A Study of Job 38:2
“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2)
When the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, it was in great mercy and condescension to reprove and correct him. Job had spoken words without knowledge and darkened counsel.
Words without knowledge are words of ignorance. Job spoke ignorantly by questioning God’s providence. He presumed it to be harsh and unjust. Any words that put a question mark on God, in any form, are words of utter ignorance. Reproof from Elihu clearly shows us Job’s error and summarizes God’s answer.
“Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths. Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.” (Job 33:8-13)
God is greater than man! Who are we to question the Almighty? He does as He will, when He will, with whom He will, and no one can resist His will. He does all things perfect with absolute wisdom and prudence. Simply put, God is greater than man. Is this not the message of chapter 38, where God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind? Specifically, I want us to see how God sets forth His knowledge over man’s. God confronted Job and demanded an answer. God would have Job know that God’s knowledge is greater than man’s knowledge.
“Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.” (Job 18:18)
This is a rhetorical question. God didn’t need an answer from Job. The obvious answer is no. God asked the question to make a statement. Only God perceives and understands the breadth of the earth. Only God knows it all. Man knows very little. Man perceives very little. We’ve never seen or photographed the breadth of the earth, and we can never declare it all. We can pretend to know it all. We can fool ourselves and others into thinking we know it all, but we don’t. We know very little about the earth. You may ask, “How can you say that?” I didn’t say it! God did. Do you really think the Almighty’s words to Job don’t apply to the men of our technological age? How foolish and arrogant! This truth is but a microcosm of the grander truth that God is illustrating to Job, which is that God is far greater than man. Is God still greater than man today? Is He to the same degree greater? Yes, of course! Compared to God’s great knowledge, man knows nothing. This is the truth throughout all of man’s history to date. Why then do we question God’s all-wise providence, if we know so very little? Why do we complain? I write primarily to my own fickle, sinful heart. Why am I always feeling sorry for myself? Job had more reasons for it than me, and God rebuked him for it. I cannot perceive what God is doing any more than I can understand the breadth of the earth. O my soul, quit looking at circumstances, and look to Christ, trusting His word.
Questions or complaints directed at God’s providence not only expose our ignorance, they darken the counsel of God. We cast a shadow over God’s word when we lean on our own understanding. We call the counsel of God darkness, if we esteem our own perceptions as light. How horridly evil and perverse! We ought to never trust in our own thoughts, or in what we perceive, or in the words of so-called experts, who are but men. If we can’t even know the extent of this earth, what business do we have giving or taking counsel from one another? Let us fear God and trust in Him. Let the word of God be our only counsel, and let us only counsel others with God’s word. We all profess that Christ alone is all our Wisdom; if Christ is all, then so are His words. He is our Counsellor, and His word is Truth! He sees all things, knows all things, performs all things, and controls all things. He looks to where the earth has its terminations and sees under the whole heaven. We walk in safety when we walk in the light of His counsel. “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” (Psalm 18:30)
“Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:20-28)