This is a bit inspired by a session from Shepherds’ Conference 2020, but I wanted to take a moment to look at the verse itself for myself.
In Job 25-26, we see a short speech from Bildad and Job’s final response to him before the book transitions. Interestingly, much of what Bildad says has a hint of rightness. Bildad sees that God is high above mankind. He understands that mankind is sinful before God and deserving his judgment. But Bildad seems to have no grasp of the grace of God at all.
IN chapter 26, Job speaks. For the first 4 verses, Job tells Bildad just how unhelpful he has been. Then, from verses 5-13, Job points out the great works of God.
IN that section, Job points out that God makes the dead tremble (5), that the grave and hell have no place to hide (6), that God hung the earth in space (7), that God moves rainwater in clouds (8), that God moves clouds to cover the moon (9), that he hung the sky over the ocean (10), that he shakes the mountains (11), stills the sea (12), and catches the monsters of the sea (13). Can we see that all those are huge, God-sized acts? If we can, that will get us to what Job wants us to see.
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?
Job looks at some of the most powerful things that human beings can imagine, thinks about God, and realizes that we only have the smallest hint of God’s power and greatness. Holding the ocean in one hand is not a stretch for the power of God. Holding the ocean in a hand, catching the sea monsters, and shaking the mountains is merely a tiny hint of the mighty God who made the universe.
Bildad and his friends accused Job of suffering because of his sin. They could not imagine that there is anything about God that could have a purpose beyond punishing Job for wrongs Job had committed. But these men had too small a view of God. No, Job was not perfect. Job had made offerings of sacrifices for himself and for his children in the past. Job knew he was not a sinless man. But Job understood that God also is merciful to those who come to him in faith. And Job’s friends had such a small view of God, they could not imagine how that could be.
How big or small is our view of God? Can we imagine a God who can create and subdue creation without breaking a sweat? Can we imagine a God who can scoop up the sea and pour it out with one hand? Can we imagine a God who can forgive sinners like us? Can we imagine a God who could love people who deserve his wrath?
God is holy. God never compromises his holiness. God never pretends that to violate his word is OK. But God does love sinners made in his image. God sent Jesus to die for our sins. God can forgive us by grace through faith. God can use our hardships, even the ones we cannot understand, for our good and his glory. God is just that big and then some. The biggest picture of God you think you have is merely a hint at the true greatness of the Lord.