When God Speaks
June 6, 2019
When people go through hard times, it is common to be dissatisfied with the circumstances and project that dissatisfaction towards God. Like Job, people often feel entitled to a certain quality of life because of what we think we’ve done for God. The Bible shows that it is common for people to develop a sense of entitlement: We sought to live God’s way so God owes us something or is obligated to provide a certain quality of favor that we define. This is not how it works! Though we might be tempted to think we know better about how things should be instead of how things actually are, we would be wise to take those thoughts captive and make them subject to Christ in humility and repentance. God does not submit to our will. We do not know what is better than God does. Many have even boasted that, if we could just speak to God, we could convince Him that our opinions were the right ones. When people start thinking this way, it is good to prepare for the destructive fall that comes after an arrogant spirit; and that fall will be far more brutal than the circumstances we complain about.
This principle is proven true in the testimony of Job 38:1-3. There, the LORD God Almighty speaks for Himself! After thirty-seven chapters of opinions, statements, and propositions of mere men trying to prove their point about God, the LORD went to address the issue Himself. The bulk of the Book of Job consists of the words of men trying to explain and reason out the infinitely complex and glorious things of God. Men who had faith felt that they knew God so well just because they knew some things about God. They figured that their receipt of some revelation was sufficient to give them great wisdom and authority to speak on God’s behalf about the complex issues of justice and righteousness. The Bible teaches that justice and righteousness belong to God alone, so the words that Job, Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar spoke, were all amiss. When Elihu spoke, he spoke better of God, but only because he was the only one to speak humbly, confessing that God’s greatness and glory cannot be explained, and thus we cannot criticize the great and glorious work He does.
In Job 38:1-3, the Bible plainly testifies that the LORD answered Job directly from a whirlwind. There are a few important concepts to recognize here. First, notice that it was the LORD who answered Job. The address of Job Chapter 38 might seem to be a response to Elihu since he was the one that spoke last. However, the scriptures are clear to show that God was directing His speech towards Job. Job’s response in Job 42:3 shows that he even recognized that God was speaking directly to him at the start. Secondly, notice how God spoke. God spoke from a whirlwind. This is the same type of language and appearance of God as seen when God spoke to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai from a dark cloud. This is the same type of power that God demonstrated when God took up Elijah into the heavens. The manner of God’s speech shows both the power, control, and transcendence of God. God was able to manifest the whirlwind from which He would speak, and Elihu seemed to notice it as it was taking place. Thus, the miraculous work of God’s communication was profound, but recognizable. The whirlwind would have been dark and loud, but God’s audience was able to hear the words of His voice and distinguish God’s points clearly – to the point that His address was written down and well documented.
When God began to speak to Job about his self-righteousness and presumptuousness, He began with simple matters dealing with creation. These were issues that people deal with on a daily basis, but Job would prove that he had no understanding of these simple things. God’s address to Job was powerful, but the content was simple, based on the basics, and still, it was sufficient to humble Job. The manner in which God appeared quieted the audience, but the words that God spoke were simple in nature and STILL able to greatly humble those who felt they had authority, wisdom, and sense. The simplest matters of God are always proven to be that which is sufficient to humble the wisest of people. God’s foolishness is truly greater than all the wisdom of the world. Thankfully, at that time, God did not speak with the power in which He appeared. When Jesus returns, He will not restrain Himself as God did with Job, so that the power that Job saw in the whirlwind will come out of the mouth of Jesus unto the destruction of all of His enemies!
This sentiment shows that the One who addressed Job was none other than Jesus Christ – the second part of the triune God. It is Jesus who made the worlds as the Word of God. Creation is the subject that God begins with when addressing Job. It was the Angel of the LORD, an Old Testament manifestation of Jesus, that filled the dark cloud that led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt and spoke from Mount Sinai. It is Jesus who speaks clearly to men and women in ways that we can know God. Jesus is “the Word of God,” which in the original language, is called the “logos” of God. The word “logos” refers to the revelation of truth about a subject. Jesus is the revelation of the truth about who God is. Jesus is the manifestation of the Father in a form where we can receive His truth in a productive way according to His purposes. When God took a physical form, He did not appear as a man, but appeared with power in order to address men. This is what Jesus is all about.
