Job 38 CEV – The LORD SpeaksFrom Out of a Storm – Bible Gateway
NOTE TO READERS FOLLOWING THE LECTIONARY: I have decided to skip to Saurday’s reading and those that follow, leaving out most of chapters 34-37 of Job which simply repeat what’s already been said.
FACE TO FACE WITH SATURN’S NORTH POLE
Job 38 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Lord Speaks
From Out of a Storm
38 From out of a storm,
8 When the ocean was born,
Did You Ever Tell the Sun To Rise?
12 Did you ever tell the sun to rise?
16 Job, have you ever walked
The author depicts God doing the traditional thing of speaking out of a storm as He did to Moses. This identifies Him as the God of Sinai, the God of Israel, the giver of the Torah. In other words the author insists that he’s dealing with the One God whom Israel worships as the Creator. This is not a new God but a new understanding of God. Job has accused the Creator God of injustice and demanded a hearing. Now he gets a reply that evens things up: he has questioned God; now God questions Job, who has imagined he has enough understanding to judge God’s management
The terrible questions now undermine Job’s certainty. How do you create a world? How do you anchor it in the primeval ocean? How do you orgainse the sunlight which exposes the landscape and its inhabitants? Can you dive under the ocean, walk on its floor, explore the land of the dead? The author’s cosmology is different from ours, but the force of his questions is undiminished. From what we do know about the universe, we can glimpse the huge amount we don’t and can’t know. If with our present sciences we undertsand something of cosmic evolution and a bit more about the evolution of life on earth, can we even begin to imagine the wisdom of its Creator?
The book of Job does not support theories of intelligent design because these reduce the work of creation to something that fits human prejudice. When the Lord speaks, that is, when the Lord ceases to be just the object of a religious tradition and becomes the active subject of his own creative action, the believer realises that the word “create”, taken from the work of human fabricators, is only a pointer to the nature of God and not a definition. We know what it is to make a pot, but what is it to make a universe?
How does this sort of revelation take place? It’s not some kind of mystical experience for Job. He has pushed his questions and now suddenly he is pushed by a savagely sarcastic, questioning presence-“Were you there? Doubtless you know?” Atheists will say that Job experiences the realty of the universe, which dissolves his certainties, and there’s an important truth there. God’s questions in this drama come from the author’s capacity to imagine the extent of the universe and the strangeness of its life. But the author does not see this as simply human knowledge. Rather he makes God speak to Job through his creation, which is an active process, full of energy, mastery and wisdom. God is a mystery, not because you can say nothing about Him but precisely because you can say,” He is the creator of the universe.”
The language of the drama tells us one more crucial truth about the creator: he/she delights in creation and in creative process, just like any creative worker. This delight of God is also found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, at the baptism of Jesus, “You are my son, the beloved. I am delighted with you.” Christians believe that God’s delight in Jesus extends to all creatures. Jewish faith has always found this delight in the first chapter of Genesis, “And God saw it, that it was good.”
The fierce joy of the Creator is the theme of these last chapters of Job.