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Will You Condemn Me?

Job  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:21
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Indictment #1 (Job 38:1-40:2)- Job presumed to have sufficient knowledge of the facts to bring God’s ways and character into question.
Job 38:2–3 KJV 1900
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel By words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; For I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
1. The God who is wise and powerful enough to create is wise and powerful enough to manage my life too
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Did you shut in the sea?
Do you know how to command the dawn?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Job 38:18 KJV 1900
Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Declare if thou knowest it all.
2. The God who is wise and powerful enough to control is wise and powerful enough to manage my life too.
God’s control over the animal kingdom
Job do you know how to provide food for lion cubs or baby birds? (God’s compassion)
Job do you know why the ostrich was created with a lack of wisdom and understanding? (God’s sovereignty)
If you don’t even understand the created world that you can see and touch, what makes you think that you have sufficient knowledge of the entire universe (visible and invisible), to bring God’s ways and character into question?
Answer #1 (Job 40:3-5)- Job concedes—no rebuttal, no self-defense.
Job 40:3–5 KJV 1900
3 Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. 5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: Yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Indictment #2 (Job 40:6-41:34)- Job defended his own righteousness at the expense of God’s righteousness
Job 40:6–8 KJV 1900
6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
Now Job never comes right out and says this about God, but he certainly implies it. And even though it might not have been intentional on the part of Job, his defense of his own righteousness and his own sin marred definition of justice has diminished God’s own righteousness and justice by comparison.
Job 31:35–37 KJV 1900
35 Oh that one would hear me! Behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, And that mine adversary had written a book. 36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, And bind it as a crown to me. 37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; As a prince would I go near unto him.
My desire is for my adversary to write for me a formal indictment. If God would just write down a list of my supposed sins I would carry it on my shoulder, bind it as a crown, give account of all my steps, approach God like a prince. (By the way Job is getting exactly what he asked for. Is he acting like a prince, and wearing the indictment on his head like a crown? No. What was Job’s response? “I am vile.” Be careful what you ask for, especially when you are calling the character of God into question)
What is Job saying? I am innocent. None of God’s charges would stick. My righteousness is intact.
What does that say about God’s righteousness?
God made a mistake, God is not just, God is not treating me in a righteous manner.
Job defended his own righteousness at the expense of God’s righteousness.
Now God is not bringing a list of sins against Job as a justification for the suffering that Job went through. Job is partially right. He didn’t do anything to deserve his suffering. God is calling out Job on his response to that suffering. Job failed in his trust of God. Why did he fail in trusting God? Bad theology! God is not agreeing with Job’s three friends that Job was some horrible sinner and he got what he deserved. But God is correcting Job’s theology.
Job has called God’s righteousness into question. How is God going to solve this problem?
Look at v. 9
Job 40:9 KJV 1900
9 Hast thou an arm like God? Or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
What is God asking here?
Do you have an arm like God? What does He mean?
In the bible the arm is a symbol of strength.
Psalm 89:13 KJV 1900
13 Thou hast a mighty arm: Strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.
Thunder also is a symbol of strength and majesty.
Psalm 29:3–4 KJV 1900
3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: The God of glory thundereth: The Lord is upon many waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
Why does God change the subject here?
God had just asked Job, “Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?”
And then in the next verse God asks Job, “Do you have an arm like God or can you thunder with a voice like Him?”
It makes sense when you follow the Lord’s argument.
Zuck made this statement,
“But any mortal’s alleged superiority to God’s justice must be accompanied by a similar superiority of power.”
So what is God saying? OK Job, you want to call my righteousness and justice into question, then you better have the power to back it up.

Argument: We have no strength, we have no majesty- therefore, who are we to critique God’s righteousness and justice?

