What Does Job 38:4 Mean?

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,

Job 38:4(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Job had been knocking on the door of heaven for answers to his questions for a long time. He had experienced the most devastating loss of family and fortune, had been struck down with a most painful disease, and was accused by his friends that his misfortune resulted from his own sinfulness – which he felt was a gross misrepresentation of his character and situation.

Job cried out for a Days-man. He wanted an advocate, an arbitrator – a mediator, who would stand between him and God. He wanted a counsellor, who could speak on his behalf. Job felt that the onslaught of evil that had overwhelmed his life and the direct accusations of his friends were unfair and unjust. He wanted to plead his case to the Lord – but God did not respond to his enquiries in the way that Job expected.

Instead of answering Job’s questions and sympathising with his misfortunes, the Lord bombarded him with a barrage of questions about the visible and invisible world. He examined his knowledge of animate and inanimate objects. Instead of answering his questions about his misfortunes, Job was rebuked by the Lord, for questioning God’s sovereign will and ways.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? was one of 70 unanswerable questions, which the Lord fired at Job in quick succession. Tell Me, if you have understanding!! Every question from the Lord to Job, only served to demonstrate the sovereign authority, wisdom and power of Almighty God – which stood in marked contrast with Job’s finite knowledge and lack of true understanding.

The Lord was not answerable to Job for his misfortunes – nor is He answerable to any of us, when we go through difficulties, which we do not understand. God did not have to explain Himself, to one of His created beings – nor do any of us have a right to question God’s perfect plan or know the reason WHY He permits bad things to happen to good people.

Although this incredible soliloquy from the Lord, provides humanity with many insights into areas such as science, geology, cosmology, geography, oceanology and anthropology, none of Job’s questions were answered – and yet it brought that man into a deeper understanding of the very God in whom he trusted.

God alone was there when the foundation of the earth was laid, and however much man likes to speculate on the creation of the heaven and earth – God alone was present, and in His grace has recorded it, in the Scriptures, for our learning – but how few trust His Word. How few believe what is written in the Bible.

Elements of the infinite knowledge and eternal wisdom of Almighty God are laid out in a few chapters in the book of Job – and a cursory reading of God’s creative power and almighty wisdom, confronts each one of us with our own insignificance and limited understanding – as it did with Job.

None of us have a right to know God’s plans and purposes or to question His sovereign ways, and yet he has laid out His entire redemption plan in the Bible. He has scheduled every day of every life, and He knows what is best for each one of us. This simple verse makes it very clear that we can trust Him with our lives and our families – even when we do not understand. May we be willing to acknowledge our own limitation and trust Him in every eventuality of our lives.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, it is very humbling to realise that Your wisdom and understanding is infinite and unknowable, and yet in Your grace You have shared Your plan of redemption with Your fallen creatures. Father, when I don’t understand the difficulties I am going through, in my own life, I pray that I may trust You in all things and never doubt Your perfect plans and purposes – knowing that You are sovereign, and Your way is best. Help me to live by faith and not by sight – for Your greater praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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