“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” - Job 38:4
After Job’s friends have had their say and Job himself has asked many questions, God breaks his silence with a booming command: “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”
This reminds me of some experiences at the Naval Academy, especially when first-year cadets begin learning. “Brace up!” And we did! “Attention!”
God is not threatening Job. Rather, God is addressing Job like the man of God he created and called him to be. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” God’s opening question is really a statement. He is telling Job who and whose he is: an imagebearer of his Maker (Genesis 1:26-27). God’s question both humbles and honors Job.
God’s monologue in chapters 38-41 gives no defense of why God allowed Job’s trials by Satan, and it gives no comment about Job’s strong faith. God simply takes Job on a grand verbal tour of his creation, sharing its glory with Job and implying how much he thinks of his imagebearer.
Job came to see what we know today: God in Christ Jesus has dignified us by walking with us through his creation, empowering us to treat every other imagebearer we encounter with God-honoring dignity.
“Brace yourself!” Enjoy God’s company today! He asks, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” And now we can understand!