The superiority of God is hard to understand, but easy to validate. There are claims in scripture that seem outrageous, and since God is transcendent, it’s our job to try and understand the outrageous as true. Still, as outrageous as some of the claims of the Bible seem concerning the extent of God’s power, wisdom, and mercy, there is an overwhelming abundance of historically validated proof of God doing the things the Bible says. The Bible isn’t a book of fairy tales or tall tales. The Bible isn’t a book of pure hyperbole. The Bible uses hyperbole to make God’s transcendence comprehensive to some degree. However, the Bible is mostly historical narrative and testimonies of God’s influence over people to prove His transcendence. For every wild claim that the Bible makes about God, there are several instances in the Bible where it testifies of God’s tangible work that proves the wild claims as true.
An example of this principle is clearly outlined in the contents of Job 12:13-25. There, Job gives an amazing explanation of who God is, describing the magnitude of His supremacy over all things. This is one of Job’s better moments in his dialogues with his friends. Rather than complaining, he speaks well of God. His purpose was to prove that he was also well-informed about God and His attributes to his friends. Job wanted to show his friends that he knew things about God too. He also wanted to explain the supremacy of God’s sovereign control to digest the reality that his own circumstances were out of his control. Even if Job were to recognize some sin in his heart and repent of it, there was no guarantee that his circumstances would change. God’s wisdom, power, and glory is far greater than the efforts we make to appease Him or refute Him.
In Job 12:13-25, Job begins by speaking of the wisdom and strength of God. He states that both wisdom and strength come from God. It is not just that God has wisdom. He is the source of wisdom. He is the cause of wisdom. While some argue that wisdom is simply the application of knowledge, the wisdom that comes from God is different and deeper. In James 3:17 the Bible explains that God’s wisdom is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and yields the full mercy and goodness of God without favoritism and hypocrisy. These are effects that only God can produce. To gain this sort of wisdom and see these sorts of benefits, God must be the cause, the motivation, and the means by which the wisdom is expressed. Additionally, Job explained that God is also the source of strength. Thus, it is not just that God is wise, but is also able to do that which must be done rightly according to the perfect wisdom He has. There are some who know what to do in a situation, but lack ability. There are some who have ability, but lack wisdom. God is not weak in this way. Just like He is the source of wisdom, He is the sole source of ability. All things live because of God, and with Him, there is no life, no functionality, no ability, no purpose.
How do we know these things about God are true? Job provides some insight and application to these things that we can observe in real life. Job said that God’s wisdom and strength is seen in the power He has to break things down. Things that are broken down by God cannot be built back up. For example, though the world sought to deny God’s purposes in Genesis Chapter 11, God put an end to their efforts. The world sought to rebel against God and build their own way into heaven by the Tower of Babel. The scriptures say that mankind at that time was able to do almost anything they put their minds to. Yet, when God intervened, their work was ruined, never to be built up again. God destroyed their work and there has not been another Tower of Babel since. Consider the nation of Babylon itself. God promised to destroy Babylon and has done so. Though men have tried to dig up its remains and build it up again, there has not been another Babylonian empire or city. The same could be said of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Job said that if God imprisons a man, there is no escape. The testimony of Luke Chapter 16 proves this statement as true. There, a rich man is sent into torment in Hades and recognizes another man he knew in this life across a “great gulf fixed” where there was not torment. The man he recognized was a poor man named Lazarus, and the people on the side of Lazarus were comforted by the words of Abraham. The rich man however suffered greatly and sought to be where Lazarus was, but he was unable. The great gulf fixed prevented him from escaping the torment of Hades. God’s punishment and judgment was final, just as it will be for those who face Jesus at the Great White Throne judgment seat. Those condemned will not be able to rebel against God’s perfect judgment. When Satan is locked up for 1,000 years during the Millennial Reign of Jesus on earth, he is not able to escape and foil God’s purposes. That which God decrees in judgment is final and there is no escape. This is the way it has been, and this is the way it will continue to be.
