The Difference Between God and Man
As the book of Job comes to an end, God reveals Himself to His questioning servant is a most profound way. He highlights-unquestionably-the vast differences between He and His creation. As we read through the text, three areas of difference immediately come to light.
First, there is God's power verses man's weakness. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements-surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?" (38:4-11). God is seen as the Progenitor-the source of all things. All that is has its place because He ordained it to be. He speaks in the following verses about His placing of light and darkness, control of the elements and all creatures. While man may view himself as mighty at times, able to accomplish much, in the face of God's full glory, we can only-like Job-bow our heads in shame.
Then, there is God's knowledge verse man's ignorance. "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young? Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open; they go out and do not return to them" (39:1-4). God reminded Job of his and all mankind's inability to understand the true nature of things. This was very apparent in the very reading of this book-none of the participants (Job or any of his friends) really had a clue what was going on in the real, spiritual world, but all spoke with a false degree of authority regarding why things were going as they were. None knew the truth. We would do well to learn this lesson, especially when trying to understand things like suffering and hardships.
Finally, there is God's sovereignty verses man's lack of control. "Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you" (40:10-14). Hurricanes, floods, droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, injustices and evil-all these remind us that we are not in control of anything. God stands alone as the one with the power and knowledge to be called the Sovereign One!
By the end of the book, Job is a humbled man. He accepted without question God's right to do whatever He chooses. How do you sum up a book like Job? I'm not sure I know! It is extremely challenging. Job laid some pretty hard questions at God, and in our study today God defends Himself mightily. Yet in chapter 42, He rewarded Job, so apparently he didn't cross an irreversible line. Job's friends all make excellent points protecting God's honor, yet they seem to act without compassion and with judgmental attitudes toward their suffering brother, and in doing so, incurred God's anger.
There is really one thing very clear as we come to the conclusion: God is God, and man is not. We must trust in His power, knowledge, and sovereignty, all governed by His goodness, even when filled with questions as we often are. Perhaps Paul's oft-read words in Romans 8:28 are a fitting close to this book, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together of good, for those who are called according to this purpose" (Romans 8:28).