Summary: A first-person narrative. When in our suffering we challenge the Lord like Job did, he works repentance in us so that we stand dumbfounded at his wisdom and power and stand astounded at his promise of grace.

Who Dares to Question the Lord

Good Morning. I thank you for this opportunity to speak to you. My name is Job. I realize that because of the way it is spelled in English, you would usually pronounce it “job.” But it is Job.

Please allow me to give you a little bit of background about myself. I lived in the land of Uz in the Middle East many centuries before our Redeemer was born. The Lord blessed me with seven son and three daughters. I loved them dearly. He also gave me great wealth in flocks and herds.

One day that all changed. Report after report reached me that my flocks and herds were captured or destroyed. My servants were killed. And then the last report came. My children, all my children, were dead. The house they were in had collapsed in the wind. All dead. Grief filled me. I tore my robe, shaved my head and fell to the ground. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1: 21 NIV).

Yet my troubles were not over. A devastating disease struck me. Painful sore covered my whole body. I could do nothing in my agony accept sit on the ground. No medication could ease my pain. The only relief, if you could call it relief, was to scrape myself with broken pieces of pottery.

Friends came, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. The could hardly recognize me and they had no idea what to say. They stared at me speechless for seven days. Finally, my agony got the better of me. I had to speak. I wished that I had never been born. Oh that I had died at birth!

Then my friends began to speak. They pointed out that God acts justly. Then they reasoned since I was suffering so much I must be worse than others.

I had lived for my Lord. Why would this happen to me. In my misery I began to challenge the Lord. I demanded that he bring evidence against me. Why? Why is this happening? Why must I suffer like this? Why? As my friends again and again reason that I must be worse than anyone else , I grew more defiant against God, accusing him of unfairness, demanding to know why. What sin I was guilty of!

Then out of storming whirlwind, the Lord answered me, “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” (Job 38:2,3 NIV). The Lord put me in my place. He didn’t answer my question “Why?” He didn’t say that my friends were right either. Later he rebukes them. He put me in my place basically saying: “Who dares to question the Lord?!” It was not my place to question the Lord. Who was I? What did I know? What could I understand? The Lord humbled me.

I pray that when you challenge God with questions like I did, these words of the Lord bring you to repentance like they did for me. Who dares to question the Lord?! No one should. For we are but dust and ashes. Rather we stand dumbfounded at his power and wisdom. We stand astounded at his promise of grace. Who dares to question the Lord?! Not you, not me.

1) We stand dumbfounded at his wisdom and power

The Lord wanted me to see how ignorant and powerless I was, so that I would stand dumbfounded at his wisdom and power. Who was I to question my him? In question after question he drives home the point.

“Where were when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morningstars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7 NIV)

Here I thought I could challenge the way God governed the world, yet I wasn’t even there when it was planned out! I could not even begin to comprehend its vastness or understand how all was held in place. What wisdom the Lord has!

In your modern world, you have all the more evidence of the wisdom that planned out and governs the universe. You know that your universe is more vast that we could ever imagine. Your science measures space in light years. You know that the stars are as large and powerful as the sun, if not more so. Who could have planned it all? You know that the earth is held in place in its orbit by gravity. But what is gravity? How is it produced? It’s still a mystery of our wise Creator. We stand dumbfounded at his wisdom.

The Lord continued to question me: “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it bursts 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’?” (Job 38:8-11 NIV)

The sea was the most powerful force we knew. It could break ships like toothpicks. Its floods could devastate fields and homes. It smothered the life out of those caught in its waves. Yet our almighty God can hold the mighty sea like you hold an newborn infant in your arms. He set its boundaries. We stand dumbfounded at his power.

What power and wisdom of his confounds our thinking and strikes us silent! Who dares to question the Lord?! We stand dumbfounded at his power and wisdom that has made our world and everything in it. How could anyone believe that it evolved? None of us were there. The One who was there has told us that he created everything out of nothing in six normal days. Millions of years have not taken place.

