Ready to Hear and Obey

"Out of the whirlwind" (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)
"Out of the whirlwind" (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)

Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. Job 40:3-5

This is Job's initial response to the answer which God provided out of the whirlwind (38:1-40:2). Before this, Job had talked a lot, in part fending off false accusations from his friends. But more often than not, the target of his angst and confusion and anger was God himself. Job could not understand why God would allow all that had happened to him to happen, and he thought it was not only unloving and unkind, but fundamentally unjust. In God's own description of Job's words, Job had been contending with the Almighty and reproving God himself (40:2).

But what I want to highlight here is the immediacy of Job's repentance. Once he heard from God, Job stopped complaining, he stopped accusing, and he stopped his self-righteous judgment of God. Instead, he put his hand on his mouth and acknowledged his own vileness and sinfulness. He didn't answer back; he didn't justify himself any longer.

Is this not a lesson to us? Every time we open the Bible, God is speaking, and he is speaking to us. How do we hear it? Do we truly hear God's words so that, like Job, we stop our complaining, stop our whining, stop our self-justification? Do we come to God's word with ears ready to hear and hearts ready to receive? How quickly do we obey?

Today, the very best thing we can do is to simply apply all of God's word to all of life. It matters not how much we identify with orthodox Christianity, how many of the creeds and confessions we are willing to sign our names to, or how correctly we can talk about the Trinity, if we are not also willing to obey the commands of our King and readily hear his words to us - even the uncomfortable ones. What does it matter if we call Christ Lord, yet do not the things that he says (Luke 6:46)? Let us not answer back to God, but lay our hands over our mouths, for we are vile, men and women of unclean lips, while God's word is pure and blessed and worthy of our most happy and whole-hearted attention and devotion.

By: Jeremiah Bass