Job Replies: God's Majesty Is Unsearchable
26 Then Job answered and said:
“How you have helped him who has no power!
How you have saved the arm that has no strength!
How you have counseled him who has no wisdom,
and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
With whose help have you uttered words,
and whose breath has come out from you?
The dead tremble
under the waters and their inhabitants.
Sheol is naked before God,
and Abaddon has no covering.
He stretches out the north over the void
and hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
and the cloud is not split open under them.
He covers the face of the full moon
and spreads over it his cloud.
He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters
at the boundary between light and darkness.
The pillars of heaven tremble
and are astounded at his rebuke.
By his power he stilled the sea;
by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
By his wind the heavens were made fair;
his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”
Job 26 Commentary
by Hank Workman
From the moment Job’s 3 friends opened their mouths, it was like a broken record. They said the same thing over and over. It’s either they had no further talking points (which really they didn’t) or they thought that ‘beating Job down’ with their theology would breakthrough. The needle was finally taken off the record and they go silent. Job speaks back to them with dripping sarcasm. He has had his fill.
The irony is these men came to visit Job to help him. They did nothing of the sort. They were so busy holding onto their own theology and mindset of what they believed, they left Job laying in his pain. They failed to bring any form of relief. There was not one lick of compassion for their friend and they failed to turn even their knowledge into helpful counsel.
We all have an opinion, right? Of course we do.
In any given situation, many times we make a decision, hold to an opinion as to why something is going on within a person or a hardship or fill in the blank that they are experiencing. And if we’re honest, within those conversations we’re just itching to let our thoughts be known. I mean, (add sarcasm) ‘Our thoughts are obviously right on target and our opinions matter.’
I’ve learned over the years through so much counseling sessions or even speaking with another as a friend that sometimes I need to shut up. So often within one of these conversations where a person is talking about whatever hardship they are going through I ask, “Do you want my thoughts on this or simply looking to get things out?” Depending on their answer, dictates where our conversations go from there. But I can tell you, if they are not wanting my thoughts – they are not given. I don’t try to come around the barn and sneakily give them. That’s not what they wanted and I will honor that request.
This definitely is a challenge. For sometimes God has given us some pretty good insight as an outsider to a situation. Just being a bystander to their struggle gives fresh eyes. However, if they’re not ready to receive that, we mustn’t try to force the issue until they are ready to see things differently or at least from a different perspective.
I remember a conversation a few years ago where a guy sat and talked about a lot going on in his life that was a mess. He was completely shredded with issues and really was at a crossroads of his own faith of either going deeper or staying complacent. When I asked him if he wanted my thoughts or not – it was a definite ‘No!’
He gave that answer so strongly I was taken aback but I honored his request. I did not weigh in. The reality was I had been at his same place many different times and had experienced some of the same struggles he was going through. But he wasn’t ready to hear that and so I simply listened and shared nothing. The rest of the story is it would be many months later that he was finally ready to hear another perspective, and then once invited in, my thoughts were given.
You see, the Holy Spirit was at work in him through all that hardship. But he had to be ready to receive these thoughts – which took months for him to get to that place.
Folks, it’s more important to love and understand people and their hardship than to analyze and give advice. Sometimes love is all they want. Sometimes just being heard without commentary helps them move over the hump of whatever has come. Compassion always brings a greater result than our lofty opinion or criticism. How well do you do this?
Job 26 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
I remember a story one time where I was in a counseling session with a pastor. We were discussing a personal issue that I was struggling with so much. I was kind of at a crossroads, to a certain degree, with some of my life decisions. I remember feeling out the direction of the conversation and where it was going with this pastor.
I actually don’t recall the specifics of the conversation, but I do remember that I didn’t like the direction it was headed. In fact, I knew what his response was going to be to my situation and I didn’t want to hear it. I just wasn’t ready. So when he asked if he could “weigh in” on my situation I promptly and firmly fired back, “No!”
Yes — the story Hank has written above was about me. I wasn’t ready to handle the truth. Actually, I wanted to complain to Hank and get validated in my feelings but I didn’t want him to dig any deeper than that. I just wanted to stay the same person. I’ve said this of Hank many times, and it remains true… I always respect that he asks if he can weigh in. He’s done it in my life, and he’s done it in counseling sessions I’ve been a part of. The question alone speaks volumes because it’s focused on the person and not on the counsel.
I left the meeting that day knowing that Hank cares very deeply about me. He cared enough about our relationship to wait until the right moment – led by the Holy Spirit – in order to voice his opinion.
This is exactly what we do not see from Job’s friends. In response, Job has fired back in the first four verses with thick sarcasm. He’s tired of their rigid, “know-it-all” theology. Job goes on during the rest of the chapter to write about how much he indeed knows about God’s power. He is not lacking in his understanding of it, as his friends would suggest.
I want us to take a moment and look at the fruit (or lack thereof) from Job’s friends. When you read Job’s response here in Chapter 26, what have they accomplished? He’s upset and sarcastic (probably angry as well). He is trying to defend and justify himself with his knowledge about God. In the end, it’s done nothing but cause division and tension. Truth is important, but it holds little strength without grace.
Think about your own life. Are you using discernment to direct your responses to others, or are you just throwing your words around loosely? These are tough thoughts to consider, but I can tell you from experience – it matters.