July 28, 2021

My Plan vs. God's

Job 38–39

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The LORD Answers Job

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action 1 like a man;
...

The LORD Answers Job

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action 1 like a man;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Or who shut in the sea with doors
    when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
    and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10  and prescribed limits for it
    and set bars and doors,
11  and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
    and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

12  Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
13  that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
    and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14  It is changed like clay under the seal,
    and its features stand out like a garment.
15  From the wicked their light is withheld,
    and their uplifted arm is broken.

16  Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17  Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18  Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.

19  Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
20  that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21  You know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!

22  Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23  which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?
24  What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
    or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

25  Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
    and a way for the thunderbolt,
26  to bring rain on a land where no man is,
    on the desert in which there is no man,
27  to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
    and to make the ground sprout with grass?

28  Has the rain a father,
    or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29  From whose womb did the ice come forth,
    and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
30  The waters become hard like stone,
    and the face of the deep is frozen.

31  Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
    or loose the cords of Orion?
32  Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth 2 in their season,
    or can you guide the Bear with its children?
33  Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
    Can you establish their rule on the earth?

34  Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
    that a flood of waters may cover you?
35  Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
    and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36  Who has put wisdom in the inward parts 3
    or given understanding to the mind? 4
37  Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
    Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
38  when the dust runs into a mass
    and the clods stick fast together?

39  Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40  when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in their thicket?
41  Who provides for the raven its prey,
    when its young ones cry to God for help,
    and wander about for lack of food?

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you observe the calving of the does?
Can you number the months that they fulfill,
    and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
    and are delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open;
    they go out and do not return to them.

Who has let the wild donkey go free?
    Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
to whom I have given the arid plain for his home
    and the salt land for his dwelling place?
He scorns the tumult of the city;
    he hears not the shouts of the driver.
He ranges the mountains as his pasture,
    and he searches after every green thing.

Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
    Will he spend the night at your manger?
10  Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes,
    or will he harrow the valleys after you?
11  Will you depend on him because his strength is great,
    and will you leave to him your labor?
12  Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain
    and gather it to your threshing floor?

13  The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
    but are they the pinions and plumage of love? 5
14  For she leaves her eggs to the earth
    and lets them be warmed on the ground,
15  forgetting that a foot may crush them
    and that the wild beast may trample them.
16  She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;
    though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
17  because God has made her forget wisdom
    and given her no share in understanding.
18  When she rouses herself to flee, 6
    she laughs at the horse and his rider.

19  Do you give the horse his might?
    Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
20  Do you make him leap like the locust?
    His majestic snorting is terrifying.
21  He paws 7 in the valley and exults in his strength;
    he goes out to meet the weapons.
22  He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
    he does not turn back from the sword.
23  Upon him rattle the quiver,
    the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24  With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
    he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25  When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’
    He smells the battle from afar,
    the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

26  Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars
    and spreads his wings toward the south?
27  Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
    and makes his nest on high?
28  On the rock he dwells and makes his home,
    on the rocky crag and stronghold.
29  From there he spies out the prey;
    his eyes behold it from far away.
30  His young ones suck up blood,
    and where the slain are, there is he.”

Footnotes

[1] 38:3 Hebrew Gird up your loins
[2] 38:32 Probably the name of a constellation
[3] 38:36 Or in the ibis
[4] 38:36 Or rooster
[5] 39:13 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[6] 39:18 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[7] 39:21 Hebrew They paw

My Plan vs. God's



Key Verse | Job 38:4

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding."

Bio | Sara Sargent

Good morning!  My name is Sara, I have a new life in Christ, and I struggle with trust and control.  Here's a little bit about me:

C - Continuing to be transformed by God's grace
O - Observing God's plan (not mine) unfold
N - New mama to Blake (By the time you read this, she'll be 1!)
T - Tony is my hubby of three years
R - Really enjoy being outside, exercising, and reading
O - Oh, how thankful I am for my people
L - Love to see how community can transform lives

Central Truth

God, Creator of the Universe, is in control and has a perfect plan. It may be incomprehensible and confusing to us, but we can rest knowing that He, in His wisdom and power, already knows what will happen.

Devotional | Job 38–39

Have you ever experienced something that you didn't want to experience? Have things in your life gone vastly different than your plan? Time and time again, I find myself guilty of expecting God to follow MY plan...

Have you ever experienced something that you didn't want to experience? Have things in your life gone vastly different than your plan? Time and time again, I find myself guilty of expecting God to follow MY plan versus me following His.

