March 5, 2007
Meditation Commentary Psalm 145:10-13
All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of they power;
To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
Although the book of Job is sometimes described as a book about pain—the tragic tale of utterly unjust and unexplained suffering being meted out to a righteous man—in a sense the experience of Job is only secondary. The reason for his troubles are never truly given. Job and his friends spend the bulk of the book trying to explain it themselves, and the only answer they come up with is that suffering is always punishment for sin, and since Job is suffering so terribly, he must have some sort of terrible sin in his life. Job, scrutinizing himself and finding no such sin, is at a loss to understand; how could God punish him so fiercely if he had done nothing wrong?
And when God finally speaks, he neither directly supports nor rejects this diagnosis of suffering as a direct result of sin. He does not even grace Job with the simple narrative given at the beginning of the book, when Satan comes before the throne and challenges God to remove his hedge from around Job, so that Satan might torment him. God could have said, “It’s alright, Job; the Accuser only wanted to try you, and he had no power except that which I granted to him.” But he didn’t.
Instead, he rather unsympathetically bypassed the question and began to describe himself, by pointing to all the incredible wonders his hand had wrought. He does not answer Job’s questions: “Why has this happened to me?” Instead, he essentially asks one of his own: “Who am I, Job?” And further: “Look around you; can’t you see? You can’t come close to understanding even the things that I have made; how can you possibly understand me? You see my works, and hence my wisdom and power; so why don’t you trust me?”
And in that question—“Who am I?”—lies the answer. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice,” Paul wrote to the Phillippians. Psalm 145, not to mention the bulk of the book of Psalms itself, can be seen as direct obedience to this command. David is rejoicing, and again rejoicing, singing of God’s grace and mercy and might and glory. This is what we are called to do in all circumstances, even in the most difficult. And it is, in a manner of speaking, what God called Job to do. David is speaking of God’s might and power; and when God opens his mouth and speaks to Job, he does the same thing.
How can we do this when life is dealing deathblows and tragedy, as it did for Job? Paul says to rejoice, but joy is not an emotion that we can muster up on our own strength. It stems from something far deeper and more profound, from the reality of who God is: his greatness, wisdom and power as revealed in creation, and his love as revealed in the cross. That is the answer to God’s question, “Who am I?” It is the answer to Job’s suffering. It is not an explanation; the closest thing to explanation we ever receive is the reminder that God’s ways are not ours, and he is utterly unsearchable (Ps. 145:3). But it is an answer. And it is the only answer that we need.