How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of woman? If even the moon does not shine, and the stars are not pure in His sight, how much less man, who is a maggot, and a son of man, who is a worm? (Job 25:4–6—NKJV)

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand? (Job 26:14—NKJV)

Civilization was captivated by the anticipation of two pictures this past week. The first was a picture taken by the orbiting Cassini spacecraft of earth, the other by photographers seeking to be the first to capture a picture of the latest addition to the heirs of the throne of England.

There have been other significant pictures taken of the earth before. Remember the stunning shot of “earthrise” over the surface of the moon taken by the crew of Apollo 11 in 1969 from 250,000 miles away? How about the “pale blue dot” of earth caught in a light-beam from the sun taken by Voyager 1 in 1990 from 4 billion miles out? Do you recall the first picture of earth from the surface of another planet taken by the rover Spirit on Mars in 2004 from 40 million miles away? The picture that Cassini took this week of earth seemingly floating beneath the pale, broad rings of Saturn was taken 898 million miles away. The media was abuzz while awaiting this fresh view of our unique home among the stars in the trackless voids of space.

The very next day the world was again abuzz and crowds were gathering outside a London hospital breathlessly awaiting a glimpse of one more member of the 7+ billion people that reside on this awesome planet. This newest member happens to have been born into a family of note to one of the nations of the earth. A significant planet and a significant human life shared center stage for a brief moment in time. What a comparison of worth!

In an interesting way these two photos capture something of the meaning of the exchange that took place several millennia ago between Bildad and Job. Taken together, the unsaved mind would likely conclude that no human life has as much significance as the universe, one being so fragile, so confined, and so localized while the other so enduring, so overpowering, and so vast. God would have us observe something entirely different from His “general revelation” that is all of His creation.

Bildad was one of the “friends” who had arrived to comfort Job in his time of real trials. The form of comfort that the friends brought was anything but comfort to this godly man who was suffering oppressions for which he had done no wrong, yet his friends assumed he had, or else he would not be suffering so. Bildad’s words in Chapter 25 assert the purity of the Almighty versus the sinfulness of man, and, therefore, despairing of any approval from God to man. He concludes that God is unapproachable, just as so many of the world’s religions do to this very day. His question, “How then can man be righteous before God?” is quite stark and quite captivating. Bildad’s thoughts are similar to the 21st century mind that asks, “What is the use of this one life in this vast universe of the unknown?”

Job’s divinely inspired response is one of revelation. He begins with God’s domain over the depths of the seas and the hidden darkness of the grave (verses 5–6); then he speaks of God’s sway over the heavens at night with the darkness toward the north where our telescopes seek to peer back to the light released from the earliest light of time (verse 7); he details the hydrology of the earth in scientific terms that seem to have been only “recent” discoveries of mankind including the “boundary of light and darkness” which conjures up images of the sunrise captured from our space shuttle (verses 8–10). Job is speaking of the victories and the power of God over the entire universe (verses 12–13). Then he concludes with the real purpose of general revelation which is to see that all the awesome and incomprehensible mysteries and powers that God put into this universe are merely the “edges of His ways,” the “whisper we hear of Him!” Just as a world looked at the tiny speck called earth and it also awaited the first glimpse of a prince, so are all men to see the eternal significance of God’s Son born among us to redeem us! That Son of God is the true significance of His thunder and the answer to Bildad’s question.

In my Bible, I copied the following words from a gifted poet next to verse 14, “When the praise of Heaven I hear / Loud as thunder to the ear / Loud as many water’s noise / Sweet as harp’s melodious voice / Then, Lord, shall I fully know / Not ’til then, how much I owe.” Trust and obey.