Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2)
Job was an upright man who feared God and shunned evil. God himself said that there was none like Job on the earth, who was blameless in his ways (Job 1:8). However, being blameless in one’s ways does not mean that one fully knows the Lord.
We are familiar with Job’s story – he was afflicted by Satan and lost his properties, children, and health. He was misunderstood, accused of being a sinner by his three friends, and driven to an outburst in which he lamented greatly. He defended his integrity, and listed out all that he had done to live a righteous life (Job 27-31).
Job was so confident in his own righteousness and sure that he knew God’s principles and expectations, that he was certain he had not done wrong. Focused on justifying himself, Job questioned God. And when God answered him out of the whirlwind, He also began with a question to Job: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge”?
Today, many of us cannot claim to be as blameless as Job, but some of us may relate to him in that we presume to know God and may be unaware that our knowledge of God is lacking. We may have, like Job, indeed put much effort to live upright lives – to keep God’s commandments, to cultivate spiritually, to show love and kindness, and to devote much time and energy to serving God. In turn, we are blessed and witness God’s abidance with us in our lives.
But even though Job was blameless in his ways and had God’s abidance and blessings, he spoke words which were “without knowledge”. It was only after this experience with God that Job acknowledged he did not fully understand and know God: “You asked, ‘ Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know… I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:3, 5-6)
As we rest comfortably in God’s blessings and abidance, we may feel like we already know God and what He desires, and we justify the choices we make in our servitude or daily life without truly reflecting or inquiring of God in prayer. We lose the vigilance in our hearts to examine ourselves and to know Him more.
This is why we should be fearful and careful with the words we speak or teach. We may feel like we already have a solid understanding of God’s words and principles, but we still have to, with a humble heart, diligently seek to experience and know God more. Only when we correctly understand God’s ways ourselves, can we share with others more accurately about Him (Acts 18:14-16).