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Job 36 • Like Cattle Announcing a Squall

by Robert Hawkins © 2019

Be patient with me, I would ask you to stay,
on God's own behalf I have much more to say.
I get all my knowledge from far, far away;
my Maker acts justly and right.

For truly my words have been free from all lies;
there's one here among you who's perfectly wise.
Behold, God is mighty, with none to despise;
with all understanding and might.

The wicked will perish without a reprieve,
but justice and hope will the helpless receive.
He's eyeing the righteous and all who believe;
like kings, but forever enthroned.

And if they are bound by their fetters and chains,
and trapped by their cords of afflictions and pains,
he shows their transgressions and sins' ugly stains;
the lifetime of pride they have owned.

He gets their attention, demands they repent.
Once heard and obeyed, then their days will be spent
in blessed and prosperous years of content;
where peace and fulfillment are found.

If they do not listen, they'll die by the sword;
they'll die without knowledge, death's river to ford.
The godless are filled with the anger they hoard;
nor do they cry out when they're bound.

They die in their youth with the vilest of men.
God rescues the troubled through trials, and then
he opens their heart through adversity, when
their sufferings lead them to God.

He's drawing you out from the jaws of distress
to places so spacious that can't be compressed.
He's setting your table with food to excess,
​once out of the strait to the broad.

Obsessed whether godless receive their just due;
God's justice and judgment has fallen on you.
Beware the seduction of riches that woo,
and bribes that will lead you astray.

Could all of your wealth and your efforts sustain
to keep you away from distress and your pain?
Don't long for the night where security's vain,
when people are carried away.

Take care to keep evil removed from your sight,
for this you have chosen instead of your plight.
O, God is exalted in power and might,
for who is a teacher like him?

Who guides or corrects him with, "You have done wrong?"
Remember to praise him as we've done in song.
Mankind has beheld his great wonders so long,
though distance makes things clearly dim.

Indeed, God is greater than we understand;
his years can't be counted with infinite sand.
He gathers up moisture exactly as planned,
distilling from mist rains that pour.

The rain from the heavenly clouds shower down,
to benefit man and the beasts and the ground.
Can anyone fathom how clouds float around;
how thunder from heaven can roar?

Behold, how he causes the lightning to leap,
to dance on the oceans and pierce through the deep.
These methods are used so the nations will reap
their food in abundance for all.

He hurls the lightning like arrows that fly,
commands them to strike at his marks from the sky.
His thunder declares that his presence is nigh,
like cattle announcing a squall.

This poem was a finalist in the March 2021 poetry contest

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