Job explained that God’s wisdom, strength, and supreme control over all things stems into the way the world and nature work as well. If God wants to cause the rains to cease to judge by drought, He is able to do so. He did so according to the judgments proclaimed by the prophets, and Jewish history supports the claims of those prophets as true. God warned that the disobedience of His people would cause judgments by droughts, and sure enough, God was able to withhold rain and was wise to execute His judgments to preserve the integrity of His promises. The ability that Elijah had to withhold rain is also good proof of God’s ability to withhold rain. Job also stated that God can unleash torrents of water and rain at His will and command. The most compelling example in history that proves this true of God is the global flood that took place in the days of Noah. God caused it to rain, but actually flooded the earth by bursting open the storehouses of water from the oceans and seas. He did this at the exact time that He proclaimed, showing that His power and strength indeed work together perfectly.
Job said that God is the sole possessor of “strength and prudence.” The original Hebrew word for “prudence” is an interesting word. It is often coupled with the English word “sound” to form the phrase “sound wisdom.” It describes a quality of wisdom that substantiates knowledge. In other words, that which can be known is upheld by the quality of wisdom that God has. His wisdom is the foundation of all knowledge. The “soundness” of His wisdom emphasizes His omniscience. He knows the “who, what, why, where, when, and how” of ALL things! The prophecies of the Bible prove this as true. When Jesus walked the earth and spoke things that reflected the secret thoughts of men (much to their surprise), Jesus proved to have this same “prudence.”
Job explained that God’s strength is so great that He has possession and control of both the deceived and the deceiver. God is in charge of the righteous and unrighteous. God is in control of that which happens in the light and the dark. The full testimony of Job proves this true. Recall that while the devil sought to torment Job, he was restricted by the parameters that God set upon him. The devil could not do whatever he wanted. The devil had to report to God and was subject to Him at all times. When Jesus walked the earth, He repeatedly proved His authority over demonic entities by giving them commands that they obeyed with the same degree of zeal and fear as His own disciples. There is nothing outside of the realms of God’s authority!
Job then explained how God’s wisdom and strength is sufficient to spoil and foil the authority and knowledge of rulers in this world. God is able to make counselors and judges appear to be fools, though they might have seemed wise at one time. This was true of Israel’s judges that judged unrighteously. They advised the people to do things that seemed good in their own minds, but led to calamity for the people because their words were not from God. This was especially true during the days of Babylonian captivity. God is able to loosen the bonds of kings, take them captive at His will at any time, plunder princes, and overthrow the mighty. God did this throughout the scriptures. One of the most compelling examples is Israel’s early history. God utterly destroyed the influence and rule of the Egyptians over His people. He later destroyed the armies of Og and Bashan with men that were ill-equipped fighters coming out of slavery. Then, during the days of Joshua, God enabled the children of Israel to overtake the mighty nations of Canaan according to His promise, beginning with the mighty destruction of Jericho. God has done this same type of thing for His people since, many times over, eliminating the Assyrians, the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. By these works, God was able to put His people in the Promised Land, enlarge their boarders, and keep His people there according to His promise.
Job explained that God’s wisdom and strength is so great that He is even able to deprive people of speech. Consider the testimony of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. Since he did not believe the testimony of the angel that proclaimed the works of God concerning his son and the birth of Jesus, his mouth was shut until the day of his son’s birth, at which point he uttered one of the greatest praises to God in the entire Bible. God did similar work with the prophet Balaam. He was hired by the wicked king Balak to speak curses against Israel, but was only able to proclaim praises to God and blessings towards His people.
Lastly, Job explained that God is able to uncover deep things of darkness and bring the shadow of death to light. In 2 Kings Chapter 6 the Bible explains that God revealed secret plots against Israel to the prophet Elisha, enabling the children of Israel to prepare for attacks and foil the conspiracies. The king speculated that Elisha had someone secretly hiding in his bedroom because he could not understand how Elisha was able to know his plots. Jesus was able to demonstrate the same sort of wisdom, making public the deep things of men’s hearts. One of the most compelling examples was when Jesus began writing in the sand, convicting men’s hearts that sought to condemn an adulterous woman. God proved His wisdom and strength over the shadow of death by the resurrection. Elijah was able to bring a boy back to life. Jesus brought several people back to life, including Himself! Thus, with all of these examples that validate the supremacy of God’s sovereignty, control, power, wisdom, strength, and glory, what can we do but fall at His feet to praise Him for who He is, hoping for His mercy and grace so as to receive the benefits of who He is, rather than the consequences of rejecting Him.