Jehovah’s First Words from the Whirlwind (38:1 – 40:2)
Job had repeatedly expressed his wish that he might have an audience before God, an opportunity to plead his case (see Job 13:15, 18, 22; 23:3-7; 31:35). At long last, Job’s wish was fulfilled. God broke His silence and spoke directly and audibly to Job from the midst of a whirlwind (38:1-3).
God’s speech to Job is the longest conversation in the Bible in which God speaks. But rather than God taking the witness stand to be examined and questioned by Job, Job takes the stand and is examined by God (God asked Job over 70 questions).
Interestingly, God did not address any of Job’s questions or concerns about God’s fairness. Neither did God reveal to Job what took place between Himself and Satan at the beginning of the book. Instead, God asked Job a series of questions concerning the created order.
God asked Job to tell him where he was when the earth was created (38:4-7) and the oceans were birthed (38:8-11). God had no recollection of Job being present when He created the world. God asked Job if he had ever commanded the sun to shine in the morning (38:12-15). God asked Job if he had ever explored the subterranean springs far below the surface of the earth (38:16-17).
The implication is clear: “Job, you were not present at creation, nor do you understand how the oceans and rivers and lakes were assigned their place, nor have you ever commanded the sun to rise and run its course, nor have you searched out the springs that are below the ocean floor. How then, can you possibly understand the greater workings of My moral order? How can I explain to you why I have allowed this time of suffering in your life? If you cannot understand the lesser things, how can you understand the greater?”
God continued to question Job by asking him if he knew where the sun went at night and where the darkness went during the day (38:19-20). “Surely you can tell Me, Job,” said God, “after all, weren’t you around when light was called into being?” (38:21). Job was certainly in the dark about that question!
God asked Job if he knew where the snow, hail, lightning, and wind were stored (38:22-24). He asked Job if he could tell the rain where to pour and the lightning where to strike (38:25-30). God asked Job if he could control the course of the stars and planets (38:31-33). The obvious answer was no, only God can control the movements of celestial bodies. If then, God can control the course of planets, He can certainly be trusted to control the course of our lives.
God asked Job if he could command the clouds to deposit the rain or instruct the lightning concerning where to strike (38:34-38). Again, the obvious answer was no. Those are things that only God can do.
So far, Job had been unable to answer any of God’s questions. But God was not through. God continued by asking Job if he could feed the animals of the earth when there was no food available (38:39-41). God said that He was able to care for the animals and provide for their needs. Certainly, then, God could be trusted to care for man. Job did not answer!
God’s questions exposed the inadequacy of human wisdom.