TODAY’S READING: Job 38–42
The book of Job culminates as it started: God is so much bigger than any of us individually and God will be inclusively worshiped by every people group on earth. God refuses to be limited to my individual understanding of Him. God refuses to be limited to my individual preferences about how He should work and who He should bless. God refuses to allow me to put either my fortune or misfortune at the center of the world—whatever happens to me of good or evil is for the glory of God and the benefit of others. In the beginning all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7) and at the end God’s creative will shall be seen and done to the ends of the earth (v. 13). In the middle there are things we cannot know (39:1) or do (v. 10) or even understand—least of all the majesty of heaven. What we can be sure of is that everything under heaven is God’s (41:11)—every animal, every nation, every person, every people—and God will do with His own what He jolly well pleases.
It’s when we argue with God about His passions that we get in trouble and are vile (40:4). We want to contend, correct (v. 2), and condemn God. The legal among us don’t like His mercy on all peoples, and the loose among us don’t like His judgments on all nations. God resolutely sets out to bless all nations of earth, and we just as resolutely resist His orders. In our little rebellious hearts, we think that God is wrong to tell us to go, that He is wicked to tell us to suffer, that He is wasteful to tell us to die, and that He is wanton to tell us to lavish His love on the violent, resistant, and proud. God blithely ignores our questions and simply says that He alone can make great Leviathans into great servants. He alone can, does, and will transform serpentine Sauls into apostolic Pauls. Our missionary God will use all men to reach all men.
And thus, the book of Job ends with a missionary bang. An inclusive God demands we have inclusive hearts. It is no accident that Job lived in present day Jordan and that he had enemies from present day Yemen and friends from present day Saudi Arabia. It is no small thing that the fortunes of Job are restored and amplified when he prays, forgives, and loves again these rascally Arabs. Like Abraham, Job was resourced to bless the nations and peoples of the earth and restored to do the same. Job was to speak the truth that God must always be the center—both of our joy and our sorrow—and that everything that happens to us is for the purposes of God. Job reminds us that obedience must often precede understanding and that we best love God when we trust Him. On a final harmonious note, showing that God allows enmity neither between the peoples of earth or the genders of society, Job’s daughters are as his sons: they share in the blessings and the responsibilities to see God glorified in all things, all places, all peoples, all times, all ways, always.