We desperately need to hear God’s voice, to be reassured He cares about us. If we believe He is silent, our tendency is to conclude He doesn’t care. But when the God of Wonders speaks – really speaks! – there’s an opposite effect. We’re the ones who are awestruck to the point of silence. In that sense, we’re very much like our friend Job.
Looking once again at The Book of Job we’ve entered the final chapters of the book. In Chapter 39, there’s not a peep from Job. He’s been completely silenced as God continues to address his complaint.
I was reminded today of an instance from Exodus 20:18-20 where the presence of God and the sound of His voice induces fear. Moses has personally received the Ten Commandments from God. The nascent nation of Israel stands at the base of Mount Sinai (the Mount of Moses) where God has met with Moses and given the commandments. But the rumbling ground, the thunder and lightning, the mountain covered with smoke … all of these things have caused the people to tremble in fear!
Not a one of them is anxious to be face-to-face with Yahweh (יהוה), the God of Israel. Instead, they keep their distance, entreating Moses to be their intercessor – to speak God’s words to them. They were afraid if God spoke directly to them, they would die.
Apparently, Job isn’t fearful about dying, but he’s wise enough to be a student of the Most High God … and he listens attentively. God continues the discourse He began in chapter 38, where He presented to Job the magnificence of His created world – the earth and its wonders, the amazing reality of darkness and light, weather phenomena like rain and lightning, thunder, clouds, planets and stars … all wonders over which Job has to admit he has no control.
Continuing in chapter 39, God narrows His view, referring to animals known to Job … the mountain goats, the deer and fawns, the wild donkeys. With each example, God challenges Job to identify one aspect over which he has exerted influence. The obvious answer is none … Job remains painfully silent.
Two sonnets resulted from chapter 39. The vastness of God’s creation, manifested through a sampling of creatures from the animal kingdom, reminds me of both His majesty and His good humor. The first sonnet focuses on verses one through twelve.
The second sonnet focuses on the remainder of chapter 39, more creatures and more lessons from the wild.