Job wants to hear from God, so that’s what happens through the poetic language in chapter 38. “Who is this?” (v. 2) God first asks about the one who seeks an encounter with the Almighty, then spends today’s reading describing who God is. God is the one who has been at work in the world long before Job existed, creating order out of chaos. From the beginning, God has been laying the foundation of the earth, establishing what were thought in Job’s day to be the four regions of the cosmos: the earth, sea, sky, and underworld.
God is the one who actively prepares the way for new life. This poem expresses God’s creative power, God’s engagement in redeeming what is desolate. New life will follow the existing chaos. Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass? (vv. 25-27)
These lines are meant to assure Job, who has known the empty desert and has dwelt in desolate land. God has been making a way for new life since the beginning, for this is who the Creator is. These lines are meant to assure us as well. When we have experienced the desolation of suffering, God’s picture of growing grass in a wasted land offers hope we can grasp.
When have you seen new life grow out of desolation?
God, help us hear this assurance that you will bring new life when we are mired in the empty, wasted, and desolate. Amen.