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©Michael Player

Chapter 38:19-38 (ESV)

Posted on June 24, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 38:19-38 (ESV) - “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!

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

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

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

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

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

Question to consider: Why would God describe things in a scientifically inaccurate way like storehouses for light and darkness or stars bound with chains?

In yesterday’s passage, God answered Job’s cries to contend for his innocence, but instead of letting Job have his say, God asked Job to consider whether he was worthy to be able to speak by rhetorically asking whether Job understood the workings of the universe God created. God began with earthly marvels like the seas and the storms, and today has moved on to those in the heavens.

People will mock the rudimentary depictions of the universe by saying that it couldn’t have been a divinely inspired text when it presents such notions as a dwelling place for light and darkness, a storehouse for the snow, or stars being strung together by chains. However, the text gives off an obviously sarcastic tone. We may know that darkness is the absence of light and not some substance with a dwelling place that fights for dominion over the light, but Job did not. God’s explanation of the heavens according to Job’s mythical understanding of them serves to amplify the point that Job was entirely unworthy to contend with Him.

Even today, we have such little understanding of the complexities of the universe. For example, we can talk about how water can exist in three states: solid, liquid and gas, but think of how amazing it is. If water couldn’t exist as a gas, we wouldn’t have an atmosphere that could filter salt out of water from the oceans and carry it all over the globe. If water couldn’t exist as a solid, there would be no visible continents on which to dwell, for water would flood the earth. As a liquid, water can be the most corrosive and dangerous element on the planet while at the same time vital for the survival of all living creatures.

Despite our scientific discoveries and advancements, we really don’t know very much about life and the universe— just enough to be arrogant and dangerous I suppose.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for providing all of the elements necessary for promoting life and for unnecessary pleasures such as flavor, color, music, and love. May we cherish what is good and turn from what is evil, and in all things give thanks. Amen.