A change of heart

Job Sees The Light - Forty-first in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

In Job 40 the omnipotence and holiness of God are front and center. How terrible it would be if God were all-powerful but not holy— how useless if he were holy but not able to enforce his ways.

If he were not also a loving God, we would fear to come before him. But he is approachable, and we soon forget who we are in comparison. He knows exactly when we have overstepped his bounds and for our own good, corrects us, at times calling us up sharply, demanding the worship he deserves.

Give God the glory! (1 Chr 16:29; Ps 29:1-2)

Job 40:1-2 NIV Chapter 40 begins with God's challenge to Job to consider his words.

Let us look back at some of Job’s words, to understand why God has been offended. And yes, God has the right to be offended when we question his ways, even when he knows we have been severely tested. He is God.

  • Job 7:16-21 — Job questioned God’s purposes.
  • Job 9:30-31 — God, you don’t care! You hate me!
  • Job 10:1-7 — God, you don’t understand how I fee! And you know you’re in the wrong and no one can save me from you!
  • Job 10:20 — Go away, God.
  • Job 13:15-16 — I am godly, therefore, I can present my case to him.
  • Job 13:20-23 — We should examine how we enter the courts of the Lord.
  • Job 14:19 — God, you have destroyed my hope! Shame on you!
  • Job 21:7 — God, why don’t you give the wicked their just deserts?
  • Job 23:1-7 — Job tells God how wonderful and innocent he is.
  • Job 27:1-2 — God is unjust!

In summary, the faultfinder believes man is due a reward for his good behavior and good attitudes. God owes man! He ought to deliver the innocent if he has any sense of justice or fairness.

Job 40:3-5 NIV Job recalls his words, and repents.

As we were reading the book of Job, perhaps his complaints seemed very small in respect to his agonies. We would have cried out much more loudly and angrily. It would not have seemed wrong. We would have expected that God would overlook our complaints, and for a while he probably would.

Yet, in his divine purposes for those who belong to him, he requires more. And we have every reason to trust without seeing. God is not in the business of defeat. (Rom 8:28) What purpose is there in a trial that has no positive outcome?

Was it wrong for Job to protest his innocence and maintain his integrity before his friends? Some will say we should follow Christ’s example and be silent in the face of false accusations and insults as he was at the end. However, Christ did defend himself against detractors. (e.g. Mat 12:25-26; John 10:32)

It was not wrong for Job to refuse to wear the mantle of shame as his friends demanded. However, we now see that the effect of his strenuous defense of his own character was to vaunt himself and in his distress to doubt or blame God. The Lord warns against outbursts of anger and encourages calm and balance in our outlook. Stress increases our tendency to overreact, leading us to sin. (Phil 4:6 et al)

Satan did not win, and he misjudged Job. Job did have a soft underbelly, but it was not greed or even presumption, that is, he did not take for granted his wealth and did not miss it as a man who measured himself by it would have.

However, his strength of character did require the toughest blows to reform his mind. His devotion to God had blinded him to God’s economies, that when weighed in the balance, we can never deserve God’s acceptance through our personal righteousness and good works. Satan’s attacks through his friends and even a mere bystander caused him to more and more stand on his merits and refuse to be thought of as evil. Thus were his impurities drawn to the surface so that God could remove them, and see his own image in Job.

Job had known it would be so: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

Job 40:6-8 NIV The Lord will now reinforce his disciplinary words because a strong reprimand is needed to effect permanent change.

Job 40:9-14 NIV A vexing question: Are we so vile that we would blacken God so that we might appear superior? Yes, we would. (Jer 17:9)

Job 40:15-18 NIV Man has no voice like the Lord’s. How incapable we are of ruling over men in a way that maintains humility as a standard for behavior. Would that even occur to us? Is the glory of the Lord important to us? Do we truly worship God?

Job 40:19 NIV Some commentators believe the Behemoth (a plural word) to be the dinosaur; some think that he was the now-extinct seahorse, or a rhino or hippo.

Job 40:20-24 NIV The Lord is jousting with Job. Yes, man was made in God’s own image, but he was not first in the line of creation. Other creatures more powerful, much larger and not subject to him, preceded him by God’s design.

In our trials we at times question God’s intelligence and purposes. We believe he is not observing our needs and that we could better manage our estate. If you do, remember Job, and put your hand over your mouth.

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