Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Job 38

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-41

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? tell me, if you have understanding. Who has laid the measures of it, tell me if you know? or who has stretched the line upon it? Where are the foundations fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy? ( Job 38:1-7 )

God is now talking to Job about the creation of the earth, about nature. Pointing out that Job knows so little about nature. "Job, where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? What did I fasten the foundations upon? When the morning stars sang together."

Now, the morning stars, the word star oftentimes refers to the angels. You remember in the book of Revelation, chapter 13, when the dragon was cast out of heaven, he took a third part of the stars with him. Referring to the angels that fell with Satan. Now can you let your mind go back and we see God as He is bringing the earth into existence and the angels, the morning stars, are singing together and all the sons of God are shouting for joy. The sons of God referring again to angels. Now Jesus is referred to as the only begotten Son of God. Special classification. But the angels are referred to as sons of God. In the first chapter of Job the sons of God were presenting themselves to God, and Satan also came with them. In the New Testament, we are referred to as sons of God. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know when He shall appear we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" ( 1 John 3:2 ). But Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. What a glorious scene that must have been when God created the earth and the angels, the morning stars, sang together.

Who shut up the sea with the doors, when it broke forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and the thick darkness a swaddlingband for it ( Job 38:8-9 ),

God is talking about the earth now, His creation of the earth. "Who put the bounds for the seas, when I allowed the water to gush forth, as a child out of the womb? When I made the cloud a garment of the earth, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it."

And I broke it up for in my decreed place, I set the bars and doors, and said to the seas, This far you shall come, but no further: and here shall your proud waves be stayed? Have you commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. And from the wicked their light is withheld, and the high arm shall be broken. Have you entered into the springs of the sea? or have you walked in the search of the depth? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? ( Job 38:10-17 )

Now go back to verse Job 38:2 : "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" God is rebuking Job for talking about things that he doesn't know anything about. "Have the gates of death been opened to you? Have you been beyond them? Do you know what is there?" You see, Job was saying, "Oh, I wish that I were dead, where all is silent, where there is no memory, where there is no thought. Oh, I wish I were in the oblivion of death. Where man is at rest, where everything is at peace." And God said, "Job, have you been there? Have the gates of death been opened to you? You're talking about these things, Job, but you don't know anything about them."

That is why it is wrong to use the scriptures out of Job to try to prove the doctrine of soul sleep. That when a person dies he is in an unconscious state of waiting, that there is no consciousness or awareness or anything else. That is wrong to conclude those doctrines out of the book of Job, which they usually find their proof scriptures in Job or in Ecclesiastes. And when we get to Ecclesiastes, we'll show why it's wrong to use Ecclesiastes for proof text. These were things that Job was saying, but God is rebuking him for saying them.

Have you perceived the breadth of the earth? tell it if you know it all. Where is the way where light dwells? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof ( Job 38:18-19 ),

Where does light dwell? Tell me this: where did the darkness go when they turned on the lights tonight? Where is the darkness hiding? Now it's around here someplace. And it's very close. All we have to do is flip off the lights and it moves right back in. But where is it lurking? I don't know. But God is questioning Job and saying, "Where is the place where light dwells? Where is the place where darkness dwells?"

That you should take it to the bound thereof, that you should know the paths to the house thereof? Do you know it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? Have you entered into the treasures of the snow? or have you seen the treasures of the hail ( Job 38:20-22 ),

Beautiful treasures in every snowflake. Have you seen the pictures of snowflakes magnified? The beautiful geometric designs, and no two of them alike. Talk about a God of variety. You see a snowstorm, I don't know how many flakes of snow fall in a single storm, but it can blanket large areas of the United States. And you take those snowflakes and put them under a microscope and you'll see beautiful treasures of intricate, beautiful, geometric designs. Perfect geometrical patterns, and no two of them alike. Now how did Job know that when this book was written? "Have you entered into the treasures of the snow or the hail?"

