The Whisper of His Voice / The Thunder of His Power

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Job Whisper Thunder

Wednesday 3/06/24

Title: The Whisper of His Voice / The Thunder of His Power

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The Whisper of His Voice / The Thunder of His Power

Job Replies to Eliphaz: Where Is God?

Job 23:1-17,

“(1)  Then Job answered:  

(2)  “Even today my complaint is still bitter; His hand is heavy despite my groaning.  

(3)  O that I knew where I might find Him, that I could come to His place of residence!  

(4)  I would lay out my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments.  

(5)  I would know with what words He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me.  

(6)  Would He contend with me with great power? No, He would only pay attention to me.  

(7)  There an upright person could present His case before Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge.  

(8)  “If I go to the east, He is not there, and to the west, yet I do not perceive Him.  (9)  In the north when He is at work, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I see no trace of Him.  (10)  But He knows the pathway that I take; if He tested me, I would come forth like gold.  

(11)  My feet have followed His steps closely; I have kept to His way and have not turned aside.  

(12)  I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my allotted portion.  (13)  But He is unchangeable, and who can change Him? Whatever He has desired, He does.”  

Now I waited until Job used these words he is quoting from Eliphaz in Job 22:22, so I could address their implications at one time.

This is one of the places which would seem to offer evidence of a later date of these happenings as if the words of God’s mouth were alluding to the law given through Moses. However, many think that this was in reference to the law given to Noah and his sons following the flood some of which is recorded for us in Genesis 9. These decrees along with what was known of God before the flood and passed down from Adam and Eve are more likely the source of God’s words to which Eliphaz and Job were referring.

If it were not for SO MUCH evidence pointing to a much earlier date, prior to the giving of the law, I would also assume this were in reference the Law given to and through Moses, but you cannot isolate these verses from the entire contents of the book and still arrive at the truth. As such, the words of God passed down through the ages from the godly before the flood and Noah afterwards seems the most likely candidates for the source of God’s words these men were mentioning.

“(14)  For He fulfills His decree against me, and many such things are His plans.  

(15)  That is why I am terrified in His presence; when I consider, I am afraid because of Him.  

(16)  Indeed, God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.  (17)  Yet I have not been silent because of the darkness, because of the thick darkness that covered my face.”

Job 24:1-25,  

“(1) Why are times not appointed by the Almighty

Why do those who know Him not see His days?  

(2)  Men move boundary stones; 

they seize the flock and pasture them.  

(3)  They drive away the orphan’s donkey; 

they take the widow’s ox as a pledge.  

(4)  They turn the needy from the pathway, and the poor of the land hide themselves together.  

(5)  Like wild donkeys in the wilderness, they go out to their labor seeking diligently for food; the arid rift valley provides food for them and for their children.  

(6)  They reap fodder in the field, and glean in the vineyard of the wicked.  

(7)  They spend the night naked because they lack clothing; they have no covering against the cold.  

(8)  They are soaked by mountain rains and huddle in the rocks because they lack shelter.  

(9)  The fatherless child is snatched from the breast, the infant of the poor is taken as a pledge.  

(10)  They go about naked, without clothing, and go hungry while they carry the sheaves.  

(11)  They press out the olive oil between the rows of olive trees; they tread the winepresses while they are thirsty.  

(12)  From the city the dying groan, and the wounded cry out for help, but God charges no one with wrongdoing.  

(13)  There are those who rebel against the light; they do not know its ways and they do not stay on its paths.  

(14)  Before daybreak the murderer rises up; he kills the poor and the needy; in the night he is like a thief.  (15)  And the eye of the adulterer watches for the twilight, thinking, ‘No eye can see me,’ and covers his face with a mask.  

(16)  In the dark the robber breaks into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they do not know the light.  

(17)  For all of them, the morning is to them like deep darkness; they are friends with the terrors of darkness.  

(18)  “You say, ‘He is foam on the face of the waters; their portion of the land is cursed so that no one goes to their vineyard.  (19)  The drought as well as the heat snatch up the melted snow; so the grave snatches up the sinner.  

(20)  The womb forgets him, the worm feasts on him, no longer will he be remembered. 

Like a tree, wickedness will be broken down.  

(21)  He preys on the barren and childless woman, and does not treat the widow well.”

