Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38: 4-7)
How wonderful the book of Job is! In it we find the full measure of human emotion, of human speculation, of human experience. And in chapters 38-41, we find what is possibly the most comprehensive description of God in the entire Bible. And from His own lips, no less. It is as if God takes time to paint a self-portrait, and through it we, like Job, come to a place where we begin to comprehend the sheer magnitude and glory of God.
I love reading those chapters. I love the power and poetry they contain, I love that our God takes the time – even if it is in the form of a rebuke – to define all that He is so that we can better understand both Him and ourselves. He paints for us the exquisite detail of His creation. We see the universe come into being, the stars set in the heavens, the seas tamed. We see the creatures, great and small, in absolute, minute perfection, and we see how God Himself sustains them all, and how Holds the entire universe in His hand.
The book of Job leaves absolutely no doubt as to what and who God is. Again, like Job, we can only respond with a humility born of revelation and awesome truth. This God, this almighty, omnipotent, omniscient God, the very essence of majesty and holiness, has chosen to not only love us, but to die for us so that we may come into His presence with a child-cry of ‘Abba, Father.’ How can we even begin to comprehend this, even partially?
How can we, when we read these chapters, remain focused on ourselves and our fleshly desires? How can we deny His sovereignty in our lives? How can we continue to live as mediocre Christians, content to kick our heels at the place of salvation and not willingly and joyfully move forward into the transformation required of us as Christ’s holy, perfect bride? Surely the King of Kings, there at the foundation of the world, deserves our all?
At the very least, this portrait should stir in us the words of Job himself: ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.’ How can we do less when we see this great and mighty God of ours, even in our limited understanding? The truth is, even as God was speaking from the whirlwind, He could have simply judged Job and punished him there and then. There is indeed a rebuke, but it’s purpose is to challenge both Job and us to alter our perspective. His desire is that we see with His eyes, hear with His ears, feel with His heart. He doesn’t have to take the trouble to explain. Yet still, in His mercy, God takes time to paint a self-portrait – just as He took the time to die on the cross. In the whirlwind He reveals Himself. In the cross He reveals the way to Himself.
How incredible is this gift? As I re-read these chapters, like Mary I must respond in songs of praise and adoration. I must join with the morning stars who sing together still, and all the sons of God who shout for joy.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Sovereign Lord, in my humanity I can see but a small portion of Your greatness, Your majesty and power and glory, yet I’m humbled by what I see. Forgive me for those moments where I lose sight of who You really are. Help me to set this self-portrait you have given before me always, so that I can remember your goodness and respond with a rejoicing heart and a spirit of continual praise and worship as is Your due.