“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth. . .when the morning stars sang together. . .and I numbered the clouds in wisdom?”
Job 38:4a, 7a, 37a
No wonder “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Job 28:28; Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33).
That’s the meaning of the Hebrew word “yir‘ah” used in the above-cited passages. And such awe arises from the depths of one’s soul, not his head. In this day-and-age of scientific reasoning, proud logic, carnal imaginations and speculations, etc., we’d do well to once again hear God’s words to Job that day in our Manna.
There’s no doubt Job was a “perfect (Heb. ‘tam’—‘morally pious, gentle, undefiled, clean, whole, etc.’) and upright (Heb. ‘yashar’—‘just, equitable, straight, prosperous, highly esteemed, etc.’) man who feared God and eschewed (Heb. ‘cuwr’—‘to turn away, decline, depart from, leave alone, cast aside, etc.’) evil” (Job 1:1). Yet, God allowed the devil to attack him by taking away his livestock and children (1:6-19) and afflict him with “boils from the sole of his foot unto the crown of his head” (2:7).
As we continue reading this story, we find Job accosted by three “friends,” whom he called “forgers of lies, physicians of no value and miserable comforters” (13:4; 16:2). In modern-day terms he was saying, “With friends like you, who needs enemies?!?”
But, in the midst of his trying to refute their accusations of “If you’d not sinned, this wouldn’t be happening to you,” Job based his rebuttals upon His self-righteousness and good deeds (27:1-31:34). And, he also revealed his perplexity of it all by calling God Himself into question (6:1-7:21; 9:1-10:22; 13:1-28; 19:6-29; 21:1-34; 23:1-25; 27:1-23; 31:35-40).
That’s why the Lord led Elihu to set them all straight (32:1-37:24) and then talked to Job Himself (37:1-41:34). His straightforward questions are sharp, reminding Job (and us) that He is God and we’re not. Long before we were even created in our mother’s womb, He was already on His Throne. Even before the earth was formed and the sun, moon and stars were hung in the sky, our Great God was already demonstrating His omnipotence in all things.
Therefore, we should hear His question once again today: “Where were you when all these things were created? Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth. . .taught the stars to sing together. . .caused the sun to give heat and light (38:19). . . made the snow and hail to fall in their season (38:22). . .the wild goats to give birth to their kids (39:1). . .gave beautiful plumage to the peacock and taught the hawk and the eagle to soar effortlessly on the wind currents (39:13, 26-27)? Where were you?”
No wonder Job cried “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer you? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. . .and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes” (40:4; 42:6). Oh, dear Pilgrim, until we recognize His Greatness and our utter sinfulness we will not humble ourselves and cry out for His forgiveness and cleansing (Is. 6:1-7; II Chron. 7:14). May we cry “A sinner in need of a Savior” today when He asks us, “Who are you? And what do you need?”
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 3, 2009