Who Can Understand?

Job 26:1–14

“By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster.

His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent.

These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:12–14)

What a thrilling thought! “Bildad, as magnificent as all of these things are, what I’ve mentioned represents only the fringes of His ways.” Isn’t “fringes” a great word? The fringes, the outer edges of His ways; only the quiet whispers of His mighty voice, the hushed tones of omnipotence. Bildad, listen to me! Who can fully understand? And to think that this Creator-God pierces through all the millions of galaxies of “the heavens” and gives His attention to this tiny green-pea planet called Earth, reaching down to folks like us, knowing even the number of hairs on our heads.

Perspective like that is needed when the sores on my body are running with pus and the fever won’t go down. Job ends where Bildad should have begun. “Who can understand?”

Indeed, how unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways. Now, be careful here. That does not mean He’s not in touch, out of control, and He doesn’t have a plan. It just means He isn’t obligated to explain Himself. And because He doesn’t reveal everything, we’re left with three very honest words, which are helpful coming from the lips of otherwise proud people. And what are those three words? I don’t know.

In the final analysis, God knows, and He does all things well. He is in charge. I am the clay; He is the Potter. I am the disciple; He is the Lord. I am the sheep; He is the Shepherd. I am the servant; He is the Master. That means I am to submit myself. I am to humble myself under His mighty hand. I must be willing to adjust my life to His choices for me, to listen, to learn, to adapt to His leading wherever it may go whether I’m comfortable, happy, or healthy. That is obedience. Job, by now, is beginning to see it, and when he reaches the end of his brief explanation, he wisely asks, “Who can understand?”

Train yourself to think theologically. Make it your determined purpose to think God’s thoughts after Him, acknowledging His lofty magnificence. Teach yourself to be at ease saying the words, “I don’t know.” Because Job thought correctly about God, he was able to endure, even while not understanding why. May his tribe increase. And may it include you.

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.