Job 38

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, 2 “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man, for I will question you, then you answer me! 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measures, if you know? Or who stretched the line on it? 6 Whereupon were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 “Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke out of the womb, 9 when I made clouds its garment, and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 marked out for it my bound, set bars and doors, 11 and said, ‘Here you may come, but no further. Here your proud waves shall be stayed?’ 12 “Have you commanded the morning in your days, and caused the dawn to know its place; 13 that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and shake the wicked out of it? 14 It is changed as clay under the seal, and presented as a garment. 15 From the wicked, their light is withheld. The high arm is broken. 16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep? 17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? 18 Have you comprehended the earth in its width? Declare, if you know it all. 19 “What is the way to the dwelling of light? As for darkness, where is its place, 20 that you should take it to its bound, that you should discern the paths to its house? 21 Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great! 22 Have you entered the treasuries of the snow, or have you seen the treasures of the hail, 23 which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? 24 By what way is the lightning distributed, or the east wind scattered on the earth? 25 Who has cut a channel for the flood water, or the path for the thunderstorm; 26 to cause it to rain on a land where no man is; on the wilderness, in which there is no man; 27 to satisfy the waste and desolate ground, to cause the tender grass to grow? 28 Does the rain have a father? Or who fathers the drops of dew? 29 Out of whose womb came the ice? The grey frost of the sky, who has given birth to it? 30 The waters become hard like stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen. 31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loosen the cords of Orion? 32 Can you lead the constellations out in their season? Or can you guide the Bear with her cubs? 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you establish its dominion over the earth? 34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover you? 35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are?’ 36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who has given understanding to the mind? 37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of the sky, 38 when the dust runs into a mass, and the clods of earth stick together? 39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lioness, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40 when they crouch in their dens, and lie in wait in the thicket? 41 Who provides for the raven his prey, when his young ones cry to God, and wander for lack of food?

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–3

Job had silenced, but had not convinced his friends. Elihu had silenced Job, but had not brought him to admit his guilt before God. It pleased the Lord to interpose. The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God’s providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God’s being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God’s knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God’s almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God’s wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord.

Verses 4–11

For the humbling of Job, God here shows him his ignorance, even concerning the earth and the sea. As we cannot find fault with God’s work, so we need not fear concerning it. The works of his providence, as well as the work of creation, never can be broken; and the work of redemption is no less firm, of which Christ himself is both the Foundation and the Corner-stone. The church stands as firm as the earth.

Verses 12–24

The Lord questions Job, to convince him of his ignorance, and shame him for his folly in prescribing to God. If we thus try ourselves, we shall soon be brought to own that what we know is nothing in comparison with what we know not. By the tender mercy of our God, the Day-spring from on high has visited us, to give light to those that sit in darkness, whose hearts are turned to it as clay to the seal, 2Co 4:6. God’s way in the government of the world is said to be in the sea; this means, that it is hid from us. Let us make sure that the gates of heaven shall be opened to us on the other side of death, and then we need not fear the opening of the gates of death. It is presumptuous for us, who perceive not the breadth of the earth, to dive into the depth of God’s counsels. We should neither in the brightest noon count upon perpetual day, nor in the darkest midnight despair of the return of the morning; and this applies to our inward as well as to our outward condition. What folly it is to strive against God! How much is it our interest to seek peace with him, and to keep in his love!

Verses 25–41

Hitherto God had put questions to Job to show him his ignorance; now God shows his weakness. As it is but little that he knows, he ought not to arraign the Divine counsels; it is but little he can do, therefore he ought not to oppose the ways of Providence. See the all-sufficiency of the Divine Providence; it has wherewithal to satisfy the desire of every living thing. And he that takes care of the young ravens, certainly will not be wanting to his people. This being but one instance of the Divine compassion out of many, gives us occasion to think how much good our God does, every day, beyond what we are aware of. Every view we take of his infinite perfections, should remind us of his right to our love, the evil of sinning against him, and our need of his mercy and salvation.

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