God's Response to Job.

Wisdom literature is one of the more difficult genres in the Bible. Though New Testament epistles might be the easiest for us to read and understand today, it's important to keep a balance of all biblical genres in our personal reading and corporate teaching.

This week, we will consider God's response to Job. God directly addresses this godly, hurting man after he had lived under pressure and pain for months. He was finally ready to hear from His Creator.

The character of Elihu serves as a foil and segue to God's response to Job. Elihu correctly emphasizes the necessity of understanding God's glory and justice. He accurately points out Job's pride, which can be seen in Job 31:35-37 as he accuses God of injustice. The corrective truth is this: no pain is too great for a believer to suffer if it has a sanctifying effect.

God's Response

In Job 37:22-24, it seems as if Elihu can see the storm of God approaching. In Job 38:1, the covenant-keeping, sovereign Creator, "I Am" speaks with authority to His servant Job. He begins with a series of questions. We shouldn't read this as an angry God ready to beat Job over the head with His wisdom. God comes to answer Job's request for an audience with loving sternness.

In Job 38:1-40:5, God presents Himself as the Lord of nature. He surveys the topics of history, oceanography, meteorology, light and darkness, astronomy, and animals. God knows the birth process of every animal He created. He controls the unpredictability of wild animals. He looks after animals He created to be stupid. Job's knowledge cannot approach God's.

In Job 40:1-5, Job responds that he has no answer. He was finding fault with one of God's attributes; but God is possessive and protective of Himself. He will defend His nature when questioned, and rightly so, being the only perfect Being!

In Job 40:6-42:17, God tells Job about His own nature and person. Created order shows much we can learn about God (Romans 1 and Psalm 19), but anything of salvific character must be directly revealed by God Himself. Yahweh confronts Job in chapter 40 and asks him to compare his physical features to God. He highlights how He deals with wickedness and sin (the justice that Job is questioning); Job's sense of justice is finite in comparison.

Next, God highlights two great beasts. Behemoth, which means "super beast," is described in Job 40:15-24. Some commentators identify this beast likely as a hippo. (Contrary to cartoon renderings, hippos are actually surprisingly fierce.) If Job would have no chance to contend with this beast, he has no chance to contend with his Creator either.

Job 41 describes the Leviathan, literally a sea serpent or water monster. This can likely be identified as a crocodile. This beast is uncontrollable and has no fear of weapons. Job 41:10-11 reveal the point of describing such creatures: their Creator is of an greater nature.

Job's Repentance

In Job 42:1-6, Job submits and repents. After hearing directly God's response highlighting His power and justice, Job sits, listens, and is quiet before God. He shows 3 virtues of his repentance. He admits God's absolute sovereignty; admits that divine wisdom is beyond himself; and admits God's justice.


God never promised a life without pain, even to believers. He only asks for trust as we wrestle ourselves to persevere.

God doesn't use His might to make right or to club his servants for not responding perfectly. His personally intentional purpose for us through any circumstance is always our growth.

God loves to bring glory to Himself by debasing the prideful and exalting the humble. Even so, it was knowledge and not humiliation that elicited Job's repentance. God outlined many attributes of His care for Creation. (See Matthew 6:26-30 for a parallel passage in the New Testament.)

God's silence teaches us to seek God. Patience grows us in calamity. God uses trials to refine our faith, and He always speaks at the right time.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 62:1, 1 Peter 4:19 – God brings a soul to rest.
  • Ecclesiastes – Consider the Created order when you're having trouble figuring out life.
A Hymn to Encourage: "If You But Trust in God to Guide You"

If you but trust in God to guide you,
And place your confidence in Him,
You’ll find Him always there beside you
To give you hope and strength within;
For those who trust God’s changeless love
Build on the Rock that will not move.

Only be still and wait His pleasure
In cheerful hope, with heart content:
He fills your needs to fullest measure
With what discerning love has sent;
Doubt not our inmost wants are known
To Him who chose us for His own.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
Offer your service faithfully,
And trust His word; though undeserving,
You’ll find His promise true to be;
God never will forsake in need
The soul that trusts in Him indeed.