from the whirlwind – a reflection on Job 38:1-7, 34-41

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Job / Lectionary / Old Testament / Religion / Wisdom Literature / Year B

The following is a reflection on Job 38:1-7, 34-41, the Hebrew Bible lesson appointed for Proper 24B, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.


A home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, after Katrina. Photo by Rick Morley.

If the opening chapters of Genesis tell us how the universe was created, the Voice of God booming from the Whirlwind in the end of The Book of Job tells us that and much more.

God set the foundation of the universe, and stretched out the measuring lines in the dawn of creation (when the morning stars sang together with all the heavenly host), but God is also very much still in the act of creation. He knows where the storehouses of snow and hail are, and where bolts of lightening gather before their use. He carries the light of day to its place every morning, and then ushers it out again every night. He helps the eagle soar, the lion roar, and He watches over Leviathan when it roils the deep waters.

God announces that he is present in the terrific and the mundane. God is everywhere. Active. Thoughtful. Crafting the ebb and flow of creation, and each day’s journey.

But, why is this here? Why in Job?

Literarily it serves as the answer to all of Job’s questions: Sit down you silly boy, you have no idea what’s going on in the universe around you. You have no idea Who it is that you’re talking to.

But, in a book that’s all about dealing with tragedy, and dealing with it in a faithful manner, it serves as a reminder of the Bigger Picture.

Yes, our problems matter. And when we’re grieving and mourning, those who we mourn for matter. Our tears are real. Our pain is real. Our confusion, denial, and anger are real.

But, we begin the process of healing when we re-engage the world around us. When we pick up our heads and we look around at the vastness of earth, and the intricacies of life.

In the midst of grief we feel rudderless and beyond help. Adrift. Lost.

But, we aren’t. The world still turns on its axis. The sun still rises and sets. God is still on his throne in heaven, and the mighty eagle still soars above.

The Whirlwind comes across as a reproach—and in the context of the narrative, that’s indeed what it is. But, it’s more than that.

It’s the first dawn when we are lifted out of the fog, and remember that we’re in the Presence of God Almighty. The God who created the heavens and the earth, and the God who still creates.

The Author

follower of Jesus, father of two, husband of one, Episcopal priest, with one book down, one blog up...surrounded by empty jars of nutella

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