Notice the purpose for His arrival. Throughout the Book of Job, Job and his friends contended with one another to prove themselves right. In arguments, no one really wins. The winner is usually the one who thinks they got the last word in. Here, God gets the last word! The Judge speaks for Himself to shut everyone up. He will address Job first to prove him wrong and humble Job unto repentance. He will then address Job’s friends to prove them wrong, and ultimately validate Job’s faith and blamelessness. The ministry of Jesus is the same here as in any other part of scripture. His job is to expose our sin as the Light of the world, but then justify those who have faith according to His righteousness. He exposes our flaws unto repentance, and then exalts us in public according to His declarations. Jesus did this work from a whirlwind before, but will do this in person in the end!
When God spoke to Job, He asked a simple rhetorical question: Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? First, when God said, “Who is this,” it was not because He didn’t know who was speaking. The scriptures clearly show that He was speaking to Job. The point is, though Job was a blameless and upright man of faith, it was out of character for him to speak so presumptuously. Job was a man of faith, but was overcome by the flesh in his suffering to speak as a man of pride. Job was a child of God, but in his suffering, was tempted to speak as a child of the devil. Job never cursed God, but did not speak well of Him either. God had separated Job from evil to preserve the integrity of his soul, but the words that came out of Job’s mouth didn’t reflect the work God was doing. God’s expression shows that Job was acting like the natural man he was born as, not the man that God was conforming him into.
Since Job was in the flesh, he misspoke about God. Though Job wanted to explain his knowledge of God, notice that God said he was just making a mess of things. Job felt his arguments were sound and sufficient to plead his case. Yet, his friends never yielded to his points. Though Elihu was able to shut Job up, Job didn’t respond in repentance and fully digest the matters that Elihu spoke. With all of those men speaking about God, none of them were able to produce the effects that God’s Word produces. Thus, their wisdom and “counsel” just produced darkness. The words of those men simply provoked them to argue, contend, grow in bitterness, and frustration. Did they really know God if what they said of Him produced these results? Here, it is important to recognize how little we know, and how dependent we must be on the Lord. When we speak of ourselves of things pertaining to God, our words will simply confuse, frustrate, and divide people. When the Spirit of God speaks the Word of God, the fruit of the Spirit will be the result and God will be exalted, no matter how we perceive the results.
God commanded Job to prepare himself like a man. As God took the stage to address the matters of His righteousness and justice Himself, He spoke sternly and sharply to Job. This is because of what Job said earlier. In Job 13:22, Job said:
“Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, then You respond to me.”
Job was calling God out. Job was speaking in such a way that if he were given a chance to speak to God directly, he could convince God that he was right. Well, God showed up. God answered Job’s call. God gave Job the chance to stand up to Him like a man, and prove his case. The scriptures show that Job didn’t say a word. In fact, Job will end up dropping to his face and crying for forgiveness in repentance. When we think that we know better than God, and challenge Him in our hearts or worse, God will respond. He will humble the proud. He will reveal the true nature of His sovereign righteousness and then, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is LORD! Who do we think we are to address God in the ways that we do sometimes? Do we think we know better than God about what is good for us? According to the Bible, we are so pitiful in our knowledge that we don’t even know what “good” really is; and if not for God’s gracious revelation, we would never know!
Jesus’ address to Job was hard and humiliating; but also fruitful unto repentance and restoration. The testimony of Job shows how easily the people of God can get “out of character.” We can easily fall back into attitudes of the flesh and resemble the devilish person God is trying to change. When this happens, the point is not to flee from God’s correction, but let Jesus reprove us to show us our errors, to fall on our faces before Him, seeking mercy and forgiveness, and thank Him for the restoration He promises to give to those who will humble themselves before Him. Job got caught up in himself because life got hard. Thankfully, Jesus showed up to correct the problem that men proved they could not fix themselves. Instead of questioning God and making demands of Him, we should be thankful He treats us the way He treated Job so that we’re saved from our flesh rather than condemned by it.