Hand On Mouth

Sticks and stones may break my bones . . . but when the Almighty’s name-calling, it’s gotta hurt! Not that God harmfully throws down insults from heaven, but the One who searches the soul and spirits of men will reveal the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). Not that it should condemn, but that it would be a catalyst for repentance. So, when Job hears God call Him out, there’s only thing to do . . . hand on mouth.

And the LORD said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” 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 40:1-5 ESV)

God has been schooling Job on the inner-workings of creation. Using the brush of what can be seen and known by men, He has been painting a picture of power and purpose that transcends the world of gravitational pull. And He pauses to allow Job a chance to chime in.

Job’s been wanting a one-on-One, and now’s his chance to point out a thing or two to the Almighty. But in turning the floor over to Job, God calls him out, “Speak up, faultfinder.”

Faultfinder. Ouch! Seems harsh. What’s stated explicitly in the ESV is hinted at in the NIV and NKVJ: “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?” But I guess if you’re ready to correct the Almighty, it’s because you’ve weighed God in the balances and found Him wanting. You’ve found fault. You’re a faultfinder.

There’s a line, it seems. A line between honestly asking questions and arrogantly demanding an audience. Between humbling confessing confusion and insolently calling out the Creator. Job crossed that line. And God loved Him too much to let him stay there. “What do you want to discuss now, faultfinder?”

And Job’s response is the right response. His answer the only answer. “I lay my hand over my mouth.”

No argument. Just awe. Nothing to counter. Just contrition. No rebuttal. Only repentance.

The words have died up. The lesson has been learned. God is God, and nothing less. Man is man, and nothing more.

Sometimes the right response is no response at all. There’s a point where God speaks and ours is simply to listen and acknowledge truth. To confess He is right, and we have been in the wrong.

Not that He might prove Himself just before us–God has nothing to prove to anyone–but that we might be restored.

Humble yourselves before the Lord,
and He will exalt you.   (James 4:10 ESV)

Hand on mouth. Sometimes, when you don’t what to do, it’s the right thing to do. When there’s nothing left to say, it’s best to say nothing.

Be still, and know that I am God.   (Psalm 46:10 ESV)

It’s his kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

Such is grace. To Him be all the glory.

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