Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7
There is a lot I don’t know. I don’t know the middle names of any of my grandparents. I can tell very little about what will happen in the future. Even my understanding of my own body is so limited I can wake up in the middle of the night with both feet cramping and have no idea why. You may know a lot more than me, but all of us have our limits.
Yet, that is the world in which we all must operate – the world of incomplete information. That is the world in which we have to make advances in science. That is the world wherein we have to craft public policy both for ourselves and for future peoples. Those are the circumstances under which we have to launch new businesses and try to make profits. Every endeavor we take on, we take it in the world of incomplete knowledge.
What if we fail? What if we waste all our time and energy and get nowhere? What if it’s worse than that? What if we harm someone? What if our new product doesn’t just flop, it actually causes our customers injuries. What if our research into new pharmaceuticals unleashes deadly viruses? What if our policy decisions result in economic collapse?
Upon considering the risks of taking action in our ignorant little world, it can be tempting to just stand still. Don’t try anything new. But that isn’t the life we were called to live. The Lord called us to work, and that means He called us to risk. What then to do? It very much feels like being caught between a rock and a hard place.
In our text for today, the Lord responds to Job’s demands for answers with His own series of questions. He points out Job’s limitations, and in so doing, points out ours. But He points them out in a manner that reveals our help. He asks Job questions to which He, God, knows all the answers.
The Lord has the wisdom we need, the knowledge we need, the assurance, and even the courage we need to live in our uncertain world. We know how to move forward – with humility, with prayer, and with whatever wisdom the Lord will grant us. Onward, my friends. The Lord of all wisdom and knowledge stands ready to answer our humble cries for help.