Friday

‘Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you hunt the prey for the lion or satisfy the appetite of the young lions?’ (vs 31, 39)

Job 38: 31-41 Friday 8 October 2021

Psalm 9:1-10

 Background

 Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had given Job explanations. Yahweh does not! Instead of theological answers God bombards Job with a list of over 40 questions. The first group are cosmological as God tests Job’s knowledge of the heavens, the stars and the earth (38:4-38). In the second set God examines him on what he knows about lions, goats, donkeys, oxen, the ostrich, the horse, the hawk, the hippopotamus and the crocodile (38:39 - 40:24). This avalanche of relentless interrogation sweeps away Job’s agenda. Indeed halfway through the zoological examination God wants Job to say something but he cannot now trust himself to speak (40:4-5). He knows his words are without knowledge.

 Note how God’s reflection on creation has resonances with the opening chapters of Genesis: the emptiness of the deep, the turning of darkness to light, the creation of the stars, the sea and the animals. Is Job another Adam being tempted by Satan? All the questions fired at Job arise from two basic questions: ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Where were you?’

While Job’s comforters may have been theologically correct in their spelling out of timeless truths, they are wrong because they ignore a real-life context. Job is righteous because, unlike his theological comforters, his troubles are so traumatic that he has been forced to let go of everything including his traditional understanding of God. His terrible experience has burnt away the easy answers. He also learns something else even more important; namely that the God we are dealing with comes to us not with answers but with commands and questions. It is in our responding that we discover the answers for ourselves.
 

To Ponder:

  • If God asked "Who are you?" and "Where are you?" how would you respond?
  • "God does not give answers, only commands and questions." Do you agree?

 

 

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