God Speaks in the Storm
Midweek – 6 LSB #’s 423:1-2, 423:3, 589
Text – Job 38:1
Then the Lord [Yahweh] answered Job out of the storm.
GOD SPEAKS IN THE STORM
For thirty-five chapters God is silent. For thirty-five chapters God doesn’t say a word. For thirty-five chapters Job cries out. And for thirty-five chapters Bildad, Zophar, Eliphaz & Elihu consternate, deliberate, replicate & pontificate. But God? He says nothing.
Brace yourself. Beginning with Job 38:1 the hidden God becomes the revealed God & what He reveals is absolutely amazing! What power! What wisdom! What awesome greatness!
The Truth of the Day: Instead of an explanation from God we receive a revelation of God. The Lord finally speaks. Out of the thunder, Yahweh speaks. In the middle of the storm, God speaks. To the father who holds a rose taken from his son’s casket, God speaks. To the wife who holds the flag taken from her husband’s casket, God speaks.
To the couple with the barren womb & the fervent prayers, God speaks. To any person who has tried to see God through shattered glass, he speaks. Our God speaks in the storm & His voice thunders with majesty, power & authority.
Job 38:1: “Then the Lord [Yahweh] answered Job out of the storm.” This storm has huge thunder clouds, replete with flashes of lightning going back & forth. It’s a massive show of force, a Category 5 kind of storm for a Category 5 kind of God! And for the 1st time since chapters 1 & 2, the name “Yahweh” appears.
From chapter 3 through chapter 37 people have called him “God” & “the Almighty,” but not Yahweh. Why is this important? Note Exodus 3:14 where God says, “I am who I am.” Jesus picks this up with his “I am” statements in John’s Gospel. For instance, “I am the Bread of Life.” “I am the Good Shepherd.” “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” For 35 chapters Job is consumed with all kinds of questions. Where is God? Why is this happening? When will this end? How could God do this to me? But the most important question is not when, why, what or how. It is who. Who is the God behind all of this? And who is the question that is answered in Job 38–41. Instead of an explanation from God we receive a revelation of God.
“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) Job doesn’t respond. “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, & you shall answer me.” (Job 38:3) Job keeps silent. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” (Job 38:4) Job is mute.
“Do you know how its dimensions were determined & who did the surveying? What supports its foundations, & who laid its cornerstone, as the morning stars sang together & all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:5–7) The tables are turned. Instead of Job questioning God, now God interrogates Job.
Divine questions pour down like sheets of rain. They splatter in the chambers of Job’s heart with a wildness & a beauty & a terror that leaves every Job who has ever lived drenched & amazed & absolutely speechless. What starts here, & continues to the end of chapter 41, is a list of 70 questions that God asks Job. And the point of it all is this:
Job needs to let God be God. There is a Lord & we are not him! To underscore this point, God repeatedly points out that the universe is vast & infinitely complex! For instance, the diameter of the sun is 109 times larger than the earth. Its volume could contain 1,000,000 earths.
This God created the Milky Way, which is just one galaxy & it alone measures 104,000 light-years across. It contains over 100 billion stars. And according to information from the Hubble Space Telescope there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe! “Can you see it, Job?” God asks. “Can you rejoice in it all as I do? The morning stars sing for joy because of who I am & what I do – can you rejoice in it too? Can you see how carefully I’ve put it all together? Can you grasp the immensity of what I’ve created? Can you be my equal? Can you match my power, my ability to watch over & care for all this? What do you say, Job?”
“Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer – twice, but I will say no more.’” (Job 40:3–5) “Then Job replied to the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.’” (Job 42:1–2) Job gets it.
He’s been the water boy telling LeBron James how to dribble a basketball. Job has been the bat boy telling Babe Ruth how to hit a home run. Job has been the caddie telling Arnold Palmer how to use a nine iron. Job has been the clay, telling the Potter what to do.
Job surrenders. He stops pressing for an explanation from God & instead receives a revelation of God.
This God not only wraps Himself in a storm, but in the fullness of time he wrapped himself in a human body. Jesus took on flesh to take us into His arms, heal our hurts, & destroy our darkness. He became a human being, not to demonstrate the innocence of being an infant, but to live the life we could not, & to experience the Father’s judgment so we need not.
We don’t have a God who is distant, far off, or disconnected. We have a God who is with us, a God who speaks in the storm & becomes like us in Christ Jesus. Are you broken? He was broken. Are you hurting? He hurt. Do you cry? Jesus wept. God is fully present for us & is with us.
One day, in the light of glory, we’ll look back on the story Jesus has written in our lives, & the lives of all His people. Then, we shall declare, “He has done all things well.”
Job’s attitude began with a mixture of self-pity & self-assertion. As his life was
devastated by one calamity after another, Job sank into grief. Then, in spite of his wife’s advice to curse God & die, he insisted on defending his own innocence.
By contrast the attitude recommended by Job’s three friends was self-accusation: “Come on, Job,” they said, “admit that you’re suffering because of your sin. This is God’s judgment upon you; repent & it’ll soon turn out alright.” But Job refused to be bullied into signing a false confession. He was innocent.
Then the 4th friend, Elihu, appears on the scene & he urges upon Job yet another attitude to adopt, that of self-discipline. He pleads with Job to see that there is purpose in pain, not retribution but instruction, to recognize that in some measure this is God’s way of correcting us.
Finally it is God who speaks & the only attitude left open to Job is self-surrender, falling before God in reverence, awe & humility.
How about us? In our storm? I can give up on God. I can say He’s a fake & a phony &a fraud. Or I can receive the revelation & stop insisting on an explanation. Then I surrender, like Job. I declare my declaration of dependence.
What does that look like? Jesus gives us the words: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I dare to pray these words because a revelation of this God beats any explanation, any & every time. Amen.
Speak, O Lord, You servant listens, let Your Word to me come near; newborn life & spirit give me, let each promise still my fear. Death’s dread power, its inward strife, wars against Your Word of life; fill me, Lord, with love’s strong fervor that I cling to You forever. Amen. LSB 589:1
Pastor Dean R. Poellet