June 27, 2019
When do we think we’ve been humbled enough? Many people have been humiliated, and have often confessed that God was the cause. However, it is common for people to assume that the most recent lesson in humility is the one that causes perfect humility. Many times, we think that our current or most recent humbling circumstances are sufficient to teach us humility for the last time. We often hope that our last lesson in lowliness will be the final one, so that our new natural temperament will be humble. Unfortunately, these very thoughts are proof that we are forever in need to learn humility. To think that we have finally learned what it is to be humble is to assume that we have arrived to the perfection of Jesus Christ who humbled Himself to the point of death as a bondservant. Does our understanding of humility ever resemble Jesus’ in that manner? Does our conduct and attitude ever naturally match that of our Savior? If that were true, then we wouldn’t need Him as a Savior. The point is that, we are always in need to learn humility, which means that, just when we think we’ve learned enough, we have proven that we are prime candidates to be humiliated again.
God insisted on teaching Job this lesson. In Job 40:1-5, God commanded Job to answer Him concerning his self-righteousness. God patiently and mercifully endured Job’s self-entitled complaints throughout the testimony. When God heard enough, He allowed Job’s young friend Elihu to speak truthfully about God. Yet, when God heard that mankind had said all that they could about Him, He stepped in through a whirlwind to speak for Himself. God reminded Job of the simple things of His nature as Creator to humble Job. God reminded Job of His power, control, wisdom, and authority over the basic functioning of the universe to settle Job down. God went on for seventy verses worth of scripture to humble Job so that when God asked him to speak up, Job remained silent. Job confessed that he had nothing to say, that his very existence was vile, and that he would keep his hand over his mouth if necessary to refrain from offending God again through prideful remarks.
You would think that Job’s humble response would end God’s lesson in humility. Job was so belittled. Job didn’t even want to speak and considered himself worthless compared to God. Could Job be anymore lowly than to consider himself vile? The testimony of Job 40:6-14 shows that Job was not humble enough. Just when one might think that Job had figured it out and learned humility, God continued to teach him humility as if he had a long way to go. Once again, God demanded that Job answer Him. God knew that Job had nothing to say, but told Job to “prepare himself like a man” to endure the things that God was going to elaborate on. As pitiful as God made Job seem, it was not enough. God was going to lay into Job even more, showing that, just when we think we’ve been humbled enough, we have no idea! This is true simply because we can’t comprehend the true nature of God’s holiness, majesty, glory, righteousness, wisdom, and power.
In Job 40:6-14, God began His humiliation of Job by asking another simple question:
“Would you indeed annul My judgment?”
Consider the magnitude of that statement. Throughout the testimony of Job, the Bible documents that Job was critical of God’s judgments. Job felt he was excessively abused by God. However, if Job knew so much better than God, why didn’t he know how to reverse the “excessive” judgments of God? If Job knew more than God to criticize Him, why didn’t Job know enough to remove the circumstances of his suffering? Why couldn’t Job identify the sin that kept him distant from God? Why did Job himself confess that he needed an intercessor to approach God? How can we as people profess the unreachable glory of God, but then speak as if we know more than Him, criticizing the difficulties of His judgments?
Consider the judgments of God as documented in scripture. Could Adam and Eve reverse the judgment of God by staying in the Garden of Eden? Could the world reverse the judgment of God in the days of Noah when He flooded the earth? Could Sodom and Gomorrah build themselves up again after they were destroyed by God? Has the nation of Babylon built itself back up after God’s judgment against their pride? Could the rich man that mistreated Lazarus cross the great gulf fixed in Hades to change God’s eternal judgment against Him? Has anyone been able to reverse God’s judgment against sin by taking away death? If we as people seem to know so much so as to criticize God and His judgments, why hasn’t our wisdom enabled us to undo the things that we say are so wrong about God, especially since these sorts of judgments are the most critical in life?
God asked Job if he could administrate condemnation. Did Job have the strength to reach into eternity to send souls to heaven or hell? Could Job approach God in the heavenly court room to accuse God of wrongdoing, and then bring his proof with him to justify himself? The truth is, mankind doesn’t have strength at all. Who can match the power of God? Who is strong like God? For all of the attempts people have made to overpower God, history has only validated God’s superior strength. When the world sought to build its own tower into the heavens by erecting the Tower of Babel, all God had to do was confuse the language of the people to put an end to their work. When the Assyrians blasphemed against God by speaking pridefully against His people in Judah, God didn’t send an army to destroy the Assyrian encampment. He simply revealed Himself as the Angel of the LORD and took out 185,000 soldiers on His own in one night. Will the people of the world be able to keep God from shaking the heavens in the end? Will the powers of the world have a solution for the natural disasters that God causes in His wrath? If we can’t muster up the strength to overpower God, why do we continually contend with Him and the perfect manifestation of His strength? After all, though we cannot match the strength of His arm, He used the power of His right hand to offer forgiveness and salvation unto eternal life by Jesus. Is the superior power and strength of God a bad thing if this is the way He uses it?