Verse 18 in the New English translation (as well as some others) add the words, “You say” as if Job were quoting from Eliphaz. This would make sense if in verse 24 when Job begins with “BUT” he were setting forth a contrary position – but he does not! The logic continues along the same line as before. So far as I can see – the addition of these words is only supplied by the translators for clarity so that the reader understands the verse as they do, but I do not trust that approach.

In fact, the flow of the entire passage makes far more sense to me, and offers less contradiction if these were all Job’s words.

Now here we witness what appears to be a sudden reversal of Job’s words in chapter 21 in that he recognizes that God does eventually punish the wicked.

“(22)  But God drags off the mighty by His power; when God rises up against him, he has no faith in his life.  

(23)  God may let them rest in a feeling of security, but He is constantly watching all their ways.  

(24)  They are exalted for a little while, and then they are gone, they are brought low like all others, and gathered in, and like a head of grain they are cut off.’  

(25)  “If this is not so, who can prove me a liar and reduce my words to nothing?”

Now these accusations against God are not unlike modern objections to God being a God of love. Yet it is only part of a much greater story for which no details are or even can be given.

Yes many of the wealthy and powerful are indeed wicked and they use as cheap labor those who have little. 

We see this today, it is nothing new. 

But what do we know of the poor? Have they cried out to God their Maker in faith? 

Have they sought Him or are they seeking the favor and mercy of the earthly rich? 

Who do they turn to when in need and who do they rely upon as their source?

In truth poeple who have little means of provision, though they dislike and distrust the rich, nevertheless find themselves often looking to them and turning to them for assistance and help.

It is a normal thing for one who lacks money, to look to those who HAVE it rather than to God Who owns all.

So the answer to who do they place their trust in – I do not know in all cases, but I do know of some. 

Those who cry out to God in faith are fed. God may even cause the wicked to feed them, but they are fed.

In presenting a one-sided argument it is easy to make a case, but in order to pursue truth, one needs the facts from all angles.

In the end though, Job does circle back around and in some ways his words here defeat his former argument in chapter 21 which I found interesting.

The very last verse is very telling of that time in history. 

The antediluvian world was very hostile and in some ways needed to be so in order to survive. 

The earth had sustained a dramatic change through the flood. It likely took generation before the earth reached a state of equalibrium. Continents were still settling and even drifting apart. A much larger area than we currently see both north and south experienced an ice age. Local water retention in various areas required methods of draining all while keeping nomadic raids and wild animals at bay. These were tough times. 

So those who rose to the positions of governmental authority over lands did not typically do so by being benevolent and kind. They were most often tyrants and those tyrants very rarely came to their own graves in peace but by the same type of violence they meted out upon others.

Bildad argues no human can be righteous, so Job can be no exception

Job 25:1-6,

“(1) Then Bildad the Shuhite answered:  

2)  “Dominion and awesome might belong to God; 

He establishes peace in His heights.  

(3)  Can His armies be numbered? 

On whom does His light not rise?  

(4)  How then can a human being be righteous before God? How can one born of a woman be pure?  

(5)  If even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure as far as He is concerned,  (6)  how much less a mortal man, who is but a maggot – a son of man, who is only a worm!”

This is both appropriate and inappropriate thinking.

It is a solid fact that man, prior to the new birth cannot have or produce righteousness before God. It simply is not IN him. As a dead and separated branch, they have no life in them so they cannot produce anything which agrees with concord with God. Even when fallen man does righteous works, they still are not truly righteous. They are as filthy rags because they were produced by man separated from God, which is a wholly unnatural state. It is not what we were created for, though it is what we are born into.

Once we are born anew, we – our true selves – the spirit of man, comes alive. Just like we read in the letter to the Ephesians this last Sunday and will be going further with this next Sunday. Then is the FIRST time we are even in a condition to produce righteous fruit, but two things make it righteous. It is righteous because it comes out of our true selves now that we are alive to God, but it is only possible BECAUSE we are in union with Him. It springs out of our union with God. This fruit is both righteous and acceptable before God.

Now for man to see themselves as a worm has its place, but only when we are living from our base and fallen nature.

Psalm 22 which prophetically records one of Jesus’ most famous statements on the cross, has Jesus calling Himself a worm when the sins of the world were laid upon Him and He BECAME sin FOR us!

