Alfred Lord Tennyson called Job "the greatest poem of ancient and modern times." Excerpts are regularly included in anthologies of world literature and religious poetry. It is an undeniable literary classic.
If God’s response to Job in chapter 38 were meant only to shut Job up, seven verses would be sufficient. But God is only getting started here, and the exuberance of the rhetoric insists that vastly more is at stake.
When I was growing up in D.C. in the 1980s, many of my neighbors were Salvadorans who had fled the violence of civil war. My parents and many of their colleagues were active in opposing U.S.-funded suppression of leftists in that war and others in Central America. All of them held up Archbishop Oscar Romero as an example of highest virtue (never mind the Vatican delaying his cause for sainthood until recently). And since the March 24 anniversary of Romero's assassination usually falls during Lent—next Tuesday will be 35 years—the church in which I was raised remembered his martyrdom as we pondered the sacrifices that come with discipleship.