12 October 2018

Job 39:1–40:45

Then I will also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can give you victory. (40:14)

Psalm: Psalm 9:1-10


In today’s reading, a humbled and yet angry Job is challenged further. He is still being told to “grow up”, “get a grip” and given the muscular encouragement that “what doesn’t destroy us makes us strong”! And then the way through is offered. It is not just that by being so reminded of God’s sovereignty and humbled before the incomprehensible might of God he will “depart from evil, but that he will eventually triumph, and perhaps surprisingly by his own hand” (40:14). God will treat him with respect, and honour if he relinquishes his desperate need for both. By acknowledging his frailty before his maker, he will discover the power inherent within his creation. Here we are reminded of the prophet Ezekiel 2:1: “He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’” And as we are reminded of this once again, encouraged to know that God knows better than we do, that despite everything, we can cope, we can survive, and we can do so by the strength that is in us.

The battle of Job is not just whether through all the horrible experiences he has had he can still believe in God, but whether when he is brought low and his weakness rubbed into his face, God can possibly still believe in him. This is a recurrent theme in Scripture. It is Isaiah who feels he is unworthy (Isaiah 6:5), Jeremiah who feels he is too young (Jeremiah 1:6), Moses who asks, who am I? (Exodus 3:11), Gideon who sees himself as too insignificant (Judges 6:15), and of course Mary who says, “How can this be?” (Luke 1:34). Job is encouraged to believe that through the very might of God that so dwarfs him, he too has the power to win through because he is also a creature of God.


To Ponder

  • When have you felt angry with God?
  • Do you sometimes worry that you are not up to what God asks of you? What might God want to say to you?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Mark Wakelin was born in Norfolk and taken to Africa as a baby by missionary parents. He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Church.

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