Job 38, 39, 40 and 41 is a long and piercing list of questions posed by God to Job~~way into Job’s ordeal of suffering, loss, sickness and pain. Job was targeted by Satan and he does not yet know that at this point in the report.
He’s been through it all: the deaths of his children, the deaths of his servants and his livestock, a mocking wife, “…painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job Chapters 1 and 2), and now his crowning exhaustion is friends who are~~well, Job’s Comforters. That’s what they are.
They are not helpful. They are not empathetic. They are very knowledgeable and perceptive about what’s wrong with Job’s thinking. They have no idea what God is doing, what Job’s heart condition is or what Satan is up to. But, Sturdy Job’s Comforters that they are, they don’t let those blind spots hinder their counsel.
Job is fed up with living at the sharp end of a short stick and chapter 23 summarizes his thoughts. He’s tired and confused. Basically, he’s had it. In chapter 38, God begins to question him, begins to challenge him for the purpose of correcting something in him.
What follows Job 38:1 is four chapters of God-Questions.
It’s actually a bit overwhelming to read these four chapters out loud. Go ahead. Do it. (Probably a time when no one else is home would be best) I did it once. Out loud. With gusto. Hear the questions God puts to him. Think about the challenge God could put to any of us at any time; but He does so infrequently, usually in a grace-wrapped way.
Here are seven paragraphs of doggerel in which I answer a few God-Questions and confess, “I know nothing.”
I don’t know the way of the whale in the sea (41:1) or the way of the eagle through air (39:27-29); I can’t call the dawning of day to its place (38:12), though I do know that You’re always there.
I don’t know the depths of the oceans of earth (38:16) and don’t know the names of the stars (Psalm 33:6); I’ve got not a clue how You marked it all out (38:6, 7) though I do know a bit of sin’s scars.
I have no idea where Snow-Stores are held (38:22) and don’t know where new hail is kept (38:22); Of course I can’t tell the lightning to flash (38:35), then get it to say where it went.
I didn’t exist when You spoke out the earth (38:4,5); don’t know how its footings are set. (38:4) I don’t understand how you limit the sea (38:11) but Your Word says that you love me yet (I John 4:10).
I don’t give the horse all its mighty strength (39:19) and can’t clothe his neck with a mane (39:19). I can’t make him leap or run or stand still (39:20) but You’ve said I can call on Your Name.
The hawk does not listen or do what I say (39:26); He spreads not his wide wings for me! The eagle doesn’t wait for me any day! (39:27) They listen, O great God, for Thee!
I know almost nothing, and cause even less for I only walk by Your grace. You’re Holy and Sovereign, Creator and Lord~~and You’ve said I will look on Your face. (Revelation 22:3, 4)
I looked up doggerel. It’s a noun.
The Complete Small Dictionary provides a two word definition: bad verse
Occasional doggerel-production is apparently something I do.