JOB 31-JOB RESTS HIS CASE. JOB 38-GOD ANSWERS!
Bible Background: Job makes his final plea for justice in chapters 29–31 and then ‘rests his case’. In 32–37, a new person, Elihu, speaks. His speech may be a later addition to the book to ‘soften’ some of Job’s complaints against God, and also to prepare Job (and us readers) to listen to God. Then, in 38–41 God finally speaks, and has a lot of questions for Job!
Digging Deeper: 1. What do we experience when we cry to God and there seems to be no answer? Does that discourage us and make it difficult to trust God? Or does our faith have a tenacity to it where we keep coming back to God, expecting more from God? Who do you know who has a tenacious sort of faith?
2. In 38:1, the most holy and most personal name for God Yahweh is used for the first time. What do you think is the significance of the author having Yahweh “answer Job out of the whirlwind/storm?” (It may just prepare Job and us for a ‘theophany’, for an appearance of God.) Remember when a storm helped the disciples see Jesus more fully? Can you remember when God spoke to a troubled Old Testament prophet in a “still, small voice?” What does it take for God to have our attention?
3. As God finally does respond, the big question is: “Will God answer Job’s questions and complaints?” The answer seems to be “not in the way Job was demanding!” This part of the long poem in Job has God asking question after question which Job cannot answer! How does this strike you? Is God putting a ‘mouthy’ Job in his proper place? Or is something else going on?
4. What else may be going on is that Job is totally absorbed by his suffering and his sense of innocence. When God speaks, God shows Job a much bigger ‘picture’ of things: of a creation that is good-if not perfect; which has boundaries and order to it-and not just chaos; a universe that displays God’s glory and goodness. What do you make of this world being a combination of beauty and chaos? Or of life being necessarily filled both with beauty and with pain?
5. Hold in daily prayer this week, those people who are suffering-including those who suffer through no fault of their own. Also hold in prayer this creation, which also suffers-sometimes at the hands of us human beings!
www.asanefaith.com offers a daily devotion on these readings.