Sermon Quotes: "Out of the Whirlwind, God Speaks"

“‘Had I been present at creation I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.’ Those words are attributed to King Alphonso the Tenth, King of Spain in the thirteenth century, nicknamed ‘Alphonso the Learned.’ Alphonso was not the first human being to think he could run the universe better than God. The learned and wise Job has come to the conviction that he does not live in a well-run world. He has repeatedly questioned the wisdom with which the Almighty is governing the world. By implication he too considers he could have offered the Creator, ‘some useful hints’ for ordering the universe better-like not condemning a righteous man to misery for instance. I know nothing about King Alphonso, but I do know that, however learned he may have been, there were no ‘useful hints’ he could possibly have given the Creator to enable the universe to be better governed. Nor could Job. But how is he-and how are we, when we are tempted to feel the same-to be persuaded, deeply persuaded, of this?” Christopher Ash

“The author wants us to be in no doubt, God is called ‘Yahweh’ once again. Now the gracious Lord of the covenant promise of Abraham is speaking to this man from Uz. Now the God whose name ‘Yahweh’ is associated with his personal presence of care, steadfast love and faithfulness to the people of his covenant, this God speaks to Job.” David Atkinson

‘From the sublime to the ridiculous. It is hard to argue that this hilarious sketch of the ostrich serves any solemn didactic purpose. It is what it is, a silly bird, because God made it so. Why? This comical account suggests that amid the profusion of creatures some were made to be useful to men, but some are there just for God’s entertainment and ours.” Francis Anderson

“Job is ‘a faultfinder’ (that is, one who finds fault with the way God runs the world); he is one who ‘argues with God’ a man who has spoken and thought above himself and has seriously suggested that he could have given some useful hints to help God run the world better. Amazing and soberingly, to the man whose wealth God has confiscated, whose family God has taken away, whose greatness God has removed, and whose health God has ruined, God says in summary, ‘I have made no mistake. I know exactly what I am doing in your life and in every detail of the government of the world. My counsel is perfect. I have got nothing wrong.” Christopher Ash

“God gives no answer to Job’s questions, no apology for having been silent for so long, no hint about Satan’s wager, no apparent acknowledgement of Job’s struggle.” David Atkinson

“It is one of the many excellencies of the book that Job is brought to contentment without ever knowing all the facts of his case. In view of the way in which Satan brought up the matter, something had to be done to rescue Job from his slander. And the test would only work if Job did not know what it was for. God thrusts Job into an experience of dereliction to make it possible for Job to enter into a life of naked faith, to learn to love God for Himself alone. God does not seem to give this privilege to many people, for they pay a terrible price for suffering for their discoveries. But part of the discovery is to see the suffering itself as one of God’s most precious gifts. To withhold the full story from Job, even after the test was over keeps him walking by faith, not by sight. He does not say in the end, ‘Now I see it all.’ He never sees it all. He sees God (42:5).” Francis Anderson

“Job submits to God by acknowledging that the Lord is lovingly involved in the operations of an exceedingly complex universe. What Job now comprehends is that God and his mysterious providence are too wonderful to comprehend and that human perceptions of justice are not the scales upon which the righteousness of God is weighed. What he finally grasps is that ‘God has an inescapable purpose in whatever he does, even if that inescapable purpose is never revealed to the creature it affects. What Job finally saw clearly is that he could not see clearly. His intellectual problem remains unsolved but unimportant, for in the midst of extreme pain, Job is spiritually cured by the revelation of God. And that is enough to heat the coal of his human heart on the coldest, darkest night of his soul.” Douglas O’ Donnell

“In the darkest night of the soul Christians have something to hold onto that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God’s love they cannot escape the cross.” Don Carson