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 was wrong. 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" (see James 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 steady.

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 be startling.

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 now He's 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 man:


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.

Now 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.
 
Next 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 can selectively breed 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 at times 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 shield."

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 from ours.


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 the shouting."

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:

Verses 27-30: "Doth 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 put us on a better course for the battle. And He will too, if we keep listening.

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