When life goes awry and we start to suffer, it is a natural human response to develop a bad attitude and start to question God. We might ask God why we are suffering. Sometimes we might try to make God feel guilty for letting us suffer after everything we’ve done for Him. Sometimes we demand that God remove our suffering immediately. And sometimes we give God an ultimatum that if He doesn’t remove our suffering, then we won’t do anything special for Him anymore.
Those are natural human responses and that is how Job responded to his suffering. Job questioned God, he tried to put God on a guilt trip, and he made demands of God. Job 38-39 is God’s response to Job’s questions and demands. God did not appreciate Job’s attitude. God did not appreciate being questioned that way. This teaches us we need to be careful how we treat God. It is okay to ask God questions, but we should not make demands of God and we should not give Him ultimatums. Instead, we need to accept that God is God and we are not, and we need to trust that God knows what He is doing.
Job demands relief
Job 7:16 “I[Job] waste away; I will not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.
Job 7:17 “What is man that You[God] magnify him,
And that You are concerned about him,
He questions God’s integrity
Job 10:2 “I[Job] will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me;
Let me know why You contend with me.
Job 10:3 ‘Is it right for You[God] indeed to oppress,
To reject the labor of Your hands,
And to look favorably on the schemes
of the wicked?
Job wants to be dead
Job 10:18 ‘Why then have You[God] brought me[Job] out of the womb?
Would that I had died and no eye had seen me!
Job wants to argue
Job 13:3 “But I[Job] would speak to the Almighty,
And I desire to argue with God.
Job 13:24 “Why do You[God] hide Your face And consider me[Job] Your enemy?
Job 16:21 “O that a man might plead with God
As a man with his neighbor!
He accuses God of error
Job 19:6 Know then that God has wronged me[Job]
And has closed His net around me.
Job 23:3 “Oh that I[Job] knew where I might find Him[God],
Job 23:4 “I[Job] would present my case before Him[God]
And fill my mouth with arguments.
Job 23:6 “Would He[God] contend with me[Job] by the greatness of His power?
No, surely He would pay attention to me.
God responds with attitude and sarcasm
As you read these verses, ponder what God was trying to communicate to Job.
Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
Job 38:2 “Who is this[Job] that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Job 38:3 “Now gird up your[Job] loins like a man,
And I[Yahweh] will ask you, and you instruct Me!
Job 38:4 “Where were you[Job] when I[Yahweh] laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Job 38:5 Who set its[earth’s] measurements? Since you[Job] know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
Job 38:6 “On what were its[earth’s] bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job 38:8 “Or who enclosed the sea with doors
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
Job 38:9 When I[Yahweh] made a cloud its[sea’s] garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
Job 38:10 And I[Yahweh] placed boundaries on it[sea]
And set a bolt and doors,
Job 38:11 And I[Yahweh] said, ‘Thus far you[sea] shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop’?
Job 38:12 “Have you[Job] ever in your life commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
Job 38:13 That it[dawn] might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
Job 38:14 “It[dawn] is changed like clay under the seal;
And they[ends of the earth] stand forth like a garment.
Job 38:15 “From the wicked their[dawn] light is withheld,
And the uplifted arm is broken.
Job 38:16 “Have you[Job] entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Job 38:17 “Have the gates of death been revealed to you[Job],
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Job 38:18 “Have you[Job] understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me[Yahweh], if you know all this.
Job 38:19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
Job 38:20 That you[Job] may take it[light] to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?
Job 38:21 “You[Job] know, for you were born then,
And the number of your days is great!
Job 38:22 “Have you[Job] entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
Job 38:23 Which I[Yahweh] have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of war and battle?
Job 38:24 “Where is the way that the light is divided,
Or the east wind scattered on the earth?
Job 38:25 “Who has cleft a channel for the flood,
Or a way for the thunderbolt,
Job 38:26 To bring rain on a land without people,
On a desert without a man in it,
Job 38:27 To satisfy the waste and desolate land
And to make the seeds of grass to sprout?
Job 38:28 “Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
Job 38:29 “From whose womb has come the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth?
Job 38:30 “Water becomes hard like stone,
And the surface of the deep is imprisoned.
Job 38:31 “Can you[Job] bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion?
Job 38:32 “Can you[Job] lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites?
Job 38:33 “Do you[Job] know the ordinances of the heavens,
Or fix their rule over the earth?
