“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
but are they the pinions and plumage of love?
For she leaves her eggs to the earth
and lets them be warmed on the ground,
forgetting that a foot may crush them
and that the wild beast may trample them.
She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;
though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
because God has made her forget wisdom
and given her no share in understanding.
When she rouses herself to flee,
she laughs at the horse and his rider.” Job 39:13-18.
God is continuing to challenge Job’s limited knowledge to make the point that God should not be second guessed. He has previously challenged him on the cosmic scale. Now he looks at the small details of animal life, and even their personalities. God is aware of all of it, and has arranged it for his purposes. Jesus also visits this fact.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Matthew 10:29.
“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.
“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.” Job 38:12-18.
God is now speaking and He is clearing the air. He deals with Job, first. He reminds Job who the creator is around here…and everywhere, actually. By putting Job in perspective, He is not telling Job he deserved his situation, but that it is not relevant in the long run. Job does not see the end from the beginning. And he does not know what is going on behind the scenes.
Our lives today, in America, can be quite insulated from the sort of suffering Job is going through. There is a safety net that actually catches most people, even if it does not make them as comfortable as they would like to be. And there is a host of sympathizers who would be quick to find someone to blame besides God.
I must confess that I have suffered very little from disease or deprivation in my life. Most of my suffering has come in the form of inconvenience and the trouble that comes with relationships. But I do know that that those “light afflictions” become your focus and demand someone’s pity if that is all the suffering you have. Let us learn to put these things in perspective ourselves, and save ourselves the rebuke of the Almighty!
“From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.” Job 37:9-13.
The creator of all things is also able to control them. That makes so much sense to those who believe, but to those who have forgotten God, it is nonsense to think that anyone but mankind can affect the climate. It is reckless and dangerous to put your trust in a God you cannot see when we have made up computer models to trust in.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6.
“Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.
He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
And if they are bound in chains
and caught in the cords of affliction,
then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
He opens their ears to instruction
and commands that they return from iniquity.
If they listen and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
and die without knowledge.”Job 36:5-12.
Elihu is telling Job how things should work, but he leaves out intervening factors, like injustice and dark spiritual forces. Injustice can be vindicated, but it takes time. and spiritual forces sometime get our unwitting cooperation.
We must stay the righteous course, in spite of criticism and failure. Vindication takes faith and patience, and we can slow it down by adding our own sin and grumbling. Instead, we trust Him who is faithful, even though we live in a sin-cursed world.
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:10-12.
“Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.
But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
who gives songs in the night,
who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
There they cry out, but he does not answer,
because of the pride of evil men.
Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
nor does the Almighty regard it.
How much less when you say that you do not see him,
that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
And now, because his anger does not punish,
and he does not take much note of transgression,
Job opens his mouth in empty talk;
he multiplies words without knowledge.” Job 35:9-16.
Elihu continues to give Job a hard time because of his impatience. Even if you have justice coming, it still comes in God’s time and at His pleasure. Whining and complaining are not becoming such a righteous man.
Today we are more aware of God’s promises and His power toward us who believe in Jesus. This is good, but we are apt to be more demanding and imperious as children of God. Although He has redeemed us and made us holy, we should not forget that we are still dust.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.