The Limits of Knowledge

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Job 38:39-40:5

“See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?” (Job 40:4)

God’s cavalcade of questions continues, now concerning animals and birds. “Can you, Job, provide food for the hungry lion? Do you provide for the raven its prey? Do you know when the wild mountain goats give birth or the wild deer have their young? Is it you, O Job, who let the wild ass go free or made the ox forever wild? And what of the ostrich? Is it according to your wisdom, Job, that the hawk soars south or the vulture sucks the blood of the slain?”

Finally, God demands an answer: “Anyone who argues with God must respond.” Job has publicly reproached God, and now God awaits his answer.

Job simply states, “I am small,” and places his hand over his mouth. Having spoken once of things he claimed to know but really did not, he will not make the same mistake twice. He has been shown the limits of his knowledge. After earlier declaring that he would approach God “like a prince” (31:35-37), when the actual time comes Job humbles himself like a slave. He now knows his place, and it is not at the center of things.

PRAYER

Lord, free us from thinking that we are at the center of things. Help us see that all things come from you.