"I'm back, Job. As I told you, I am beginning to see God's speech to you beginning in 38 in a different way from before. Certainly there will be a dimension of legal bravado in it, the kind of re-characterization that any lawyer expects in a courtroom situation. God will say that your beautiful words are an example of "darkening" counsel, rather than bringing light to a situation. But that is only characterization. Actually, at the end, God will admit he is wrong, so we shouldn't get too upset by this in v.2.
But then, when he describes things in 38:4-11, he takes me into another world, and my heart soars with freedom. God does this for me in two ways, Job. First is that really visual and suggestive description of the foundations of the earth. God talks about bases and cornerstones and measurements, and my mental imagery leaps ahead to considering ways that the earth is firmly fixed and wonderfully solid. Then he talks about the sons of God who rejoice when the morning stars sang together (v.7). You know, Job, when you first talked about the darkness that settled over your life in ch.3, you wanted the day never to see the "eyelids of the morning" (what a beautiful phrase!) because of the disaster that happened to you. But here, in ch.38, God brings you into the situation where angelic creatures are celebrating creation with the morning stars.
And that made me think of William Blake. Oh, I don't have time here to talk about this tortured genius. I would love to on some occasion. Suffice it to say that he "drew Job" for more than 30 years, but never made any money on his drawings. They have come down to us in a few copies today, and one of the most arresting to me is called Butts Set No. 14. It is Job's depiction of this very verse (38:7). I am looking at it now as I write this talk, Job, and I am dazzled. Here is what it shows.
The painting/drawing is really divided into three sections. The topmost register consists of four angels surrounded by stars with arms upraised and mouths open, singing the glories of God and the beauties of the first morning. The angels are singing, the stars are sparkling and the angels rejoice. The middle section consists of God stretching his arms across the canvas, to divide the upper world from the lower world. Under his two arms are two different forces. The one, of light, is depicted as a woman riding four stallions and going off furiously in one direction. The other, of darkness, stands still while two serpents with flaming mouths lick the air. In the bottom section of the piece are you, your three friends and your praying wife. You are all looking up to the heavenly realm, which appears to be obscured by a layer of clouds between you and God. You, Job, are listening pensively, arms across chest, as the heavenly song continues.
Job, could you hear the song of the sons of God when God mentioned it to you in 38:7? Could you hear the echo of that song or imagine the thunderous symphony of angelic joy? There was joy in heaven at the light. There was a chorus of praise at the creation of the earth, when God sunk the cornerstones deep into the....what DID God sink them into? Choruses of praise enlarge the heart, Job. The expusion of energy lifts the spirit. But when you spoke in ch.3, you shrunk my vision, Job. Pain was telescoped. Your last words in ch.3 capture it for me best of all. Oh, the English readers will have to consult their texts now, because I am just going to give the Hebrew. "Lo shalavti va lo shakatti va lo nahti va ya bo ROGEZ." That is what you said in 3:26. The shortness of your sentences bespoke the constrained or constricted nature of your life. All you could do was to speak in two word phrases. Life had been cut off. All was bleak. No hope remained. Trouble lurked. Turmoil emerged. End of life.
Elihu told you that God would bring you into a broad place. Maybe this was happening to you in 38:4-7. But I still need to say a word about God's remarkable vocabulary in 38:8-11. That was the second point for today that I didn't get around to yet. Let's do that tomorrow.