Behold the Doer of Wonderful Things!
“Stand still and show yourself attentive to the wonderful works of God.”—JOB 37:14.
1, 2. In 1922, what amazing discovery was made, and what was the reaction?
THE archaeologist and the English lord had for years collaborated in searching for the treasure. Finally, on November 26, 1922, at the burial place of Egyptian pharaohs in the famous Valley of the Kings, archaeologist Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon located the prize—the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Reaching a sealed door, they drilled a hole. Carter inserted a candle and peered inside.
2 Carter later related: “When Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.’” Among the thousands of treasures in the tomb was a solid gold coffin. You may have seen some of those “wonderful things” in photographs or at a museum exhibit. Yet, wonderful as those museum items may be, they are likely unrelated to your life. So let us shift to wonderful things that definitely are related to and of value to you.
3. Where do we find information about wonderful things that can be of value to us?
3 For example, think of a man who lived many centuries ago, a man more noteworthy than any film star, sports hero, or member of royalty. He was called the greatest of all the Orientals. You will recognize his name—Job. An entire Bible book was written about him. Yet, one of Job’s contemporaries, a young man named Elihu, felt obliged to correct him. In effect, Elihu said that Job was giving excessive attention to himself and to those around him. In Job chapter 37, we find some other specific and wise advice that can be of real value to each of us.—Job 1:1-3; 32:1–33:12.
4. What led up to Elihu’s exhortation recorded at Job 37:14?
4 Job’s three supposed friends pointed out at length areas in which they believed that Job had erred in thought or deed. (Job 15:1-6, 16; 22:5-10) Elihu patiently waited till that dialogue was over. Then he spoke with insight and wisdom. He made many valuable points, but note this key thought: “Do give ear to this, O Job; stand still and show yourself attentive to the wonderful works of God.”−Job 37:14.
The One Who Did the Works
5. What do “the wonderful works of God” to which Elihu referred involve?
5 Observe that Elihu did not suggest that Job give attention to Job, to Elihu himself, or to other humans. Elihu wisely urged Job—and us—to be attentive to the wonderful works of Jehovah God. What do you think the phrase “the wonderful works of God” includes? Moreover, in view of concerns you may have about health, finances, the future, your family, workmates, and neighbors, why be attentive to God’s works? Unquestionably, the wonderful works of Jehovah God involve his wisdom and his authority over the physical creation all around us. (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 24:1; 104:24; 136:5, 6) To bring this into clear view, note a point in the book of Joshua.
6, 7. (a) Jehovah performed what wonderful works in the days of Moses and Joshua? (b) Had you witnessed either of those works in Moses’ and Joshua’s time, how would you have responded?
6 Jehovah brought plagues on ancient Egypt and then parted the Red Sea so that Moses could lead the ancient Israelites to freedom. (Exodus 7:1–14:31; Psalm 106:7, 21, 22) There is a similar event related in Joshua chapter 3. Joshua, Moses’ successor, was to lead God’s people across another body of water and into the Promised Land. Joshua said: “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow Jehovah will do wonderful things in your midst.” (Joshua 3:5) What wonderful things?
7 Well, the account shows that Jehovah opened a watery barrier, the Jordan River, so that many thousands of men, women, and children could pass over on dry ground. (Joshua 3:7-17) If we had been there watching the river open and all those people cross safely, we would have been struck by how wonderful an accomplishment this was! It displayed God’s power over creation. Yet, right now—in our lifetime—there are things comparably wonderful. To see what some of these are and why we should give them attention, consider Job 37:5-7.
8, 9. To what wonderful works does Job 37:5-7 point, but why should we think about these?
8 Elihu declared: “God thunders with his voice in a wonderful way, doing great things that we cannot know.” What did Elihu have in mind about God’s doing things in “a wonderful way”? Well, he mentions snow and downpours of rain. These would put a halt to the work of a farmer in his field, giving him time and reason to consider God’s works. We may not be farmers, but rain and snow may affect us. Depending on where we live, snow and rain may interrupt our activities too. Do we take time to ponder who is behind such wonders and what this means? Have you ever done so?
