Man up. Years ago, those two words could hardly constitute a sentence. The combination of a noun and a preposition simply do not have what it takes to pass grammatical muster. But then someone very clever found a way to make “man” a verb too. Man up. The phrase may be of recent invention, but the thought has ancient roots. To act like a man is to grow up, take responsibility, and do whatever is necessary. It means being brave in the face of danger and taking the tough jobs so that others will not have to do so. It quite possibly was derived from the rodeo term “Cowboy up,” a phrase calling for the cowboy to take his turn in something that lies somewhere between dangerous and crazy. In a sense defying political correctness, it is a call for a man to act distinctly like a man—not like a boy and most certainly not like a woman. (Clearly its origins predated the current national debate about gender identity.) However, regardless of these recent origins, in the book of Job we find a similar sentiment coming from the mouth of God Himself: “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:3). Job had been asking for an audience with God throughout his exchange with his friends, but as this statement shows, there are wiser things to do than questioning God’s wisdom and ways.
Throughout the rest of the chapter, the Lord proceeds to ask Job a series of questions about the physical universe. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4). “Who determined its measurements?” (Job 38:5) “To what were its foundations fastened?” (Job 38:6). “Have you commanded the morning since your days began…?” (Job 38:12). “Have you entered the springs of the sea?” (Job 38:16). “Have the gates of death been revealed to you?” (Job 38:17). “Where is the way to the dwelling of light?” (Job 38:19). “By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth?” (Job 38:24). “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt, To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man” (Job 38:25-26). “Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41). In today’s world, an unbeliever might answer these questions quickly and arrogantly, as if “science” explains it all. The problem with that is fairly simple: What explains science? Science is essentially a field determined to discover discernible laws that can be observed in the universe, but the existence of ongoing research demonstrates that all of mankind’s combined efforts have yet to discover them all. “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?” (Job 38:33).
Job quickly realized that the typical foundation for discussion that men rely on with one another does not work in a discussion with God. After all, who can argue with God based upon experience (Job 38:21)? Intelligent men with multiple degrees may intimidate other men, but that does not intimidate God in the least (Job 38:36). This series of questions about the material universe is basic in some ways, and yet even beginning to answer them would require knowledge in a number of advanced areas of science. Evolutionary scientists often act as if these things are all simple to explain. To this, God says, “Tell Me, if you know all this” (Job 38:18). Modern man has not learned as much as he might think. This is why, even when you DO prepare yourself as a man, you will never be in a position to argue with God.