99 QUESTIONS

Someone had called this passage in JOB -  99 questions!
There truly are so many
I'm not sure I counted right.
Every once in a while I read this again and again
because, really, "Who do I think I am?"

GOD IS ASKING

Who is this that obscures my plans 
with words without knowledge?

Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?

Who marked off its dimensions?

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set, 
or who laid its cornerstone - 
while the morning stars sang together 
and all the angels shouted for joy?

Who shut up the sea behind doors 
when it burst forth from the womb,
 when I made the clouds its garment 
and wrapped it in thick darkness, 
when I fixed limits for it  and set its doors and bars in place,  
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; 
here is where your proud waves halt’? 

“Have you ever given orders to the morning, 
or shown the dawn its place, 
 that it might take the earth by the edges 
and shake the wicked out of it?  

The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; 
its features stand out like those of a garment. 
The wicked are denied their light, 
and their upraised arm is broken. 

“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea 
or walked in the recesses of the deep?  

Have the gates of death been shown to you? 

Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? 

Tell me, if you know all this.
 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
Can you take them to their places? 

Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were already born! 
You have lived so many years! 

 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow 
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
 which I reserve for times of trouble,
 for days of war and battle?

 What is the way to the place 
where the lightning is dispersed 
or the place where the east winds 
are scattered over the earth?
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, 
and a path for the thunderstorm, 
to water a land where no one lives, 
an uninhabited desert,  
to satisfy a desolate wasteland 
and make it sprout with grass?
Does the rain have a father? 

Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice? 

Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens  
when the waters become hard as stone, 
when the surface of the deep is frozen?

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? 

Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
   or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

“Can you raise your voice to the clouds
   and cover yourself with a flood of water? 

Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
   
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

 Who gives the ibis wisdom
   or gives the rooster understanding?
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
  
 Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
 when the dust becomes hard
   and the clods of earth stick together?

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
   and satisfy the hunger of the lions
 when they crouch in their dens
   or lie in wait in a thicket?
Who provides food for the raven
   when its young cry out to God
   and wander about for lack of food? 

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
   
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
 Do you count the months til they bear?
   Do you know the time they give birth?
They crouch down and bring forth their young;
   their labor pains are ended.
 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
   they leave and do not return.
  
“Who let the wild donkey go free?
   
Who untied its ropes?
 I gave it the wasteland as its home,
   the salt flats as its habitat.
 It laughs at the commotion in the town;
   it does not hear a driver’s shout.
 It ranges the hills for its pasture
   and searches for any green thing.
  
“Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
   
Will it stay by your manger at night?
Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness?
  
 Will it till the valleys behind you?
Will you rely on it for its great strength?
   
Will you leave your heavy work to it?
Can you trust it to haul in your grain
   and bring it to your threshing floor?

 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
   though they cannot compare
   with the wings and feathers of the stork.
 She lays her eggs on the ground
   and lets them warm in the sand,
 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
   that some wild animal may trample them.
 She treats her young harshly, 
as if they were not hers;
   she cares not that her labor was in vain,
 for God did not endow her with wisdom
   or give her a share of good sense.
 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
   she laughs at horse and rider.

 “Do you give the horse its strength
   or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust,
   striking terror with its proud snorting?  
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength,
   and charges into the fray.
 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
   it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against its side,
   along with the flashing spear and lance.
 In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground;
   it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
 At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’
   It catches the scent of battle from afar,
   the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
   and spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle soar at your command
   and build its nest on high?  
It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
   a rocky crag is its stronghold.
 From there it looks for food;
   its eyes detect it from afar.
 Its young ones feast on blood,
   and where the slain are, there it is.”

The LORD said to Job:
 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
   Let him who accuses God answer him!”
  
Then Job answered the LORD:
  “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
   I put my hand over my mouth.
 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
   twice, but I will say no more.”

 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
  “Brace yourself like a man;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.

 “Would you discredit my justice?
   
