Job
Introduction 1-4 The Vanity of Bildad’s Words 5-6 God Dominates the Depths 7-13 God Rules over the Universe 14 There Is Much More
Introduction

After his answer to Bildad (verses 1-41Then Job responded,
2“What a help you are to the weak!
How you have saved the arm without strength!
3“What counsel you have given to [one] without wisdom!
What helpful insight you have abundantly provided!
4“To whom have you uttered words?
And whose spirit was expressed through you?
) Job describes the greatness of God even more impressively and widely than Bildad (verses 5-145“The departed spirits tremble
Under the waters and their inhabitants.
6“Naked is Sheol before Him,
And Abaddon has no covering.7“He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
8“He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
And the cloud does not burst under them.
9“He obscures the face of the full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.
10“He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness.
11“The pillars of heaven tremble
And are amazed at His rebuke.
12“He quieted the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.
13“By His breath the heavens are cleared;
His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.14“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;
And how faint a word we hear of Him!
But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”
).


The Vanity of Bildad’s Words

1Then Job responded,
2“What a help you are to the weak!
How you have saved the arm without strength!
3“What counsel you have given to [one] without wisdom!
What helpful insight you have abundantly provided!
4“To whom have you uttered words?
And whose spirit was expressed through you?

Job responds to Bildad (verse 11Then Job responded,
). His answer sounds sarcastic. In his speeches he has shown how he searches for justification, but Bildad says in cold blood that this is not possible. Job acknowledges that he is someone who has no power, that he is weak (verse 22“What a help you are to the weak!
How you have saved the arm without strength!
). But what a great help he has received from Bildad. His arm hung down powerless, but fortunately, Bildad was there to redeem him. Such a friend brings you something. And then the counsel Bildad gave to the poor Job who lacked wisdom (verse 33“What counsel you have given to [one] without wisdom!
What helpful insight you have abundantly provided!
). Bildad has not been frugal with it, but has “abundantly provided” insight. Job says as it were: ‘I know nothing, of course. But what a wonderful light have you shed over my situation. It’s all clear now, you know.’

But to whom did Bildad actually reveal his words (verse 44“To whom have you uttered words?
And whose spirit was expressed through you?
)? Bildad has spoken all his words to a man in deep distress. What he said did not help Job and give him strength and certainly did not relieve his misery, but increased his suffering. Instead of oil and wine they sprinkled salt in his wounds. Bildad’s words have not helped to solve the dark enigma of his present suffering. All the words said to Job by his friends have been misplaced and have proved the bankruptcy of their wisdom.

And what is the origin of Bildad’s words? What spirit prompted them, and went out from him in the words he spoke? It is clear that Bildad is not a messenger of God. The speeches of Bildad and his friends were not inspired by God, but by their own thoughts about God. Bildad’s speech breathes the spirit of Eliphaz (Job 4:1717‘Can mankind be just before God?
Can a man be pure before his Maker?
). What the friends said does not correspond in any way to how God really deals with a man who is immersed in suffering. Therefore God’s wrath also ignites against the friends (Job 42:7-97It came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.8Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you [according to your] folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”9So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite [and] Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job.).


God Dominates the Depths

5“The departed spirits tremble
Under the waters and their inhabitants.
6“Naked is Sheol before Him,
And Abaddon has no covering.

Bildad has spoken about God’s greatness in the heights, Job here speaks about God’s greatness in the depths. It relates to demonic powers, to the Sheol, the realm of death, and its inhabitants (verse 55“The departed spirits tremble
Under the waters and their inhabitants.
). The lost are also under the power of God. We do not see them, they are in Abaddon, the place of destruction, but they are not beyond His sight. He sees them and knows them in full.

In His time they will rise up trembling. Wherever they may be, He will call them forth by His power to judge them (Rev 20:1313And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one [of them] according to their deeds.). In the kingdom of the dead it is not satan who reigns, but God (Psa 139:88If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
; Phil 2:1010so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,). Everything is open to God, including the realm of death; nothing is hidden from Him (verse 66“Naked is Sheol before Him,
And Abaddon has no covering.
; Pro 15:1111Sheol and Abaddon [lie open] before the LORD,
How much more the hearts of men!
; Heb 4:1313And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.).


God Rules over the Universe

7“He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
8“He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
And the cloud does not burst under them.
9“He obscures the face of the full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.
10“He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness.
11“The pillars of heaven tremble
And are amazed at His rebuke.
12“He quieted the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.
13“By His breath the heavens are cleared;
His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.

Job continues his description of the greatness of God, now looking north and upward (verse 77“He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
). He sees the vast expanse of the universe. He looks north – the place from which God reigns (Isa 14:13-1413“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
) – the northern ceiling of the heavens, which is like a curtain overhanging the expanse. In that vast expanse of emptiness, where nothing can be hanged on, the earth hangs. God has hung the globe “on nothing”.

That the earth “hangs” is an established fact. If Scripture mentions anything about creation, it is God’s truth. Scientific ‘truth’ is different. Scientific language is quickly outdated. Scientific conclusions have to be rewritten regularly because new insights destroy the previous ones. The Bible, inspired by God and therefore faultless, is not written in scientific language, but in everyday language and never needs to be changed. Everything God has said remains current for all ages and generations (2Tim 3:16-1716All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.).

