God Speaks (Part 1)
Scripture: Job 38:1–38:41, Job 40:1–40:5
Key Truth: Our theology grows and is established through humbly wrestling with God in relationship and His revelation.
Q: How do you define and view theology?
“Job and his friends think that they know how the cosmos is ordered (the [Retribution Principle] with justice as the foundation). God will eventually demonstrate that their model is flawed. God’s perspective on the foundation of the cosmos is based on causes (all instigated by him), not on effects (what humans experience). There is no foundational principle that runs the cosmos. The cosmos runs by God’s continuous and ongoing activity. It is dynamic because he is dynamic; this is why he acts according to circumstance and not by a rigid set of strictures.”
John H. Walton, Job: The NIV Application Commentary
God’s Invitation: Of Darkened Counsel and Wrestling
“Amazingly, Yahweh ignores Job’s complaints and avoids making a direct response to his avowal of innocence, and contrary to the friends’ expectations, he does not reprove Job for some wrongdoing. Rather he addresses Job like a teacher instructing a student who fails to understand an important matter, for he wishes to open up for him new ways of understanding the created order and his wise care of that order.”
John E. Hartley, The Book of Job
Q: How do you wrestle with the things of God? What has most shaped your theology?
God’s Plan: Of the Earth, the Heavens, and the Animal Kingdom:
“Utility is not the primary reason for God’s action; the creative breath of God is inspired by beauty and joy. Job is invited to sing with Yahweh the wonders of creation- without forgetting that the source of it all is the free and gratuitous love of God.”
Gustavo Gutierrez, On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent
Q: What have you learned about God from creation?
God’s and Job’s Closing Remarks: Of Faultfinders and Covered Mouths:
“(Job) had been made aware of a need which he did not previously know to exist- a need of instruction, a need of succor, which craved a heavenly gift that had before been unsought because the necessity which required it had not been felt. He was now in a state of readiness to welcome a new divine communication; and this had been brought about by the trials through he had passed.”
William Henry Green, Conflict and Triumph: The Argument of the Book of Job Unfolded
Q: Have you ever been wrong about what you believed about God? How has this affected your approach to and declaration of theology?
Job 38:1-40:5 teaches us that:
- theological understanding requires arduous wrestling with God
-Creation reveals God’s intricate care and sovereign governance in wisdom and justice
-we should submit to what God has revealed and be humble in declaring our theology
“The Lord is suggesting to Job that His providence over Job’s own life is even more subtle and majestic than these easier questions which God proposes and which cannot begin to answer, questions about the construction of the world (verses 4-15), the courses of the heavenly bodies (verses 31-38), the marvels of earth and sea (verses 16-30), and animal life (38:39-39:30). Utterly surrounded by things that he cannot understand, will Job still demand to know mysteries even more mysterious?”
Patrick Henry Reardon, The Trial of Job