God has confronted Job face-to-whirlwind. He couldn’t do face-to-face and Job survive. God’s answer silenced Job. He covered his mouth with his hand.
Job’s ‘conversation with God’ didn’t go exactly as he had planned. He envisioned himself standing before God and presenting his case and God repenting of His mistake of afflicting Job.
“I was perfect and You treated me like the wicked! That’s not FAIR!”
“So sorry, of course you’re right. Let me fix that right now.”
NOT how it happened! Job learned even more respect for God that day. He had a clearer picture of God’s majesty and he saw himself rightly, maybe for the first time ever. “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer You?” (verse 4a).
This does NOT mean that God looks down on us like ants that are insignificant and He doesn’t need to concern Himself with. He LOVES us and desires a personal relationship with EACH of us. If it were not so He would have wiped us off the face of the planet and started over a LONG time ago. There would have been no reason for Him to sacrifice His Son, if not for His love of us. We are precious in His sight.
But just like a parent interacting with his child, there has to be respect for the relationship to work. Job was demonstrating a rebellious attitude in trying to tell God that He didn’t know what He was doing. That doesn’t go over well in any ‘parent-child’, ‘teacher-student’ or ‘created-Creator’ relationship.
I find it interesting that Job didn’t put his hand over his mouth immediately and KEEP it there. Instead, he reminded God that he had said his piece. “I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further” (verse 5). Was this stubbornness; trying to get God to recognize his earlier protests?
It reminds me of a conversation my mother related to me that happened between her and my oldest brother. When it came time that my parents were ready to buy him his first vehicle, he asked for a motorcycle. My mom reminded him that he wouldn’t be able to take more than one friend at a time with him this way. He insisted that he was fine with that, so they granted his wish. Later, as it turns out, to get around the ‘one friend at a time’ problem he would simply ask to borrow the car. Often his wish was granted.
One day he had an accident on his motorcycle. It wasn’t a serious one but it did do a little bit of damage to the faring (windshield and headlight area), or so he believed. That evening my mom was to pick me up from the bus station as I was coming home for a visit. My brother decided to ask for the car that same evening. My mother told him no because she needed it. He tried telling her that he needed to take more than one friend with him, but that didn’t sway her. He then ‘reminded’ her that he had ‘wrecked’ his motorcycle earlier. She still wouldn’t relent. Finally, in parting, he said, “FINE. If the fairing falls off it’s your fault.” And he rode his motorcycle anyway.
This was him blaming her for problems of his own making, just like Job was doing with God. It didn’t do my brother any more good than it did Job. The ‘authority’ does NOT have to bow down to the one under him/her demands.
Actually, that is at the root of a LOT of the problems in our world today. There were no hard and fast lines and no respect for authority. Those in ‘authority’ (especially parents) seeded their control to the ones they were supposed to govern and teach. The children have become the rulers of the home. But that is a topic for another day.
Job’s final reply to God is going to get him a second ‘speech’ from God. God WILL get Job straightened out. He does NOT give up on His children, no matter what it takes to get them to listen.
Father God, I see myself as a rebellious child too in this story. After thinking about my brother’s story I was prompted by the memory of myself as a child. Sometimes I would shut my mouth IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER but would open it in anger when I reached a place I thought no one could hear me. I can still hear, “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU” whispered from my lips when I didn’t get my way. I didn’t truly hate my mother. I was angry that I didn’t get my way. Forgive me Father for that rebellious heart. (And forgive me mom too please.)
I STILL have much to learn in terms of always listening and not ‘talking back’, but I’m willing to work on it with You. YOU are God and I am NOT. YOU know what is best and necessary in my life. And I trust You to bring about whatever is needed to draw me closer to You.