5 February 2015

Job 38:1-11

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (v. 4)

Psalm: Psalm 102:12-28


Up to this point the book of Job has discussed the problem of why people suffer in the form of a debate between Job and a few friends. They advocate the traditional view that suffering is a punishment for wrongdoing. Job protests against that, convinced that he is innocent. In chapter 38 and what follows the debate takes a different turn. God now intervenes. Job and his friends are declared to be equally in the dark, debating issues beyond their comprehension. To drive home the point Job is bombarded with a series of questions that highlight his littleness and ignorance. In the process we are offered a splendid survey of the wonders of creation that leaves Job dumbstruck (see Job 40:3-5).

Of course these chapters offer an ancient view of the world where so much was marvellous because it was inexplicable. It was easy to think of the 'hand of the Lord' as the explanation for the awe-inspiring things that happen. Modern science offers a quite different set of explanations for the world about us, although in doing so it often shows it to be marvellous in other ways. So it is important in reading this chapter to remind ourselves of its fundamental question, 'how much do we truly understand?' 

To Ponder

  • Has modern science, with its discoveries and achievements, robbed us of a sense of humility?
  • Take time to reflect on the wonder of the world about you.

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..