9 Significantly, as we read in Job chapter 38, Jehovah God himself took up a similar line of thought, as he put meaningful questions to Job. Though our Creator directed these questions to Job, they clearly have a bearing on our attitude, our existence, and our future. So let us see what God asked, and let us think about the implications, yes, let us do what Job 37:14 urges us to do.
10. Job chapter 38 should have what effect on us, and what questions does it bring up?
10 Chapter 38 opens: “Jehovah proceeded to answer Job out of the windstorm and say: ‘Who is this that is obscuring counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins, please, like an able-bodied man, and let me question you, and you inform me.’” (Job 38:1-3) This set the tone. It helped Job to adjust his thinking to the reality that he was standing before the Creator of the universe and that he was accountable to him. That is also a good thing for us and our contemporaries to do. Then God touched on the sort of things that Elihu had mentioned. “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you do know understanding. Who set its measurements, in case you know, or who stretched out upon it the measuring line? Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down, or who laid its cornerstone?”—Job 38:4-6.
11. What realizations should Job 38:4-6 bring home to us?
11 Where was Job—where were any of us—when the earth came to be? Were we the architects who designed our earth and, from that design, laid out the dimensions as though with a ruler or straightedge? No, indeed! Humans were not even on the scene. As if our earth were a building, God asked: “Who laid its cornerstone?” We know that earth is at exactly the right distance from our sun for us to live and thrive. And it is the right size too. If earth were much larger, hydrogen gas would not escape our atmosphere and our planet would be inhospitable to life. Clearly, someone “laid its cornerstone” in the right place. Did Job deserve credit? Do we? Or does Jehovah God?—Proverbs 3:19; Jeremiah 10:12.
What Man Has the Answers?
12. The question found at Job 38:6 leads us to think about what?
12 God also asked: “Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down?” Is that not a good question? We are probably familiar with a term that Job did not know—gravity. Most of us understand that the force of gravity from the huge mass of the sun keeps our earth in place, its socket pedestals sunk down so to speak. Still, who fully understands gravity?
13, 14. (a) What must be admitted about gravity? (b) How should we react to the situation that Job 38:6 highlights?
13 A recently published book entitled The Universe Explained admits that ‘gravity is the most familiar, yet the least understood, of nature’s forces.’ It adds: “Gravitational force seems to travel across empty space instantly, without any obvious means of doing so. In recent years, however, physicists have begun to speculate that gravity might travel in waves made of particles called gravitons . . . But no one is quite certain of their existence.” Think about what that implies.
14 Science has advanced for 3,000 years since Jehovah posed those questions to Job. Still, neither we nor expert physicists can fully explain gravity, which keeps our earth in the right orbit, just the position it should have to allow us to enjoy life here. (Job 26:7; Isaiah 45:18) This is not to suggest that we all need to pursue an in-depth study of the mysteries of gravity. Rather, giving attention even to this one aspect of God’s wonderful works should influence our view of him. Do you stand in awe of his wisdom and knowledge, and do you sense why we need to learn more about his will?
15-17. (a) On what did Job 38:8-11 focus, leading to what questions? (b) What must be admitted regarding knowledge about the oceans and their distributions on the globe?
15 The Creator continued his questioning: “Who barricaded the sea with doors, which began to go forth as when it burst out from the womb; when I put the cloud as its garment and thick gloom as its swaddling band, and I proceeded to break up my regulation upon it and to set a bar and doors, and I went on to say, ‘This far you may come, and no farther; and here your proud waves are limited’?”—Job 38:8-11.
16 Barricading the sea involves the continents, the oceans, and the tides. How long has man observed and studied these? For thousands of years—and very intensively in the last century. You might imagine that most of what is to be known about them must be settled by now. Yet, in this year 2001, if you investigated that topic at huge libraries or used the vast research power of the Internet to locate the latest facts, what would you find?
17 In a widely accepted reference work, you could locate this admission: “The distribution of the continental platforms and ocean basins on the surface of the globe and the distribution of the major landform features have long been among the most intriguing problems for scientific investigation and theorizing.” After saying this, the encyclopedia just quoted offered four possible explanations but said that these are “among the many hypotheses.” As you may know, a hypothesis “implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation.”