Psalm 22:1-8, “(1) For the music director; according to the tune “Morning Doe;” a psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.  (2)  My God, I cry out during the day, but you do not answer, and during the night my prayers do not let up.  (3)  You are holy; you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel.  (4)  In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted in you and you rescued them.  (5)  To you they cried out, and they were saved; in you they trusted and they were not disappointed.  (6)  But I am a worm, not a man; people insult me and despise me.  (7)  All who see me taunt me; they mock me and shake their heads.  (8)  They say, “Commit yourself to the LORD! Let the LORD rescue him! Let the LORD deliver him, for he delights in him.”

But consider the noble distinction Jesus makes regarding man. Since Jesus had been made one with our sin at this point since it was only then that the Father would have turned His back, Jesus THEN said, “I am a worm”. But He didn’t end there. He went on to say, “and not a man.”

Jesus came to redeem man to their unfallen, dignity as image bearers of the Trinity. In such a state we are anything but worms and it is to this state that Jesus made the separating and distinction between human dignity and being worms! 

However, in our fallen, sinful separated state from God, we are worms and perhaps even less than worms.

Job replies – God’s Majesty is unsearchable

Job 26:3-14, 

“(1) Then Job replied: 

(2) “How you have helped the powerless! 

How you have saved the person who has no strength! 

How you have advised the one without wisdom, and abundantly revealed your insight!  

(4)  To whom did you utter these words? 

And whose spirit has come forth from your mouth?”

This appears to be a most unwarranted and evil retort from Job

As we have often agreed, Job is no doubt tormented and has little to no rest from his trial. It is a terrible plight! 

His wife seems to stay aloof from him. 

Strangers mock him, spit at thim and strike his face. 

Though he apparently has a living father and siblings we see no compassion, comfort or consolation from them at all. Not even so much as a visit in his misery. 

Finally all he has are these three friends which to him are worse than having no interest in him at all.

He rightly sees their counsel as not applying to his situation, but wrongly assumes their counsel contains no truth and now claims it to be inspired by demons.

To fall back on such a lowly accusation and turn on his only true friends and comforters is beyond the pale of decency. In truth it is nothing more than an outburst of anger and intended sneer the dignity of which is below all four men. 

(5)  “The dead tremble – those beneath the waters and all that live in them.  

(6)  The underworld is naked before God; the place of destruction lies uncovered.”  

Though the word destruction is used and might conjure images of hell, in this place it only refers to the grave – the realm of the dead. The Hebrew word is abaddon and means death or destruction. There is a Hebrew word for death and so when both are indicated, both words appear side by side. Poetically however, the word can be used simply for the grave as it is here.

The only reason I capitalize on this is because up to this point, none of these men seem to have a very well developed or scriptural knowledge of the afterlife. For the most part they all seem to think the wicked and the righteous are at rest in death, which of course could not be further from the truth. [See Job 11:20]

“(7)  He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; He suspends the earth on nothing.  

(8)  He locks the waters in His clouds, and the clouds do not burst with the weight of them.  

(9)  He conceals the face of the full moon, shrouding it with His clouds.  

(10)  He marks out the horizon on the surface of the waters as a boundary between light and darkness.  

(11)  The pillars of the heavens tremble and are amazed at His rebuke.  (12)  By His power He stills the sea; by His wisdom He cut Rahab the great sea monster to pieces.”

If you remember, we ran into Rabah’s name once before in Job 9:13 where I told you it represented a great sea monster – probably Leviathan. Here we see the connection spelled out for us. 

It is interesting that there have been a few recent discoveries of huge sea serpents.

One they refer to as a Pliosaur though they admit that it is actually a new species which means it cannot actually be a Pliosaur. It is NOT classified as a dinosaur but a marine reptile. It had 130 very sharp teeth and I have a photograph which will allow you to develop a notion of how large this animal was by the side of its head next to two adults. Its overall length is speculated to be about 40 feet long. Other varieties have been recently discovered off the coast of China as well. These are said to be new discoveries.

It is funny and very VERY telling when tales told by scripture and naval lore were discredited for years, only for several to be discovered in recent years. These descriptions were arrogantly dismissed by many in the scientific community even when eyewitness testimony can be corroborated from seafaring men from several continents over large spans of time. Many of these agree with the descriptions offered in scripture. 

Now to be certain, those we have discovered are fossils, but they are only recently discovered and their attributes bear an undeniable resemblance to the descriptions recorded only a few hundred years ago by those who lived on the sea. 

How did these entire shipfulls of men describe seeing something which only existed as deeply buried fossilized remains?

