World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
38. The Lord Speaks
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 12Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 13That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 14It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 15And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 16Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 17Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 18Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. 19Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, 20That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? 21Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? 22Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 23Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? 24By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? 25Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 26To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 27To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? 28Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 29Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? 30The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. 31Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 32Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 33Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? 34Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 35Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? 36Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? 37Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, 38When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 39Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, 40When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 41Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.
Job had silenced, but had not convinced his friends. Elihu had silenced Job, but had not brought him to admit his guilt before God. It pleased the Lord to interpose. The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God's providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God's being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God's knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God's almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God's wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord.
For the humbling of Job, God here shows him his ignorance, even concerning the earth and the sea. As we cannot find fault with God's work, so we need not fear concerning it. The works of his providence, as well as the work of creation, never can be broken; and the work of redemption is no less firm, of which Christ himself is both the Foundation and the Corner-stone. The church stands as firm as the earth.
The Lord questions Job, to convince him of his ignorance, and shame him for his folly in prescribing to God. If we thus try ourselves, we shall soon be brought to own that what we know is nothing in comparison with what we know not. By the tender mercy of our God, the Day-spring from on high has visited us, to give light to those that sit in darkness, whose hearts are turned to it as clay to the seal, 2Co 4:6. God's way in the government of the world is said to be in the sea; this means, that it is hid from us. Let us make sure that the gates of heaven shall be opened to us on the other side of death, and then we need not fear the opening of the gates of death. It is presumptuous for us, who perceive not the breadth of the earth, to dive into the depth of God's counsels. We should neither in the brightest noon count upon perpetual day, nor in the darkest midnight despair of the return of the morning; and this applies to our inward as well as to our outward condition. What folly it is to strive against God! How much is it our interest to seek peace with him, and to keep in his love!
Hitherto God had put questions to Job to show him his ignorance; now God shows his weakness. As it is but little that he knows, he ought not to arraign the Divine counsels; it is but little he can do, therefore he ought not to oppose the ways of Providence. See the all-sufficiency of the Divine Providence; it has wherewithal to satisfy the desire of every living thing. And he that takes care of the young ravens, certainly will not be wanting to his people. This being but one instance of the Divine compassion out of many, gives us occasion to think how much good our God does, every day, beyond what we are aware of. Every view we take of his infinite perfections, should remind us of his right to our love, the evil of sinning against him, and our need of his mercy and salvation.