Job 38:1-11

 

Way back in chapter 30, verse 20, of this long book of Job we hear Job say, “I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.”  Eight long chapters before the words before us this morning, Job was asking his questions and it seemed to him God wasn’t answering.  God just stood there silently and looked at Job.   And then in chapter 31 Job lamented, “Oh, that I had someone to hear me!  I sign now my defense---let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.” (31:35)

 

The Q and A thing wasn’t working so far as Job was concerned.  Job was questioning God; God wasn’t answering him.

 

God had his idea about this all  too.  “Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.  He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?  Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”

 

“So, you think you are so smart?” our God says when we figure the Q is about us and the A is about him.  That is not so.  It is the reverse that is true.  God asks the questions.  We need to give the answers.

 

GOD’S Q; OUR A

1. What about my resolves?

2. What about my requirements?

3. What about my restraints?

 

1. What about my resolves?

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  That is our God questioning us about his resolves.  Do we get them?  Do we understand them?  Do we accept them?

 

The words tell us that our God doesn’t ask us for advice when he does things.  He just does them because he wills and knows to do them.  He resolves it.  No where does God come and ask us if we think his way is a good idea or not.  In fact, the Prophet Isaiah reminds us all that the Lord promises, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:18,19)

 

The words of God’s question, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand” don’t allow us the luxury of being included in God’s initial planning…or his subsequent planning for that matter.   The question on our parts that whines, “Why did you do it that way, Lord?” is an invalid question.  That was Job’s question all through his book.  Finally, the Father taps his toe impatiently and brings everyone up short with his question, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.

 

God resolved to create the world…just like he created it.  He resolved to create you too.  Just like he created you, with just that mix of intelligence and height and physical and emotional makeup.  He resolved to put you where he put you.  He resolved to give you your husband or your wife, your children or your lack of children.  He resolved that your house should be your house and your salary your salary.  He resolved that you should have certain strengths and certain weaknesses.  He didn’t resolve that you should be sinful but in a sinful world he did allow you to have weaknesses of eyesight or hearing or constitution.  It was his business and his resolve.  It really isn’t for you to question any of this.  He didn’t ask---and doesn’t ask---your opinion.  

 

Aren’t you glad?  Aren’t you glad God can be God and you don’t have to be?  You wouldn’t do a good job of it.  Would you think you could have improved on his creation?  Other than perhaps thinking you could make it cooler these days when “Hotter than the Fourth of July” is taking on a new meaning, do you really suppose you could do it better?  Remember, it is God who resolves.  He is master of the Q.  He owns the Q.

 

So on this 5th of July to everyone living in the United States and the whole world, this Lord God of everything has some Qs ready for you and everyone else.  It is even a special thing that he asks you because he has resolved to love you already before this world even came into being.  “What do you think of my Son Jesus?” this eternally loving God questions you.  And a great A from you would be to say, “He’s my Savior.  He’s the only one who saves me from myself and from circumstances and from a rightful eternity in hell.  That’s my answer to the question the Father asks.”  And listen to some more questions this God of ours surely asks us:  “Isn’t Jesus great?”  “Don’t you love my Son, Jesus?”  “Don’t you appreciate hearing what it is he has done for you and what I am promising you through him?”  “Isn’t my grace amazing?  The song says it that way, do you?”  

 

2. What about my requirements?

And what about God’s requirements?  They are here in the questions he asks Job.  What about the requirements?  “Who marked off its dimensions?  Surely you know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?”

 

God made the specifications.  He says that the body wasn’t meant for sexual immorality.  That is one thing he specified.  When the body is used for sexual immorality, as it often is these days, then bad things happen.  It is possible to misuse the body God has given you.  When medical science tells you about cholesterol and high blood pressure and heart disease and the benefits of exercise and not eating tons of fat, nor pounds of sugar, it is agreeing with God’s specifications.  The human mind on worry and stress and coveting goes quickly bad.  Life gets poisoned.  There are passages the Lord gives to specify specifications.  Cast anxiety and care on him…don’t covet things not yours…be content with your wages and your circumstances.

 

God made the dimensions.  He determined how things were going to be…he still does.  He determined how it was we are saved.  He determined to send his Son.  John 3:16 was a recipe, a spec book.  Look at Jesus.  Know Jesus.  Believe Jesus.  Be saved by Jesus.  Spend eternity with Jesus.  And these are specifications that our Father follows.  To the nth degree.  He binds himself by his specifications to love us.  As long as seedtime and harvest remain, as long as summer and winter and cold and heat…he will not send another Flood.  That was his promise and specification.  To all who believe on him he gives power to become the children of God.  The one who is baptized and believes will be saved.  He puts our sins as far as the east is from the west.  Do you hear the dimensions there?  He tells us about the four dimensions of his love…”how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge---that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  You can’t help but hear the dimensions there…spoken by the God who laid the foundations of the world and who then asks if you were there?

 

So on this 5th day of July, what about God’s requirements and specifications and dimensions?  It is God’s Q.  What about his commandments?  And Americans at this time of their independence celebration should not think they are independent of their God or his ways.  To the one who thinks he is free from God’s dimensions in his life the proper A is what Martin Luther puts as the conclusion to the commandments.  “God promises to bless all who love him and keep his commandments.”  

 

3. What about my restraints?

And finally, God’s Q is: “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt?’”

 

There was a time when God raised up judges in the Old Testament, a wild and wooly time, when everyone did what they did and didn’t care.  The Bible says about that time, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  No restraints.  And in that same lawless spirit  the bumper sticker for today says, “Keep your laws off my body.”  And people find God’s commandments galling.  The commandments are there to curb and to check and to restrain the gross outbreaks of sins.  The surf of sin is still crashing at our shores.  That is for sure.  Listen to it.   See it.

 

Is there any stopping evil these days?  Is there any stopping what we see happening all around us in the decay and destruction of good things and right things and honorable things?  That is a Q.  Really, it isn’t our Q.  It is God’s.  He wants us to remember when we consider evil, “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness?”  Who can stop the tsunami?  A: God can.  And God will.

 

Know that there is a God in heaven who asks his questions still.  There is a God in heaven who still restrains the sea…and sin.  If it weren’t so we would have all perished.  But it is so and we step into his presence this morning grateful and thankful that it is so.  He has sent his holy angels to protect us.  He has put the devil on a leash, the devil who still walks to and fro in the earth as he did in Job’s day.  But God has him on a short tether.  He has told him in our lives…”this far and no farther.”  He counteracts the devil’s awful power and intent with his Word and his Lord’s Supper and his Baptism.  

 

And with his Son Jesus.  He is the champion for us all.  He defeats all the evil.  It is behind him and following his leadership that we see how it is.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  

 

Who is this King of glory?  That is God’s Q in Psalm 24.  The A. is “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.”  And then God asks his Q again.   “Who is he, this King of glory?”  And we give our A again.  “The Lord Almighty---he is the King of glory.”

 

Jesus is the King of Glory.  He is our King.  That forever is our answer.  Amen.