Job 38:1-21 - Brace yourself like a man...
Brace yourself like a man as God takes you on a poetic tour of His power.
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Read Job 38:1-21
CONTEXT: After suffering through all of the terrible trials that God allowed Satan to unleash on Job, Job makes a speech in which he asserts his own righteousness and then challenges God: "I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up but you merely look at me" (Job 29:20).
Job 38 begins God's four chapter reply to Job:
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
God's speech goes on for 3-1/2 more chapters. You're encouraged to read the entire passage!
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 121
Q. Why the words “in heaven”?
A. These words teach us
not to think of God’s heavenly
majesty as something earthly,
and to expect everything
for body and soul
from his almighty power
God addresses Job from "out of the storm." This may be a metaphorical reference to the storm that had enveloped Job's life, or it may just be the way God's people often experience theophanies (the localized presence of God on earth): A storm enveloped Mt. Sinai as God spoke His commandments to the Israelites; the temple was filled with a cloud when God's presence came into it; and the room shook with a violent wind as the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
But the storm was only the first indication that Job was dealing with something very otherworldly. God proceeds to take Job on a poetic tour of the universe He created and oversees that goes on for multiple pages.
God's speech ends with Job humbled and repenant four chapters later. "Then Job replied to the LORD, 'I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.'" (Job 42:1-2)
Most of us will never endure a storm like what Job suffered through, but yet many people often begin to doubt God's existence when bad things happen.
On the other extreme, our view of God becomes diminished when we begin to think of Him just as a friend when we need one, or the 'man upstairs.'
One thing that's for certain, none of us want to hear God speak to us from a storm beginning with the words "brace yourself like a man," because somehow we've come to an inaccurate understanding of Him.
One of the best ways to continually remind yourself of God's other worldliness, authority and power is to open your prayers to Him with the words 'My Father, in heaven.' These simple words teach you not to think of God's majesty as something earthly, and set the tone for the fear, reverence and awe that you should be praying with.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is in heaven, who laid the earth's foundation and gives orders to the morning;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Humble yourself before the LORD as Job did and God will hear your prayers;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Thessalonians 2