Job 40:10–14 KJV 1900
10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; And array thyself with glory and beauty. 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: And behold every one that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; And tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together; And bind their faces in secret. 14 Then will I also confess unto thee That thine own right hand can save thee.
Job go ahead, I’ll wait:
Array yourself with majesty and splendor.
Put on glory and beauty.
Express your indignation by humbling the proud and judging the wicked.
Job show me your majesty and your strength, and then I will acknowledge that you are on the same level with me, I will confess that your own right hand can save you. When you do that then you will be in a position to critique God’s management of the world.
Remember we must read this with a correct understanding of God’s emotion or we will come to a wrong interpretation of the text.
God is not challenging Job here- “If you think you can do better, give it a go!”
God is not complaining either- “This is harder than you think?”
We cannot read this text in any way that compromises the dignity of God. Rather God is speaking here with irony to remind Job that he is infinitely out of his depth.

Exhibit A: Behemoth (40:15-24)

Here God directs Job’s attention to two magnificent creatures of God’s world. Many people scratch their heads and wonder why in the world is God talking about strange creatures instead of answering Job’s question. Well, you just have to follow God’s argument, because there is divine strategy in answering Job in this manner.
God has just asked Job to show off his strength and majesty. Go ahead and try your hand at governing the world. And to bring home just how unfit Job was for the task God invites him to start with two fellow creatures. What God is doing is essentially throwing Job into the deep end, this is sink or swim, only instead of a pool God throws Job into an ocean with 50ft waves and hurricane like winds. Go ahead Job show me your strength and your majesty.
God does this in a unique way with behemoth. Up until this point God has been asking Job one question after the other. But when He gets to behemoth, God just says “behold” “observe!” God doesn’t ask Job a single question about behemoth. Just commands Job to consider.
Job 40:15–24 (KJV 1900) — 15 Behold now behemoth, Which I made with thee; He eateth grass as an ox. 16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, And his force is in the navel of his belly. (The idea here is that his power is in the muscles of his belly) 17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: The sinews of his stones (thighs) are wrapped together. 18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; His bones are like bars of iron. 19 He is the chief (first) of the ways of God: He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. 20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, Where all the beasts of the field play. 21 He lieth under the shady trees (lotus plants), In the covert of the reed, and fens. 22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; The willows of the brook compass him about. 23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: He trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. (The idea here is that a raging river does not alarm it; behemoth is secure even if the Jordan should rush into its mouth) 24 He taketh it with his eyes: His nose pierceth through snares. (Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?)
What was behemoth? We don’t know. “Behemoth” is a Hebrew plural (lit., “beasts”), though the pronouns and verbs that describe this beast are singular. This is probably give it an intensive effect, letting us know that this was a beast of mammoth proportions. This creature is essentially a land animal (it eats grass like an ox, 40:15), but it possesses aquatic features as well (it dwells both by and in the water, 40:21–23). It was a creature with which Job must have been familiar or the point would be drained of impact. Numerous suggestions of its identity have been offered: brontosaurus, water buffalo, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and elephant are among the chief proposals, the last two generally being the most widely preferred. I would identify it as some sort of large land beast, probably now extinct. I will look forward to seeing exactly what behemoth was in heaven some day.
What it was is not nearly as important as why the Lord uses it as an exhibit in his court case.
The key verse in this section is v.19
Job 40:19 KJV 1900
19 He is the chief of the ways of God: He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
“He is the first [or chief] of the ways of God; only He who made him can bring near His sword” (NKJV)
Again this creature, whatever it was, it was something that Job was very familiar with. This was the largest and the most impressive land animal that Job knew about. Job knew that behemoth’s strength was far beyond his own strength and ability to contain or control it. And yet as awesome as the strength of this creature was, this mammoth beast was under the control of an infinitely stronger God who created him.
If Job did not have the strength to control even one of God’s creatures, who was he to question God’s righteousness and God’s justice.
Job 40:15 KJV 1900
15 Behold now behemoth, Which I made with thee; He eateth grass as an ox.
Behemoth is a creature that I made just as I made you. There is a hint here by God that this creature is better equipped to abase the proud and send the wicked fleeing than Job is, so who does Job think he is to bring into question God’s righteousness and God’s justice. Job is weak and puny next to behemoth, how much more so compared to an infinitely stronger Creator.
Remember God’s opening invitation to Job.
Job 40:8 KJV 1900
8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
Will you condemn me?
Well do you have an arm like God? Do you have my strength Job?
Can you thunder with a voice like mine? Do you have my majesty?
If so go ahead and adorn yourself with majesty and dignity, clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Abase the proud and bring low the wicked. Then, and only then, will I acknowledge your strength.
But you don’t even come close to the strength of Behemoth. How can you dream about standing up to God? Will you condemn me?
How do we condemn God? How do we put God in the wrong?
There is a sense that every time we complain, we get overly frustrated at our situation, or we call into question our circumstance we put God in the wrong.
Only God has the strength

