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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You?’”—Job 40:3-4 (NKJV)
Boom! God dropped the mic, and Job was speechless.
God’s interrogation of Job from the whirlwind delivered a rather belittling blow (Job 38:1-40:2). Consequently, after listening to God’s wondrous yet rhetorical questions, the once pious man described himself as vile, a Hebrew word (qalal) meaning slight or insignificant. Yet, this was more of a theological epiphany than a moment of self-awareness as Job, the man, faced off with Almighty God.
This was the moment Job had longed for. After all, he wanted his day in court—to speak with the Almighty, present his case, and let his accuser place Job’s indictment in writing (Job 13:3, 31:35). And what was Job’s case? We see it in chapter 31 as Job gives an account of his innocence, good works, and character. He was confident in what he knew of himself. But God wanted something else: for Job to be confident in what he knew of God. To see Him as only God can be seen—wise, sovereign, and infinite. So, from the whirlwind, God gave His account to Job. The Potter was shaping the clay.
You see, this was the moment for which God longed. Let’s turn back a few pages to catch why. Remember, God had told Satan to consider how blameless His servant Job was (Job 1:8). God initiated this conversation, not Satan. Is it possible God saw some flaw in Job? Perhaps in His omniscience, God foreknew Job’s self-righteous defense to his friends. Yes, Job had great faith, but it was somewhat misplaced in his expectations of what his faith would bring. He may have patiently stood by God, but he vacillated and questioned God’s decisions. He called Him his accuser, when truly Satan was the accuser. Perhaps God allowed Job’s suffering to awaken his surrender.
We do this, too. We think we know better. We present our case to God. We attempt to stand on our own merit and find fault with God. We rescind our surrender. It doesn’t mean we will suffer as Job suffered, but we can count on God’s correction, for He chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).
God picked the mic back up in Job 40:6. It’s almost like verses 1-5 of chapter 40 were an intermission of sorts, allowing Job time to process what he heard. A time for us to process it as well, I suppose. To come away with our own epiphany of who God is—seeing Him as He really is.
DIG: Read God’s words to Job in Job 38:1-41:34.
DISCOVER: Consider that God doesn’t immediately end Job’s suffering, but first declares His knowledge and power. Why do you think He does this? What was the end result for Job?
DO: Keep a journal of questions for God. See how He answers them, and be prepared for the answers (Job 38:3). It’s always good to ask God for a spiritual check.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.