Job 40:1, 2
Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,…
Job has been contending with the Almighty, and now God confronts him with the fact. This is the practical point to which we have come after being led through the picture-gallery of nature which has revealed to us the greatness of God in contrast with the littleness of man.
I. WE ARE TEMPTED TO CONTEND WITH GOD.
1. By our liberty. We have freedom of thought as well as freedom of will. Thus we seem to be able to turn round and take up a position of our own in opposition to God.
2. By our trouble. It was great distress that drove Job into a contention with God. We do not find him attempting or desiring anything of the kind in the opening scene of the story. When trouble comes upon us we are displeased, and not seeing why it is sent we are tempted to murmur.
3. By our sin. Even Job, innocent as regards the gross charges of his three censors, was imperfect, as he is now brought to admit. Now, sin is opposition to God, and the attempt to justify it leads to contention with God.
4. By God's forbearance. Because he is long-suffering we presume upon his patience. We are like Jacob wrestling with the "Traveller unknown," who only maintained the conflict so long as his mysterious Antagonist refrained from putting forth his strength (Genesis 32:24-32).
II. WE ARE WRONG IN CONTENDING WITH GOD. This contention shows faults in us.
1. Ignorance. If we knew all, we should see how foolish the whole contention was. But we stumble into it in our confusion and folly.
2. Rebellion. Oar business is to submit and obey. When we dispute we are resisting, if only mentally.
3. Distrust. God is not trusted when we venture to oppose ourselves to him; for if he were we should be silent, not perhaps understanding his action, but possessing our souls in patience, and waiting for the final disclosure that is to explain God's treatment of his children.
III. IT IS USELESS FOR US TO CONTEND WITH GOD. Our position in relation to God does not offer us a chance of success.
1. Inequality. This is a contest of feebleness with almightiness. How can the finite hope for a victory in wrestling with the Infinite?
2. Incompetence. We do not know how to put our ease before God, and his action is not understood by us. Therefore our contention is confused and misleading. There is only one way of coming to terms with God, and that is to accept his terms.
IV. IT IS NEEDLESS FOR US TO CONTEND WITH GOD. We are not left with the doleful prospect of simply submitting to the inevitable. Although we cannot see the good in God's action, if only we have faith in him we may rest assured that he is doing just the very best thing for us and all his creatures. This assurance depends on his nature and character. He is a just God and a Saviour, and therefore he cannot be acting unjustly and injuriously. Our indictment of God's goodness is a huge blunder from beginning to end. Let us but trust his goodness in the dark and in the face of the most distressful events, and in the end we shall see that our safety lies in submission. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,