Over the past few weeks, we've seen Job's life unfold. To some extent, we can all identify with Job and his suffering—or at least with the way that his life was different. Like Job, I find myself questioning things that happen in life, oftentimes allowing toxic thoughts to lead my mind in a downward spiral toward doubting God and His plan and resulting in my desire to take things into my own hands. Rereading that sounds ridiculous—do I really believe that powerless, sinful Sara could take control in these situations and actually have a better plan than the Almighty and Powerful God? The thing is, I don't think I'm alone when I say that in those moments; I am fully convinced of my perceived control of my circumstances. Today's passage poetically displays God's response to Job when Job was questioning God's plan.

God's bold and lengthy list of rhetorical questions is very convicting to read. Was I there when God created all of creation? Have I ever been in control of the sun, moon, and weather? Did I place wisdom in the hearts of all mankind? Was I the one who intentionally created every single animal and their specific characteristics that allow for the animal kingdom to exist as it is today? These questions take me out of my circumstantial thoughts and remind me of how powerless I am. More importantly, they point me to God and His power and sovereignty. Instead of questioning God and His goodness, I can trust God and His Word (Proverbs 3:5-6) and look back on times when He has been faithful (Hebrews 11).

With eyes eternally focused on Him, we can rest knowing that our all-knowing God has a plan—and that His plan, although incomprehensible to us, has been Plan A all along.

See Comments

Discussion Questions

After going through these questions on your own, I challenge you to discuss them with community or a trusted friend.

1. Do you ever question God and His plan? What are some things that you can do to prevent this from happening? What are some things you can do to help if you've arrived at a place where you're already asking this question?

2. Spend some time praying and reading through Scripture. To which verses can you turn in times of doubt?

3. How can you strengthen your trust in God and His plan?

4. What area of your life are you currently trying to control? How can you take steps toward releasing to God this perceived sense of control?

5. How are you not trusting God? Talk to your community about ways you can fight this together.

7 Comments available

Linda Green about 2 months ago

Amen, Sara! From your devo a great thought (insert my name) to remember- “… do I really believe that powerless, sinful Sara could take control in these situations and actually have a better plan than the Almighty and Powerful God?”

Reflecting today on the greatness of God, and amazed that He loves me!

Sue Bohlin about 2 months ago

Hi Sara, and thanks for your devo. And for identifying what is probably THE biggest two areas for women: trust and control.

I smiled when I came across God’s words to the sea: “Thus far you may come and no farther.” It’s this verse that comes to mind every single time I stand at the edge of an ocean. And, having come through Covid Crazy with its lockdown mandates, I have a new appreciation of what a privilege it is to be at the edge of an ocean, ANY ocean.

Last night at re:gen leaders’ dinner, we played “Have You Ever,” and one of the questions was about seeing an ocean. Every single person, here in land-locked Dallas, had. We are indeed privileged people. Thank You, Lord!

Greg Jones about 2 months ago

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

By faith, Job’s worldview has been,my piety avoids experiencing disaster in my life. How Job experienced life pre-disaster affirmed his worldview,God is strictly a transactional God. Post disaster,Job doubts his worldview. In doubt of his worldview,by faith,Job seeks an audience with God.

All this plays out in the audience of Job’s friends,with confidence in their view of God as strictly transactional,they blame Job for the calamity he’s experienced. For Job to doubt them is to sin again against God.

God shows up to have a talk with Job. I hear God talking to Job. I see God looking at his friends,as he questions Job in a way that would make a man doubt his answers.

I don’t doubt God is good,I’m ok with doubting my reasons for thinking He is.

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

2 of 2

The images in Ch 38 & 30 are awesome examples of sovereignty, majesty, and supremacy.

The summary ESV notes on 38 & 39 summarize God’s questions to Job & me:

“Do you know how creation was established?”

“Can you govern it?”

“Can you shape the lives of the creatures?”

What else is there to say?

There is only trust, surrender and obedience.

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

1 of 2

GM Sara! Love your Central Truth and your acrostic. The journey from control to surrender.

Qs 1-5 Until a few years ago I would have said, “WHAT PLAN! This all seems random, disconnected and without any meaning AT ALL!”

In the Open Group exercises in Prodigal we learn to write a Life Mission Statement. In the process, I learned that God does have a purpose and a plan for me. A life changing realization.

Out of that process came my #1 Life verse - Proverbs 3:5-6.

This is among my favorite passages of scripture.

Anything that teaches me more about the supremacy and sovereignty of God is good. I am taught that God will use images to tap a part of my brain that needs them to more fully understand through visualization. That’s a part of what makes Revelation so powerful.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Job lost his children in a ‘wind event’ and God speaks to Job in a ‘wind event’, in a way indirectly addressing his suffering as well as questioning Job.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

The face of the deep freezing is like looking back to the ice age

The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

Some cultures like some Australian Aborigines have a flood story followed by an ice age as do some creationist views. One short ice age following the flood such as creation meterologist Michael Oard of AIG

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