Scripture Focus: Job 37.22-24
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”
Reflection: Prayers Before the Storm — Guided Prayer
By John Tillman
Elihu’s speech soars to its conclusion with a reflection on the beauty, power, and mysterious majesty of God.
Some interpreters have implied that Elihu’s speech is interrupted by God’s arrival in the storm. (Job 38.1) However, it seems to me that Elihu must have been aware of the storm of God’s presence blowing at his back and his final poetic lines announce God’s presence. The downdraft of a rising cumulonimbus supercell was likely licking at Elihu’s robes as he spoke.
Elihu says his “heart pounds and leaps from its place…” Elihu’s voice cried in the wilderness, announcing the soaking downpour of speech that God was about to unleash. I imagine the winds lifting his words as he spoke of God’s majesty in storms, winds, and other powers beyond our understanding.
Let us pray heart-pounding prayers, crying out about God’s greatness. Let us announce his presence. Let us be awash in the downpour of his presence in the storm.
Pray this prayer of wonder inspired by Elihu’s speech:
Prayers Before the Storm
We pray, Lord, standing before the storm of your presence.
The life you sustain within us stirs, our hearts pound rushing blood through our bodies
Our breath gasps, taking in the freshness of the oncoming storm
The sudden coldness of the downdraft…
The enlivening smell of rain on the wind…
A cumulonimbus pillar of cloud moves toward us
Towering in royal power like a queen over a chessboard
Your voice thunders in marvelous ways we don’t understand
Hold nothing back when you thunder and speak.
We drop our defenses.
We rely on your mercy alone.
You are not like a human king.
Despite your great power, you do not oppress
Unlike man-made gods, you do not despise our weakness
You are as tender with us as with the newborn fawns you watch and the wild donkeys you set free. (Job 39.1-8)
You regard us with love from the height of the storm
You sweep in on the wind, condemning our accuser and silencing our pride
May the echoes of your voice break rocks in every canyon and arroyo
May the refreshing snows and rain cover and wash our gullies and ditches
May the weak be protected and the powerful be warned
May the proud be struck and shaken
While the humble stand on a firm place
A foundation you provide that withstands winds and rushing waters
May we cry in the wilderness before you, announcing your mercy.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Come, let us sing to the Lord…For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. — Psalm 95.1,3
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Job 37 (Listen – 2:27)
Psalm 49 (Listen – 2:10)
This Weekend’s Readings
Job 38 (Listen – 3:33), Psalm 50 (Listen – 2:26)
Job 39 (Listen – 2:47), Psalm 51 (Listen – 2:19)
Read more about On Keeping Vigil
You have descended upon me, with great gentleness, with most forbearing silence, in this inexplicable night, dispersing light, defeating all desire. — Thomas Merton
Read more about Faith After the Storm
Jesus standing and commanding the storm is intimidating and disturbing. He is no longer the servile employee behind the desk of God’s complaint department.