“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, “I will question you, and you shall answer Me.” I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes’” (Job 42:1-6).
After Elihu finishes his rebuke of Job and his attempt to help Job regain a proper perspective, God speaks to Job. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me’” (Job 38:1-3). In the midst of his horrific suffering, Job had boldly stated how he wanted to present his case to God. Earlier Job had proudly said, “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, that my Prosecutor had written a book! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, and bind it on me like a crown; I would declare to Him the number of my steps; like a prince I would approach Him” (Job 31:35-37). Job had wanted to “have his day in court with God”. Now God was going to let him have it!
As God speaks to Job, He challenges Job’s understanding of things. In his efforts to justify himself and his righteousness, Job seemed to have forgotten there is much he doesn’t understand. Because he listened to his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who attempted to answer for God and claimed that Job was being chastened by God for some sin he had committed, Job had begun to think God had brought all this evil upon Job and taken away his justice (Job 19:21; 27:2). In his limited understanding, Job did not realize it was Satan who had brought all this evil upon him in the devil’s effort to turn Job from following God (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5). In his partial knowledge of things, Job did not realize God was on Job’s side, viewed Job favorably and said about Job “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3).
As God challenges Job’s understanding of things, God ask Job a series of questions that utterly dumbfound Job. For example, God says, “"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone” (Job 38:4-6). Again, God says, “"Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it” (Job 40:2).
As the opening verses above indicate, after hearing God’s rebuke of him, Job is greatly humbled. He also adds, “"Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:4-5).
As I consider these things I am reminded God’s greatness and my weakness. In the midst of great suffering, one can lose that perspective. God went on to bless Job immensely (Job 42:10-17). Job is a great example for us to follow on how did persevere through great suffering (James 5:11). I am amazed at how he did it! Yes, he had lost his perspective, but God helped him to regain it. Today, I will strive to keep myself humble before God and say continually of Him, “How Great Thou Art”!
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (I Peter 5:6).