Year B – Proper 24 – Job 38:1-7, 34-41


Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.  Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements–surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . . . 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?”

Summary – Following lengthy chapters of dialogue between Job and his friends, in which Job questions God’s motivations for his trials, God finally breaks silence and addresses Job.  In a somewhat sarcastic or at least rhetorical fashion, God questions Job regarding what he can do.  Can he remember the creation of the world?  Can he sustain the creation?  Of course the answer is, “no.”  God’s lengthy discourse puts Job roundly back in his place.  Who is the created to question the creator’s plans?  Or, “will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?'” (Rom 9:20)  God’s two-fold purpose in this section is, 1) to chide Job for being insubordinate and 2) to teach Job and us about His nature.  The proper human response to something like this is what Job says in 40:4, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?  I lay my hand on my mouth.”

Insight – When David looked around him and saw the heavens, the moon and stars, it made him wonder why God would pay attention to little old humans. (Ps 8) The universe is so big, so full of things that declare the glory of God, why would tiny humans be important?  But instead of doubting this, he praised God’s name as majestic in all the earth.  David’s question could be our question, too.  We could ask, “Lord, why did you choose me?”  But when God speaks to Job, He doesn’t want Job to have all the answers, He wants Job to simply trust Him and have reverence for Him because of His great power.

Child Catechism – Were you there when the Earth was created?  No, only God was there.

Discussion – Read through Job 38 and list some of the statements of God that seem sarcastic.  (hint: look at verse 21!)  Why do you think God spoke this way?  What point was He trying to make?

Prayer – Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.  Before the mountains were born, you made the Earth and world.   Though we are tiny in comparison to your great creation, you have bestowed upon us your image, your likeness.  Put your glory ever before us that we would have a proper and sincere reverence for your rule over all things.  May all of our selfish tendencies which cause us to question your plan be put aside and help us to see your hand guiding each and every part of our lives.  Amen.


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