God Speaks to the Humble (Job 38-42:6)
“Where were you when I made Earth?
Tell Me if you know
Who marked off its dimensions?
Surely you must know
Who laid the cornerstone,
Or furnished it with joists
While the morning stars sang together
And all the angels rejoiced
Who shut up the sea behind doors
When it burst forth from the womb
When I made the clouds its garment
And cloaked it in dark, like a tomb
When I fixed limits for it,
Secured it to be restrained
-This is how far you may come,
This is where your waves refrain-
Have you ever ordered the morning,
Or shown the dawn its place
That it might take the earth by the edges
The wicked, out of it, shake
Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea,
Or tread the recesses of the deep
Have the gates of death been shown to you
The deepest darkness, you’ve seen
Can you comprehend the vast expanse of earth?
Do you know where light does dwell,
And where does darkness reside
If you can lead them there, do tell
Do you know the path to their dwellings?
Surely you know, you were already born
You have lived so many years
Have you entered where snow is stored?
Or seen the storehouse of hail
Which, for times of woe, are reserved
From where are the east winds scattered
Can you show Me where lightning's dispersed?
Who cuts a channel for torrents of rain
And for the thunderstorm, a path
To water a desolate desert
And make it sprout green with grass?
Does the rain have a father?
Tell Me, who sires the dewdrops
Who gives birth to frost and ice
When waters can be tread atop?
Can you bind the beauty of stars?
Can you make Orion's Belt unstrung?
Can you bring forth the constellations,
Lead the Bear out, with its young
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God's rule on our planet?
Can you raise your voice to the cloud,
For flood and lightning, command it?
Who gives the ibis its wisdom,
And the rooster, understanding of time?
Who tips the buckets of heaven
When the earth is hardened and dry?
Do you satisfy the hunger of lions,
When they lie in wait in a thicket
And who provides food for the raven
As their young cry out, lacking it
Do you know when mountain goats are born?
Do you see when the doe bears her fawn?
Do you count the months till they bear,
When they crouch and bring forth their young
Which thrives and grows strong in the wilds
Before they leave and do not come back?
Who let the wild donkey go free,
In the salt flats, its dry habitat?
It laughs at the bustle of towns;
A driver’s shout it won’t heed
It wanders the hills for its pastures
Searching for anything green
Will the wild ox ever serve you?
Will it stay by your manger at night?
Can you harness it for tilling the field?
Can you depend on it for its great might?
The wings of an ostrich flap joyfully
Though they’re unable to fly
While the stork spreads its feathers
The horse to quickly pass by
Do you give the horse its strength
And clothe it with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust,
Striking terror as it snorts and neighs?
It paws the ground ferociously
And charges into the fray
It laughs at fear, and from the sword
It does not shy away
The quiver rattles against its side
Along with the flashing lance
It senses battle from afar
As the warriors advance
In frenzied excitement,
It tears up the ground
It cannot stand still
When the trumpet sounds
Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom?
Does the eagle soar at your command
From its nest in the high, rocky crag
Where it spies prey on the land?
Will the one who opposes the Almighty
Correct Him? Let My accusers reply”
Then Job answered the Lord,
“I’m unworthy, how can I reply?”
Then the Lord spoke to Job
Out of the storm,
“You shall answer Me;
You have been forewarned
Would you, a man,
God’s justice discredit
Or condemn Me
For your own benefit?
Do you have an arm like God’s?
Can your voice, like His, thunder?
Then adorn yourself with honour,
Majesty, glory and splendour
Unleash the fury of your wrath
On the proud, to bring them low
Crush the wicked where they stand
Bury them in the dust below
Look at the Behemoth
That feeds upon the grass
Its bones are like iron and bronze
Its muscles are unsurpassed
Beneath the lotus plant, it lies
Among the reeds, it’s hidden
A raging river causes no alarm
Who can make it do their bidding?
Can you reel in Leviathan ?
Will it beg for mercy, fervent?
Can you make a pet of it,
Or will it be your life-long servant?
Can you fill its hide with harpoons,
Or its head with fishing spears?
No one could ever subdue it ;
There is nobody that fierce
Who then can stand against Me
Who has a charge I must pay
Everything under heaven is Mine
Where My strength and grace are displayed
Who can strip off Leviathan’s armor,
Or part its fearsome mouth?
Smoke pours from its nostrils -
It snorts and flames come out
Its flesh is firm
Its chest, hard as a rock
When it rises, the mighty retreat,
Terrified and in shock
The javelin and the sword
Are like useless straw and chaff
For this unequalled creature
Looks down on the proud and laughs”
Then Job replied to the Lord,
“I know You can do all things,
Your purposes will prevail
Surely I spoke of things
I did not understand,
Things too wonderful to know
I have heard of You
But now I’ve seen You and bow low
I have heard Your voice,
Like thunder, crash
I’m ashamed of myself,
Repent in dust and ash”
March 9, 2017