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Job 38

“Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb…and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed?’” (vv. 8–11).

Scripture develops the theme of creation from Genesis to Revelation in key passages such as Genesis 2, Psalm 19, Romans 1, and Revelation 21. The Old Testament wisdom literature is also a good place to turn because these books depend greatly on what all people — believers or not — can learn from observing the natural world. We turn to God’s answer to Job in today’s study to see what our Creator says we can learn from the disclosure of Himself in creation.

It is important to remember that the book of Job deals with the question as to why evil happens to righteous people, and much of the text leading up to Job 38 features Job questioning how the good Lord could allow him to suffer so much. God never actually explains the purpose behind Job’s suffering; rather, He reminds Job that he has no standing to question divine wisdom. The way in which God makes His point is to assert that mankind has only a limited perspective on the created order, and therefore we have no real knowledge of our own that would enable us to obligate our Creator to answer our complaints when the world does not operate as we think it should.

Knowing that God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), it is easy to wonder why He allows hurricanes and other seemingly chaotic weather events to plague our planet. That the Almighty answers Job from out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1) is significant because it shows us that He is present in the “chaos” that afflicts nature and even our own personal lives. Those things that from a human perspective appear random and meaningless are operating within the Lord’s control; thus, purpose exists even in those instances when we may not be able to understand it.

Verses 8–11 underscore this point. Ancient Israelites, like many of the societies that surrounded them, looked upon the sea as chaotic and as the home of great evil. But the Lord explains that even this evil operates only within boundaries. God has set a limit to the rage of the oceans, lakes, and rivers, and they are no threat to His sovereignty. He is indeed the Lord over all that He has made, and nothing in creation moves outside the limits He has set in His sovereign decree. Even the most powerful forces of nature are under the ultimate control of His mighty hand.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

As we see in today’s passage, the Old Testament develops the theme of creation to show us that God is the true sovereign over all. The applications of this idea are too numerous to mention, but they include the fact that He is owed our obedience and that His Word is law even over those who break it. We are to subject ourselves to His authority each day of our lives and work by the power of His Spirit to conform our desires and actions to His standard.

For Further Study
  • Job 41
  • Psalm 8
  • Mark 4:35–41
  • Acts 17:22–34

God Creates the Universe

Creation Freed from Decay

Keep Reading Anxiety and the Sovereignty of God

From the January 2010 Issue
Jan 2010 Issue