S (Scripture): Job 38:1 The Lord answered Job…38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding!
38:5 Who set its measurements – if you know – or who stretched a measuring line across it?
38:6 On what were its bases set,
or who laid its cornerstone –
38:7 when the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
O (Observation): The Lord FINALLY speaks to Job. Job has remained faithful and has NOT cursed the Lord, or admitted to wrongdoing. Job’s integrity remains intact. His friends, however, have been blaming Job for some former time when he MUST have done wrong in the eyes of the Lord. They think Job’s former sins have caused this devastation – as if sin is to be paid with equal retribution.
The Lord challenges Job and his friends. The Lord wants to know if they have the same wisdom as He? The Lord wonders if they know what it was like when the stars first shined?
Obviously, the answer is “No!” Job and friends have no idea what it took or what it was like to be there at the beginning of Creation. The Lord (rhetorically, sarcastically) wonders if they can match His wisdom?
NetBible commentary says this: “Job was not punished for sin. And Job’s suffering had not cut him off from God. In the end the point is that Job cannot have the knowledge to make the assessments he made. It is wiser to bow in submission and adoration of God than to try to judge him.”
A (Application): Poverty. In this nation and beyond…poverty strikes millions. The recent Tennessee Healthcare bill – referred to as “Insure Tennessee” – was defeated in Senate subcommittees before it could reach a vote in the TN Senate. This would have brought health insuration to 280,000 poor and working poor.
Wherever you stand on the healthcare legislation, a negative perception towards the poor exists. The comment I hear frequently (and I have said in the past) is that everyone has an opportunity to earn their keep. This assumes a lot of things, though.
One assumption is that poor people have done some things to deserve their situation: broke laws, are lazy, lack motivation. Sometimes this is so, and sometimes not.
We can’t assume that people are in a situation of their own wrongdoing. Sometimes people are born into a situation of poverty, sometimes children are born addicted to drugs, sometimes people are stuck in systemic issues that are almost impossible to escape.
Sometimes, life just sucks! Sometimes, we just can’t get out of a bad situation! Sometimes, we just need God’s good grace. We defer to God’s wisdom, beyond our own.
The last thing we need is to say that the poor deserve what they get, or the passive agressive version: I earn my keep.
We don’t judge God or figure out why God does certain things, or allows other things. Let us praise the Lord, and perhaps, call out to the Lord for wisdom and understanding.
P (Prayer): Lord, we don’t know why the poor are poor. Instead, help us to know how we can help the poor and break systemic poverty, while respecting human dignity. Amen.