Job Chapter Thirty-Nine
God continues his lesson in humility too Job with a review of how he takes care of his creation and how little reason Job really had to charge him with unkindness and lack of compassion in his approach to Job’s case. He also shows the extent of his providence and the great reason that Job should be humble because he knew so little of the nature of the creatures about him and how God provides their every need.
Read Job 39:1-12
v1-2. “KNOWEST THOU THE TIME WHEN THE WILD GOATS OF
THE ROCK BRING
Concerning the wild goats of the rocks and the wild cattle; who takes care of them, knows when their young will be born, protects them during this vulnerable time. If we don’t know this then how can we expect to know the day that God’s providence will provide for us?
v3. “THEY BOW THEMSELVES, THEY BRING FORTH THEIR YOUNG ONES, THEY CAST OUT THEIR SORROWS.”
Though they bring forth their young with a great deal of difficulty, have no assistance from man, yet, by the good providence of God, their young ones are safely produced, and the pain and sorrow associated with giving birth soon forgotten.
v4. “THEIR YOUNG ONES ARE IN GOOD LIKING, THEY GROW UP WITH CORN; THEY GO FORTH, AND RETURN NOT UNTO THEM.”
After their young are born and are nursed for the appropriate period of time, they grow up in the fields and other places where food is available and are no longer burdensome to their parents. Perhaps this is a lesson that should be taught to children today.
v5. “WHO HATH SENT OUT THE WILD ASS FREE? OR WHO HATH LOOSED THE BANDS OF THE WILD ASS?”
This is a
creature that we read about in scripture frequently, some say that they’re untameable, can be trained but not tamed. God has given it an unbounded liberty and a
disposition to maintain that liberty. In
Hosea 8:9 the Holy Spirit uses this
animal’s disposition to describe the attitude of
v6. “WHOSE HOUSE I HAVE MADE THE WILDERNESS, AND THE BARREN LAND HIS DWELLINGS.”
lives in the wilderness, where many times in the
v7-8. “HE SCORNETH THE MULTITUDE OF THE CITY,
NEITHER REGARDETH HE THE CRYING OF THE DRIVER.
This animal as noted above is difficult to train; here he is said to scorn the multitudes of men, has no owner, nor will he willingly be in subjection to anyone. Therefore he has no one to feed and care for him except God through his providence.
v9-10. “WILL THE UNICORN BE WILLING TO SERVE THEE, OR ABIDE BY THY CRIB? CANST THOU BIND THE UNICORN WITH HIS BAND IN THE FURROW? OR WILL HE HARROW THE VALLEYS AFTER THEE?”
There are creatures that will serve man willingly, that even seem to take pleasure in serving him, but there are others who are very difficult to bring under subjection. This unicorn isn’t the one-horned creature of mythology but rather a two horned animal thought by many scholars to be a wild ox. God here is challenging Job that since he seems to have brought everything else under his control, rich in cattle, sheep, goats and camels before they were taken away, to try to tame this beast and bring him under subjection, use him to plow or harrow the fields. The point being that Job could not but God could.
v11-12. “WILT THOU TRUST HIM, BECAUSE HIS STRENGTH is GREAT? OR WILT THOU LEAVE THY LABOUR TO HIM? WILT THOU BELIEVE HIM, THAT HE WILL BRING HOME THY SEED, AND GATHER it into THY BARN?"
God says that this animal can’t be trusted, just like a mule that kicks, he’ll get you the minute you turn your back. Will you harness him and use him to labor for you? Will you depend on him to work in your fields as you do your tame oxen, using them to till the soil and bring in the harvest which you must have to live?
Read Job 39:13-18
v13. “Gavest thou THE GOODLY WINGS UNTO THE PEACOCKS? OR WINGS AND FEATHERS UNTO THE OSTRICH?”
