Scripture: Job 9:1-15;32-35
Key verse: (32) “Who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south … For he is not a mortal, as I am, that I might answer him.”
Reflection: The book of Job raises a lot of good questions; questions of God’s presence, of God’s righteousness, of suffering, of humanity’s role in the world, of faithfulness. One of my favorite things about the book of Job is that these questions aren’t answered neatly or clearly, but often times multiple answers compete. For me, asking the right questions is often more rewarding than receiving a tidy answer.
Part of the questioning that Job expresses in our passage for this morning is, “How can a mortal be just before God?” (9:1) This question for Job begins by naming that even if one wanted to state one’s case before God, that mere mortals could not provide sufficient answers. Put another way, even if God has answers for our questions, we are unable to answer to God fully. This leaves Job in a sense of awe and wonder. For the next few verses Job expounds upon God’s grandeur as the one who moves mountains, makes the earth shake, commands the sun in its rising and setting, placed the stars in the sky, and moves before us and among us without our knowing. Job is set in a place of both awe and questioning. Job recognizes God’s place as creator and is questioning his place as creature. This separation between God and Job is highlighted in v. 32 “For he is not mortal, as I am, that I might answer him…”
In our world today, especially over the last seven months, we have a lot of questions for God, questions of God’s presence, of suffering, of humanity’s role in the world, of what it means to be faithful to God and to each other, questions of priorities, and what our lives will look like moving forward. And yet, at the same time as we are asking these questions, perhaps you have had more time to pause and ponder God’s transcendence, God’s grandeur, whether through observing the miracle of a baby and the curiosity of a child or by spending time in nature.
Perhaps Job’s frustration was that his questions coupled with his experience of God’s greatness was better suited for an ongoing conversation, and yet, Job felt like there was a piece missing in his conversation with God, “for he is not a mortal, as I am, that I might answer him.” As Christians, may we never forget our conversation partner in Christ, may we hold fast to the gift of God becoming human in Jesus so that we may wander and wonder through life together in conversation. On this journey we will not receive tidy answers to life’s big questions. However, may we find peace in our conversation companion in Christ, who both experiences our suffering and joy and who also placed the stars in the sky, who is fully God and fully human, and who loves us fully.
Prayer: Loving God, we give you thanks that your love for us reaches from the stars in the sky to the sand in the depths of the sea. Open our eyes to a curiosity of companionship with you, that we may freely ask our questions, trusting in the journey on which you lead us. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].