But then He says something even more interesting:

Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? ( Job 38:23 )

What do you mean you've reserved the snow or ice for the day of war? During World War II, as we were seeking to supply the Allies with Trinitrotoluene (TNT), one of our ships was blown up because TNT is a very volatile type of explosive and, jarred, it'll go off. In fact, that's the way you set off TNT is by putting a dynamite cap in it and the dynamite cap, when it explodes, it sets off the whole Trinitrotoluene. But at any rate, Weissman discovered that by packing TNT in ice, they could transport it safely. After some of the ships and all had been blown to smithereens trying to transport TNT, this Jewish scientist discovered that if they would pack it in ice that that way they could transport it, store it and all without any dangers. Here God declared that He had reserved ice for the day of war and trouble. "I've reserved it for that." Man didn't come to the discovery of God's reservation until 1916 or so, but God had reserved it all that time for the day of battle and war.

By what way is the light parted ( Job 38:24 ),

"How is light divided?" God said. Now, we know that now we can divide light. We have developed the spectroscope and we can actually divide light into compartments. God was speaking about the dividing of light before man ever knew that light could be divided. It can be divided into definite areas through the spectroscope. God is challenging Job about this, thousands of years before we even discovered the spectroscopes.

Who hath divided the watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; or the wilderness, where there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? ( Job 38:25-27 )

God said, "Who waters the wilderness, Job, causing the wilderness to bring forth grass and flowers and all?"

Has the rain a father? or who has begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of the heaven, who hath gendered it? ( Job 38:28-29 )

How are these things formed, Job?

The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. Can you bind the sweet influence of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Can you bring forth the Mazzaroth in his season? or can you guide Arcturus with his sons? ( Job 38:30-32 )

The Pleiades is a constellation that is most commonly mistaken by amateur stargazers as the Little Dipper. It is a winter constellation and it comes up just about in the middle of the winter skies. And it's a little cluster of stars that does look something like a dipper, but it is the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. Now the North Star is actually a part of Little Dipper and the Big Dipper. Of course, the pointer stars always point to the North Star, but it takes a good clear night in the mountains or out in the desert to actually see the Little Dipper, so it is accepted for people to make the mistake and to point at the Pleiades as the Little Dipper, but don't you make that mistake. In the winter constellations, then, of course, you get up early in the morning now and you can see the Pleiades is starting to come up early in the morning as we're moving into the fall equinox. But it is a part of the winter constellations, comes up in the center of the sky, small little cluster, Seven Sisters, the Pleiades.

Now, God said, "Can you bind the sweet influence of the Pleiades?" Astronomers now believe that the Pleiades actually is the center of the gravitational forces in our Milky Way Galaxy. Pretty well accepted now that it is the center of the gravity and the gravitational forces within the Milky Way Galaxy. Here God is telling Job, "Can you bind the sweet influence of the Pleiades?" Hinting actually, to what the astronomers have discovered, that this actually is the center of the gravitational forces in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Then God said, "How about, Job, how would you like the job of guiding Arcturus?" Arcturus is known as the runaway star. Now how did Job know this? It travels at about 125,000 miles per second. Now God said to Job, "How would you like the job of steering that thing through the sky?" Get this steering wheel and this large mass. Arcturus is larger than our sun, guiding that thing at 125,000 miles a second through the sky, dodging these stars and so forth so you don't have a major collision in our universe here. No thanks. You go ahead, God, and You keep Your hand on it.

Do you know the ordinances of the heaven? can you set the dominion thereof in the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that the abundance of water may cover thee? Can you send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? ( Job 38:33-35 )

Can you order the lightning?

Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? or who has given understanding to the heart? ( Job 38:36 )

Where did you get your knowledge? Where did you get understanding? Where does it come from? Who put it there? Who gave you the capacity? Who put the DNA there? Who created the memory cells? You know, God is just speaking of the marvels of His creation. Pointing to Job the marvels of His creative genius. And surely as David said, "We are fearfully and wonderfully made" ( Psalms 139:14 ), and we live in a marvelous universe.

Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, When the dust grows into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? Will you hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, when they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? Who provides for the raven his food? ( Job 38:37-41 )

Who is overseeing the universe? Who's taking care of the animals, the ravens?

when the young ones are crying unto God, they wander for the lack of meat ( Job 38:41 ).

Here God saying these little ravens in the nest are squawking, they are actually crying unto Him.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Job 38". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/job-38.html. 2014.
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