In yesterday’s reading, God spoke to Job from the whirlwind with a pointed question about the limits of Job’s wisdom, as compared to the vastness of God’s character and limitless knowledge. Today’s passage is a continuation of that exchange between Job and God, this time shifting slightly to ask yet more rhetorical questions about whether Job is able to do all the powerful things God is able to do.
Reading between the lines, we might imagine this commentary with Job’s feeble answers interjected. Can you call forth floods with just a command? [Well, no.] Can you cause lightning to strike or count all the clouds? [Well, no.] Do you have provisions enough to feed all the wild creatures? [Well, no.] These questions continue for another three chapters. Poor Job must have felt horribly puny by the end of that interrogation.
But is that the point? Yes, our power to be and do what God is and does is indeed puny in comparison; and we do well to remember that we are dependent on God, not the other way around. Job confesses, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. . . . I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:2-3).
There, Job captures the essence of our lesson: “I thought I knew, but now, with more intimate experience and insight, I have taken into my soul (‘my eye sees’) how truly awesome you are. I am content to be your creature and to enjoy the blessings of your goodness and benevolence.” Here is a healthy understanding of the limits of our power before God. By placing ourselves wholly in God’s care, we have tremendous power to conform as we can to the image of God.
Loving God, help me to understand the paradox that in surrendering I find wisdom and power in you. Amen.
At this point in Job’s story, God has heard questions from Job and long-winded moralizing by three of Job’s friends, who have pronounced that his misfortunes are divine judgment. Now God has heard enough and declares that God’s perspective is superior to theirs. God has been there from the beginning, as the psalmist reiterates, so no one should claim to know God’s mind or speak on God’s behalf. Even Jesus, the divine Son of God, yields to his heavenly Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus made appeals to God as the ultimate high priest and thereby became the source of salvation for those who obey him. In the Gospel reading, Jesus specifies that his approaching act of submission and service will allow him to become a ransom for us.
Read Job 38:1-7, 34-41. How do you continue to hold on to belief in God’s goodness when you are in a period of anguish?
Read Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c. How do you share in the creativity of God?
Read Hebrews 5:1-10. In what ways does the understanding of Jesus’ willing vulnerability while serving as high priest affect the way you interact with others?
Read Mark 10:35-45. Where do you see genuine examples of servant leadership in your community?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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