Job 38:34 “Can you[Job] lift up your voice to the clouds,
So that an abundance of water will cover you?
Job 38:35 “Can you[Job] send forth lightnings that they may go
And say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Job 38:36 “Who has put wisdom in the innermost being
Or given understanding to the mind?
Job 38:37 “Who can count the clouds by wisdom,
Or tip the water jars of the heavens,
Job 38:38 When the dust hardens into a mass
And the clods stick together?
Job 38:39 “Can you[Job] hunt the prey for the lion,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
Job 38:40 When they[lions] crouch in their dens
And lie in wait in their lair?
Job 38:41 “Who prepares for the raven its nourishment
When its young cry to God
And wander about without food?
Job 39:1 “Do you[Job] know the time the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the deer?
Job 39:2 “Can you[Job] count the months they fulfill,
Or do you know the time they give birth?
Job 39:3 “They[deer] kneel down, they bring forth their young,
They get rid of their labor pains.
Job 39:4 “Their[deer] offspring become strong, they grow up in the open field;
They leave and do not return to them.
Job 39:5 “Who sent out the wild donkey free?
And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
Job 39:6 To whom I[Yahweh] gave the wilderness for a home
And the salt land for his dwelling place?
Job 39:7 “He[wild donkey] scorns the tumult of the city,
The shoutings of the driver he does not hear.
Job 39:8 “He[wild donkey] explores the mountains for his pasture
And searches after every green thing.
Job 39:9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you[Job],
Or will he spend the night at your manger?
Job 39:10 “Can you[Job] bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes,
Or will he harrow the valleys after you?
Job 39:11 “Will you[Job] trust him[wild ox] because his strength is great
And leave your labor to him?
Job 39:12 “Will you[Job] have faith in him[wild ox] that he will return your grain
And gather it from your threshing floor?
Job 39:13 “The ostriches’ wings flap joyously
With the pinion and plumage of love,
Job 39:14 For she[ostrich] abandons her eggs to the earth
And warms them in the dust,
Job 39:15 And she[ostrich] forgets that a foot may crush them,
Or that a wild beast may trample them.
Job 39:16 “She[ostrich] treats her young cruelly, as if they were not hers;
Though her labor be in vain, she is unconcerned;
Job 39:17 Because God has made her[ostrich] forget wisdom,
And has not given her a share of understanding.
Job 39:18 “When she[ostrich] lifts herself on high,
She laughs at the horse and his rider.
Job 39:19 “Do you[Job] give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
Job 39:20 “Do you[Job] make him[horse] leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrible.
Job 39:21 “He[horse] paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
He goes out to meet the weapons.
Job 39:22 “He[horse] laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
And he does not turn back from the sword.
Job 39:23 “The quiver rattles against him[horse],
The flashing spear and javelin.
Job 39:24 “With shaking and rage he[horse] races over the ground,
And he does not stand still at the voice of the trumpet.
Job 39:25 “As often as the trumpet sounds he[horse] says, ‘Aha!’
And he scents the battle from afar,
And the thunder of the captains and the war cry.
Job 39:26 “Is it by your[Job] understanding that the hawk soars,
Stretching his wings toward the south?
Job 39:27 “Is it at your[Job] command that the eagle mounts up
And makes his nest on high?
Job 39:28 “On the cliff he[eagle] dwells and lodges,
Upon the rocky crag, an inaccessible place.
Job 39:29 “From there he[eagle] spies out food;
His eyes see it from afar.
Job 39:30 “His[eagle] young ones also suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there is he.”
Job 40:1 Then the LORD said to Job,
Job 40:2 “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him[Job] who reproves God answer it[Yahweh’s questions].”
Job 40:3 Then Job answered the LORD and said,
Job 40:4 “Behold, I[Job] am insignificant; what can I reply to You[Yahweh]?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
Job 40:5 “Once I[Job] have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more.”
God’s message to Job
I am something, but you are nothing.
You know very little compared to me.
You are a tiny, insignificant part of planet earth.
Don’t you dare talk to me like that.
Fear of God is good
Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
God is the potter. We are the clay.
Is. 45:9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker —
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
Rom. 9:20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?
Rom. 9:21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
The right attitude about suffering
Job demanded that God provide relief from his suffering. God did not like Job’s attitude. God reminded Job that Job is nothing compared to God. This teaches us we should not demand that God provide relief from our suffering. Instead, we need to submit to God, we need to accept our lot in life, and we need to trust that God knows what He is doing.