I’ve heard it said that everyone is either in a storm, entering a storm, or coming out of storm.
Life is full of storms. And people are full of opinions about how to go through them—such as Job’s friends.
The book of Job is full of such opinions and they were all wrong. All that merely human wisdom about the causes of Job’s suffering were mistaken. Their theological confidence was no substitute for theological correctness.
By the end of Job, after being exhausted by these long speeches, you find it is finally God’s turn to speak.
God shows up in a storm.
Since Job’s life was a whirlwind of pain and doubt and suffering, it is appropriate that God appeared in the storm, and spoke out of it.
We all need God to speak out of the storm, metaphorically speaking.
And when God speaks, He confirms what the reader has suspected all along—that the reasons, rationalizations, speculations, and imaginations of Job’s friends didn’t shed any light on Job’s real situation at all. It was all so much mud-slinging:
“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2).
Words without knowledge.
The length of the speeches did not make up for their ignorance about how the world really worked, and what was really going on in Job’s suffering.
However, God does not exactly set the record straight.
Instead of answering Job’s questions about why he’s suffering, God instead probes Job with questions highlighting the extreme limitations of Job’s knowledge about creation. Was Job at the founding of the earth? No. Does he understand the stars? No. Does he even know when the goats give birth? Again no. What about Behemoth and Leviathan? Lord, let’s not even go there.
Job is very definitely put in his place.
What was God purpose?
Some commentators think (uncharitably) that, instead of answering Job’s questions, God was effectively bullying him into submission with a show of power. They say God was reminding Job of how small and weak and dumb he is compared to God, so instead of complaining, he should just hush up.
I don’t think that’s the right takeaway.
I think God was teaching a different lesson.
Yes, God was demonstrating how little Job knew, and the smallness of his role in the grand scheme of things.
But more than that, God was emphasizing how great He is. Why is that important?
I think God was saying, “Job, trust that I am wise, even if you don’t understand all that I’m doing.”