“‘And he said to man, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding”’” (Job 28:28).
Job’s emotions are all over the place throughout the book that bears his name. When he first learns that he has lost everything, his initial reaction is to bless God. “‘The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away,’” he proclaims; “‘blessed be the name of the LORD’” (1:21). But as time foes on and his grief has more time to grow, he begins to get angry. He doesn’t understand why any of this has happened to him. His friends insist he is the worst of sinners, while Job insists he has done nothing worthy of this horrible punishment. Sometimes, his anger is even directed towards God. But while he does give vent to his frustration, he doesn’t abandon his faith. He continues to hold to God, even when he doesn’t understand.
One of Job’s biggest flaws throughout his arguments is that he seems to think he can actually understand God. That’s why this ordeal is so terrible to him; he can’t make any sense of it. This doesn’t fall in line at all with the God he thinks he understands. Much of his anger arises from his insistence that this is entirely unfair. When he stops and admits that he really doesn’t understand God, however, he returns to calm. In these moments, he realizes that he doesn’t have to understand before he can trust.
In the end, Job recognizes that God is much greater than he has imagined. The God he thought he knew is not the God who is now being revealed to him. He is afraid of God, because he doesn’t understand Him. But to fear God is wisdom. To acknowledge that He is far above us is the only way to gain understanding. Job will soon realize that he knows very little about God. But he will reverence Him all the more, because he will know that God is great because He is unsearchable.
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