One of the many things I enjoy (usually) about Tony's family and extended family are their email debates. While other topics have been discussed lately, the major theme that has been popping up and continuing for some time now has centered around politics. As I was adding my two cents yesterday, one of my favorite passages from the Bible came to mind -- Job chapters 38-41. I remember "discovering" these chapters during a time when I was really struggling with something and just really having my mind blown by God's words. Wow! Through the years since, these chapters have been the first thing I've turned to when struggling with different issues in my life. And while God puts everything in perspective here, really showing Who He is and what He has done, it is such a comfort to me through these words when I remember that regardless of what is happening, HE is in control and even bettter, this great and awesome God Who did all that He reminded Job of loves lil ole me!
I am thankful that I grew up in a relatively normal family and that my father, while only human, did a good job of modeling the "fatherhood" of our heavenly Father. However, these chapters really bring about the awesomeness (in it's literal translation), power, and holiness of God. I want to share some of the verses from these chapters (from the New Living Translation -- EXCELLENT translation!) but would really encourage each of you to take the time to read this passage for yourself, too.
Not much is really known about Job, but it is thought that he lived somewhere around the time of Abraham, pretty certainly before God's covenant with Abraham. I just know I can't wait to meet him one day!
(from chapter 37, Job's friend Elihu talking to Job): 1 “My heart pounds as I think of this. It trembles within me. 2 Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. 3 It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes in every direction. 4 Then comes the roaring of the thunder— the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain it when he speaks. 5 God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.
from chapter 38: 1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: 2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 3 Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. 5 Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? 6 What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone 7 as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
I grin at these next verses in chapter 38....God shows sarcasm, too! 19 “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? 20 Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? 21 But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!
31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? 32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? 33 Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?
The incredibleness of some of the creatures God created and their mannerisms (from chapter 39): 13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly, but they are no match for the feathers of the stork. 14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth, letting them be warmed in the dust. 15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them. 16 She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She doesn’t care if they die. 17 For God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding. 18 But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider. 26 “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? 27 Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? 28 It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag.
And what an awesome question, from chapter 40: 1 Then the Lord said to Job,
2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
And Job was pretty smart in his reply: 4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. 5 I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”
However, God doesn't give him any breathing room yet...He still continues (at times sarcastically) reminding Job of just Who He is and how awesome and holy He is: 7 “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. 8 “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? 9 Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? 10 All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. 11 Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. 12 Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. 14 Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.
and a reminder in chapter 41: 11 Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine.
As strange as it may sound to some, these really are comforting chapters to me. They remind me that there are times God may answer my questions but He doesn't need to...He is God. It also reminds me of the many facets of God...not just the loving, fatherly side that as a child of His I see so often. It makes it easier for me to accept the things I have no answers for -- when I don't understand the trials and injustice I sometimes go through, when I see the horrible things going on in the world and wonder why God allows them to continue. Who am I to question God? Who am I to try and figure out how God works? I am content to know that I am a redeemed child of the most high God and that one day I will be worshipping at His feet, taking in all of His glorious creation, for all time.
Job had a humble response to God in chapter 42 when God was done reminding Job of Who He is: 2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. 4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ 5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
God ended up blessing Job with even more than Job had before. I used to think it was because Job was just this unknowing pawn in a struggle between God and Satan and had everything but his life and a complaining wife yanked away from him, but the more I read about Job, I think the blessing came not just because of Job's faithfulness to God but even more because of his humbleness towards God and his willingness to seek God's forgiveness on behalf of his well-meaning but little-knowing friends.
And one day it would be really cool to see what a leviathan is!