Job 38-39 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

From Job 38-39

18 Job three friends thumbThe LORD speaks from the whirlwind. He has heard Job’s words without knowledge and acts to put him right. He asks a series of questions highlighting to Job several facts he has overlooked. The LORD is sovereign and good. He does establish justice. He does protect the poor. He does provide for his creation. In the gospel, Jesus has a similar understanding of the Father and how he acts in the world.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

18 Job 38-39

Today’s passage is a continuation of the LORD’s response to Job which started with this opening statement..

18 whirlwind38 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. (Job 38.1-3)

He manifests himself as a powerful whirlwind.

Everything the LORD says demonstrates his sovereignty and power over creation.

The LORD in his power rebukes Job for his ‘words without knowledge’. He addresses what Job has said about him and asks him a series of rhetorical questions.

18 snow22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,

23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?

24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? (Job 38.22-24)

The LORD questions Job.

He reserves storehouses of snow and hail for times of trouble, battle and war. Job doesn’t do this.

The LORD has secret knowledge about where the light will go, banishing the darkness. Light can represent God’s goodness coming into the world, pushing away sin. Job doesn’t know where the light will go. nor does he have the power and authority to direct it.

18 rain storm25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt,

26 to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man,

27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass?

28 “Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew?

29 From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?

30 The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. (Job 38.25-30)

The LORD continues to question Job.

The LORD controls and distributes the rain and storms. It is through these the LORD provides for his creation. Job doesn’t do this.

The LORD brings the ice and the frost. He has control over the seasons of life. Not Job.

18 orion nebula31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?

32 Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?

33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?

35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?

36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?

37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,

38 when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together? (Job 38.31-38)

The LORD continues to question Job.

Looking to the heavens the LORD speaks about the stars, the clouds, the rain and the storms. The LORD directs all these things to his purpose. Not Job.

18 lion39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,

40 when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket?

41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38.39-41)

The LORD continues to question Job.

The LORD looks after the most powerful of animals. He satisfies him with food. He provides for the raven. He gives them food when it’s young need it.

Job has criticised the LORD for making him suffer. He has suggested the LORD does nothing to stop and punish the wicked. He believes the LORD does not protect and help the poor. He sees injustice in the world and he blames God.

Job questions the LORD, wondering if he is the good king of creation. Establishing justice, protecting the poor and providing for his creation.

How do you think the LORD’s response answers what Job has been saying about God?

The LORD’s answers can be summed up as:

  • The LORD is much bigger than Job and his suffering. How can Job hope to understand the order in the world if he had no part in the task?
  • The LORD is not only sovereign. He is good. The LORD’s rhetorical questions highlight he is always looking after and providing for his creation.

The implication is that Job and his suffering fit into a much bigger scheme. Bigger than Job understands and can imagine.

The LORD is sovereign and good. He does establish justice. He does protect the poor. He does provide for his creation.

Story of Jesus

Jesus is very aware we can become so focussed on our own little lives that we forget what the LORD is doing around us.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mt 6.25-34)

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.