18. To what conclusions does Job 38:8-11 lead you?
18 Does that not highlight the timeliness of the questions we read at Job 38:8-11? Surely we are not to be credited for arranging all these aspects of our planet. We did not place the moon so that its attractive power would help to produce tides that normally do not overwhelm our coasts or us personally. You know who did, the Doer of wonderful things.—Psalm 33:7; 89:9; Proverbs 8:29; Acts 4:24; Revelation 14:7.
Give Jehovah Due Credit
19. The poetic expressions at Job 38:12-14 direct our attention to what physical realities?
19 Humans cannot take credit for the earth’s rotation, alluded to at Job 38:12-14. This rotation causes the morning dawn, often stunningly beautiful. As the sun rises, features of our globe become clearer, like clay being transformed under a seal. Giving even slight attention to the earth’s motion, we must marvel that earth does not spin too rapidly, which would be disastrous, as we can easily realize. Neither does it rotate so slowly that days and nights, being much longer, would bring extremes of heat and cold that would make human life impossible. Frankly, we should be happy that God, not any group of humans, set the speed of rotation.—Psalm 148:1-5.
20 Now, imagine that God asked you these further questions: “Have you come to the sources of the sea, or in search of the watery deep have you walked about?” Not even an oceanographer could give a complete answer! “Have you intelligently considered the broad spaces of the earth? Tell, if you have come to know it all.” (Job 38:16, 18) Have you visited and explored all regions of earth, or even most of them? Giving attention to the beautiful locations and wonders of our earth could occupy how many lifetimes? And what marvelous times those would be!
21. (a) The questions at Job 38:19 might bring up what scientific views? (b) The realities about light should move us to do what?
21 Look, too, at the profound questions at Job 38:19: “Where, now, is the way to where light resides? As for darkness, where, now, is its place?” You may be aware that for a long time, the view prevailed that light travels like a wave, like the ripples we can watch in a pond. Then in 1905, Albert Einstein explained that light acts like packets, or particles, of energy. Did that settle matters? Well, a recent encyclopedia asks: “Is light a wave or a particle?” It answers: “Seemingly, [light] cannot be both because the two models [waves and particles] are so different. The best answer is that light is strictly neither.” Still, we keep on being warmed (directly and indirectly) by sunlight, even if no man is yet able to explain fully God’s works in this regard. We enjoy food and oxygen produced as plants respond to light. We can read, see the faces of our loved ones, gaze at sunsets, and on and on. As we do that, should we not acknowledge the wonderful works of God?—Psalm 104:1, 2; 145:5; Isaiah 45:7; Jeremiah 31:35.
22. How did David of old respond to God’s wonderful works?
22 Is the objective of our meditating on Jehovah’s wonderful works merely that we be impressed, as if awed or dumbstruck by it all? Hardly. The ancient psalmist admitted the impossibility of comprehending and commenting on all God’s works. David wrote: “Many things you yourself have done, O Jehovah my God, even your wonderful works . . . Were I inclined to tell and speak of them, they have become more numerous than I can recount.” (Psalm 40:5) He certainly did not mean, though, that he would keep silent about these grand works. David proved this by his determination expressed at Psalm 9:1: “I will laud you, O Jehovah, with all my heart; I will declare all your wonderful works.”
23. What is your reaction to God’s wonderful works, and how can you help others?
23 Should we not be equally moved? Should not our sense of wonder over God’s grand works move us to speak of him, of what he has done, and of what he will yet do? The answer is obvious—we should “declare among the nations his glory, among all the peoples his wonderful works.” (Psalm 96:3-5) Yes, we can manifest our humble appreciation for the wonderful works of God by sharing with others what we have learned about him. Even if they grew up in a society that dismissed the Creator, our positive, informative expressions may awaken them to recognize God. More than that, it may move them to want to learn of and serve the one who “created all things,” the Doer of wonderful works, Jehovah.—Revelation 4:11.
How Would You Reply?
• The exhortation recorded at Job 37:14 leads you to think about what works of God?
• How do you feel about the wonderful works of God, moving you to do what?
[Picture on page 7]
Who barricaded the sea, keeping it in its place?
[Picture on page 7]
Who has visited all the beauty spots on our earth, which God created?