Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
Job 38:1

I am mesmerized by the picture God painted of Himself when He answered Job. Read some of the verses from Job chapters 38 through 40 with me. To make the passages more readable, I’m not going to include verse references and I’m going to treat the passages as prose rather than poetry. My intent is to hear what God has to say when He spends three chapters describing Himself. In all these passages, it is God speaking.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?…Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone — while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
Job 38:4-7

Almighty God, the Creator of the universe. We say those words, but do we really understand the tremendous wisdom, knowledge and power  encompassed in them? Do we think of God as architect and builder of this vast world? What knowledge beyond all the knowledge I can imagine is required to do such a thing? From nothing, He imagined the earth, then brought His imagination into reality.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?

Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place,…Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?

Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?

Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?”
Job 38:8, 11-12, 22, 31-33, 35

What power this God has to say to the waves “This far and no farther!” – the power to command the stars in the sky and the weather patterns on earth. What we benignly call “mother nature” is actually at God’s command. Further notice the questions “Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?” There is more to this than God’s command over the physical world. He has established laws that govern the heavens and earth. He has dominion – supreme authority and absolute ownership – over earth. This isn’t parental authority that we can buck when we don’t like it. This is supreme authority that will rule over all and we buck it at our own peril.

“Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?”
Job 38:36

All wisdom and understanding – even the ability to gain wisdom and understand – come from the mind and hand of God. Our intelligence is not our own – it is a gift from a gracious God. All scientific discovery has been a gift from God.

“Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth?”
Job 38:41, 39:1-2

This powerful God, continues to be intimately involved in His creation. He lowers Himself to provide food for the bird. He responds to the cry of a young bird. This Being that is beyond our comprehension is also the author of compassion. He watches over it like a young couple about to have their first child. He counts the months with anticipation, waiting for the time He knows they will give birth. (How much He must care for me if He cares for the mountain goats and deer!)

“Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will he stay by your manger at night? Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness? Will he till the valleys behind you?”
Job 39:9-10

The wild animals agree to serve our mighty God. He is safe with them. We may buck His authority over our lives, but they willingly bow to serve Him.

“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions 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

I love God’s description of the ostrich. It reinforces to me that (1) God has created each of us with our own strengths and weaknesses and (2) He takes great joy in our strengths and our weaknesses don’t detract from them. Some of us have ostrich feathers, and some have stork feathers. Some run like an ostrich and others like a horse. Some have the intelligence of an ostrich (or lack thereof), to others He gives more understanding and wisdom. I love the way that God rejoices in the ostriches joyful flapping of her wings.

“Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’ He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?

Look at the behemoth [translated hippopotamus in the NLT], which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron.”
Job 39:19-27, 40:15-18

Unlike the ungainly ostrich, the horse is a powerful and beautiful animal. Created by God for strength and speed and courage. Contrast that to the wisdom of the hawk and the eagle’s ability to soar. And make a final contrast to the hippopotamus – powerful vegetarian that he is! Do you see the vast variety in God’s creation, even from this limited sample He sights? He hasn’t even touched upon the sea anemone or killer whale (two of my favs).

In these three chapters, we see a God who is immensely – perhaps infinitely is the better word – creative, powerful, intelligent and caring. What an amazing God we serve!

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