As we've studied the first 37 chapters of the book of Job, there has been much discussion about God's silence regarding Job's affliction. But as we begin tonight's study, God will not be silent any longer...
The Lord answered Job. Everything Job has said was heard by the Lord. Every idle word, every question, every comment made out of his despair. It is very convicting to think that every hen you think about it, it is quite convicting to realize that the Lord says,
Jer. 8:6 "I have listened and heard, they have spoken what is not right..."
Someday, we will answer for these things. Jesus said,
Matt. 12:36 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."
God answered Job's words out of the whirlwind.
Very often, we speak of hearing the voice of God in the "still, small voice." You recall in 1Kings 19, after his contest with the prophets of BAH-al, Elijah became fearful and ran away to hide in a cave.
1Kings 19:9-12 ...and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.
That "gentle blowing" is rendered "a still small voice" in the King James Version of the Bible. Many times I have heard people assert that the voice of God is always in that "still small voice." But that still small voice was the Lord gently saying, "Elijah, My son, I've been so faithful to you, what are you doing here, fearful, and hiding in a cave?"
But the Lord doesn't always speak with the gentle blowing of a compassionate Comforter. Sometimes, it is the voice of the powerful Judge. In Revelation, John said that he heard the voice of Jesus,
Rev. 1:10 ...behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet
And David wrote,
Psa. 18:13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice...
So the voice of God is not always in the still small voice. Sometimes He speaks like trumpets and thunder from the whirlwind.
Today, as I was studying for this message, the wind blowing outside my window was averaging 52 miles per hour. People couldn't open their doors or stand up straight. I imagine that when the Lord is angry and speaks to you, it would be fairly intimidating, to say the least.
Many people are confused by God's demeanor here. How is it that in chapters one and two, He was boasting about Job's blamelessness, and now He sounds so mad?
We must remember that God is our Father. And just like any father, He speaks to others about his kids' great accomplishments and attributes, but face to face, confronts him with where he has fallen short or needs correction.
Job has been moaning for many chapters to the effect of, "Oh, if only I could ask God and have Him tell me why this is happening." Now, the Lord is turning the tables, saying, "How about if I ask you to give explanation instead?"
God says, "Job, you have claimed to know quite a bit about how I work, and what I do. Were you there when I created the earth? Why don't you tell me about the process I used to measure it out? What about the structural geometry I calculated to keep this planet together? Why don't you tell Me about that? How about the celebrations the angels held while they watched the earth being created? Were you there, either?"
For someone whose job it is to teach people about God, this is such a convicting reminder of how much I don't know.
When my daughter Chelsea was young, she asked so many questions. "Daddy, why is the sky blue?" "Well, Chels, it's because sunlight contains different frequencies of light, and the atmosphere..." "Daddy, how come ice floats on the top of the water?" "Well, Chels, it's because when the water freezes, its density..." "Daddy, who was..." I knew a lot, answered all the questions, and always felt good about myself. But one day, we were driving by a park which had a locomotive engine displayed. Out came the questioning voice from the back seat: "Daddy, how do they make trains?" "Well, Chels... I don't know."
When I read this section of the book of Job, I experience that same feeling. You see, people expect Bible teachers to have all the answers. But I will spend my lifetime learning the contents of this book, and not exhausting it. But where's the account of the method God used to calculate the exact speed of earth's rotation and revolution? It's not in there. I wasn't there, and I'll never know. That is a very humbling reminder.
In the days of Noah, there was a world-wide flood that engulfed the earth.
Gen. 7:11 ...all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.
When the flood subsided, the seas had established boundaries again. God had enclosed them, saying, "This is where your waves will stop." Now He asks Job, "Who exactly established these boundaries?" Of course, it wasn't Job, but He.
God continues, "Job, have you ever caused the sun to raise or set? You claimed to have driven the evil men from your community, but have you ever caused light to shine on them from the sky, and expose their wicked deeds?"
As the Lord continues His questioning of Job, He asks, "Have you ever taken a stroll on the bottom of the ocean?" Even today, human beings are terribly limited in their underwater exploits. In 1992, Umberto Pelizzari took a single breath and descended 236 feet. But the majority of the oceans are about 3 miles deep, with trenches extending down to over 7 miles. Job would never have a hope of seeing what lay beneath the sea, much less walking in the recesses of the deep.
As a matter of fact, Job's brain would never be able to even comprehend the expanse of the earth. Do you know how big the earth is? Almost 25,000 miles around. A brain might be able to comprehend that, but it's surface area is about 200 million square miles! Can you comprehend that? Of course not.
God can comprehend it, but even more amazing - He created it! He knows all about it, and understands it completely!
Even the most basic concepts of light and darkness are so over our heads. Where did light start? Where does it come from? Job did not have the scientific knowledge we have today - we of course can assert that light is energy being given off at wavelengths visible to the human eye. But just because we can define it doesn't mean we understand it. Where did the energy come from?
Gen. 1:3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
It didn't even exist before, yet He spoke it into being. The Bible says,
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The word "created" there in Hebrew is "baw-RAW," which means, "to create out of nothing." God simply spoke, and light was. We cannot understand that, but God knows it all.
"Job, have you seen the warehouses full of hailstones I have?" God asks. They are being reserved for God's judgment on the earth. And someday soon, those warehouses will be opened. The first will be the flammable hailstones. When the first trumpet sounds in Revelation 8, hail and fire, mixed with blood will be thrown to the earth, and a third of the earth will be burned up.
Next, a storehouse containing more hailstones will be opened when the seventh trumpet is sounded (Rev. 11:19). A great hailstorm and an earthquake will afflict the earth.
Lastly, the largest storehouse will be opened. The seventh bowl judgment will be poured out upon the earth. John saw this in prophecy, describing lightning, thunder, the largest earthquake in history...
Rev. 16:21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, *came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.
Job thought he knew a lot about God's workings, but in reality, he'd never even seen the storehouses of hail!
Here is another thing to which God is privy, which Job was not: "Job, exactly who makes it rain where no one lives? Who causes the grass to grow in uninhabited lands? Is it you?"
This is another amazing thing about our Lord. Jesus told us that our Father...
Matt. 5:45 ...causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
But one thing we forget is that He is caring for all of His creation, not just where man lives. There are fish at depths we cannot go, and animals in areas uninhabitable by man. There are flowers and trees and grasses where man has never set foot. Yet the Lord cares for them all.
Matt. 6:25-34 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, What will we eat?' or What will we drink?' or What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The Lord has been telling Job how almighty and powerful He is. And yet He has been demonstrating by personal attention how important Job is to Him. The Lord has been watching Job, even as He watches over all of creation. The Lord is watching over you, too. If He provides rain for plants which no one will ever see, and food for birds that no one else cares about, He will certainly provide for you.