Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Gird Up Your Loins (Job 40:6-7)

“Now prepare yourself like a man” (Job 40:7).

In Job 38:3 and 40:7, God makes the declaration: “Now prepare yourself like a man” or “Gird up now thy loins like a man.” The word “gird” here is used as a military term, meaning to “prepare for action.” This is the same word used in Jeremiah 1:17 when the prophet must prepare for a controversial ministry. The word implies that a difficult time is ahead, and one must prepare himself in strength and wisdom to meet that trial. In Job’s case, the struggle would be the meeting of God’s admonishments concerning his sin against the Almighty.

God tells Job to prepare for action like a “man.” The Hebrew word used here is geber, which is different from the general word for man, adam. Geber relates to a man at the height of his powers as a man. It is commonly used to mean a valiant or mighty warrior. God is often depicted as a geber, a mighty warrior who is undefeatable. When it is used for a human being, it does not mean that man is to prevail over God, but he is to face God at his most competent and capable level, in wisdom, strength, and courage, but with humility and a willingness to prevail over his sin. The meaning of its root is “to rise, raise, restore,” or to be strong like a warrior in the midst of a battle.

Geber is used in Psalm 40: “Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust.” This is the man God called Job to be. He would need to trust God, to be strong and courageous in order to listen and respond appropriately to God’s scathing rebuke and proclamations of His power. In calling Job to “gird up his loins like a man,” he was telling him to be a faithful and courageous man in the model of his Almighty God, not to contend against God but to listen to and accept what He had to say.

Christ is our ultimate geber, our mighty warrior, our strong shield in battle, the complete man, perfect and undefiled, who trusted His heavenly Father even under the pain and torment of the Cross. Such courage cannot come naturally to human beings, they must receive it by the grace of God and the power of His Spirit, who fills us with the courage to hear God’s rebuke and accept it in humility.

Do you stop reading the Scripture whenever you come to something difficult, or do you neglect the study of the Bible because you are afraid of what God has to say about your sin? If so, you are not standing before God like a geber. Before you study, prepare yourself to hear the hard sayings of God, ask for His Spirit to give you strength.