"Hello, Job. It has been a few days since I have talked to you. The reason for this is that I visited my mother in California and promoted my new book in a few venues over the weekend, and so didn't have time to write. But, Job I confess, you were never far from my mind. I so want to understand the nature of your submission to God in ch.42. Is it to be understood by reference to the experience of "being crushed," like you wanted to have happen to you in ch.6? Or, was your submission in ch.42 a genuine act of the will's yielding to God, derived from a realization of some kind that you never had previously experienced in life? For most of this conversation, Job, I have assumed it was more like the former, but I am not sure now. I had been interpreting every syllable of God's words to you as an expression of merciless divine power spoken by a divinity who was irate at being disturbed and offended at your creaturely impertinence.
But now I am not sure. As a matter of fact, by talking to others and by thinking further about God's words to you in chs.38-41, I think I am ready to say that your experience in ch.42, which you refer to as "seeing" God, really was a breakthrough of enormous proportions, a kind of letting go or self-release or yielding to God or falling into the arms of the Spirit or whatever image one might want to use to express an utterly different kind of knowing and living that you now had. Though I still am committed to the notion that Elihu's words were of signal importance in preparing you to hear God, I am ready to ask (and answer) the question of what it was in God's speeches that overwhelmed you.
I think we must look past the first speech, because you still had not fully submitted to God by 40:5. The reason for God's second speech was that God was only partially convinced that you had heard and submitted to him. And, indeed, that was probably true. The first speech showed you your ignorance. But it was the second speech, where your impotence was demonstrated to all the world, that broke you. I think it was not simply the examples of Behemoth and Leviathan, powerful as they were, that brought you to submission. I think it was some of God's "preliminary words" in 40:10-14 that did it. Specifically, when God said, "Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on all who are proud, and abase them" (40:11), I think something "snapped" for you, Job. You recognized, probably for the first time since your disaster, that your anger got you nowhere. It was not a creative anger. It was not an anger that even could destroy anything other than yourself. It neither brought blessing to your house or to your friends. It simply was anger. Anger that spewed forth like the lava from the crater of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980. It just coursed down the mountain and swallowed everything in its path.
But instead of reorienting creation, Job, your anger did nothing. It might have satisfied you temporarily, giving you a sense of power in the midst of your impotence, but, in fact, it was a deceitful feeling of empowerment. In fact, your anger profited you nothing. That is why I think God repeats himself three times to you in 40:11 and the following verses. It is almost as if God is trying to have his message sink in that your great energy, directed as it was to your inconsolable rage, really did nothing for you. Let's hear the entire passage, and tell me, Job, if the words didn't wash over you with a tsunamic force.
"Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on all who are proud, and abase them. Look on all who are proud, and bring them low; tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together, bind their faces in the world below" (40:11-13).
You know what I hear there, Job? I hear the jackhammer-like insistence of God forcing you to realize that your anger did not accomplish anything. Or, to put it differently, if it was to accomplish something, it would have had to bring low the proud, which it did not. It only served to isolate you from your friends and harden your own sense of self-righteousness.
Notice how God repeats himself. Notice how God repeats himself. He tells you to look on the proud twice and then to bring them low at least five or six times. You really can't do that, can you Job? You really don't have a clue as to how those forces which truly threaten the order of the world can be disarmed. You are in danger of becoming a sort of human blowhard, a person who can neither save yourself nor bring low the proud. In short, even your most brilliant efforts at control are miserable examples of impotence.
And, I think you finally see that now, Job. You finally recognize this truth. I need one more essay on this.