Men Must Act Like Men
INTERESTING FACTS : Caleb Strong, DELEGATE AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO FRAME THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; RATIFIER OF THE CONSTITUTION; U. S. SENATOR; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
"He called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . . all nations may know and be obedient to that grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ."
DAILY READING : Job 38 - 39
TEXT : Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Job 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.;
THEME : MANHOOD
Finally, Job is confronted by God. This is the interview he wanted. However, when God meets him, he instructs Job to "act like a man, because I'm to ask you some questions and you are going to answer me." Notice, that God [first] confronts Job. Later, he will concern Himself with Job's friends. Yet, for now, God grants Job the appointment he wanted. Still, it will be radically different from what Job anticipated. It will not be the tit-for-tat, back-and forth, argument Job looked forward to. Instead, God humbles him greatly for his ignorance of God's [providential] ways.
"Job had silenced, but had not convinced his friends. Elihu had silenced Job, but had not brought him to admit his guilt before God. It pleased the Lord to interpose. The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God's providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God's being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God's knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God's almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God's wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord." [MATTHEW HENRY]
The whirlwind, always a type of judgment in Scripture is enough to silence Job from the start, as any tornado would. God [can] appear in different forms throughout the Bible in any way that is appropriate with the occasion. For instance, in the call of Moses He is in the burning bush. In the encouragement and consolation of Elijah He is not in the fire, wind, or earthquake, but a still, small voice. In other words, God manifests Himself in ways fitting the occasion. Here, He is about to instruct and reprove Job for His ignorant statements about God's nature.
"Jehovah appears unexpectedly in a whirlwind (already gathering Job_37:1, Job_37:2), the symbol of "judgment" (Psa_50:3, Psa_50:4, etc.), to which Job had challenged Him. He asks him now to get himself ready for the contest. Can he explain the phenomena of God's natural government? How can he, then, hope to understand the principles of His moral government? God thus confirms Elihu's sentiment, that submission to, not reasonings on, God's ways is man's part. This and the disciplinary design of trial to the godly is the great lesson of this book. He does not solve the difficulty by reference to future retribution: for this was not the immediate question; glimpses of that truth were already given in the fourteenth and nineteenth chapters, the full revelation of it being reserved for Gospel times. Yet even now we need to learn the lesson taught by Elihu and God in Job." [JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN]
The significance of the whirlwind is to grab Job's attention right away. Naturally, this sight of God approaching in a tornado is striking. It was designed that way, to impress this on Job's mind and memory. For Job is about to learn many lessons about God he either forgot, or neglected in his meditations. He will learn one chief lesson we shall all learn - God is sovereign. God does was He pleases. Thankfully, all God does is good. For this we can rejoice and take hope, as Job ultimately will.
"The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind - It is not סופה suphah, as in the preceding chapter, Job_37:9; but סורה searah, which signifies something turbulent, tumultuous, or violently agitated; and here may signify what we call a tempest, and was intended to fill Job's mind with solemnity, and an awful sense of the majesty of God. The Chaldee has, a whirlwind of grief, making the whole rather allegorical than real; impressing the scene on Job's imagination." [ADAM CLARKE]
It is apparent that God does not take murmuring or complaining lightly. We have already seen how the murmuring and complaining of the Israelites brought severe judgment on them as a nation. To [habitually] complain when one claims to be a follower of Christ, is to challenge God's actions, decisions, plans, and methods of helping His people. No parent would care for a child's constant complaining when they are doing their best to provide. How much more He who is perfect in all His ways will not tolerate forever a murmuring or complaining spirit, even if we think our cause is just. This is what brings God to Job in a whirlwind rather than a still, small voice. Job, like Elijah is depressed, yet Elijah has God in a soft voice, and Job in swirling winds and a tempestuous storm. The reason for the difference between the two is the spirit of the two men. Job complained against God. Elijah was merely discouraged. Thus, we see a difference in God's approach to his people. It depends much on the spirit of the person, not a capricious attitude by the LORD.
