Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? – Job 38:1-11
Yeah! God showed up…out of the storm! I have been looking forward to arriving at this “bend in the river” for weeks. Both Job and I are relieved…Elihu and Job’s three friends not so much. “Brace yourself like a man” God says, presumably to Elihu…who has shown particular insensitivity toward Job. God Calls Elihu out on is hubris and lack of humility…calling on him to explain himself and his misguided self-confidence. I suspect Elihu was sweating a bit and may have needed to get a change of clothes after this encounter.
God continues to explain the way things really are to Elihu and the others in attendance, including Job. God makes it clear that He has built the foundations of the world and has provided the cornerstone on which all is supported (Jesus, the One to bring us together). “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb? God asks in an interesting echo of the story in Genesis 1:9-10 when God brings forth water for life.
I like the water imagery when God describes making the clouds a garment for the sea. What an amazing description of the process of evaporation and formation of clouds from the seas which is an essential part of the hydrologic cycle…perhaps God is a hydrologist too. God set limits on the sea and directed the “proud” waves to go no further.
How can a wave be proud? What an intriguing way to describe the energetic and dramatic place where land meets the sea. It is almost as if God is referring to something more than sea and sand. Maybe it is a stretch, but what if there is a spiritual meaning here. In a previous post I mused about the spiritual meaning of beaches and how, in a spiritual sense we look out upon the vast ocean of God’s kingdom and the spiritual realm from the “spiritual land” where our soul dwells — our bodies.
Elihu, and to a lesser extent Job’s three friends, have been behaving like “proud waves” trying to push the limits of what we can know about God and what He knows about us. They, especially Elihu, are proudly crashing against the tired and troubled Job trying to convince him that they know God and what He desires. I am thankful that God arrives here to set things straight.
Prayer: God forgive us for behaving like “proud waves”, pushing the boundaries of what we know rather than letting Your love wash over us.