God’s wrath… all of Job’s friends expected it. In fact, all three of their first references to God spoke of his wrath!!
Eliphaz’s first mention of God referred not to His holiness, His love, His mercy, or His goodness, but to His anger toward “those who sow trouble:” “At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish” (Job 4:9).
Bildad’s first reference to God touched on one of Job’s deepest griefs, the deaths of all ten children. Did BIldad refer to the God who heard “Rachel weeping for her children” (Matthew 2:18)? No! To the heartbroken father, Bildad said of God: “When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin” (Job 8:4).
Zophar’s first reference to God was not a prayer on his friend’s behalf, but a wish for God’s wrath to rebuke Job: “Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you…” (Job 11:5).
(Frances Bennett, Job, Lessons in Comfort, CEP, 2009, pg 89-90)
So when God finally speaks, and says to Job, “Brace yourself like a man,” (Job 38:3) we expect God to unleash his wrath…but he doesn’t.
God talks about creation and how “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (38:7).
We see his grace as he creates the dawn to limit evil (38:12-15)…and as he sends the stored-up snow to slow or cease wars and catastrophes (38:22-23).
We see his care and concern for his creatures… providing food to the raven (38:41), watching the birth of the does (39:1), freeing the donkey (39:5) and releasing the ox from its burden (39:9-12). He gives the horse its might (39:19-25) and even the ostrich is given joy (39:18).
Where is God’s wrath? I only see grace. And how does Job respond??
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:3-5).
Job sees his smallness in the face of God. He recognizes that He does not understand his small role in God’s big plan, and he vows silence. No more questions. No more demands for justice. Just a quiet, humble trust.