Stand Still, Marvel at His Wondrous Works
The wondrous works of God are all around us. From the beauty of a sunrise to the starry splendor of the night sky, and from the miracle of new life to the solemnity of death, we see and feel the awesomeness of God’s work everywhere. Yet, many people live in ignorance of the greatness of their Creator. They may believe God exists but fail to grasp the magnitude of His power, or perhaps they do not believe in God at all. It is vital that we not fall into one of those categories because when we misunderstand who God is, we will also fail to understand who we are and how we should live. This is why it is important to set aside time specifically to remind ourselves about the greatness of our God—His incomprehensible power and ability. It will be an encouragement not only to ourselves but also to our fellow believers, and can help unbelievers choose to put their faith in Christ as well. Remembering and rehearsing the wondrous works of God is something we want to do on a regular basis.
The Book of Job is a remarkable account which says much about the greatness of Almighty God. It is well known as a source of spiritual insight for those who are suffering, but of particular interest to us is its message about the amazing works God has done and how we ought to remind ourselves of them.
The first two chapters relate that Job was an extremely wealthy man, but in a single day, all his livestock, servants, and children were taken from him. Then his health was attacked. For the next thirty-five chapters, Job and his friends pondered why this calamity occurred and what Job should do next. His friends misunderstood both the character of God and of Job, falsely assuming that the trials Job was enduring must be punishment for sin he had committed. In the end, God finally spoke and settled the matter, and Job’s health, family, and wealth were restored to him. As we study the account more closely, we can glean valuable lessons that strengthen us spiritually.
Hearken, stand still, and consider
In Job chapter 32, after a great deal of dialog between Job and his friends, a young man by the name of Elihu spoke up. Like Job’s three other friends, his understanding of the situation and his advice were imperfect, yet some of his comments had merit.
In Job 37:14, Elihu said, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” This statement contains three commands, the first of which is to “hearken.” The word hearken means “to listen or pay close attention; cup your ear to hear more carefully; to heed.” When we hear the Word of God, we need to have a listening ear. We do not want to become so accustomed to hearing Scripture that we think, Oh, I’ve heard this before and I already know what it means. No; the Word of God is supernatural and it pierces the heart. We must respect it when we hear it, and take action by applying what we learn to our lives. Some have chosen to do their devotions after dinnertime because that is when they are most alert. Others may prefer the morning or nighttime. Whatever time we choose to set aside for the Lord, we want to make sure we hearken to His Word.
The second command in verse 14 is to “stand still.” This means “to abide or to dwell; to endure or to tarry.” A similar mandate was given in Exodus 14:13 when the Children of Israel were being pursued by the Egyptians. Moses told them, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” God was about to give the Israelites victory, but first He commanded them to stand still—to take a break from their own actions and watch Him do the impossible.
It is not always easy to “stand” and wait for victory to come, yet it is vital to do so. We need to “stand still” on our knees in prayer, which may require us to tarry awhile and wait on the Lord.
God gave the Israelites victory, and we want His victory in our lives today. It is not always easy to “stand” and wait for victory to come, yet it is vital to do so. We need to “stand still” on our knees in prayer, which may require us to tarry awhile and wait on the Lord. Our lives and schedules can be busy; we might need to purposefully set time aside to “stand still.” As we pray, we want to remember to pause in our prayers and listen to God so we can hear Him speak to our hearts.
The third command is to “consider the wondrous works of God.” The word consider has a very broad meaning: “to understand; to diligently discern; to perceive or to think on; to view or to look upon.” Rehearsing and pondering what God has done is something we do whenever we gather as a group of believers. The testimony portion of our services is an opportunity for people to declare the wondrous works of God in their own lives; we have heard from many whom He has forgiven, restored, healed, and more. God is a miracle-working God and He has done wonders even among us!
A declaration of the works of God
After stating the need to hearken, stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God, Elihu began to recount some of the amazing things God had done. He said in verse 16 of chapter 37, “Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?” This referred to part of God’s handiwork in the skies. Today we know there are ten different types of clouds and their height can range from 6,500 to 60,000 feet off the ground. The way clouds form and water the earth is remarkable, and it is one of the wondrous works of God.
God knows all. He even knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. He knows if our prayer is genuine or if we are just going through the motions.
Elihu called God “him which is perfect in knowledge” because God knows all. He even knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. He knows if our prayer is genuine or if we are just going through the motions, and if it is the latter, He is faithful to remind us that we need to be genuine. Nothing escapes His notice.
In the next verse Elihu continued, asking Job if he knew “how thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?” We know from physics that warm winds are caused by differences in air pressure, and the effects of the gusts can range from pleasant to disastrous. This is another marvel designed by God.
In verse 18 Elihu asked, “Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” The sky is beautiful. Have you ever wondered why it is blue? Scientists tell us it is blue because it is being illuminated by the sun, which shines white light. White light is actually composed of the entire spectrum of visible colors combined, and when it hits the earth’s atmosphere, the molecular interaction causes us to see blue. At sunrise and sunset, sunlight passes through more of the earth’s atmosphere before it reaches our eyes so we see different colors. We all have witnessed a stunning sunset—God paints the sky in spectacular hues! That is a wondrous work of God.
