Today we finish the book of Job and we hear the rest of God’s 64 questions to Job. What an ordeal! What a display of God’s power! We are reading from the New International Reader’s Version this week.
39 – The questioning from God continues. Job gets questions that seem to come from a “wild animal video”. Does Job know about the lives of mountain goats, wild oxen, ostriches, horses, locust, hawks, and eagles? There is familiarity perhaps but is there understanding? Not really. and Job is realizing this. And the complex questions are even thick with puzzlement yet.
40 – Job by now is realizing definitively that he has no answers for God. Still God calls him back for more questions that resume like a windstorm. His question to Job about fairness could be discussed eternally. Every person alive has a differing concept of fairness and nearly everyone is wrong and self-centered in their perspective. The passage about “behemoth” is a fascinating look into the ancient world. Job is being asked questions and he and God are both observing an apatosaurus – formerly thought to be a brontosaurus. Studies have these giants weighing between 20 and 40 tons. Some misguided folks try to dismiss that this was a hippopotamus. Well, Job 40:17 kills that hollow argument because it has a tail like a cedar tree! This plus the other descriptions indicate clearly it is an apatosaurus. This is a great argument that Job is a pre-flood era piece of literature that happened before Genesis 7 occurred. Any of these remaining beasts died off rapidly in the changed atmosphere after Noah’s flood receded.
41 – The leviathan is certainly a family of beasts that rule water and land. Ancient literature, even among pagan cultures, try to determine what they are describing and seem to give up and relegate “the leviathan” to a class of monster that can’t be explained. Ocean going vessels in history encountered many more of these such things before ships had engines on them; engines today that spook most things away. Stories from the 1700s and earlier talk of being visited by huge beings in the sea. Squids of a length or over 100 feet were known to come alongside a vessel moving with the current and breeze and then without warning thrown an arm and more over the bow. This just rarely happens with motorized vessels today. The fire-breathing leviathan is described and it wasn’t a fairy tale. The strength, the size, the armor-like outer “skin”, all of it is a frightening sight. God made these things and, guess what Job, no one checked to get permission from humanity before doing so. This is but a result of God’s power and therefore it displays a miniscule part of God’s power. He has sooooo much more power. And Job and his friends think they understand it? or understand God’s definition of what is “fair”? really?
42 – by now Job is completely penitent. He is asking no questions. He is confessing. If God listens to Job’s subjective questions about his feelings of loss and pain, then God thinks that Job should at least try to listen to God’s questions that embody fact, reality, mystery, opinion, theology, and truth and more.
It is all over now and Job is sobered, humbled, and changed. He has thoroughly come to the end of himself. His suffering has moved him from a limited understanding of God through to an experience of God’s greatness, love, majesty. Job claims he can see now. Notice the realization came after Job listens to God and Job is done talking. The story can come to a close after Job goes to his friends. God has “told them a thing or two” – Job need not say anymore to them either. He prays for them, they obey and sacrifice to God for their foolishness, God answers Job’s prayer.
The trials are over. Job’s fortune is restored and doubled at that. He has 10 more children – 7 sons and 3 daughters and Job loves them all. He lived another 140 years and saw four generations of his family. Thanks be to God.
“Lord God, we rejoice as you have pulled Job through this difficult trial and resolved and restored and blessed Job again. We are clay in your hands, Lord. Mold us in your wisdom to become what is most glorious for you. You are most pleased when we are fully alive in you. Give us patience as you cleanse us. Give us gratitude as you restore us. May we move like Job to being hearts who merely know something about you, to being your followers who truly see you. Amen”