Job 38-39

[19] “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
[20] that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
[21] You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!

Job 38:19-21, ESV

Can I make a confession? I love these chapters, but it might be for the wrong reason. As God peppers Job with question after question, it becomes readily apparent that Job isn’t going to have any answers. God even takes a breath in verse 18 to give Job an opportunity, “Declare, if you know all this.” Job did not know all this. Job did not know any of this. God, however, wasn’t finished. With a verbal takedown that would quickly go viral in today’s social media world, God picks right back up with more questions before landing a sarcastic knockout blow, “You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” Don’t you love it? I know I do, but why? Does part of us love God’s decisive verbal victory over Job because we’d like to win an argument so decisively over our opponents, whoever they might be? Is that not what our current culture of outrage and social media offer–a chance to win the point for our side while “owning” our opponents?

If you’re anything like me, you might love a passage like this because your tendency is to place yourself at the center of the narrative, but for us to do so would mean we wildly miss the point of God’s epic monologue. As much as we’d like to see ourselves as the social media mob cheering God on or view ourselves as the ones with all the answers, we just aren’t. We are–like Job and his friends–the ones who need to hear and sit in the shadow of God’s questions. When we find ourselves there, then we probably won’t find as much opportunity to rant at others as if we have all the answers, and we probably won’t feel as much need to “win” every argument on every issue. After all, it’s not Job (or us) but God who knows all the answers. His gift to us in this passage is the questions.

Recognizing the holiness of God’s sovereignty is humbling, reminding us of how many more questions we hold than answers. None of us know everything about everything, so the truth is that we would do well to approach most subjects more concerned about learning than losing. Where God has gifted you with knowledge, expertise, and experience, steward that gift well, but where God has gifted others with knowledge, expertise, and experience, let’s listen and learn with humility. And above all, when we’re tempted to ask questions that assign sides or declare winners and losers, let’s make sure we’re listening to the One with all the questions.

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