Online Bible Commentary
Let Go, and Let God
Job 42:1 Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 [You asked,] 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 ["You said,] 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (NIV)
Job has encountered great suffering, as the Lord tests him. Job has resorted to complaining to God for allowing him to go through this suffering. The Lord has responded to Job in the preceding four chapters leading up to this passage. The Lord posed more than seventy questions to Job, exalting the Lord and showing His power and sovereignty over all the earth. The Lord proved to Job that His ways are higher than man’s ways, and that He is worthy of complete trust.
In response to the Lord Job acknowledges that the Lord can do all things, that He is all powerful, and that no man can thwart His plans (vv. 1-2). Job now realizes that since the Lord can do all things, He can also raise him out of his suffering. In his despair, Job had grown to think that his situation was impossible. He now knows that it is not.
The Lord asks Job “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?” (v.3a). The word translated “counsel” is the Hebrew word “esah” meaning to give counsel, advice, a plan, or a purpose. It is the same word used when King Rehoboam, of the Davidic line, rejected the counsel of the older men of Israel to “lighten the yoke” that his father Solomon had placed on the people (1 Kings 12:8-9). It is a word that denotes a plan from God. By rejecting God’s plan Rehoboam lost the Kingdom of Israel when they rebelled against him. The Kingdom was split into a Northern Kingdom (Israel) and a Southern Kingdom (Judah). The Kingdom of Israel never returned to the land as a nation. Rehoboam made a huge mistake by rejecting God’s plan.
So God was asking Job “Who are you to reject my plan for your life?” This Hebrew word for plan, “esah”, was translated in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, as “boule”, which became a Greek word of theological significance in the New Testament. Its New Testament meaning denotes the will of God and refers to God’s own act, His saving purpose. Job had placed himself outside the will of God by rejecting God’s plan, complaining about it instead of trusting God to see him through his suffering. Job realizes this now and responds that he had spoken of things he did not understand, things that were too wonderful for him to know (v. 3b).
Job remembers that God had told him to listen to Him and to answer His questions (v.4). So Job answers God by explaining that before he had just heard “of” God, from the teachings of men, but now he has heard “from” God Himself (v. 5). God has now revealed Himself to Job. We can liken this to hearing “of” God by reading the Bible or listening to its teachers, and hearing “from” God when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. Those who are waiting to hear “from” God before becoming a Christian, will not hear much. The Holy Spirit only indwells us upon becoming a Christian. Until then we only hear “from” Him through our conscience.
Job now sees himself as God does, a sinner in need of repentance. He grieves his sin, just as God grieves our sin. He humbles himself in repentance, turning away from his sin of complaining to God (v.6). Once he turns away from his sin, God can bless him.
The will of God is too wonderful for us to know. Job finally understood this and fell in line with God’s will for his life. He realized that even his suffering was part of God’s will. We, too, should realize this. Suffering is a part of God’s will for us. It is our job to stay faithful to Him through the suffering, trusting Him that He is going to work all things together for our good. His will for us is too wonderful for us to know. His plan is much greater than any plan we can devise for ourselves. We need to let go of trying to control everything in life, and let God do His thing. We need to let go, and let God.