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
 Do you have an arm like God’s,
   and can your voice thunder like his?
 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
   and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
   look at all who are proud and bring them low,
 look at all who are proud and humble them,
   crush the wicked where they stand.
 Bury them all in the dust together;
   shroud their faces in the grave.
 Then I myself will admit to you
   that your own right hand can save you.
  
“Look at Behemoth,
   which I made along with you
   and which feeds on grass like an ox.
 What strength it has in its loins,
   what power in the muscles of its belly!
 Its tail sways like a cedar;
   the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
   its limbs like rods of iron.
 It ranks first among the works of God,
   yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
 The hills bring it their produce,
   and all the wild animals play nearby.
 Under the lotus plants it lies,
   hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
   the poplars by the stream surround it.
 A raging river does not alarm it;
   it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
   or trap it and pierce its nose? 

“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
   or tie down its tongue with a rope?
 Can you put a cord through its nose
   or pierce its jaw with a hook?
 Will it keep begging you for mercy?
   
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
 Will it make an agreement with you
   for you to take it as your slave for life?
 Can you make a pet of it like a bird
   or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
Will traders barter for it?
   
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
 Can you fill its hide with harpoons
   or its head with fishing spears?
 If you lay a hand on it,
   you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
 Any hope of subduing it is false;
   the mere sight of it is overpowering.
 No one is fierce enough to rouse it. 
   
Who then is able to stand against me?
Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
   Everything under heaven belongs to me.
  “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
   its strength and its graceful form.
 Who can strip off its outer coat? 

Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
   ringed about with fearsome teeth?
 Its back has rows of shields
   tightly sealed together;
each is so close to the next
   that no air can pass between.
 They are joined fast to one another;
   they cling together and cannot be parted.
 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
   its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
 Flames stream from its mouth;
   sparks of fire shoot out.
 Smoke pours from its nostrils
   as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
   and flames dart from its mouth.
 Strength resides in its neck;
   dismay goes before it.
 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
   they are firm and immovable.
 Its chest is hard as rock,
   hard as a lower millstone.
 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
   they retreat before its thrashing.
 The sword that reaches it has no effect,
   nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
 Iron it treats like straw
   and bronze like rotten wood.
 Arrows do not make it flee;
   slingstones are like chaff to it.
 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
   it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
   leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
   and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
   one would think the deep had white hair.
 Nothing on earth is its equal—
   a creature without fear.
 It looks down on all that are haughty;
   it is king over all that are proud.”

12 comments:

pam said...

Good idea for a humbling read. I have recently faced the reality that I want to stomp my feet like some spoiled princess and say, "MAKE IT ALL EASY!". But getting my thoughts in line and perspective with my Father...whew...takes the wind out of my sail. Stops me to bow, before Love.

Mari said...

That passage really puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

What a mighty God we serve! I am so thankful the He has the answers and I don't have to try to figure things out by myself.

ellen b. said...

Yes, who do I think I am...

Hi Karin!

George said...

Thanks for posting this passage. I think we humans need to keep it in mind much more than we do. We need to remember that we aren't as great as we think we are.

Maple Lane said...

Thanks for sharing this, Karin. Thank you, also, for your prayers for John.
Wishing you a restful evening.

Betty WSch. said...

Makes me feel small and in awe of God's ways. What a humbling read.

Jedidja said...

Yes I too, its what Betty said: Makes me feel very small ...

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

I'd just popped over to Marcia's new blog... and saw your name in her comment box.

My, our world is small! Lovely to bump into you again. It's been ages.

Haven't we had the most wonderful of summers.... lots of excitement in the weather without too much of the terrors (unless all that lightening and thundering sends you scurrying for cover like my cats used to). It's felt like a real summer!

Hope you've been well... wishing you a wonderful day!

Brenda

Lady Dorothy said...

I was just about to write the same thing Mari said! Puts things (like our little ol' self) into perspective!

Glenda said...

Reminds me of the song, "Who am I that a King should bleed and die for?" I've just started reading Job again, and I'm sure I'll learn new things - about life and the greatness of our God!

Marlene said...

Wow!! Who knew?? This puts things in perspective!