Exhibit B: Leviathan (41:1-34)

Here God returns to questioning Job in the first part of the description of Leviathan, and then returns to commanding Job to observe.
Job 41:1–34 (KJV 1900) — 1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook (fishhook)? Or his tongue with a cord (fishing line) which thou lettest down? 2 Canst thou put an hook (reed / rope) into his nose? Or bore his jaw through with a thorn (hook)? 3 Will he make many supplications unto thee (beg you for mercy)? Will he speak soft words unto thee? 4 Will he make a covenant with thee? Wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird (make him your pet)? Or wilt thou bind him (with a leash) for thy maidens (young girls)? 6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? Shall they part him among the merchants? 7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons (harpoons)? Or his head with fish spears? 8 Lay thine hand upon him, Remember the battle, do no more. (never do that again) 9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain (cannot be subdued): Shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? (The mere sight of him is overpowering) 10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: Who then is able to stand before me? 11 Who hath prevented (made a claim against) me, that I should repay him? Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. 12 I will not conceal his parts, Nor his power, nor his comely proportion. (graceful form) 13 Who can discover the face of his garment (strip off his outer coat)? Or who can come to him with his double bridle (penetrate its double coat of armor)? 14 Who can open the doors of his face (mouth)? His teeth are terrible round about. (mouth ringed with fearsome teeth) 15 His scales are his pride, Shut up together as with a close seal. 16 One is so near to another, That no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another, They stick together, that they cannot be sundered. 18 By his neesings a light doth shine, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, And sparks of fire leap out. 20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, As out of a seething pot or caldron. 21 His breath kindleth coals, And a flame goeth out of his mouth. 22 In his neck remaineth strength, And sorrow is turned into joy before him. 23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: They are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. 24 His heart is as firm as a stone; Yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: By reason of breakings they purify themselves. (when leviathan crashes down the mighty are beside themselves) 26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: The spear, the dart, nor the habergeon (javelin). 27 He esteemeth iron as straw, And brass as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee: Slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 29 Darts are counted as stubble: He laugheth at the shaking of a spear. 30 Sharp stones are under him: He spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. 31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: He maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He maketh a path to shine after him; One would think the deep to be hoary. 33 Upon earth there is not his like, Who is made without fear. 34 He beholdeth all high things: He is a king over all the children of pride.
Again one of the first questions that we ask after reading about Leviathan is, “What kind of creature is God talking about?”
No one knows for sure and there are no shortages of suggestions: a marine dinosaur, a whale, a dolphin, a crocodile, and even a mythical seven-headed sea monster named Lotan. The crocodile is far and away the most widely accepted theory (however, there is a lot of the description that does not fit with a croc). Some kind of massive sea animal that Job was very familiar with, but is now extinct.
Even a crocodile is a good example of man’s inability to tame certain animals. (Picture) God is describing a massive creature that man is unable to overcome of tame or capture. And specifically that Job alone could not capture. All of the pronouns speaking of subduing leviathan are singular. The idea of Job conquering this beast is preposterous bordering on sheer lunacy.
Beyond Suffering: Discovering the Message of Job Resuming with the Evidence (40:15–41:34)

from capturing this creature with a hook like a fish (41:1–2), to the animal begging Job for mercy (41:3) or becoming Job’s servant (41:4), to playing with this beast as though it were a little bird or putting it on a leash as a playmate for little girls (41:5), to divvying it up for dinner with its cooperation (41:6), to taking it single-handedly with multiple spears (41:7).

