Monday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Job 40-42 (NKJV)
40:1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said:
2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”
3 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
4 “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. 5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”
6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
7 “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me:
8 “Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? 9 Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? 10 Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, and array yourself with glory and beauty. 11 Disperse the rage of your wrath; Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. 12 Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; Tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together, Bind their faces in hidden darkness. 14 Then I will also confess to you that your own right hand can save you.
15 “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox. 16 See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. 17 He moves his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. 18 His bones are like beams of bronze, his ribs like bars of iron. 19 He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword. 20 Surely the mountains yield food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there. 21 He lies under the lotus trees, in a covert of reeds and marsh. 22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; The willows by the brook surround him. 23 Indeed the river may rage, yet he is not disturbed; He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth, 24 though he takes it in his eyes, or one pierces his nose with a snare.
41:1 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? 2 Can you put a reed through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3 Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak softly to you? 4 Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him as a servant forever? 5 Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you leash him for your maidens? 6 Will your companions make a banquet of him? Will they apportion him among the merchants? 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears? 8 Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle—never do it again! 9 Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? 10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. Who then is able to stand against Me? 11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.
12 “I will not conceal his limbs, his mighty power, or his graceful proportions. 13 Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face, with his terrible teeth all around? 15 His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal; 16 One is so near another that no air can come between them; 17 They are joined one to another, they stick together and cannot be parted. 18 His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lights; Sparks of fire shoot out. 20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. 21 His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth. 22 Strength dwells in his neck, and sorrow dances before him. 23 The folds of his flesh are joined together; They are firm on him and cannot be moved. 24 His heart is as hard as stone, even as hard as the lower millstone. 25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of his crashings they are beside themselves. 26 Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; Nor does spear, dart, or javelin. 27 He regards iron as straw, And bronze as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones become like stubble to him. 29 Darts are regarded as straw; He laughs at the threat of javelins. 30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds; He spreads pointed marks in the mire. 31 He makes the deep boil like a pot; He makes the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He leaves a shining wake behind him; One would think the deep had white hair. 33 On earth there is nothing like him, which is made without fear. 34 He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride.”
42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2 “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
7 And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job.
10 And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.
12 Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. 15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. 17 So Job died, old and full of days.
Job’s entire book parallels the writing of Job’s contemporary, Moses, and the Holy Spirit’s purpose in giving the Torah. Both are directed at the reversal of idolatry and rooted in Yahweh’s acts of creation and redemption.
Would Job question God and challenge the Lord’s superior knowledge, wisdom, and holiness with the angry “Why me, O God?” so common to “aggrieved” mankind? The universe is His creation, to do with as He pleases. The Lord has revealed that it pleases Him to love us, save us, and do what is best for us. Would we truly not trust that He whose actions can be compelled by no one is, in fact, doing what is best for us even when it doesn’t seem so to us?
Such an attitude is, as Job 40:8 makes clear, an attempt to justify oneself. Yet, justification can only come through the One Who can harness nature, the Stiller of Wind and Wave, the One Who is safe in the wilderness, the One Who heals and raises from the dead. Job wisely lays his hand over his mouth, listens to the Lord, and repents of any and all thoughts that would contradict Him. Thus, he is restored and in his death divides the property to his daughters along with his sons, a declaration that he understands that none of it is by human power or position, but by grace alone.
His wisdom never plans in vain,
Ne’er falters or mistakes;
All that His counsels did ordain
A happy ending makes.
Upon thy lips, then, lay thy hand
And trust His guiding love;
Then like a rock thy peace shall stand
Here and in Heaven above.
(“Rejoice My Heart, Be Glad and Sing,” TLH #535:8)
Father, grant my heart to be so disposed, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.