Monday, April 24, 2017

When Bad Things Happen To Good People: A Study Of The Book Of Job. Day 50, The Lord Talks About The Animal Kingdom

Yesterday the Lord spoke about the universe and the earth. Today He talks about the animal kingdom.

"Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'? Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together? Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?" (Job 38:34-41) God is in charge of providing water and food for the wild animals. Job may feel like God has stopped taking care of him, but as the Lord Jesus once said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-30)

"Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months til they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? They crouch down and bring forth their young; their labor pains are ended. Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return." (Job 39:1-4) Job has been thinking maybe God took His eyes off him, but here the Lord points out that He keeps His eyes on the wild animals and is with them in their labors. If God takes the time to do this for the animal kingdom, how much more time must He spend watching over mankind?

"Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes? I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat. It laughs at the commotion in the town; it does not hear a driver's shout. It ranges the hills for its pasture and searches for any green thing." (Job 39:5-8) It's so easy for us as humans to think of ourselves at the center of everything, even to start believing this world couldn't get along without us. But God created all of nature, both the wild and the tame, and nature obeys Him, not man. The natural world would go on if humans ceased to exist. In his distress Job has forgotten that there is a great big world out there and that there is more to life than what he is currently experiencing. When tragedy comes into our lives we sometimes marvel that the sun keeps coming up or that the world keeps turning in spite of our pain. But isn't it a good thing that it does? Life goes on because that's what it has been designed to do.

"Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night? Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness? Will it till the valleys behind you? Will you rely on it for its great strength? Will you leave your heavy work to it? Can you trust it to haul in your grain and bring it to your threshing floor?" (Job 39:9-12) The wild ox won't obey the voice of a man who calls to it. But it obeys the voice of the Lord. The wild ox serves the Lord by being what the Lord created it to be...a wild ox.

"The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider." (Job 39:13-18) Yesterday we spoke about Job's need to learn how to thrive in a world that is both beautiful and cruel. It seems senseless to us that the stork would lay her eggs and not care whether they are safe, or that she would drive her young hatchlings away as soon as mating season begins again. But this is the mind the Lord gave her, and storks continue to be born and to exist even though their mothers abandon them quickly. Their low intelligence has not caused them to become extinct. If they are able to live and thrive in a world both beautiful and cruel, Job in his much greater intelligence should be able to do the same.

"Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting? It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray. It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, 'Aha!' It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry." (Job 39:19-25) The warhorse is fearless, itching to get into the battle. This too may seem senseless to Job, that an animal exists with little instinct for self-preservation. Yet the Lord has given it its fearlessness for a purpose. He has created every creature with exactly what it needs to do the job it was designed to do.

"Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag its stronghold. From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar. Its young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there it is." (Job 39:26-30) This is another example of a creature doing exactly what it was designed to do. It has a purpose in the scheme of things. And Job's suffering also has a purpose in the scheme of things, though he doesn't understand it anymore than he understands how the hawk or the eagle flies.

We see some awesome aspects of God's character as He describes several occupants of the animal kingdom. We catch a glimpse of His unfathomable intelligence, the intelligence that specifically made each and every creature in the exact way it needed to be made. We feel some of the exultation God feels as He beholds this wild and beautiful creation. To us it seems as if nature teeters on the edge of chaos, but at all times God is in control of it. Even if He explained to us how He created all things and how He holds them together, we wouldn't understand. Why then do we think we would understand His reasons for allowing certain things to happen? The Lord says, "Job, if you can't understand something as simple as how I created birds to fly or donkeys to graze or horses to charge into battle, how can you understand something as complicated as the reason why I sometimes allow suffering? Isn't it enough for you to know I'm in control of everything? Can't you trust that I love you too much to allow anything into your life that doesn't need to be there? Are you willing to stretch your faith and believe that what seems bad to you may actually be good?"

No comments:

Post a Comment