So I’ve been reading through the Bible in a year. Today I reached the end of Job.
It’s a fascinating book. And bemusing, too. My understanding of what it says has definitely changed over the years, and even now, I’m not completely sure what to make of it all—especially all of the words that Job’s friends say. But I recognize the truth in God’s words, and I recognize the importance of Job’s admission at the end of the encounter (42:1-6):
Then Job answered the LORD:
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
“Knowing one’s place” is far too simplistic and loaded a phrase to encapsulate what’s going on here; I don’t think God is, as some think, bullying Job into submission. But perspective is key. As humans, we think of ourselves as the pinnacle of creation—more and more so with the continuing developments in technology and science—and so it’s almost unfathomable for us to think that we might be as nothing to … well, anything at all.
But God is so far above, so high and holy, so awesome and wonderful, so majestic and glorious. There is no comparison. There is no comparison.
And you know what? This is a good way to start the day: to be reminded that, as NT Wright says, it’s not great faith we need to live truly, but faith in a great God. It’s a freeing thought, too: that the weight of the world does not rest on our shoulders, that the responsibility and capacity for changing our lives, our situations, and our world does not come primarily from us, but from the Maker of the heavens and the earth, the Creator of the universe, the God who is above all and in all, and yet who calls us his own.
As Delirious? sings, “God is bigger than the air I breathe, the world we’ll leave …” (“My Glorious”).
[image from Good News Bible]