Bias blinds eyes and creates prejudice which thwarts the progress of understanding and science! But that is nothing new to the various disciplines of evolutionary research. 

“(13)  By His breath the skies became fair; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.  

(14)  Indeed, these are but the outer fringes of His ways! How faint is the whisper we hear of Him! But who can understand the thunder of His power?”

Job 27:1-23,

“(1) And Job took up his discourse again:  

(2)  “As surely as God lives, WHO HAS DENIED ME JUSTICE, the Almighty, Who has made my life bitter –  (3)  for while my spirit is still in me, and the breath from God is in my nostrils,  (4)  my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will whisper no deceit.”  

To me, statements like this from Job are the strongest theological indicators that Job lived before the giving of the Law. No Israelite who loved God and walked blamelessly before Him as Job had done prior to these trials would ever accuse God of injustice. That alone would disqualify him from being blameless!

“(5)  I will never declare that you three are in the right; until I die, I will not set aside my integrity!  

(6)  I will maintain my righteousness and never let it go; my conscience will not reproach me for as long as I live.  

(7)  “May my enemy be like the wicked, my adversary like the unrighteous.  

(8)  For what hope does the godless have when he is cut off, when God takes away his life?  

(9)  Does God listen to his cry when distress overtakes him?  

(10)  Will he find delight in the Almighty? 

Will he call out to God at all times?  

(11)  I will teach you about the power of God; What is on the Almighty’s mind I will not conceal.”  

Now this is another new height of arrogance spewing from Job. This man who admits that he cannot figure out why all of this adversity is coming against him and believes it to be from God, still sees himself as wise and insightful enough to explain God and His power with clarity to his friends.

Also, Job’s next words completely give the lie to his former arguments where he had set forth the wicked as prosperous and without difficulty in life and death. Whose children are blessed and know no hard times.

Now he claims the complete opposite!

“(12)  If you yourselves have all seen this, Why in the world do you continue this meaningless talk?  

(13)  This is the portion of the wicked man allotted by God, the inheritance that evildoers receive from the Almighty.  

(14)  If his children increase – it is for the sword! His offspring never have enough to eat.  

(15)  Those who survive him are buried by the plague, and their widows do not mourn for them.  

(16)  If he piles up silver like dust and stores up clothing like mounds of clay,  (17)  what he stores up a righteous man will wear, and an innocent man will inherit his silver.  

(18)  The house he builds is as fragile as a moth’s cocoon, like a hut that a watchman has made.  

(19)  He goes to bed wealthy, but will do so no more. When he opens his eyes, it is all gone.  

(20)  Terrors overwhelm him like a flood; at night a whirlwind carries him off.  

(21)  The east wind carries him away, and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place.  (22)  It hurls itself against him without pity as he flees headlong from its power.  

(23)  It claps its hands at him in derision and hisses him away from his place.”

Now tell me if this does not stand in stark contradiction to Job’s words in chapter 21…

(7)  “Why do the wicked go on living, grow old, even increase in power?  

(8)  Their children are firmly established in their presence, their offspring before their eyes.  (9)  Their houses are safe and without fear; and no rod of punishment from God is upon them.  

(10)  Their bulls breed without fail; their cows calve and do not miscarry.  (11)  They allow their children to run like a flock; their little ones dance about.  (12)  They sing to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp, and make merry to the sound of the flute.  

(13)  They live out their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.  

(14)  So they say to God, ‘Turn away from us! We do not want to know your ways.  (15)  Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain if we were to pray to him?’  

(16)  But their prosperity is not their own doing. The counsel of the wicked is far from me! 

(17)  “How often is the lamp of the wicked extinguished? 

How often does their misfortune come upon them? 

How often does God apportion pain to them in his anger?  

(18)  How often are they like straw before the wind, and like chaff swept away by a whirlwind?”

This is not unique to Job. Often, when people get into protracted arguments in which they have a vested interest in the “facts” as they see them or need them to be, will often resort to statements which ultimately defeat their long term point in order to “win” the immediate verbal exchange – and I believe that such is what Job resorted to here. I think the poor man was understandibly confused by what was happening, felt the need to defend himself from what felt like attacks from his friends and just said whatever came to mind that ended in his being right with no view to how it contradicted much of his earlier argument. Also, this shows that some of these statements of Job were not theologies he was committed to, but were reactionary stabs in the dark. All of which, is pretty easy to relate to from a human perspective.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!