God sums up Job’s inability well in v. 8
Job 41:8 KJV 1900
8 Lay thine hand upon him, Remember the battle, do no more.
You’ll never do it again!
(Sledding accidents)
The point of this passage is not what this creature is, but why God is bringing it into the discussion.
Look at vv. 9-11 again.
Job 41:9–11 KJV 1900
9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: Shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: Who then is able to stand before me? 11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
Think about what God is saying here: Leviathan is a terrifying animal; the very thought of coming face to face with this beast in the wild is a petrifying prospect (41:9). No man in his right mind would dare disturb or pick a fight with one of these creatures of God (41:10a). Who, then, could be so foolish as to think that he could challenge God and stand up against Him (41:10b)? Who in his right mind would pick a fight with the Almighty and expect to win? But that’s not all.
V. 11 is key! Who has first given anything to Me that I should be obliged to repay him? Everything under the whole heaven is Mine! (41:11).
Here God brings Job back full circle to the beginning of the book. Do you remember what God said of Job all the way back in chapter 2?
Job 2:3 KJV 1900
3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Job had done nothing wrong to deserve the loss of everything he owned! What we often fail to acknowledge is that the opposite of that statement is true as well. Job had done absolutely nothing to deserve anything he possessed in the first place. Sometimes we forget that truth. Job recognized it early on in his suffering.
Job 1:21 KJV 1900
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.
And now God brings Job back to that same truth.
Everything you have, your possessions, your position, your ministry, your children, your health, your breath—none of it is yours. You have given God nothing that obligates Him to repay you anything that you presently possess. And so what God has given you without cause, He can also take it away without cause.
“Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
This truth can be somewhat frightening to think about, if we think about it in a vacuum. So we must remember that the God who owns everything under the whole heaven and can do whatever He wishes with his possessions, is the same God who shows compassion for the lowly mountain goat or the deer as it gives birth on a desolate mountain side. Our God is the one Who knows when a sparrow falls out of its nest, He knows the numbers of hairs on your head, and He passionate cares and loves you.
Lamentations 3:22–23 KJV 1900
22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
And because we know this about our God we can trust the one who owns everything and the one who can do anything with what He owns.
This is so basic. And we confess it with our mouths all the time.
Romans 8:28 KJV 1900
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Do we really grasp this truth in our souls and live it? This is what affliction tests. Job acknowledged this truth with his mouth.
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.
But actually living in faith through affliction is a whole different ball game.
How are we calling into question God’s righteousness and God’s justice?
Teens/kids- times when my parents wouldn’t let me spend the night at my friends house. My instant response, “That’s not fair.” Who put my parents in charge of me? God. Who am I really rebelling against when I argue with my parents? God. So who’s righteousness and justice am I calling into question? God’s. God owns everything. And he can choose what He allows in your life and what He takes away. He will work it out for your good, so will you trust Him? You have no strength, you have no majesty of your own, so why do you think you can question the righteousness and justice of God?
“Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
Parents/adults- When you have one of “those” days. Everything goes wrong. This is not fair. Or this is too hard. How could God let this happen to me. Or I think God made a mistake about how much I can handle. Do we realize that we are calling into question God’s righteousness and God’s justice. We may not say it in those words, but our attitude makes it very clear none the less.
“Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”

We have no strength, we have no majesty- therefore, who are we to critique God’s righteousness and justice?

Are we going to trust God? That is our need. That is what God requires of us. To live a life of faith. To trust Him even when the circumstance in our life don’t make sense. To believe that God will do what is best, both for our good and His own glory.
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