Explore the Bible Study: Power Displayed

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"Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you."
These words from Irvin Berlin's song, Anything You Can Do, that was written for the musical, Annie Get Your Gun, probably describe best how the culture and many Christians might view God today. We live in a culture that believes we can do things better than God. The Explore the Bible Study: Power Displayed, looks at God's response to this ideology as He confronts Job.

Throughout the book of Job, Job questions why God is allowing him to go through these difficult circumstances. While God had not yet answered, his friends were more than willing to give answers. They continually accused Job of committing some type of sin, thus bringing the judgment of God on his life. They relentlessly pursued the need for Job to repent of sin. Job continually defended his innocence while still trying to figure out why he was experiencing so many tribulations. For 37 chapters we see God relatively silent, but now, beginning in chapter 38, God finally speaks.

However, Job’s face-to-face meeting did not go the way he anticipated. Instead of Job confronting God with his questions, God begins to question Job. The conversation begins when God appears in a whirlwind in Job 38:1-3 and says, Who is this who obscures my counsel with ignorant words? Get ready to answer me like a man; when I question you, you will inform me. (CSB) God proceeds with questions that reveals the futility of thinking we know better than God. 

Job had no answers when God asked questions such as: 
  • Where was man when God created the world? (Job 38:4-7) 
  • Can man find the source of the sea and how to control the sea? (Job 38:8-11) 
  • Can any man control the sun, precipitation, or intimately know the heavens above? (Job 38:12-38)
  • Does man have complete control over the animal kingdom? (Job 38:39-Job 39:30) 
With these questions, God reveals that man can’t do anything better than God. God’s wisdom and power tower over anything man thinks he can do.

This reality about God prompts Job to respond in Job 40:1-5

Job realized his ignorance in God's grand scheme of things; therefore, he couldn’t say anything and desired to keep silent before Almighty God. He not only desired to keep silent but also humbled Himself before God. 
We all have questions, especially when we face difficult circumstances, and we might ask God questions. Asking questions only becomes wrong when our questions demonstrate a rebellious nature or a desire to act as if we have better solutions than God, or when those questions cast doubt on God’s power and authority. He can be trusted for everything and in every circumstance. 

The Explore the Bible Leader Guide summarized it best this way, “Humans are made in God’s image and likeness; He is not made in ours. Many missteps in theology are on account of the implicit idea that God must act as we would act, or that humans can fully understand the ways of God where they have not been revealed. God reveals Himself to us in human terms, but we must not think our limited understanding is the ultimate reference point for God’s actions. 

As Christians, we must remember that God is the Creator and we are the creatures. Furthermore, we do not know enough about creation to understand all of God’s ways. Only God knows the beginning from the end, and we must learn to trust His wisdom in working out His purposes. Most times the proper response to God’s work is not to question Him but to be silent before Him.”

After Job admitted to God that he was insignificant compared to Him, God drilled down further regarding Job’s perspective in Job 40:6-9 

Again, we must understand that God knows us better than we know ourselves. While Job had physically and verbally demonstrated his humility before Almighty God, he wasn’t yet convinced in his heart. Therefore, God had to address the heart even further. 

Compare your knowledge, wisdom, authority, power, and experience to that of God’s. Can anyone really answer the questions God presented with a “yes”?
  • Should we challenge God’s justice?
  • Would anyone declare God guilty to justify their actions?
  • Does anyone have arms like God’s?
  • Can anyone speak with authority as God does? 
Sadly, in today's current culture, there are people who would respond with a resounding "yes" to these questions. Many today assume they are better, know better, and can do things better than God.

Notice that God still hasn’t explained the reason behind Job’s suffering. From Job’s perspective, his suffering was still a mystery, but he had come to a point at which he trusted God because of who God is. We too should learn to trust God even when we aren’t given any explanation for His plans or purposes.

God now gives Job some commands that are impossible for Job to fulfill in Job 40:10-14.

God may sound a little harsh in these passages, but the point should not be missed. “Job could not adorn himself like God, therefore he could not act like God and execute justice on the wicked . . . Job did not possess the righteous anger necessary to execute justice and bury the wicked, therefore, he had no right to question God in these things . . . there was no reason for God to treat him as an equal and explain His actions.” (Source: ETB Leader Commentary)

Remaining Silent

Notice Job has remained silent throughout this discourse! When God is speaking, we too should understand that we need to keep our mouths shut and just listen to God. Job does repeat his desire to remain humble and keep his mouth shut in Job 40:3-5 but doesn’t fully respond until chapter 42:2 when he says, “I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted.” (CSB)

Job finally realized he could NOT do anything better than God. God was in charge, knew exactly what He was doing, and was perfectly capable of carrying out His plans.

Do you believe God is perfectly just in all things? If not, what needs to change in your heart so you can come to the point of trusting God, even when you don’t know why God is doing what He is doing?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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