For Who Will Resist God and Remain?
The Source of Paul's Doxology in Romans 11:33-36
Published May 10th, 2018
Reasons for choosing Job 41:1—11 . 1) As we’ve evangelized Muslims this semester and heard them object to Jesus’s deity, their objections have caused me to run back to Scripture to see how the Prophets and Apostles presented the Trinity. Yet they didn’t usually give formulaic equations for the Trinity (i.e. Jesus = God). Rather, they gave us something better than a formula: they elaborately displayed the whole revelation so that our conclusions would be as strong as theirs. The Bible moves us out of the flower pot and plants us right by the river. If all our doctrines had come simply as formulaic, obvious, easy-answers from the Apostles, then likely our doctrines wouldn’t be strong enough to stand up to testing, or to keep us from falling away under trial. So, I wanted to choose a passage that would connect us to the source of Paul’s doxology in Romans 11:33—36 so that we wouldn’t just agree with Paul, but so that we would share his reasons to praise. By merely watching Paul feast we might know what makes him healthy, but it’s far better to eat right off his plate. 2) So, let’s find Paul’s the Old Testament sources of Paul’s doxology. Isaiah 40:13,  Job 36:22—23,  and Job 41:11.  Paul uses these verses like steps to a climax: on the first step we hear Isaiah the prophet speak to Israel about the living God of comfort; on the second step we hear Elihu speak to Job and friends about the God who had caused Job’s pain, and on the third step we hear God speak directly to Job about himself. Now I want to ask, why does Paul think Job 41:11 fits so well into his doxology? What is it about God’s statement that makes Paul set it as the crown jewel of praise after he’s just laid out the gospel for 11 chapters to the church in Rome? Let’s go to the text and see. Observations : 1) There are significant variations between LXX and Masoretic Text (which ESV used). So, ironically, the more I studied this passage the more I realized I’m about to take us further from the verse that sent me to Job in the first place. However, I’m still using it for two reasons: a) One day, we might get to press into the Masoretic text, but now is our time for LXX. b) Paul leans so heavily on LXX (including the two other verses he used to compose the doxology), but why not here? I won’t make an argument from silence. However, it will be good for us to treat this devotion as a deposit on the passage; if you ever get to press into the MT, then you’ll already have had the benefit of understanding the LXX first. 2) These 11 verses seem to have an obvious form. It seems to be clear poetic meter, almost like a hymn. Almost all the verbs are Future Indicative (mostly Active), alternating between 2 nd or 3 rd Person Singular with either Job himself or δράκοντα as the subject. The constant use of δὲ is like a drum beat in the monologue which loudly stops at the announcement of the last 3 verses (41:1—3 LXX). 3) English Bibles punctuate these verses as questions, and the context shows they’re all rhetorical. The speaker doesn’t want an answer, he wants rather to uncover something that the question makes obvious. 4) Diagram and Arc. 5) Proposition Relationships: the entire section is a massive series of rhetorical questions, meant to silence the one being spoken to. The nature of δὲ as a development marker shows that they’re not just a series of questions, but a progression building to a climax. At the height of the climax is a comparison (or contrast) that does two things: a) It shows that the God who created the Dragon must be stronger than the Dragon. b) It shows that, inasmuch as he’s stronger than the Dragon, God will deal with him accordingly. Exhortation.  Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Isaiah 40:13 ESV.  Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? 23 Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’? Job 36:22-23 ESV.  Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. Job 41:11 ESV.