Out of the Whirlwind
I. God’s Rebuke (Chapters 38-41)
1) God’s Appearance (Theophany)
- God speaks to Job ‘out of the whirlwind’
- A visible sign of God’s power and wrath (cf. Exodus 19:18, 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalm 77:18; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 4:5)
- A wind storm has already resulted in the death of his children, and Job suggests that God will destroy him in the same way (cf. 30:21-23)
- God’s purpose in this theophany is not to destroy Job, but to correct and restore him (cf. I Kings 19:11-13)
2) God’s Challenge to Job
- Imagery of a wrestling match (38:3, 40:7)
- God brings specific accusations against Job, but not in the way that Job was expecting (cf. 31:35)
- Job is not suffering because he sinned, but he has sinned in his suffering
- In his suffering Job has ignorantly doubted God’s wisdom (38:1-2)
- In his suffering Job has spoken sinfully against God’s justice (40:8)
- Round 1: God reveals His complete sovereignty over the natural realm (Chapters 38-39)
- God is sovereign over the cosmos (38:4-38)
- God is sovereign over the Animal Kingdom (38:39 – 39:30)
- Round 2: God reveals His complete sovereignty over the moral realm (Chapters 40-41)
- Behemoth and Leviathan are most likely ancient creatures that are now extinct
- In the literature and mythology of Job’s culture these creatures frequently represent chaos and the forces of evil – powers that only God can control and restrain
– It is impossible to fear the Lord/attain divine wisdom if we do not recognize the distinction between the Creator and the Creation.
– Like Job, we sometimes believe that we know better than God, and could do a better job running the world if we were given the chance. God is reminding us that we are severely limited in both knowledge and power
– Our inability to understand God’s plan in nature (ie. Rain falling where no one lives, Creation of a bird that appears to lack wisdom, etc.), proves that we can never understand Him or His ways completely. God is far greater than our puny minds can possibly comprehend. Learn to get comfortable with mystery!
II. Job’s Repentance and Restoration (Chapter 42)
1) Job’s Initial Response (40:3-5)
- Job is silenced and humbled before God
- He promises not to speak further but does not retract what he’s already said about God.
2) Job’s Final Response (42:1-6)
- Job retracts his sinful words and repents completely from his arrogance
- Through his ordeal of suffering and humiliation, Job has come to know God in a profound way
3) Job’s Final Test
- God condemns the false theology of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (note: Elihu isn’t mentioned)
- God gives Job an opportunity to forgive these men and to act as their priest
– The proper response to suffering is humility and trust. As Christians we must trust God’s wisdom rather than demanding answers for all of our ‘why’ questions.
– God runs the world according to His sovereign wisdom, not according to human ideas about justice and fairness. If God insisted on strict and immediate justice, there would be no room for grace toward sinners.
– Not every story has a happy ending in this world