Job 38:1 ¶ Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Job 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
As noted previously, it seems that a storm was approaching as Elihu spoke, and now God enters the scene via a whirlwind (“storm” from the Hebrew). I just don’t picture the LORD speaking to Job through a great rain. I think it is more likely during the time that ominous clouds and thunder precede a coming storm. I am reminded of when God spoke to the Israelites at Sinai.
Exodus 19:16 “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.”
And when he appeared to Ezekiel by the river Chebar in Chaldea.
Ezekiel 1:4 “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.”
Job has longed for an audience with God, and he is going to get his wish. The LORD now enters the dialogue with a strong and powerful voice. He describes the human reasoning He has heard as devoid of knowledge. He tells Job to prepare himself to answer His questions. Through this series of 70 questions Job is going to be taught that God’s actions on behalf of His creation are to be met with total submission and faith.
Romans 9:20–21 “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”
God’s questions are meant to help Job understand that when it comes to understanding the ways of God, he simply cannot. God is too big; He is beyond our total understanding. That is one of the most important distinctives of Who He Is.
Isaiah 55:8–9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Job 38:4 ¶ Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Job 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
This first round of questions focus on God’s control of nature. Obviously, Job wasn’t around when the foundations of the earth were laid. He had no clue what the measures of that foundation are or how that foundation is anchored. Those measurements include the earth’s position in the universe, the precise angle of its axis, its rotation, the force of gravity, etc. He didn’t hear the angels singing or shouting for joy as they saw the creation of planet earth.
Job 38:8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
Job 38:9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
Job 38:10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
Job 38:11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
Job had no clue as to where the sea came from or how God controlled the waves and established the limits of their reach. He didn’t understand the relationship of the moon and the tides. He didn’t understand how the clouds could hold water and remain suspended in the sky.
Though Job did not have understanding as to when and how, he had given testimony of what he believed.
Job 26:7–8 & 10 “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them…. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.”
Job 38:12 ¶ Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
Job 38:13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
Job 38:14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.
Job 38:15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.
Point is made that all God exercises His control over nature by speaking the command. Job had obviously could not exercise control over the dawn of the day or the rising of the sun in the east. This would include the positioning of the sun and its effect on the length of daylight and the seasons as experienced in the different locations on planet earth.
Job could not command the light to shine and expose wickedness. The light is described as revealing the shape of the earth, its topography, just like clay that is pressed into the shape of the seal that is used upon it. The light helps prevent the spread of wickedness by those who prefer to hide their deeds in the darkness. I couldn’t help but think of the words of Jesus.
John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
Job 38:16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
Job 38:17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
Job 38:18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
The springs of the seas make reference to the underground chambers of waters in the earth located far in the depths of the sea. Job had no clue as to these depths or even where they were. Also acknowledged as underground were the gates of death or Hades. I like a statement John Wesley made regarding our knowledge of death: “While we are here in a world of sense, we speak of the world of spirits, as blind men do of colours, and when we remove thither, shall be amazed to find how much we were mistaken.”
Though in our day we have much information regarding the size of the earth, we have yet to gain great understanding about the greatest depths of the earth and sea and its mysteries. Job, however, had no clue. The implication being, as with every other question, God knows all about these things.
Job 38:19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
Job 38:20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
Job 38:21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?
God is saying that there is a source from which all light is derived and a place set apart for the darkness. He then asks Job if he knows where those places are and if he has the ability to control them. His questioning reminds Job that he wasn’t even born when those places were established.
Don’t we usually think of light as emanating from the sun, moon and stars? But these heavenly bodies were not created until the fourth day; the light and darkness were manifested and day and night defined in the first day. I have often simplistically described darkness as the absence of light, but it would seem that there is more to understand about both.
In listening to Focht recently, he noted that light is always moving and darkness is static; the only thing that affects darkness is light.
That truth applies in the spiritual realm as well. Only the light of God’s truth can be effective in fighting the darkness of evil that pervades over earth.
Again, the implied truth—God is in control of both and of how they are allowed to affect life on planet earth.
Job 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
Job 38:23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
Job 38:24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
The LORD now asks Job if he knows where snow and hail are stored. Obviously, he doesn’t. Then He reveals a very interesting fact—God has reserved the snow and hail “for the day of battle and war.” Being a student of prophecy, I immediately thought of the judgments associated with the time of God’s wrath preceding the return of Jesus as King.
Revelation 8:6–7 “And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
Revelation 11:15 & 19 “And the seventh angel sounded….And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
Revelation 16:17 & 21 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air….And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
Can you imagine getting bombarded with hailstones weighing 75-100 pounds?
We also now know that the snow is of great wonder in that every snowflake is unique. I thought the following might add to your meditation; (source: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/alike/alike.htm). It just emphasizes to me the awesomeness of the Creator of those snowflakes.
