“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. (Job 38:1-3)
If anyone ever could earn the right to complain about God, surely it was Job. By all accounts a very successful and faithful man, yet the Lord allowed Job to lose everything but his life (Job chapters 1-2). When Job seeks consolation from close friends, the friends only make matters worse.
Ultimately, Job lodges his complaints to God the Father. I think that, if he would have kept to pouring our lamentations to the Lord (Job chapter 3), Job would not have sinned. However, Job tries to justify himself before the Lord (see Job chapter 31). In Job chapter 38 the Lord makes it crystal clear that Job cannot justify himself before God. God is holy and all powerful, Job is human and sinful.
The fact is Job was not receiving the eternal condemnation he deserved for his sins. Yes, he had painful temporal suffering. That is not the same as deserving and receiving divine wrath. We are in the same situation. Due to our fallen nature and sinfulness, we deserve eternal condemnation. There is no more room for us to point fingers at Job than his friends had room to criticize him.
I encourage you to read the book of Job. If you are like me, once you get through chapter 38, you will think times when you had similar experiences with God. Times in life when you were frustrated or hurt or angry. Times when God had to give you a reality check, just as our Lord has done for me at different times through His Word. A reality check where God communicates, in so many words, “I am God. You are not.”
After this reflection, read the rest of the Book of Job. As you see what God did to restore Job, think about God has done in Jesus to restore you and I to a right relationship with God the Father. After all, the purpose of the law is to drive us to Christ, where we learn of God’s grace and mercy.
Until next week, the Lord bless and guide.
(This devotional messages was written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS.)