After showing Job His majesty in creation, God challenges him to speak his mind. By now, the wind has completely gone out of Job’s sails. He can only promise silence:
(4) Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
(5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
God continues speaking and for a few verses speaks directly of His own power:
(8) Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
(9) Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
Of course, the answer to these things is “No.” Job has promised silence and God asks questions of him that can only be answered by silence. Then God returns to two more examples of His creation: Behemoth and leviathan. What exactly these creatures are and whether they still exist is not clear. What is clear is that they are beasts Job was familiar with and they were large and ferocious. They struck fear in the hearts of men. By contrast, these terrible creatures feared God and made entreaty to Him (Job 41:3). They knew their place and for all their power and might, they knew to be humble before their Creator. It was something Job was only beginning to learn.
Sufficiently humbled by all of this, he acknowledges the greatness and wonder of God and confesses that his demands were out of line and based in ignorance (Job 42:1-3). Then he makes this statement:
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. (Job 42:4)
It seems out of place when read at face value. It sounds like the demands that Job was making before God humbled him. But the tone and the attitude are different. The words that sound out of place are “hear,” “demand” and “declare.” These all sound like Job is still demanding that God give an account of himself to Job, but his meaning is exactly the opposite. These are servant words, spoken in humility.
Job is not demanding that the Lord hear Him. Now he is humbly beseeching the Lord to hear him. The word translated “demand” is simply the word “to ask,” and is the kind of request that a servant makes of his master, or that a student makes of his teacher. It is a request for instruction or wisdom: “Lord, please tell me what You would have me to do; please impart Your wisdom to me.” The word “declare” carries a similar sense. “Please do not withhold Your wisdom from me. Please tell me what I must know.”
This isn’t pride; it’s repentance.
How many times have we come to God demanding that He change a person or a circumstance only to have Him change us? Praise God He has not chosen to speak to us out of the whirlwind as He did Job! Instead, He has quietly turned our hearts in the right direction.
When Job finally understood his place before God, he was blessed:
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)
Yes, he was materially blessed, but I suspect that from that point on in Job’s life, it was not his material blessings that gave him joy, but rather his renewed relationship with God. In the past, he’d served God out of a sense of duty. After his trials, he worshipped God in reverential awe.
We serve that same God and He still demands that same level of humility from us.