“The number of possible ways of making a complex snowflake is staggeringly large. To see just how much so, consider a simpler question -- how many ways can you arrange 15 books on your bookshelf? Well, there's 15 choices for the first book, 14 for the second, 13 for the third, etc. Multiply it out and there are over a trillion ways to arrange just 15 books. With a hundred books, the number of possible arrangements goes up to just under 10158 (that's a 1 followed by 158
zeros). That number
is about 1070 times larger than the total number of atoms in the
Now when you look at a complex snow crystal, you can often pick out a hundred separate features if you look closely. Since all those features could have grown differently, or ended up in slightly different places, the math is similar to that with the books. Thus the number of ways to make a complex snow crystal is absolutely huge.” [end quote]
God returns to the subject of light and asks Job if he can explain how the light is distributed over the earth or how the east wind moves over the earth. Research reveals that light travels from the sun to the earth, 92,957,000 miles, at a speed of 186,282 miles per second in just over 8 minutes. This gives another amazing insight on the power of the Creator of such phenomena.
I think the east wind is included at this point because in scripture it is always seen as a destructive force used in judgment in the same way as the hail. Just as the light spreads itself to impact a large area, so can the effects of the east wind.
Exodus 10:13 “And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.”
Jeremiah 18:15–17 “Because my people hath forgotten me….I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.”
Can you put yourself in Job’s shoes? Do you feel yourself getting smaller and smaller?
Job 38:25 ¶ Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
Job 38:26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
Job 38:27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
Job 38:28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
Job 38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
Job 38:30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
God’s questions in this section make reference to the fact that rain falls in designated areas and lightning follows its own path. A lightning bolt is a powerful discharge of electrical energy. It can travel at speeds of 60,000 miles per second and reach a temperature of around 50,000 degrees Farenheit. Research also reveals that the extreme heat generated by lightning heats the air so quickly that it expands and causes a shock wave that produces the sound of thunder. What does this tell you about its Creator?
Then God asks Job to consider the fact that He even sends rain to fall on the deserts where no one lives. The implied question—Why? The implied answer—He is sovereign over His creation; it’s His choice according to His good pleasure and for His own purposes that don’t have anything to do with the individual.
Can Job explain where the rain, dew, ice and frost come from? How they are formed? Can he explain how the water turns to ice that is as hard as a rock? I think the reference here is to glaciers that are frozen like rock on the surface, yet the water remains fluid beneath them. It would also apply to seas and lakes that freeze over in the winter.
Job 38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
Job 38:32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
Job 38:33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
God now directs His questioning of Job to the subject of the stars in the heavens. I love to study the skies, and it has always awed me to think that the Old Testament saints were witness to the same stars and constellations that I see. Both the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, and Orion are among the most easily identifiable constellations in the night sky. God asks if Job knows how to keep the stars in these constellations together and ensure the orderly appearance of the different constellations throughout the year according to their appointed season. Does He have the power and authority to loose the force that holds them together? The Bear constellation, also known as Ursa Major and Arcturus, contains the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star that has long been an important navigational guide to those traversing the Northern Hemisphere of the globe.
The last question is so broad and covers so much that I am sure that Job again had no clue to all that it encompassed. The laws of the universe pertaining to just the Milky Way Galaxy involve the precise distances, order, rotation and orbits of the planets around the sun and how they are maintained. They pertain to the precise amounts and combinations of gases that are needed to support life on earth and how the supply of these gases is continually replenished. They relate to the makeup of atoms and their parts and how they interact with one another; they include defining gravity and how it functions; and the list could go on and on. Scripture gives us the simple answer.
Colossians 1:17 “And He [Jesus] is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”
The LORD may continue to allow the scientists to discover more about the creation and how it functions, but there comes a point when the only explanation for the wonders they discover will be that it is the handiwork of God and He alone sustains it.
Job 38:34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
Job 38:35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?
The LORD reverts back to more questions regarding the control of rain and lightning. He is basically saying—Job, Can you cause the clouds to release the rain at the command of your voice? Can you direct the lightning to strike where and when you want it to?
Again, the implication—I can and do.
Job 38:36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
Job 38:37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,
Job 38:38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
Wisdom is the ability to use what you know effectively for good; it is the ability to be discerning and make proper judgment. Understanding is the ability to interpret meaning and intention and to explain what you know. God is questioning Job as to the source of man’s wisdom and understanding. Even today can we explain the source behind the workings of the brain? Even in asking the question, point is made that man’s abilities are limited at best.
Even with what we know today, can we really number the clouds—a number that is constantly changing. Do we have the ability to command the clouds and direct the rains of heavens so as to soften the hardened clay of the deserts or to turn the hardened clay into a sticky, muddy mess? Even the process of seeding the clouds today is a complicated process and is dependent upon working with existing clouds and increasing their production—a process still controversial regarding the results achieved. We certainly can’t do it by speaking a command. And who is the one who numbers the clouds and sets them in motion? God is definitely declaring that it is He.
Job 38:39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,
Job 38:40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?
Job 38:41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.
This series of questions turns to the innate ability given the lion (and other predators) regarding hunting food to eat and provide for their young. The raven is probably linked with the lion since it is a carnivore that would feast on the remains of the lion’s kill. God is declaring that He is the source for the skill and instincts of the lion and has provided for the needs of birds like the raven even as He has appointed them to serve in maintaining the balance of nature.