6 February 2015

Job 39:1 – 40:5

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” (40:2)

Psalm: Psalm 104:1-23


This passage continues to press home the question raised in chapter 38: how much do we mortals really understand about the world about us, and what right do we have to question the way God has ordered things? The deer, the wild ass and ox, the ostrich and the war horse going into battle are quoted as examples of creation's mystery and force.

Of course, modern biology could answer some of the questions and give a different perspective to others. But it is important not to be distracted from the underlying issue, reflected in the verse quoted above. In their debates about why people suffer Job and his friends have tended to speak of God as though God were a kind of over-sized and more powerful human being. They have seen God in their own image. These chapters emphasise the essential difference between God and God's creation, including human beings.

To Ponder

  • Is it still a temptation to think of God in our own image? If so, what is the corrective?
  • Job capitulates at the end of today's passage (Job 40:3-5). Was he right to give up asking questions about God?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England..