God declares His own works
After a long silence, God finally spoke. Chapter 38 begins, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.”
First of all, just to see and hear God speak from a whirlwind must have been astonishing. Then, beginning at verse 4, God himself told of His own wondrous works. He asked Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?...Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?” In construction, an architect prepares the drawings and a carpenter lays them out on gridlines. God was saying here that He is both the Architect and the Carpenter of the earth.
Verse 6 continues, “Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof?” A foundation will not hold if it rests on something unstable; it must be built on something secure. In some cases, a deep or pier foundation must be made in order to get down to solid rock. In verse 6, God was saying that He not only made the foundation, but also secured it in place. Moreover, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Rock and the Chief Corner Stone. Thus, God was the Architect and Carpenter, and He laid the foundation and secured it in place with His Word, Jesus.
In verses 8 and 11 we read, “Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth? . . . And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” God also created the oceans. We know relatively little about this aspect of creation, but an interesting fact that I recently learned is that the longest waterfall in the world is actually located in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between Iceland and Greenland. The waterfall is created by a difference in water temperature which causes the colder water to plunge thousands of feet downward—three times farther than the tallest waterfall on land. That is part of God’s wondrous works!
God asked in Job 38:22, “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?” God created every snowflake, another awesome piece of His handiwork. Many of us grew up hearing that no two snowflakes are exactly alike, but now we understand that their formation follows patterns. Snow has no color; it is translucent, but usually appears white in sunlight. Under the right circumstances snow can appear pink, or blue when it piles up. This is all by God’s design.
In Job 38:31 we read, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” Pleiades is a star constellation. The stars in Pleiades are gravitationally connected to each other, which means they are travelling at the same speed together. There is no way Job could have known that Pleiades was bound; this was simply God’s declaration of His own doings. The Orion constellation, on the other hand, is much different. The stars in Orion are not gravitationally bound—they are moving away from each other, as if somebody loosed them at some point. That too is part of God’s wondrous works.
Wisdom and understanding come from God as well, and the greatest wisdom is to know the Lord and have a relationship with Him.
Verse 33 says, “Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” God was speaking about the physical heavens—the universe—but more exciting to us is the spiritual Heaven that God has prepared for those who love Him. God designed that too, and no doubt it will be marvelous. In verse 36 we read, “Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” Wisdom and understanding come from God as well, and the greatest wisdom is to know the Lord and have a relationship with Him.
We declare the works of God
As fascinating and exciting as God’s creation is, He put even more care into us. God sees and knows each of us personally, and He wants to work in our lives. In fact, we are surrounded by a multitude who can testify of God’s wondrous works. Here are just a few of the testimonies we have heard in our Portland congregation:
- Jim Snider was sinking into a river in a work vehicle; God protected him and he came out without even a scratch.
- Duane Wilson’s life had been broken by sin, but God “put the pieces back together.”
- Neil and Maria Green were grieving after the death of their ten-month-old baby, but God has given them the hope of being reunited with Paige in Heaven.
- Bonnie Davis was diagnosed with terminal cancer; God completely healed her and she has been cancer-free since 1970.
- Susan Anderson was backslidden for nearly thirty years; she was saved on a flight from Idaho to Oregon.
- Mark Zetter, who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after the Vietnam War, is now sharing the hope found in Jesus with other veterans.
- Vickee Martin was plagued by bitterness after being left by her husband of seventeen years, but was freed by forgiveness and has been enjoying peace ever since.
- Earl Phillips was addicted to cigarettes at the age of twelve but was instantly delivered and has been tobacco-free since 1948.
- Victoria Worthington was born dangerously premature at two pounds, eleven ounces; today she is healthy and without any side effects.
- Jeremy Cook was abandoned in an orphanage overseas; he was adopted and today is surrounded by a loving family of his own.
Our God is truly a wonder-working God! These were major, life-changing events in individual lives, yet God cares about the little things as well. For example, a few weeks ago I was asked to cook a prime rib for a special birthday party. On the day of the celebration, I was not able to taste the meat before I left my house, so in the car, I asked my family if we could pray that God would make it turn out well. We all prayed, and when we arrived at the party and cut into the ribs, everyone said it tasted good. After a while, one of my sons came and whispered in my ear, “God answered our prayer!” He was right. A birthday meal may not be a critical situation, but it was important to us and we were thankful God heard and answered our prayer. On a daily basis, in big and small ways, God is still doing wondrous works.
Psalm 105:2 says, “Sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.” May we never forget the importance of reminding ourselves and telling others about the mighty things God has done. The most wondrous work of all is when God forgives someone’s sins, bringing new life to that soul. If you have not had that experience, pray and ask God’s forgiveness, and He will do a wondrous work for you personally. If you are bound by addictions, God is a chain-breaking God and He will loose your chains and deliver you from sin. He will make a powerful change in your life. If you are facing a personal challenge, whether big or small, God wants to do wonders in your life. Hearken to His voice, stand still, and consider His wondrous works, and He will meet your every need.