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JOB - Chapters 38-42


& Job's Reply and Conclusion to the Book

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FIRST SPEECH (ch. 38 - 39)


In spite of the effects of man's sin in the world, God's majestic wisdom and power are visible everywhere in creation. A willingness to look and to accept what is plainly visible (Romans 1:20) will result in reverence and awe for the great Creator. Even if we choose to ignore it, it still reveals his glory! (Romans 1:18-20+; Psalm 19:1-3)

God's works demonstrate that he is in perfect control over all creation. Over both inanimate (Job 38:1-38) and animate (38:39-39:30) realms, he displays his wisdom and power. Furthermore, seeing all this, we can rest assured that he knows what he is doing in our lives as well.

What follows is just a tiniest selection of God's works, which illustrate his wisdom and power.

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PART 1 - God's Wisdom and Power Seen in Non-Living Things

  1. (38:1-3) The LORD, speaking to Job, out of the storm...
    1. [Speaking, as though to himself.] Who is this man (Job)? He darkens counsel. He speaks words that lack knowledge.
    2. [To Job:] Prepare yourself (like a man of valor) to answer God!
  2. (38:4-7) What do you know about the formation of the earth's foundation? Tell me! Heavenly creatures rejoiced when they saw the works that I performed.
  3. (38:8-11) Do you know how I formed the oceans, and how I control them (restraining them from covering the earth)?
  4. (38:12-15) Have you ever caused morning to arrive and, by doing so, restricted the actions of the wicked (who prefer darkness to light)?
  5. (38:16-18) Do you understand the lower regions of the earth as I do: the depths of the seas, and the gates of death and darkness? Tell me!
  6. (38:19-21)
    1. Can you control light and darkness, so that each arrive at its proper time?
    2. (Sarcasm:) Surely you must have lived "zillions" of years, in order to get such great knowledge and power!
  7. (38:22-30)
    1. And what do you know about the origin of the snow and hail, the wind, the rain and the ice?
    2. I providentially accomplish my purposes (including control over man's activities) by these. What do you do?
  8. (38:31-33) Can you control the stars? Do you understand how they work?
  9. (38:34-38) Can you command the clouds to bring forth rain? Do you have any control over them?
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PART 2 - God's Wisdom and Power Seen in Living Things

  1. (38:39-41) Do you provide for both lion (strong, powerful) and raven (small, comparatively weak)?
  2. (39:1-4) Do you keep watch over the mountain goat and the deer when they bear their offspring?
  3. (39:5-8) Who gave the wild donkey its freedom to roam the barren lands, remaining uncontrolled by man?
  4. (39 9-12) And the wild ox...are you capable of controlling him, to use his strength for accomplishing your purposes?
  5. (39:13-18)
    1. The ostrich is a strange and unusual animal, and in many ways it appears to be unwise, for I did not give it the wisdom that I gave many of the animals.
    2. Yet in spite of all this, I have provided for the ostrich by giving it a superiority over many of the other animals: its ability to run with great speed!
  6. (39:19-25)
    1. In contrast, look at the great strength and skill of the war horse! Look at his great abilities! (evidence of wisdom + skill) Did he get them from you?
    2. [In other words, God has wisely created and cared for everything, from the most foolish and unusual, to the most majestic and powerful. In contrast, what can man (including Job) do?]
  7. (39:26-30)
    1. Do you control the actions of the hawk and the eagle?
    2. Do you provide the eagle its food? I provide it life even in the midst of death!
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  1. (40:1-2) The LORD to Job:
    1. You who contend with me...correct me (i.e., the way I do things), if you can.
    2. You who want to instruct me...go ahead and try! Teach me a better way!
  2. (40:3-5) Job to the LORD:
    1. Compared to you, I am insignificant. I cannot answer.
    2. I have nothing to add to what I said before.
NOTE: Although Job is quite humbled and silenced by the greatness of God, he does not renounce his former position. He acknowledges his inability to argue his case, but as he does so, he does not renounce the charges he originally made against God. Rather, he leaves things as they are, and lets God proceed.

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SECOND SPEECH (40:6 - ch. 41)

If we are going to question the way God does things, we had better have the wisdom and might to do better than he. When we question God's wisdom and power, we are, in essence, claiming equality with (or superiority over) God.

If we are not God's equals, we have no right to speak in such a manner. It becomes an issue of pride: exalting one's self over God - in spite of the fact that he is infinitely wiser than we and infinitely more powerful, and fully able (unlike us) to accomplish what he knows is most wise.

