It is as though God pauses for breath and then turns to Job again and demands a response. God doesn’t seem to mind that Job has been critical of the ‘Almighty’; but insists that Job cannot fall silent now that God has opened his eyes to see the bigger picture of divine activity.Job, on the other hand, who has never doubted the enormity of God’s power, admits his insignificance and his inability to answer God’s questions; and replies that he has nothing to say. We should note that Job doesn’t admit to wickedness, or to being wrong in his claims that God isn’t just.
But God won’t accept Job’s silence and in words that repeat the opening of chapter 38 challenges Job again. Justice is the point of contention now; and the opening words of v.8 could be translated, ‘Will you also frustrate my rights?’. Job has made accusations against God to prove himself innocent but God is not willing to plead guilty as charged!
Amazingly, God invites Job to stand in the divine shoes (so to speak) and to try his hand at exercising justice over the proud, the wicked, the whole world; to exercise the sovereignty that he has accused God of failing to do. In context Job recognises that this is a ridiculous suggestion, way beyond his ability; and I freely admit that it is way beyond mine too!
There is nothing Job can say; he can only wait to discover what God will say or do next. Job’s day in court isn’t going the way he expected but he is receiving God’s full attention.
God hasn’t dismissed Job as a fool, nor refused to engage with his accusations. God is taking seriously the fact that justice matters to Job and is leading him towards a resolution of the central issue; a resolution that Job will be able to own for himself because he is a party in reaching it.
Today I can only wait in silence with Job for God to lead me into deeper truth; but I do so in the belief that God knows everything about me (Luke 12:7) and the conviction that nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39) as I continue walking in the way of Jesus through Lent.
Author: David Wiggs
I am the webmaster for Purley United Reformed Church and have been involved with the church since my late teens. I work in Croydon and live in Caterham.