‘Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?’ (Job 26v4)
I don’t know how you read this but presumably the answer God is expecting of Job is for him to reply that it was the Divine who gave him words to speak: that God Himself placed the spirit within Job’s mouth to help him find voice. And yet, I imagine that at this moment as Job stands before God – broken by the death of his family – giving an answer to the obvious does not come high on Job’s agenda (even when the question is asked by God).
Job is hurting. True, God will provide the ultimate help but Job needs time to grieve. Words may pour forth from his mouth but Job can barely understand what he’s saying right now as he tries to make sense of all that has happened to him – or put another way, the nonsense of existence and and its unfair outcomes.
Now – at the risk of upsetting some – I would be less then professional with this passage if I did not address the elephant in the room. That is, when God grants permission to the devil to test Job? Why would a God of love grant permission to a fallen angel – who is seeking to overthrow creation – to do this to Job, especially when it goes against the nature and love of God?
And here, we must return to the question of who is the author of Job? Who is this unseen eavesdropper who is privvy to the discussion between God and Satan and then feeds it back to us. Moreover, is the character of God – as portrayed in the Book of Job – in anyway reminiscent to the God revealed in the person of Jesus who is God incarnate? For God not to be consistent is for us to accept a dualistic rendering in which the God in the Old Testament is wholly different to the one revealed in the character and person of Jesus Christ.