Job 40: Say No More
December 22, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Now Job digs himself out from under his bedclothes, peers over the covers, and dares to utter a word to the Lord God. What he says is wise indeed and shows his character:
“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.’” (40:3-5)
Job realizes he has nothing to say that is worth saying. How can he answer God’s questions! How can he reply to a divine inquisition! What hope is there for him to be able to utter a word in answer to the Divine Being himself!
Perhaps you have many questions. There is a place for questions. If we did not ask questions, we would not find answers. The route to many discoveries is an inquisitive mind, and it is in no way wrong to ask the hard questions about God, life, the universe and everything. Where would we be if no one had asked a question about why things fall to the earth (gravity), or why it is that birds fly and what we can do to emulate it (airplanes), or how to turn mini-explosions into energy to drive forward wheels (internal combustion engine). Questioning minds are often minds that find answers—or at least they are more likely to find answers than those who do not question. Christianity is not afraid of hard questions. It is a faith that thrives in the light, not in darkness, and it embraces the search for truth, the life of the mind, and aims to love God with heart, soul, and mind as well.
But there is also a point when we must lay down our questions. There are times when we realize that what we are asking has been asked enough and there is no answer coming—and perhaps it is because in our finitude and temporality, the answer is not something we can grasp. Suffering does have some answers to it. As we shall see, it points to the cross, and at the cross we see the answer of Christ crucified for our sins. We worship the God with scars on his hands.
But while there are some answers to suffering—deeper and better than can be offered anywhere else—within the frame of the Christian faith, there is something about suffering (and evil) which goes beyond the bounds of human comprehension. Evil, by its very nature, is not susceptible to logic. Trying rationally to understand evil is like to trying to paint a sound or sing a color. There is no rationality to evil by its definition. It defies reason and runs counter to logic. No, suffering (even our own real personal painful suffering) is not the sort of thing that we can finally understand. It is something that we must finally release into the scarred hands of the Lord, who took suffering that we might embrace his life and love.
Beyond that—and while there is certainly much more to say about that—but beyond that, there is wisdom in Job’s reply.
“I spoke once, but I have no answer — twice, but I will say no more” (40:5).
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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