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The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost A, August 13, 2023

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The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost A, August 13, 2023

The Lord himself enters the conversation. Job has been insisting that the Lord answer him, Job’s friends have been counseling him, and now the Lord comes to address Job directly… and the Lord’s voice is not comforting nor reassuring. Satan may have been the prosecutor of the heavenly court (Job 1:6ff), but the Lord himself brings quite an accusatory tone to his cross-examination of Job. It begins with the Lord demanding just who Job thinks that he is (Job 38:2). The Lord’s demanding questions keep coming and coming… chapter 38… chapter 39… chapter 40… chapter 41… Job can hardly get a word in edgewise.

Throughout Job’s conversation and counsel with his friends, Job has insisted that he will be vindicated… that his suffering is unearned… innocent… Job is confident as he insists that the Lord justify himself. But, when the Lord does enter the conversation, it is not the Lord who needs justifying but Job instead. The Lord demands of him, “Tell me, if you know it all!” (Job 38:18). The Lord puts Job in his place. By the Lord’s persistent and accusatory questions, he reveals to Job the limited scope of his human knowledge. When compared to the Lord’s omniscience… the Lord’s all-knowing… the extent of Job’s knowledge is as nothing… It is as if Job had no knowledge at all.

So, too, you. You who seek to justify your sin before the Lord… providing excuses rather than confessions… delivering up rationales for your very own wrongdoing… Only a direct confrontation with the Word of God exposes you in your sin, catches you out in our miserable self-justifications, and convicts you of your sinfulness. Only after the Lord brings you to abject humility, do you find yourself repented… turned from unbelief to belief… relieved of thinking well of yourself to thinking little of yourself but very much of the Lord who delivers you through Jesus Christ (cf. Jn. 3:30).

Table Talk: Discuss how limited is human knowledge compared with divine omniscience.

Pray: Heavenly Father, reveal my limitations to me that I might be repented into faith. Amen

Job 38:4-18

4 “Where were you

when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Tell me, if you possess understanding.

5 Who set its measurements—if you know—

or who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its bases set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

7 when the morning stars sang in chorus,

and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea with doors

when it burst forth, coming out of the womb,

9 when I made the storm clouds its garment

and thick darkness its swaddling band,

10 when I prescribed its limits

and set in place its bolts and doors,

11 when I said, ‘To here you may come

and no farther,

here your proud waves will be confined’?

12 Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,

or made the dawn know its place,

13 that it might seize the corners of the earth

and shake the wicked out of it?

14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;

its features are dyed like a garment.

15 Then from the wicked the light is withheld,

and the arm raised in violence is broken.

16 Have you gone to the springs that fill the sea

or walked about in the recesses of the deep?

17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?

Have you seen the gates of deepest darkness?

18 Have you considered the vast expanses of the earth?

Tell me, if you know it all.

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