Friday 01 October 2010

Bible Book:

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." (38:4)

Job 38:1-21; 40:3-5 Friday 1 October 2010


After 37 chapters in which Job and his so-called comfortersreflect on the catalogue of calamities that has befallen him, Godspeaks. "Out of the whirlwind" comes the voice of God. And whatdoes God have to say? God does not pat Job on the back for beingpatient through his trials. God does not lend a sympathetic ear toJob's complaints. God does not apologise for the deal with Satanthat started off this tale of woe. Instead, God issues a sternrebuke to Job, challenging the basis of his complaining.

God asks Job to reflect on the great gulf that separates them. Jobwasn't present at creation. He doesn't have the power to controlthe fierce elements. Job isn't able to understand the mysteries ofthe world that are so far beyond human experience. This is apowerful statement of the place of human beings as one small partof God's great creation that is bigger and more complex than theycan begin to comprehend. God reminds Job that God is God and Job isnot. In response, Job seems cowed, and acknowledges to God that heis in no position to question God's doings.

This passage can be put alongside the opening chapters of Genesis, the great creationpsalms such as Psalm 148, and thebeginning of John's Gospel, as the basis for abiblical account of God's creation of the universe. It makes clearthe diversity of the created order and God's magnificent oversightof all its various elements. There is a strong sense that withoutGod's power and graciousness the creatures of God would be inperil, with threatening elements let loose on them. God's work isbreathtakingly huge in scale and beyond all human imaginings.

To Ponder

God's message to Job is a sobering one, puttinghim firmly in his place. In what ways do you think it could berelevant today?

In the versesbetween these two passages, God describes the intimate care Godprovides for all kinds of animals. How do you respond to thispicture of God's relationships with creation beyond the human?

To what extent is the awe-inspiring figure whospeaks in these verses an image of God you are familiar with?

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