726) Questions

     Job was a good man who was tested by a time of unimaginable suffering, as described in the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Job.  The next thirty-five chapters of the book describe a debate between Job and some friends as Job questions the goodness and justice of God.  In chapters 36-41 God has a few questions for Job.  Randy Alcorn describes how God uses these questions to open Job’s eyes to a much larger perspective (from Alcorn’s June 16, 2014 bolg at http://www.epm.org): 

When I need a point-of-view adjustment, I read the last five chapters of Job.  That’s where the focus shifts from Job’s questions about his suffering– and his friends’ proposed answers– to God’s majesty.  Job had a better basis for complaint than nearly any of us ever will.  Yet after listening to Job’s grievances, God finally speaks to him:  “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:3).

God is saying, “You are unhappy with me, Job.  You have questioned me.  You assume you know far more than you do.  Now it’s my turn to ask you some questions.”  God never faults Job for being finite, only for failing to recognize that he has no right to pass judgment on the wisdom and goodness of an infinite Creator.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions?  Surely you know!”  (verses 4–5).

God has always been; Job just showed up.  In Hebrew culture, wisdom came with old age.  God is eternally old, Job ridiculously young.

God says, “Tell me, if you understand.”  Job doesn’t and can’t.

We lack God’s omniscience, omnipotence, wisdom, holiness, justice, and goodness.  If we insist we have the right, or even assume we have the capacity, to understand the hidden purposes of God, we forfeit the comfort and perspective we could have had in kneeling before his vastly superior wisdom.

While this doesn’t answer the question of evil and suffering, it does suggest God’s answer is beyond our understanding.  One day we’ll know far better than now; but even in eternity, God will still be infinite, and we’ll still be finite.

Job finally says to God, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.…  My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (42:3, 5–6).

     Charles Spurgeon stated, “He who demands a reason from God is not in a fit state to receive one.”  It is when Job surrenders himself to God that he at last, at the end of himself, finds comfort.


The writer of Psalm 8 already had that wider perspective, so he has a different kind of question.  His understanding of the greatness of this God of all creation makes him wonder why God even pays attention to something so small as mere person, and then offers his praise for God’s care of us.


Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!


Father, thank you for both inviting us to ask questions and instructing us to listen carefully to your answers.  Help us rely on you even when we don’t understand.  As a loving Father, you want us to trust you rather than blame and resent you.  After all you’ve done for us as Creator and Redeemer, how could we do less?

–Randy Alcorn


Psalm 8:2 speaks of the praise of ‘infants and children.’  Listen to this two year-old’s enthusiastic praise of God as she sings The Lord’s Prayer: