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Job 38-39     Listen Podcast


Finally...God's turn to speak (Job 38)

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
3 Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9 When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;
10 When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
11 When I said,
“This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’
12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It takes on form like clay under a seal,
And stands out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you entered the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in search of the depths?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.
19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
20 That you may take it to its territory,
That you may know the paths to its home?
21 Do you know it, because you were born then,
Or because the number of your days is great?
22 “Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?
24 By what way is light diffused,
Or the east wind scattered over the earth?
25 “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,
Or a path for the thunderbolt,
26 To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one,
A wilderness in which there is no man;
27 To satisfy the desolate waste,
And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?
28 Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
30 The waters harden like stone,
And the surface of the deep is frozen.
31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the belt of Orion?
32 Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season?
Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?
35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go,
And say to you, “Here we are!’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the mind?
Or who has given understanding to the heart?
37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
38 When the dust hardens in clumps,
And the clods cling together?
39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 When they crouch in their dens,
Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?
41 Who provides food for the raven,
When its young ones cry to God,
And wander about for lack of food?

It's finally time for God to speak...and he speaks from a whirlwind. I'm guessing that everybody present could hear God's words as he spoke here. God immediately gets to the core issue when he says in verse 2, "Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?" In other words, y'all don't know anything! Then God spends the next two chapters addressing the magnificence of creation that Job and his friends could not begin to fathom; only God could. You know...all Job ever wanted was a hearing before God. Here ya go, Job!

In these two chapters (38-39), God points out the magnificent mysteries of His creation. Since man has so little understanding of God's creation, how can man presume to understand the actions of God as in this case of the trial of Job. It should be noted that Job himself lacked an understanding of God along with his outspoken friends. So, this word from God is for all of them.

These two chapters are full of rapid-fire illustrations of nature that are beyond man's comprehension with regard to their origin or means of accomplishment. God is saying, "So you haven't been able to figure any of these basic laws of my creation out, but you think you have figured out why Job has experienced this trouble?" Both chapters demonstrate God's disdain for man's understanding of the ways of God in light of the fact that those who spoke to Job represented themselves as great men of wisdom. Here, God is setting the record straight on their real level of understanding.

Notice the reference to the angels in Job 38:7, "When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?" A few other references in this chapter are worth some special attention. In 38:31-32 God mentions the constellations (Pleiades and Orion), and perhaps the "Mazzaroth" of verse 32 is a reference to the entire zodiac; many scholars think so.

God continues speaking (Job 39)

1 “Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?
Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfill?
Or do you know the time when they bear young?
3 They bow down,
They bring forth their young,
They deliver their offspring.
4 Their young ones are healthy,
They grow strong with grain;
They depart and do not return to them.
5 “Who set the wild donkey free?
Who loosed the bonds of the onager,
6 Whose home I have made the wilderness,
And the barren land his dwelling?
7 He scorns the tumult of the city;
He does not heed the shouts of the driver.
8 The range of the mountains is his pasture,
And he searches after every green thing.
9 “Will the wild ox be willing to serve you?
Will he bed by your manger?
10 Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes?
Or will he plow the valleys behind you?
11 Will you trust him because his strength is great?
Or will you leave your labor to him?
12 Will you trust him to bring home your grain,
And gather it to your threshing floor?
13 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s?
14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground,
And warms them in the dust;
15 She forgets that a foot may crush them,
Or that a wild beast may break them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers;
Her labor is in vain, without concern,
17 Because God deprived her of wisdom,
And did not endow her with understanding.
18 When she lifts herself on high,
She scorns the horse and its rider.
19 “Have you given the horse strength?
Have you clothed his neck with thunder?
20 Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror.
21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
He gallops into the clash of arms.
22 He mocks at fear, and is not frightened;
Nor does he turn back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against him,
The glittering spear and javelin.
24 He devours the distance with fierceness and rage;
Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.
25 At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
The thunder of captains and shouting.
26 “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high?
28 On the rock it dwells and resides,
On the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
29 From there it spies out the prey;
Its eyes observe from afar.
30 Its young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there it is.”

Chapter 39 continues God's monologue to Job and his friends which began in chapter 38. We hear of God's awesome authority over the earth...nature itself! In light of God's omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, what do Job and his friends actually know...about anything?

Let's review: God's overwhelming point in these two chapters is that Job and his friends knew nothing of which they were speaking; they were just expressing their hunches based upon traditional thought, not fact. Think about it; people still do exactly that today with great regularity. How many times do you hear of so-called Godly counsel that has no basis in scriptural principle whatsoever? It's amazing that so many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, so willingly give potentially life-altering counsel to others based upon their own unsubstantiated hunches.

In Job 39:9-10 God makes reference to the unicorn in the King James Version. The Hebrew word (reh-ame´) is used 9 times in the Old Testament. The New King James translates this Hebrew word as "wild ox," as it does in the other 8 occurrences.

God continues speaking in Job 40 (see notes).