“Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits to the Almighty? High as the heavens, what can you do? Deeper than Sheol, what can you know? It’s measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” (11:7-9)
“With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding.” (12:13)
Back and forth, these guys offer up things they know about God to support their conclusions. Even in these above statements, declaring His vastness, they seem to be preparing to place Him in a tidy “if-then” statement.
I must admit, this book has confused me throughout my life because of its poetic forms. It reads like it has the potential to be similar to proverbs, except at the end God says, “you’re wrong about Me.” So I find myself sifting through the verses, searching for “timeless truths” or “promises to claim”. These were, after all, the tools I grew up utilizing in Bible study.
However the Book of Job, along with the other head-scratching wisdom literature, declares: it’s not that simple, guys. It’s more! Job, next to Proverbs is confusing. Then next to Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, it becomes even more complex. We can’t use the same formula of study for every literary type.
I had a very wonderful and brilliant Old Testament professor in college named Sameer Yadav (Hopefully it’s fine I’m mentioning by name and he doesn’t come back at me like I’ve grossly misrepresented him. This was 12 years ago, so don’t take it as a direct quote. Otherwise I suggest looking up his work). He would occasionally go on side bar rampages, which I always enjoyed.
One such rampage was about how brilliantly complex the Bible is. Narratives, histories, genealogies, poems, letters, prophecies, 66 books! His rant included how harmful it can be to use verses of the Bible as spiritual bandaids in Christian counseling. He said, dumbing down scripture to make it feel comfortable and fortune-cookie applicable not only undermines how beautifully, intricately, gloriously complex the Word is, it also undermines how beautifully, intricately, gloriously complex We are. But the good news is: The Bible is in fact sufficient for these things.
This has made me careful to not lob verses at people in the midst of a crisis. Its also made this book hard to study 2 chapters at a time. Just because I know God doesn’t have limits, doesn’t mean I’m smart enough to advise like Him. Realizing His vastness should always envoke humility, not piety.
This is why we are so glad y’all have stuck with us through this journey. Continuing to study the whole Bible and growing in understanding it in its context, which is as big and messy as life itself. Do you know Job is the 49th book we’ve done together? Keep it up guys!