God did indeed create some unique creatures. The peacock with feathers so beautiful, an emblem of pride, who when he spreads his tail feathers and struts; the brilliance of his color is dazzling. On the other hand the ostrich, some have called a winged camel primarily because of its nasty disposition which has both feathers and wings but is unable to fly.
v14-16. “WHICH LEAVETH HER EGGS IN THE EARTH, AND WARMETH THEM IN DUST, AND FORGETTETH THAT THE FOOT MAY CRUSH THEM, OR THAT THE WILD BEAST MAY BREAK THEM. SHE IS HARDENED AGAINST HER YOUNG ONES, AS THOUGH they were NOT HERS: HER LABOUR IS IN VAIN WITHOUT FEAR;"
Here we see another picture of God’s providence. The ostrich lays her eggs just anywhere and does not bother to hide them, protect them, or sit on them to hatch them as do other birds. She even forgets where she laid them so that she could step on them and crush them. She pays them no mind so that the wild beasts could devour them and she would be none the wiser or care. So how does the species survive? Through God’s providence. The heat of the sun and sand causes them to incubate and the young ones fend for themselves because their mother doesn’t even know them.
v17. “BECAUSE GOD HATH DEPRIVED HER OF WISDOM, NEITHER HATH HE IMPARTED TO HER UNDERSTANDING.”
God says that the reason that she is this way is that she was deprived of any wisdom or as in the case of an animal such as this any instinct or understanding that she needs to look after her eggs or her young.
v18. “WHAT TIME SHE LIFTETH UP HERSELF ON HIGH, SHE SCORNETH THE HORSE AND HIS RIDER.”
But at the same time if she is threatened by anything she can use her stubby wings to lift some of the weight off her legs and run faster than the fastest horse.
Read Job 39:19-25
v19. “HAST THOU GIVEN THE HORSE STRENGTH? HAST THOU CLOTHED HIS NECK WITH THUNDER? CANST THOU MAKE HIM AFRAID AS A GRASSHOPPER? THE GLORY OF HIS NOSTRILS is TERRIBLE.”
What about the horse, Job? Did you give him his strength? The horse can be tamed and trained to use his strength for man’s benefit but God gave him that strength. Can a man make a horse as afraid as a grasshopper? No. Many horses, if you don’t approach them properly, especially a stallion, will fight you with every weapon he has to keep you from controlling him. We must also remember that horses were not as common in Job’s day perhaps they are in the history that we have read about. In biblical times they were used for war and to ride, later in the times of the Philistines and later to pull chariots. They were not normally used for domestic purposes but rather oxen, donkeys, or camels were the primary beasts of burden or used to till the land.
v21-23. “HE PAWETH IN THE VALLEY, AND REJOICETH IN his STRENGTH: HE GOETH ON TO MEET THE ARMED MEN. HE MOCKETH AT FEAR, AND IS NOT AFFRIGHTED; NEITHER TURNETH HE BACK FROM THE SWORD. THE QUIVER RATTLETH AGAINST HIM, THE GLITTERING SPEAR AND THE SHIELD.”
In the pitch of excitement before the battle the horses would paw the ground in their impatience to run and to join in the fight. He would run to go forward to meet armed men; he showed no fear even in meeting those with swords that might harm him or his rider. The rattling of the equipment of war his rider carried meant nothing to him, or the glitter of the sharpened spear or the flash of light off a shield.
v24-25. “HE SWALLOWETH THE GROUND WITH FIERCENESS AND
RAGE: NEITHER BELIEVETH HE THAT it is THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET. HE SAITH AMONG THE TRUMPETS, HA, HA; AND HE
The war horse would answer the sound of the trumpet even if he had no rider and charge the enemy with the same fierceness and rage as he would if guided by a rider’s hand. I know you have heard or read stories about fire horses that when their stations were converted to trucks would still take their places for which they had been trained if allowed to do. They would even run to the fire if they could get free. Who made this way and gave them these attributes that man can harness and use? God did, of course.
Read Job 39:26-30
v26. “DOTH THE HAWK FLY BY THY WISDOM, and STRETCH HER WINGS TOWARD THE SOUTH?”
Job, does the hawk fly because of your wisdom? Does the lift that her wings provide and the speed and strength that she enjoys come from the wisdom of man? Of course not, this is yet but another example of God’s creation and God’s providence. Man finally did understand how to build a contraption that would fly and even carry him but he studied the flight of birds that God created for hundreds of years before he figured out how to do that.
v27-30. “DOTH THE EAGLE
Does the eagle mount or position herself at the peak of her dive for game at your command? Does she make her nest on high, dwell in the rocks and crags of the mountains and in strong places because you taught her to do so? Of course not, God gave this bird of prey her instincts, he gave her to power to see prey from very far away, the ability to feed her young and the instinct of her young to follow her example. Every creature will go towards that which is its proper food for He that provides these creatures with their food has also provided them the inclination or instinct to respond they way that they should. We don’t know how to do that, we don’t know what it is about them that causes this, we can and have learned to use their instincts to control them to an extent but that is all.