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“THESE ARE THE FRINGES OF HIS WAYS”
by Philip Owen

        In a remarkable expression of wisdom and understanding, Job describes the infinitely more remarkable creative and sustaining power of God.  In the twenty-sixth chapter of the book bearing his name, Job mentions, among other things that were either unknown or misunderstood during his time, that God “hangs the earth on nothing” (v. 7).  He touches on the mystery of the hydrologic cycle created and sustained by God, Who “wraps up the waters in His clouds, and the cloud does not burst under them” (v. 8).  He mentions the phenomenon of a lunar eclipse:  “He obscures the face of the full moon” (v. 9).  And he suggests that God had created the earth as a globe, something not fully understood or accepted until the time of Christopher Columbus:  “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters” (v. 10).  Job also observes that the clouds (so essential to life) move according to God’s direction:  “By His breath the heavens are cleared” (v. 13).  Any one of these observations demonstrates the extraordinary and unique power of God and, as with Job, puts us in awe-filled contemplation of the Creator of the universe.   But Job is not finished; he makes an even more remarkable observation to conclude this list of accomplishments that only the omnipotent, omniscient God could have performed.   “Behold,” he says, “these are the fringes of His ways” (v. 14).

        Though Job’s knowledge of God was immense and though God had communicated (and would communicate) directly with Job, he had, nevertheless, come to realize that what he knew and understood about this wonderful God came only to the “fringes,” the very outermost border of the Being Who had been pleased to reveal Himself to Job.  Job had creation as a witness to the grandeur of God; he had whatever testimony had been handed down by word-of-mouth from godly men who had walked and talked with God before him; and he had the direct voice of God communicating with him personally—an incredible wealth of information about his God.  And yet, Job realized that he had only skimmed the surface of the Person of God, only traveled to the border of His country, scarcely touched the bottom-most hem of His garment. 

        Job had no way of knowing that God would breathe out a book filled with inerrant and infallible revelations of the God he knew and worshiped.  He could not have understood that that same God would reveal Himself on earth to fallen men through the Person of His incarnate Son.  He could not have begun to comprehend the character and work of God that would be revealed on Golgotha:  the holiness of God that places an infinite distance between Him and His fallen creation, the justice of God that demanded full payment for the sins of His people, the longsuffering of God as He withheld punishment from rebellious sinners and waited for the “fullness of time” to send His perfect Deliverer, the infinite love of God that moved Him to pour out on His Son the wrath that rightfully should have fallen on Job and each person before and since.

Job knew that he had seen merely the fringes, though he could never have contemplated God would be pleased to indwell in the Person of His Spirit a group of believers that He had chosen.  Nor could he have begun to understand the God Whose Son would call that group His “body” and His “Bride.”  He could not have begun to fathom a group of believers who would be granted the privileged designation of “heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).  And though he knew that he would be resurrected and see God in his flesh, he could never have imagined that some would never taste death and that they would “be like Him [Christ]” (I John 3:2).

        No, Job could not have appreciated how “fringe” his knowledge was given its vastness.  Nor can we, who have received so much more, appreciate how limited is our knowledge and appreciation of the Lord.  But God has been pleased to reveal much:  may we strive to learn and love all He has revealed.    

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