The iconic phrase “You talking to me?” originated from a classic movie line delivered by actor Robert De Niro. Timeless and widely quoted, it serves as a cultural reference, embodying a sense of challenge and inquiry towards someone’s statements or intentions. If you have ever read the book of Job in the Bible and get to the conclusion, you might experience the same weight of this phrase.
The book of Job explores the age-old question of “why do bad things happen to good people?” In Job’s account, he is living a “righteous” life and then he is exposed to deep suffering. As Job endures trials he looks to his friends to help him process his pain. They tell him that all his troubles are the result of his sin and he needs to repent.
After a long human discourse on “where is God?” God ardently responds in chapters 38-41 to the dialogue between Job and his friends.
It is a divine “mic drop” from God about their lack of understanding: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone — while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).
God also asks them: “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?” (38:16), and “Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty” (40:9-10).
Throughout these passages in detail, God shares his supreme authority, control and power over the universe.
In the conclusion of God speaking, Job responds with humility and acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. Job realizes the limitations of his understanding and expresses repentance for even questioning God.
He acknowledges God’s wisdom and power, stating in Job 42:2-6: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Job resolves to reflect on God’s greatness and he is humbled by God’s divine wisdom.
As I reflect on the God portrayed in the Bible — full of love and grace — I find value in the sobering reality check that recognizing God’s sovereignty brings. While God may not be echoing, “You talking to me?” how, then, do you respond to the profound concept of God’s sovereignty?
Frank Alioto is the pastor of Roots Family Church (907-252-0036) and serves as a chaplain in our community.