Other than being a book of complaints and purposeless suffering, I’ve been privileged to come to know the book of Job through a different perspective — a perspective that put me in unexplainable wonder and adoration for God. No doubt, I was influenced by the common man about what the book of Job is and for the longest of time, I’ve been reading the book of Job as that — a book that narrates Job’s struggle with purposeless torment from Satan. But that isn’t all it was about. The book of Job opened my eyes to three large categories of things that totally blew my mind. They are 1) Scientific knowledge of the Old Testament, 2) Job and Elihu’s knowledge of God’s Salvation Plan, and 3) The structural wisdom of God’s creation.
Scientific Knowledge of the Old Testament
Who would have thought that Old Testament scholars already knew what modern scientific equipment tells us? How did Job know that the earth was suspended in outer space over nothing (ref: Job 26:7)? How does he know that the core of the earth is so hot, it is a ball of fire (ref: Job 28:5)? How did he know all of these? Surely Job and his friends must have had groups where thoughts and ideas were discussed and tested. Consider that all that Job described about the work of God are but “the outer fringe of His works” (ref: Job 26:14), how much more must he had known about God! Surely they must be so well-educated that God said to him, “surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years” (ref: Job 38:21).
How did Job know of all of this knowledge without modern scientific equipment testifying to these claims? We’ll never know, truly.
On top of Job’s in-depth understanding of the cosmos and of geographical inner workings of the earth, God shares of His two prized creation, the Behemoth and the Leviathan (ref: Job 40:15, Job 41:1). No one truly knows who they are. The Bible sometimes translates them as Hippopotamus for the Behemoth and the Crocodile for the Leviathan. But surely, they’re not accurate representations of them, are they? Is the Hippopotamus the first of God’s creation (ref: Job 40:19)? Does his tail sway like cedar (ref: Job 40:17), can anyone truly trap him and pierce his nose like a circus animal (ref: Job 40:24)? Consider also the Leviathan which some Bible translates as the crocodile. Is the crocodile so big and mighty that God cannot stop speaking of him (ref: Job 41:12)? Can the crocodile’s snort throw out flashes of light or can its eyes be like rays of dawn (ref: Job 41:18)? Will fire shoot out from the mouth of a crocodile or smoke from the nostrils of a crocodile? Will the breath of a crocodile set coals ablaze (ref: Job 41:19-22)?
Some commentaries suggest that they may be dinosaurs. For that, I’m not going to reject the possibility. But if there truly are such mythical beasts, and the Bible cannot be wrong, then what wisdom must The Ancients have had to be able to live in harmony with these creatures? Are there some things in the creation of animals that we are unaware of? Surely The Ancients know it better than we do.
Job and Elihu’s Knowledge of God’s Salvation Plan
We all know this verse through this song: “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25, NIV). But just how much about Christ’s salvation plan does Job and his friends knew? Does Job truly saw his Redeemer as he claimed (ref: Job 19:27)? Surely he did not! At least, not yet! So how was he so sure?
In fact, he wasn’t. He knew that there will be a Redeemer but he didn’t know He was going to be God Himself. He only knew that this Redeemer will be one from God. We know this from Elihu’s speech to Job.
Both Elihu and Job knew the benefits of a Redeemer. Elihu says, “Yet if there is an angel on his side as a mediator, one out of a thousand, to tell a man what is right for him, to be gracious to him and say, ‘Spare him from going down to the pit; I’ve found a ransom for him’ — then his flesh is renewed like a child’s; it is restored as in the days of his youth” (Job 33:24-25, NIV). Now, we know that there’s a Man from God called Jesus Christ who acts as our mediator. He was gracious to us and is constantly interceding for us so that we are spared from the pit for His ransom for us is enough. And we also know that when we have that ransom paid, our bodies will be renewed and be like that of a child; a renewed body to enter the heavenly realms when the day of the Lord comes. We know all these because we have the New Testament. But how did Job and Elihu in the Old Testament era figure all of these out? Surely the work of the Holy Spirit is at work within them to sort all of this knowledge about God out. With this knowledge, he was able to exclaim before other people saying, “I sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved. He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light” (Job 33:27-28, NIV).
The Structural Wisdom of God’s Creation
There are many things that we aren’t sure of when it comes to the creation of the universe. Genesis simply isn’t giving us sufficient insights into God’s structural wisdom behind His logic of creation. This is why we will need to pay close attention to instances when God, burning with anger, brings up glimpses of wisdom and insights into His train of thoughts.
This was exactly what happened when God rebuked Job and his three friends.
In Job 38:6-7, we know that the morning stars sang and the sons of God shouted for joy at the instant of creation when the cornerstone of the earth was laid. Who were the sons of God? Can it be Jesus? If so, why is it plural? Can it be angels? Possibly? But can it also be humans? After all, the Bible did say that all who believed will be sons and daughters of God. We know that the sons of God saw the daughters of man attractive and married them in Genesis 6:2. But they are human beings too, right? Can they be the same people? Or are they sons of God predestined to come into the faith in the latter part of history? Like… Us?
Let’s just assume that this is the case and say that we were created alongside angels and were giving God praises at the instant of creation. What then does this speak of the creation of humankind on the 6th day? Did we get the logic wrong? Was humankind created in heaven first then placed in the Garden of Eden on the 6th day? Does that explain why when life was not sustainable on earth (ref: Genesis 2:5-6), God created humankind (ref: Genesis 2:7), then made sure that the garden was ready before placing humankind in the garden (ref: Genesis 2:15)? Was heaven our holding place before our turn to be born? Was it why God said He knew us before we were born (ref: Galatians 1:15)?
Consider the creation, does God has a storehouse for all that He has created? And will He go into the storehouse and find a replacement for anything that requires healing? Will He heal us the way He goes into the storehouse to find snow and hail to protect His people in times of war (ref: Job 38:22-23)?
Does God create animals so that they too can pray to the Lord and the Lord will hear them (ref: Job 38:41)?
Surely, other than being a book of suffering, Job gave us a glimpse of God’s wisdom in a way we’ve never seen before. A kind of wisdom that was unlike anything in other books. It opened the eyes of the reader to the sciences behind of God’s creation, God’s heavenly structures, and God’s ultimate salvation plan for humankind.
Oh, what treasures lie undiscovered within the depth of God’s words. If only the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to savour the riches of God’s wisdom.