to decide whether something is right or wrong, He decides whether there even is such a thing as right and wrong. That sounds weird, but the existence of the concept of right and wrong is an interesting and popular philosophical topic.

The animal kingdom has no right and wrong, but people do. We have a standard that virtually everyone agrees on – a definition of right and wrong that crosses cultural boundaries.

This was a favorite topic of CS Lewis’s. He wrote an entire book on this universal standard of right and wrong titled, “The Abolition of Man.” He expanded on this in, “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe,” which is the first section of, “Mere Christianity.”

We are blessed to have a God who created our system of right and wrong. The Declaration of Independence explicitly references this system (“self-evident truth”) and its creator.

Praise God for His creation, which is much more than just space, time, matter and energy.

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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.