The Book of Job-Chapter Forty:
"Put Up or Shut Up"

The Lord continues His response to Job. But this, I think, is really a challenge to all of us. If there is one among us who can do all the things God does, he can step forward and speak to God as an equal. By contrast, those who can't should be still in His presence. I've found that God wants me and, frankly, He loves me. He loves you too. But He doesn't require our advice on ANY subject. He just doesn't need it and I know I've insulted Him many times by offering and preferring my ideas over His.

Verses 1-2: "Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it."  

Job and his friends have all, apparently, been insulting the Lord in their reactions to Job's troubles. I can relate to them. It's hard to be humble and patient (and sometimes quiet) when suffering or even the fear of possible suffering comes along. It can also be hard on a good day. But Job has been learning all along, as we've noted elsewhere. He's been taking baby steps, getting closer and closer- more close than ever before- to the God he has claimed to serve all along. Now we clearly see the spiritual fruit that has been born from his sorrows: 

Verses 3-5: "Then Job answered the LORD, and said,  Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further."

Wow! Job is ready now to listen carefully and God, very wonderfully, is ready to keep on speaking:

Verses 6-8: "Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,  Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.  Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?"

Too often, beloved, we play at church and worship only until something unpleasant happens. Then we begin to lose our respect for the Lord. I do this (I'm struggling with it at the time of this writing, in fact). That's why we need to remember Job, for sooner or later we all will suffer in many ways. And OUR faith will be shaken, and OUR spiritual weaknesses revealed. And like Job we will have to persevere. And hopefully we will cover our own mouths and surrender to Him anew as Job is finally doing right now.

Verse 9: "Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?"

Job thought the believer's covenant was to honor God in order to avoid trouble. His faith was rocked off its foundation when the troubles came anyway. The only way he could explain it was to find fault with God Himself.  But we have no standing to argue against Him. Listen:

Verse 10: "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty."

I think I see what the Lord is getting at: maybe it is envy that drives us to despise our Maker when calamity strikes. His Majesty, Excellence, Glory, and Beauty. . . hey, is the Lord hoarding something that should be mine? Why not me, why can't I have all that?

But His attributes aren't a hoard, they are a weapon. And one He wields well against all pride and wickedness.  

Verses 11-12: "Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place."

I can't do that. Why, I can barely fight my own wickedness. Even the best of our leaders and peace officers could never confront and defeat evil on any kind of universal scale (and would likely admit it). Until we can do that, until we can hold our ground against ALL comers and guarantee the ultimate triumph of Love and Goodness over pride and hate in Heaven and in earth we must hold our peace when God speaks.

Verses 13-14: "Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee."

As in the previous chapter practical examples from the natural world are being offered as windows into the power and knowledge of their Creator.

Verse 15: "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox."

Notice the Lord points out that this beast was something He made, as are we! It's all to humble Job. Does it humble you? He goes on:

Verses 16-18: "Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron."

I'm not sure what we've got here- some say hippo or elephant, others say maybe a dinosaur? Whatever this thing is, it is scary, right? It could be deadly to approach, no doubt.  But the Lord didn't make it and then run for cover. Even in all its strength, God is still its Master and Caretaker:

Verses 19-23: "He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth."

Take a good look, God says. This is a special creature, amazing and noteworthy (whatever it was).  A creature no man could tame and certainly that no man could create. A tribute to God's power and knowledge. Without the Lord's help, no one would ever catch this thing!

Verse 24: "He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares."

The mere sight of this beast should be enough to humble anybody. Especially those of us who begin at times to believe that we know more than Our Lord.

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