Going Deeper 06.16.2021

The first reading for Pentecost 4... Job 38:1-11‚Äč
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.  Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements — surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?— when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?"

This text is the climax to the strange and quite confusing story of Job.  As a matter of fact, the point of the whole story is that confusion will and must remain an element of our relationship with God.  Our sin-impacted finite minds are incapable of grasping the infinite Creator of all things.

The story is one which probes the age-old question of pain and suffering... of which Job has way, way more than his share.  His friends are convinced that Job has in some way angered God, and that his suffering is deserved punishment resulting from God's wrath.  Job goes on the defensive--understandably--and declares that God is being unfair since Job was a good and righteous man, which the beginning of the story states to be the truth.   Job's frustration and anger grow to the point where he desires to have a conversation with God so he can point out the unfairness of what has transpired.  God grants his desire... sort of.

In our text we see that the conversation is quite one-sided.  And we also see that God does not answer the question of why Job is experiencing suffering.  Did he deserve it?  Or was God being unfair?  It's just not that simple.  God's answer is simply to point to the expanse and wonders of His creation.  In other words: "I am God.  You are not."

The mystery of pain and suffering continues to this day.  We do well to avoid assumptions, but only place it all in the hands of our almighty Creator and Abba, finding comfort, peace, and hope in knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us, and will ultimately work all things together for good according to His purposes.

With You in His Peace,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"