  1. (40:6-7) Prepare yourself (like a man of valor) to answer me!
  2. (40:8-14)
    1. Are you so proud of your "blamelessness" that you are willing to discredit my justice - to exalt your goodness above my justice? In order to remain "justified," are you willing to condemn me as wicked?
    2. Can you do things better than I? Then go ahead and try! Prove that you are qualified to criticize! Take over my position and destroy the proud and the wicked! Accomplish what you claim I have neglected!
    3. If you can do this... I myself will consider YOU to be the victor and myself to be in the wrong. (More than that, you will no longer need to rely on me, or need the help of a vindicator!)
  3. (40:15-24) THE BEHEMOTH is popularly called either an "exaggerated hippopotamus," or a mythical creature which symbolized the powers of evil. It is probable that this animal would have been given some symbolic significance by men, just as both plants and animals are sometimes given symbolic significance today. (For example, in politics a hawk symbolizes "war" and a dove symbolizes "peace.") But nevertheless, it is described by God as a factual animal that could be "looked at" (v.15) by Job, just like all the animals mentioned in the LORD's first speech. If we accept it as a factual, unexaggerated animal (with symbolic significance also), and compare its description with all known animals (whether presently living or extinct) we are left with only one type of animal that qualifies: one of the plant-eating dinosaurs - the largest and most massive of animals to have been created.
      [NOTE: A dinosaur? Though this idea is fully compatible with the Bible's account of creation, it goes against certain man-made "theories" about how the earth began. Some will not accept this possibility, not because it goes against Scripture, but because it goes against those man-made assumptions - and they consider those viewpoints to be more authoritative than Scripture, on this matter. On the other hand, there are commentators who do accept what Scripture says, but who do not describe these creatures as dinosaurs, simply because they haven't considered the possibility - especially those who follow the reasoning of commentators who were alive before dinosaurs were "rediscovered" a few centuries ago!]
    1. Look at Behemoth! (I created both you and he.) Look at his massive strength! He is one of the greatest of my works. Yet I have complete mastery over him; with him I do as I please.
    2. He lives secure and undisturbed. For what man (including you, Job) is capable of conquering and enslaving him?
  4. (41:1-11) THE LEVIATHAN is popularly called either an "exaggerated crocodile," or a mythical creature which, like Behemoth, symbolized the power of evil. As with the Behemoth, Scripture describes it as a factual animal - although in some passages, the symbolic element is probably more prominent - example: Psalm 74:14. The description given here - if accepted as true and factual, and compared with all known animals (living or extinct) - best matches what perhaps could have been one of the most terrifying and ferocious of all: one of the aquatic (perhaps semi-aquatic) dinosaurs. [See the note about dinosaurs, under the topic of "Behemoth," above.]
    1. Can you capture the Leviathan and make it serve you? Can you tame it as a pet, or butcher it like a domesticated animal?
    2. If you dared to try, you would lose out...the very sight of him would overpower you!
    3. And since this is true, how could you dare to confront me (God) - one who is greater than Leviathan - and expect to win?
  5. (41:12-34) (Let me continue describing him, as you think about what I have just said!)
    1. Look how terrifying and mighty he is! [description of Leviathan]
    2. Look at how helpless men are in his presence! No one can dare to approach him! (And even if they could, no weapon would have any effect on him! He is invincible.)
    3. He is the greatest of ALL creatures [and God is greater than him]. He is a totally fearless creature - superior to all who are proud and haughty (even Job!).
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[Job has realized that it is not a good idea to challenge God. To fight God is to lose. Our only legitimate option is to submit to him as Lord and to trust him to do what is right. (He always does what is right!)]
  1. (42:1-6) "I'm ready to withdraw my challenge!"
    1. I know that what you have said about your power is true. You are in total control.
    2. Yes, I have obscured counsel without knowledge, just as you said (see 38:2). I have spoken about things which were beyond my comprehension [...and I did not realize the danger of doing so].
    3. You wanted me to answer? (38:3; 40:7) Here it is: In the past I learned about you from others. But now I have come "face to face" with you (though protected by the cloud). And I now realize how awesome you are and how insignificant I am.
    4. So I repent. (In other words, I acknowledge that what I previously said was wrong and improper. Nobody has the right to challenge you. I withdraw my charges against you.)
  2. CONCLUSION - Concerning Job's 3 friends (v.7-9)
    1. The LORD was angry with them because they had spoken falsely about God.
    2. The LORD provided a way of forgiveness:
      • THEY - take burnt offerings to Job.
      • JOB - offers their sacrifices to the LORD and prays for them.
    3. They obeyed; Job's prayer was accepted.
    4. NOTE: The friends were humbled before Job. (Previously they had exalted themselves over him.) Job also had to demonstrate his own forgiveness, by praying for them. And by answering Job's prayer, God demonstrated that fellowship between him and Job was completely restored.

  3. CONCLUSION - Concerning Job (v.10-17)
    1. SUMMARY: He was made twice as prosperous as before. [This was a gracious blessing from God, not a "payment" for all his suffering.]
    2. DETAILS:
      • His friends and relatives (who had previously abandoned him - 19:13-20) provided fellowship and encouragement, and gave him gifts of gold and silver.
      • His wealth doubled.
      • His family...10 more children.
      • His age...140 more years, to the fourth generation of his children.

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:10)

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Dennis Hinks © 1989; additional comments about dinosaurs 2004
1 Peter 3:12 quoted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R). NIV (R). Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984
by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.