"Then the Lord answered Job - This speech is addressed particularly to Job, not only because he is the principal personage referred to in the book, but particularly because he had indulged in language of murmuring and complaint. God designed to bring him to a proper state of mind before he appeared openly for his vindication. It is the purpose of God, in his dealings with his people, "to bring them to a proper state of mind" before he appears as their vindicator and friend, and hence, their trials are often prolonged, and when he appears, he seems at first to come only to rebuke them. Job had indulged in very improper feelings, and it was needful that those feelings should be subdued before God would manifest himself as his friend, and address him in words of consolation." [ALBERT BARNES]
We may look at God's appearance as a manifestation of Job's own making. That is, Job allowed his miseries to become a raging storm, and God's approach paints a picture of that inner turmoil. Some state that Hell is a continuance of what we made of life here on earth. If this is so, then Hell would be not only an eternal fire created by God for the Devil and his angels, but it would also be an eternity of the sin of our own choosing. That is, lusting without satisfaction, coveting without fulfilment of the desire, bitterness with no retribution on the object of our bitter spirit etc. As God appears to Job in a whirlwind - a tempestuous storm, it may be said it represented the added afflictions Job brought on himself through complaining. Mumbling, whining, carping, and griping makes bad situations worse. It may also be the reason God told Job to "gird up his loins like a man." The implication being - you haven't acted like a man thus far, but you will now.
"Out of the whirlwind - The tempest; the storm - probably that which Elihu had seen approaching, Job_37:21-24. God is often represented as speaking to people in this manner. He spake amidst lightnings and tempests on Mount Sinai Exo_19:16-19, and he is frequently represented as appearing amidst the thunders and lightnings of a tempest, as a symbol of his majesty; compare Psa_18:9-13; Hab_3:3-6. The word here rendered "whirlwind" means rather "a storm, a tempest." The Septuagint renders this verse, "After Elihu had ceased speaking, the Lord spake to Job from a tempest and clouds." [ALBERT BARNES]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "MEN MUST ACT LIKE MEN!"
It is an "old school" thought, but men should act like men. How many men are only men in the biological sense? Yet, when it comes to the psychological, emotional, or spiritual aspect many men behave like women. God made men and women uniquely different. One compliments the other. Women, by nature are [more] sensitive then men in many ways, and are called - "the weaker vessel," in the Word of God. This does not mean women are inferior. Nor does it mean they are less a person than a man. It simply means the nature of a woman is more delicate, thoughtful, sympathetic, considerate, and in some ways more complex. This is not to say men do not possess any of these qualities either. They do. Yet, suffice it to say a man and a women are complimentary parts of the human nature or being. Each has a role to play, and in order to fulfil God's will and design, each must respect the other and stay in their place. Each should respect the innate character, disposition, and makeup of the other. That is, men should act like men. Women should act like women. Neither should be ashamed of their respective category or class.
For example, we are taught in the Holy Scriptures to "act like a man." The Philistines knew this principle [though they fully expected to lose their lives in a battle with Israel, though they did not].We read of it in 1Samuel_4:9 - " Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight."
In the New Testament, Christian men are told the same thing. 1Co_16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
Albert Barnes explains what to "quit you like men" means. "It means, to render one manly or brave; to show oneself a man; that is, not to be a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but to be bold and brave. We have a similar phrase in common use: "Be a man," or "Show yourself a man;" that is, be not mean, or be not cowardly."
Therefore, the Bible shows us that Christian men have a role to play in life. It is emphatically NOT to be cowardly, faint-hearted, spineless, or timid - as the Apostle Paul states.
Thus, when Job insisted on interrogating God, the LORD accommodated him. Like a warrior preparing for battle, Job was to "gird up his loins" and meet God.