God reminded Job that His voice is the One that thunders, not Job’s. Recall that Job wanted to keep his hand over his mouth to keep from uttering anymore foolishness. By comparison, it was God who spoke powerfully from the whirlwind. The power of human words is like the drop of cotton on a pillow compared to the powerful thunder of the Almighty! Consider the power of God’s voice in creation. When God spoke, the universe was formed in perfect order. Can we boast of such power and surety? Is our word as true as God’s so that EVERYTHING we speak comes to pass? Consider that the testimony of the Book of Revelation states that the power of God’s thunderous voice causes all of heaven to rejoice and the world to shake. Many people can’t garner even simple responses from people when they speak the best of their ability. Though we pale in comparison so much, we have this tendency of speaking to God as if our word is equal in power and majesty to His. How can we question or critique God’s Word and purposes when our words are so cheap and vain? Why would we speak of ourselves by our own understanding when God provided His Word for us to speak by (as oracles of God)?
God commanded Job to dress himself up in a manner that was equal to His own majesty, splendor, glory, and beauty. Notice that God referred to His clothing in a non-material way. According to Psalm 104:2, God clothes and covers Himself in light! He is so glorious that He covers His natural glory with light so as to ensure we endure His presence. God’s coverings are defined by power, authority, and light. These are not material in nature. Can we produce light of ourselves? Can we glow? Can we emit brightness of any kind? If Job were to express “beauty” in human terms, he would be limited to the resources of this world. He would have had to put on clothing that fades and wears down. He would have had to wash a body that was covered in boils at that time; take care of a body that had naturally aged and decayed over time. Jesus taught that even Solomon, the wealthiest and wisest king in Israel’s history, with all his riches, could not dress himself up to match the beauty of the grass fields God had created. How much less does our beauty compare to God’s glory? How can we judge the use of God’s power and wisdom in our lives if our mere appearance is so pitiful in comparison to God? Should something so cheap be used to judge something so perfect?
Lastly, God made a profound statement of the weakness of human wisdom and self-righteousness. God told Job to deal with the pride and wickedness of the world. God told Job that if he could dispel the wicked, then He would confess Job was right and honor Job’s demands and desires. This brings up a compelling point. If mankind could save itself, then God would honor that ability. This is a concept that God even documented in His law. In Ezekiel 20:11, God promised:
“And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, [if] a man does, he shall live by them.’”
In other words, if we can keep all of the righteous commands of God, we will live forever. We won’t suffer the wages of sin, which is death. We wouldn’t need to follow Jesus as our Savior by faith, because we would have proven to God that our righteousness is equal to His. In that case, we can usher ourselves into His kingdom to do as we please. However, this is impossible as proven by the exceptional weakness mankind has shown throughout history to deal with evil.
Has mankind been able to remove pride and deal with the proud? The scriptures show that, unless God opens our eyes and unstops our ears (spiritually speaking), that we wouldn’t even recognize the pride and evil in our own hearts. How can we remove pride from the world if we can’t even recognize it in our own hearts? How then can we humble others? So often people try to speak to others to “humble them” as if they are performing some sort of spiritual service. According to the Bible, we can’t even humble ourselves, much less someone else. Thus, unless the Spirit of God is compelling and creating our addresses to God, we are likely communing with Him pridefully, in which case He is resisting us. Our efforts to do as God does are actually counter-productive, yet we have the habit of criticizing God and despising the manner of His works. Could Job tread down the wicked? Job couldn’t even stop the mouths of his friends that falsely accused him of hypocrisy. Job couldn’t recognize that the devil was behind the issues of his suffering. How was Job qualified to deal with anything evil while displaying such weaknesses and inadequacies?
Has mankind been able to remove injustice? Has mankind been able to make the world brighter with the removal of darkness? Can people in their own effort, bind up the faces of the unrighteous to bury them in the dust like God does? The world has gotten increasingly darker because of pride, self-righteousness, and self-entitlement. God alone is able to humble the proud as seen by the testimonies of Nimrod, Nebuchadnezzar, and Herod Agrippa. It is at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow down, and every tongue will confess in heaven, on earth, and underneath the earth. Men have amassed empires and caused many people to fear them, but have done so pridefully, and in time, God proved the true nature of their pride. It was weak and unable to sustain them. God on the other hand is still almighty, all-knowing, and unchanging. God will level every mountain and hill by the power of His strength according to His wisdom in the time that He has appointed for this judgment. No one can reverse it. No one can do this work on their own.
The results of God’s wisdom and work will prove that He is supremely exalted above all, and the faith of a Christian is supposed to trust this as true. Though Job had exemplary faith as a righteous and blameless man, he allowed his naturally human traits to stir up his heart against God. Though Job felt he had been sufficiently humbled to learn his lesson, God recognized the true depths of his depravity and continued to humiliate Job. The true child of God doesn’t run from this necessary humiliation. We endure, believing that God knows what He’s doing. We trust that He is infinitely glorious so that we are always humiliated in His presence, not thinking anything of ourselves until the shame of our flesh is fully removed in eternity. Then, the difficult lessons of our humility in this life will take perfect effect unto continuous praise and worship of our Lord and merciful Savior. Like Job, it is sometimes best to keep our hands over our mouths, and if it were possible, over our hearts to keep from questioning, criticizing, and disagreeing with God.