Thus God also wraps up the waters together in the clouds (verse 88“He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
And the cloud does not burst under them.
; cf. Pro 30:44Who has ascended into heaven and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know!
), without the cloud tearing through its weight. It is God who gathers the fumes of the earth into thick clouds, as it were the jars of heaven (Job 38:3737“Who can count the clouds by wisdom,
Or tip the water jars of the heavens,
). It is His way of giving rain on earth wherever He wills (cf. Jer 10:1313When He utters His voice, [there is] a tumult of waters in the heavens,
And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain,
And brings out the wind from His storehouses.
; Psa 104:33He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
).

Above the clouds is God’s throne (verse 99“He obscures the face of the full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.
; cf. Psa 97:22Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
). Of course this is meant to be symbolic, because even without clouds the throne of God is invisible. The throne is the center from which creation is ruled (cf. Job 1:6-126Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.7The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”8The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”9Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing?10Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.11But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.”12Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.). Man, with all his knowledge and ability, is incapable of discovering Him. He also excludes God in his research into the origin and progress of the universe. He is willfully ignorant (2Pet 3:55For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God [the] heavens existed long ago and [the] earth was formed out of water and by water,). As a result, he has fallen into the foolishness of evolution theory.

God not only controls the water above the earth’s surface, but also the water on the earth’s surface (verse 1010“He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness.
). The water above the earth is held by God in clouds. The water on earth is held by God within the limits set by Him (Psa 104:99You set a boundary that they may not pass over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.
; Jer 5:22b22‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the LORD.
‘Do you not tremble in My presence?
For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea,
An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it.
Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail;
Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.
).

Also in another sense God has drawn a boundary over the surface of the water. That boundary is the horizon. We become aware of this when we stand on the shore of an ocean. If we look into the distance, we see the horizon. We cannot look any further. There is the boundary between the light sky and the dark sea, the boundary between the water in the cloud sky and the water in the sea.

Also the impressive, massive, unshakable mountains, rising high above the landscape and touching the heaven, are under His authority (verse 1111“The pillars of heaven tremble
And are amazed at His rebuke.
). They are poetically called “the pillars of heaven”, as if the heaven is resting on them. But when He rebukes them, and we might think of an earthquake, they tremble (Exo 19:1818Now Mount Sinai [was] all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.). Of all that imposing nothing remains. Only His majesty above all else is permanent.

Then there is also His power in the wind with which He whips up the sea (verse 1212“He quieted the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.
; Psa 107:2525For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
; Isa 51:1515For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name).; Jer 31:3535Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for light by day
And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
The LORD of hosts is His name:
). With the same authority He also restrains the wind and causes “the storm to be still” (Psa 107:2929He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
). What is attributed to God here we see the Lord Jesus doing in the Gospels (Mt 8:2626He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.; Mk 4:3939And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.). It is one of the many proofs that the Lord Jesus is God.

God is not only great in His omnipotence and majesty, but also in His clearness (verse 1313“By His breath the heavens are cleared;
His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.
). The Spirit of God gives that clearness in heaven. We see the clearness of the sky, the clouds, the heavenly bodies. David is deeply impressed by it: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained” (Psa 8:33When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
). God creates, controls and delivers (Isa 27:11In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
With His fierce and great and mighty sword,
Even Leviathan the twisted serpent;
And He will kill the dragon who [lives] in the sea.
; Rev 20:22And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;).

That clearness was lost by “the quick [or: fleeing] serpent”, the devil (Rev 12:99And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.), when he brought sin into the world. But God is in Christ the Victor over the devil. He will renew the surface of the earth (Psa 104:3030You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.
) and restore creation to its original clearness. Then the devil will be bound and the corruption of creation will be taken away (Rom 8:2121that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.).


There Is Much More

14“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;
And how faint a word we hear of Him!
But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”

After all that has been said about the heavens and the earth, it must also be said that these are but part of His ways. It is, so to speak, only the glory of the hem of His garments (Isa 6:11In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.). In creation only “His eternal power and divine nature” are seen (Rom 1:2020For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.). These are the limits of God’s power that a man can see. He cannot see any further. Reality is so much greater than a man can comprehend, let alone describe it. In order to see more, man needs the revelation of the Spirit.

The language God speaks in creation is clear and overwhelming (Psa 19:2-72Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
4Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
6Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
). They are visual words. Yet they say so little compared to the fullness that is in Him. In comparison with Who God really is, they are merely whispering words. If these “fringes of His ways” show us only a glimpse of His infinite power, how could anyone understand “His mighty thunder”? Here Job means the full unfolding of the power of God.

Man is incapable of understanding God’s power. Who is not impressed by an approaching thunderstorm with deafening thunderclaps and blinding flashes of light? But what do we actually understand of the power of God Who controls it? If God showed His full power, man would be blown away, wiped out, crushed and consumed.

The New Testament believer is able to see more of God than just His eternal power and divine nature. He has received the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit he is able to know the thoughts of God, “for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1Cor 2:1010For to us God revealed [them] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.). Children of God can behold God’s glory in Christ, the “glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1414And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.).


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