Then the Lord…
What an amazing three words, “Then the Lord”. Literally anything could come afterward. There is no limit within this or any other realm of existence or thought which constrain his activity or intentions. Then the Lord…
This particular “Then the Lord” comes from the following verse.
Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind – Job 38:1
I know that God is the one doing the speaking, but now there are three additional pieces of information given.
1 – It was an answer or response to something.
2 – Job was the questioner.
3 – The Lord spoke from a whirlwind, or violent storm.
The third item sort of jumped out at me. A violent storm? Where did that come from? Did it just pop up the moment God’s voice was heard?
If I go back in the book of Job a chapter I see the following verses when Elihu is pontificating.
My heart pounds as I think of this. It leaps within me. Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes out in every direction. Then comes the roaring of the thunder—the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain the thunder when he speaks. God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We cannot comprehend the greatness of his power… Do you know how God controls the storm and causes the lightning to flash forth from his clouds? Do you understand how he balances the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill? – Job 37:1-5,15-16
I’ve always assumed that these verses were mere poetic language by Elihu, more of him rattling off his knowledge of God’s attributes.
However, now I think that Elihu was borrowing from the current atmospheric condition outside of Job’s home.
Imagine the five of them sitting there on the floor in Job’s home. Elihu is speaking. His back is to the open window and he feels the breeze begin to kick up. He thinks to himself, “That’s right, God controls all of the weather too.” Elihu is so focused on being heard that he doesn’t notice that Zophar, and Bildad, who are facing the window, are now staring wide-eyed straight ahead. They are seeing a storm like they’ve never seen before materializing right in front of them. The storm resembles the shape of a man – legs, torso, and arms. They can’t see above mid-chest as that is above their line of sight. Suddenly lightning flashes from above. Terror grips the duo, Eliphaz now glances toward the window and his blood runs cold. Job is just staring at the ground wishing Elihu would shut up already. Elihu makes some comment about God controlling lightning. The storm engulfs the house, darkness descends like a blanket. Elihu continues to speak. Then the Lord…
Everything changes. Nothing is the same. Then the Lord…
Lord, give us patience to wait on you. Sometimes you speak from and through the storm, sometimes from the stillness. But you are speaking, you don’t withhold your voice or presence from your children. You never abandon your children. Lord, please give us spiritual ears to hear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.