Week of Monday, January 31 ­– Sunday, February 6
Questions – Man as Instructor

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” – Job 38: 1-7 ESV

World War II General Omar Bradley, speaking at an Armistice Day commemoration on November 10, 1948 in Boston, declared: “With the monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of being trapped in this world by its moral adolescents. Our knowledge of science has clearly outstripped our capacity to control it. We have many men of science; too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Man is stumbling blindly through a spiritual darkness while toying with the secrets of life and death. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”
General Bradley’s point is that we think we are intelligent, but in important ways, we truly are ignorant. A good dose of humility is an important quality of an Instructor. All great instructors are learners. They realize they don’t know it all. Well, Job and his “know it all” friends have spent the better part of this book spouting all their “wisdom” about God and the reasons for suffering. Finally, Job said “Enough!” and demanded an audience with God. 
Well, Job got what he asked for. God shows up and speaks to Job out of a whirlwind. Rather than getting to ask God a question, God immediately begins to question Job and in doing so reveals the true relationship that must always exist between the Creator and the created, between the infinite and the finite. Indeed, God demands: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” In other words, Job you don’t even know what you don’t know! God knows what He is doing and there is no way for us to grasp all of it. As Isaiah put it: “his thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). 
Listen to what God says next: “Dress for action like a man.” Another translation says, “gird up your loins.” In other words, put on your “big boy pants” and get ready for battle. God is saying: “Job, you want to challenge me? Well game on!” Then God proceeds to overwhelm Job with a barrage of heavy artillery until Job sticks up the white flag of surrender.
Yet it is not hard to sympathize with Job after all that man had been through. If I had been through what he had, I would have had some questions for God, too. If we are honest, we have all questioned God about the outcome of certain situations, especially involving suffering. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that. There have been multiple occasions in my life where I have questioned God, especially after the tough loss of 16 of my men in Mogadishu.
One of the many things I’ve learned about God is this: He is God and I am not. He knows things I don’t know. His ways are past finding out. I’ve also learned this: God can handle my questions. Questioning God is not the absence of faith. In a backhanded way, it is a demonstration of it. Wrestling with God is ultimately a losing proposition, as Job discovered, but it can lead to a deepening of our walk with God that we probably won’t achieve when everything is just fine. During those challenging times, it is to him we must turn and trust, even when we do not understand. Those are lessons not only we need to learn but also impart to our family and the people we lead.
  • Can you recall a time when you went through a rough patch and you questioned God? Did your faith grow through that experience? Are there some takeaways you can use to instruct your family about walking with God?
  • The book of Job is basically his journal. Have you ever thought about keeping a journal or at least writing in your Bible so that you can pass on some of your experience with God to your family?  
  • Ask God to give you the grace to endure the tough times in a way that deepens your faith. Ask Him to help you find ways to use your challenging experiences to instruct those in your circle of influence.