"Gird up - As warriors then did for the battle." [JOHN WESLEY]
"a man — hero, ready for battle (1Co_16:13), as he had wished (Job_9:35; Job_13:22; Job_31:37). The robe, usually worn flowing, was girt up by a girdle when men ran, labored, or fought (1Pe_1:13)." [JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN]
When men talk bravely about God in the vein of taking God to task as it were, they should be equally prepared to act like a man when they meet God. If God comes to you in a whirlwind in response to your murmuring against Him, be prepared for a fight. A skirmish that will not fare well for you!
"Gird up now thy loins like a man,.... Like a man of valour that girds on his harness for battle: Job is bid to prepare for the controversy the Lord was entering into with him; and bring forth his strong reasons and most powerful arguments in his own defence. The allusion is to the custom in the eastern countries, where they wore long garments, to gird them about their loins, when they engaged in work or war. Job had blustered what he would do, and now he is dared to it; see Job_23:4;" [JOHN GILL]
"for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me; put questions to him, to which he required a direct and positive answer. Jehovah takes the part of the opponent in this dispute, and gives that of the respondent to Job; since Job himself had put it to his option which to take, Job_13:22." [JOHN GILL]
Again, when we make claims, presumptuous statements about God work, handiwork, judgments, ways, action etc. we must be prepared for an unpleasant encounter with the Almighty. Therefore, it is far better to fear the LORD, give Him the reverence He deserves, and seek after [His] wisdom than to play the fool.
"Gird up now thy loins like a man - To gird up the loins, is a phrase which has allusion to the mode of dress in ancient times. The loose flowing robe which was commonly worn, was fastened with a girdle when men ran, or labored, or engaged in conflict; see the notes at Mat_5:38-41. The idea here is, "Make thyself as strong and vigorous as possible; be prepared to put forth the highest effort." God was about to put him to a task which would require all his ability - that of explaining the facts which were constantly occurring in the universe. The whole passage is ironical. Job had undertaken to tell what he knew of the divine administration, and God now calls upon him to show his claims to the office of such an expositor. So wise a man as he was, who could pronounce on the hidden counsels of the Most High with so much confidence, could assuredly explain those things which pertained to the visible creation. The phrase "like a man" means boldly, courageously; compare the notes at 1Co_16:13." [ALBERT BARNES]
God was going to "demand" an answer of Job. With that, we can be sure, when God demands something, it will be obtained by the LORD of all creation. No one can resist His will!
"I will demand of thee, and answer thou me - Margin, as in Hebrew, "make me known." The meaning is, "I will submit some questions or subjects of inquiry to you for solution. Since you have spoken with so much confidence of my government, I will propose some inquiries as a test of your knowledge." [ALBERT BARNES]
Thus, God asks a series of questions that by their nature have obvious, incontrovertible, and clear answers. This is why Job does not reply to God. The resolutions and rejoinders, again, are plain and indisputable.
"Gird up now thy loins - I will not confound thee with my terrors; dismiss all fearful apprehensions from thy mind; now act like a man, כגבר kegeber, like a hero: stand and vindicate thyself. For I will demand of thee - I will ask thee a series of questions more easy of solution than those which thou hast affected to discuss already; and then thou shalt have the opportunity of answering for thyself. The most impressive and convincing manner of arguing is allowed to be that by interrogation, which the Almighty here adopts. The best orations delivered by the ancients were formed after this manner. That celebrated oration of Cicero against Catiline, which is allowed to be his masterpiece, begins with a multitude of short questions, closely pressed upon each other. See the end of the chapter, Job_38:40 (note)." [ADAM CLARKE]
Those of us who are Christian men must act like men in this generation. That is, we must be brave. We must show ourselves men. We must not be cowards, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but be bold and brave. [Barnes] We must "be a man,," as God says in His Word. The Word of God has many enemies. We, as men, as men of God, are to prove ourselves such and declare God's truth in this generation. Hopefully, we will learn from Job and not repeat his mistake. That is why the Book of Job is written. Yet, there are many outrageously sinful men [and women] in the world today who have no qualms about declaring their aberrant beliefs. We must do the same - declare the truth of the Word of God, without murmuring and whining. Let us men, act like men, as God requires.