How could anyone question his wisdom or power? Yet, even though we know that he created all things, yet how often do we challenge him? “Why God? Why is this happening to me? It’s not fair!” I asked those questions. The Lord showed me that I had no right to ask. I wasn’t asking like a three year old who out of curiosity keeps asking “Why? Why?” And then trusts whatever answer he’s given. I was like a rebellious teenager whose told to clean her room but asks, “Why? Why should I?!” He does not answer such questions. He doesn’t say, “See if you can do a better job.” He doesn’t let us play God for a day. Rather he silences us. We have no right to question his fairness, his goodness, his justice. He is the Creator; we are his creatures. He is the pottery; we are the clay. We stand dumbfounded before his power and wisdom. And when we finally do speak, we confess: “I know that you can do all things . . . Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. . . I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2, 3, 6 NIV)

2) We stand astounded by his promise of grace

But we can’t stop here. What hope would there be for us sinners? We have sinned and rebelled against our almighty Creator, challenging his wisdom and power. We can not stand in his holy presence. We can not come before him.

But notice what the Lord did for me. Because of my pride I deserved for God to strike me down where I sat. But he didn’t did he? He spoke to me instead. You heard it in the first lesson: “Then the Lord answered Job” (Job 38:1 NIV) He came to me in his Word. Even though he is God over all and I was nothing but a worm, he stooped down to deal with me in love. That’s what grace is. Love that stoops down to love those that do not deserve it. Yes, he spoke words that my sinful pride did not want to here. But these were words of love meant to humble me so that I would lean on his promise alone.

What is that promise? The passage here does not explicitly repeat the promise. But notice the name the Holy Spirit used for God here. God doesn’t call himself in this passage “the Almighty God.” He calls himself the Lord, which some translate as Jehovah or Yahweh. In your English translation it has all capital letters for it is the translation of the Hebrew name for God. It is his saving name. His name of promise. This name, the Lord, reminds us that he is the God of free and constant grace. He freely makes his promise of grace and faithfully keeps it for he is the Lord, the unchanging I AM, Jehovah, Yahweh.

He is the Lord. He freely promised to send the Savior. Even in my misery, the Holy Spirit kept me holding on to that promise so that I confessed, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25 NIV) In Hebrew the word for Redeemer is go-ale, which means “kinsman-redeemer.” In my day if a someone had to sell family land or even himself in order to pay a debt, a close relative, a kinsman, was to redeem the land or the person, that is, buy it back. He was the go-ale, the kinsman-redeemer.

As the Lord promised Adam and Eve to send the offspring of the woman to crush Satan’s head. So I believed that as the offspring of a woman, the Savior would be my kinsman. He would be a human being, like I was. But he would be more. For only God could pay the price that would crush Satan’s power. This kinsman would pay God the price to redeem me, which only God could pay. He would be my Kinsman-redeemer, my go-ale.

In faith, I looked ahead to his coming. You look back to it in faith. For the Lord, Jehovah, Yahweh, the unchanging, constant God of grace, faithfully kept his promise. He sent his Son Jesus. Jesus is our kinsman. He is our flesh and blood. But he is more. He is our God. He redeemed you. He paid God the ransom price for you – the price of his holy, precious blood. That is the all-sufficient payment for all sins of all people of all times. God showed that to be so, by raising Jesus from the dead. All who believe in Jesus as their one and only Savior from sin will live with Jesus. In faith you can say with me, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! “ (Job 19:25-27 NIV)

What an astounding promise of grace! Who dares to question such a promise? Who would want to question the Lord, who in his unchanging grace stooped down to become our kinsman and to redeem us with his blood? This is the key to making it through those times that you want to ask, “Why God? why me God?” Remember the Lord’s unchanging promise. He stoops down in his grace to speak to you and me through his Word. Listen to that Word. Let it live in your heart and overflow in your life. He stoops down in his grace to come to you through the water of baptism and give you rebirth as his child. Remember his promise of grace that washes away your sins. He stoops down in his grace to come to you through the bread and wine of Holy Communion. He stoops down to make his body and blood really present so that as you eat and drink , you taste his love for you. These don’t answer our questioning mind with logical explanations, but these bring us the Lord’s promise which assures us that his grace will see us through even the worst.

Many things in this life lead us to question the Lord. I fell into that sin. We need him to confront our pride so that we stand dumbfounded before his wisdom and power. Who dares to question the Lord who created us all? But then in humble repentance hold on to his promise of grace no matter what. When the troubles of life, when the lose of family, when the pain of illness darkens your vision of the Lord’s love, go to his word, remember your Baptism, come to his Table. In his Word, in Baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper, his grace shines through the clouds of loss and pain. Who would want to question the Lord, who showers such grace on us? We stand astounded at his promise of grace.