The Book of Job-Chapter Thirty-Nine: "The
Swagger of God"
Righteous indignation. I've used that term
to justify, as a "good" Christian, losing my temper on occasion. But that
I've actually found that righteous indignation doesn't apply to me much at all. As the Scripture states, "The wrath of
man worketh not the righteousness of God"
1:19-20). That's the thing I need to remember and to apply to my life,
especially when angry or frustrated.
But it's different with God. The Lord has every right to get indignant. He answers to no one on
this. If you think about it, He cannot call on anyone else for justice
or mercy when He is wronged. Not like we can call on Him in faith. Also,
unlike me, He can become indignant and yet remain 100% righteous. Even in
wrath, His motives remain pure and in focus and His compassion sure and
The world is yet to
experience the full wrath of God and will not until the very end! But, even in the merciful portions
we can already see, it can
Job and his friends have been disparaging and (at least in my opinion) falsely
worshipping the Lord for too long now. Sooner or later something had to give. That's where we are right now.
God is responding to them. He's had His dominion over the world in view, and
concentrating on the world of animals.
There were farmers and herdsmen back
then. They could buy animals and raise them. But nobody was like the Lord,
Who could oversee ALL the animals lives and cycles, even the wild goats living on
the highest cliffs:
Verses 1-4: "Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock
bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? Canst thou number
the months that they fulfill? or knowest thou the time when they bring
forth? They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out
their sorrows. Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn;
they go forth, and return not unto them." So is God a zoologist? He's more
than that. Scientists may chase down and study
wild animals but, take a look at this, they aren't the ones who originally set them free from
Verses 5-8: "Who
hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild
ass? Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his
dwellings. He scorneth the multitude
of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range of the
mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing."
Verses 9-12: "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? 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?"
This unicorn is apparently some kind of wild horned
beast of that day. And it was absolutely untamable. It answered, like so
much of nature then and now, only to God.
Verse 13: "Gavest thou the
goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?"
It is the Lord's creativity, not man's, that has brought out the great
diversity of life we see in nature and ourselves.
Job will get a little lesson on the ostrich:
Verses 14-18: "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 her's: her labour is in vain without fear; Because God hath
deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. What
time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider."
You see, God is so potent and present in affairs that, yes,
even the weaknesses and failures of His fallen creation are linked back to Him. If
I were Him, I imagine I would want credit for successes and beauty only. I would
steer everyone's attention only in that direction. But
the Lord is so wise and so purposeful that He can use and mold even weakness for
good. As I age, I see that more and more in my own life. When I was younger
I focused totally on personal strength and success. But, all along God has
been at work in my weaknesses too. Like the ostrich, God has given
me some strengths, but deprived me of many others. Have you seen that in
your life? Remember Christ, beloved, and the greatest accomplishment in history (at
least from a believer's point of view) which He had to achieve on the
Cross. He couldn't have been weaker or more deprived than hanging on that Cross.
The tragedy, pain, and weakness that so easily overwhelm us,
don't confound God. And though I believe they do affect Him, they do not defeat His purposes.
Sometimes the Lord is so adept at
molding evil into a plan for ultimate Good that it is easy to mistake
Him, falsely, as the source of troubles and evil. Job was very guilty of
this. Though correct that he had not caused his own problems, Job remained
totally ignorant of Satan's role in it all. Job's counselors, as I have been
pointing out, viewed God as a real monster at times. He is not. He does not
conjure up evil. He just handles it better than we do.
comes a lesson about the horse:
Verse 19: "Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his
neck with thunder?"
Even though I'm a little intimidated by them, I can
appreciate the majesty of a strong horse in its prime. I live near some
people who are very involved with horses. Horses can be kept and trained. We
them to some effect, like producing mules, etc. But the original majesty of
the horse was put there by God. And He's reminding us of that.
Verse 20: "Canst thou make him
afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.
That big old horse can be kind of high strung, right?
Spooked by little things sometimes. From what I've seen and read,
horses seem to have an almost human range
of emotions that defines a "personality" within them. Sensitive to distractions
and yet capable of great feats of speed and strength at others. And God is
telling us that a horse can show great courage. Look at this:
Verses 21-23: "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
Maybe God used some of the same blueprints for Mankind that He used on the
horse? Can you identify at all with this creature? Silly fears mixed with the potential for
great courage? Doesn't that tell us that we came from the
same original Creation and Creator as them? Some of what's
in them is in us too.
But the horse's courage is also different
Verses 24-25:"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 smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and
In mercy, the Lord has put "blinders" on this creature's mind and
understanding. He hears the loud noises but still charges into the battle,
probably not fully aware of the extent of the danger, and I'll say,
"trusting" the judgment of the rider and master. I think that God requires more of us
in a way. He often allows us to fully understand our circumstance and then
let's us decide how courageous we want to be. There have been plenty of
times in my life when I believe that a good, faithful horse would have put
me to shame.
Hey, did you ever dream you could fly? I have many
times, as I can recall, over the years. Well, this gift is a
reality for the birds and that is God's doing. They, too, are His.
Verse 26: "Doth
the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?"
Some might say that man has gifted himself with a flight
capacity through technology. Well, if I had a choice, I'd still much rather
fly like a bird does. I rarely, if ever, have dreamed about being an
airplane. But a bird (or an Angel?) many, many times. Planes can be very
useful and I gratefully use them and acknowledge the hard work that goes
into producing and operating them. But I would say that ultimately ALL well
designed and applied technology is a gift from God. Sure, the Lord can work through men
and gift us through our own hands at times. He seems willing to share credit with
us that He could have, no doubt, taken in full. But we must never mistake
His graciousness as our superiority.
I know that when I get on a
flight that gets bumpy or dangerous I won't be calling out to any inventor
or engineer for mercy and assistance. (I won't be praying to myself
either!) And I also know that I'll never experience the elegance and ease of flight
that a hawk can take by simply spreading his wings and accepting his gift from God. An honest scientist - believer or not - will admit that trying
to FULLY comprehend something, like the behaviors of a eagle, is impossible.
Fruitful study is possible, but total comprehension actually gets farther away
the longer the knowledge is pursued. That's just the way it is. The more we
learn, the more there seems to be to learn: habitat, flight, navigation,
off-spring. . .but God knows it all and DOES it all:
the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth
and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.
From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young
ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she."
The Swagger of God is true and
righteous. Even though it was Job's theology that was off, not his
biology, it really doesn't matter on what subject we challenge the Lord. Spin
the wheel and whatever comes up, He is our superior. He is the One. The One we need to approach with trust and awe.
The One we should focus on in all circumstances.
But too often we,
like Job and company, try to put words into His mouth and try to act like we
fully understand Him and ourselves in ways we never can in this life. WE TRY
TO SWAGGER BACK AT HIM. And when we do someone has to blink. But God doesn't
blink. The Lord is coming hard at Job
right now. Have you ever felt that way? It was for Job's own good and spiritual survival. Like that
horse we heard about, Job is in the middle of a horrible battle that he
can't fully comprehend. He needs to trust. He needs to walk by faith and not
by sight even as we have been told to by the Apostle Paul in I Cor. 5:7. That's
not easy in a battle.
God is not a bully or braggart.
But He is pulling on Job's reins, and on ours. He's trying to put us on a
better course for the battle. And
He will too, if we keep listening.