Today: [Job Thirty-Nine] How Does God Get Your Attention? In this chapter God continues to speak to Job out of a whirlwind. This is quite unusual and no doubt gets Job’s attention. It is interesting that God didn’t speak to Abraham out of any strange phenomena but simply as His covenant friend. Job struggled to grasp the love of God and to believe God was not the originator of his suffering. God had to go to great measures to convince Job and get him to listen to correction. What about us? Do we accept the cross and believe in the resurrection, or do we expect God to do something unusual to overcome our unbelief?
[Job 39:1-30 KJV] 1 Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? [or] canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? 2 Canst thou number the months [that] they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? 3 They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows. 4 Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them. 5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? 6 Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. 7 He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. 8 The range of the mountains [is] his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.
In this chapter God continues to speak with Job. Previously he pointed Job to the stars and to the weather around him to emphasis how nature itself without any other reference declares His goodness and His majesty. In this chapter the Father brings the examples even closer to home in simple examples from common things all around Job. The conclusion of course is that for all of this the marvel is that Job obviously didn’t take these things into account because he and his friends deeply misunderstand the Father and His loving character and watchful care over them even as they railed against His faithfulness.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own lives that we lose all objectivity to more important things. Matthew 6:33 says “seek first the kingdom and all things will be added….” This is not only a truth but a strategy for addressing the pressures of life and navigating through difficulty when it comes. Let us read the context of Jesus statement prior to verse 33 of Matthew 6:
[Mat 6:25-32 KJV] 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Job is extremely preoccupied by his personal situation and can we blame him? Would we have done any differently? If we had lost our children, our livelihood and our health in one terrible day we may not have responded as well as Job did. Yet for all of this God challenges Job after listening to his complaint for what commentators suggest was more than 30 days. The Father challenges Job to consider in the simplest terms what a contradiction it is to suggest that the God who created all things would so bruise and torment His own creation as Job deeply and erroneously alleges?
It is human nature when things go wrong to assign blame and look for someone to hold responsible. This began in the garden when Adam and Eve blamed each other and the serpent for decisions they made that caused their grief. In reality at a certain point it doesn’t matter who is at fault. All that matters is that we maintain a posture of “seeking first the kingdom” as Jesus says in order to make our way successfully through any particular trial we may be facing.
9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? 10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? 11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength [is] great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? 12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather [it into] thy barn? 13 [Gavest thou] the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? 14 Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, 15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. 16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though [they were] not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; 17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. 18 What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.
In this passage the Father asked Job if he is in charge of his situation or is God? The references to the unicorn and other animals goes along with the questions that Jesus asked in His teachings regarding “can you add one cubit to your stature – by taking thought or worrying?” This we discovered in Job 3:35 was Job’s great difficulty that is, struggling with worry and fear. In the gospel of Luke Jesus spoke of fear as what we would call and addicting behavior:
[Luk 21:34 KJV] 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.
In the parable of the sower in Matt. 13 we read that the seed that fell among thorns was into the heart filled with cares and worry and anxiety. So in His own chosen way the Father is dealing with the very thing that Job admitted in the beginning he was plague with and that is fear. The scripture tells us in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love casts out fear. Along with the fear of Job we also see very clearly the lack of love between Job and his friends. We cannot walk in love toward others that we have not first received. Job thinks that God is not concerned with his plight. He has not received the love of God and therefore doesn’t have it to give to others. When the captivity of Job is finally broken and turned we will see in the conclusion of the book that it took place when Job prayed for his friends, in other words when he had compassion even on those who showed no compassion to him.
19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? 20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils [is] terrible. 21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in [his] strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. 22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. 23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. 24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that [it is] the sound of the trumpet. 25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. 26 Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, [and] stretch her wings toward the south? 27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29 From thence she seeketh the prey, [and] her eyes behold afar off. 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain [are], there [is] she.
The Father, speaking through a whirlwind continues to talk with Job. It is interesting that when God spoke to Abraham He came in the person of His angel and actually sat down and had a meal with Abraham and Sarah. Job was a contemporary and lived at the same time as Abraham. Why would God speak to Job in a whirlwind and to Abraham in a much more personal way? It was evident when a voice came out of a whirlwind something unusual was happening. When the angels appeared there were times that Abraham and others would have to exercise discernment to know who was in front of them. What is the difference? God was wanting to get Job’s attention. He had already spoken through Elihu and perhaps Job wasn’t receiving what Elihu had to say. Therefore he confirmed Elihu’s references to storms by coming in a storm phenomenon and revealing Himself. With Abraham none of this was necessary. Abraham was God’s covenant friend. Abraham didn’t need convincing.
If you compare the lives of Abraham and Job there are some comparisons. Job’s children were taken from him. Abraham was childless. Job lost everything that mattered to him. Abraham’s wife was taken from him in a foreign land by a despotic king. Job did not respond well to the losses he suffered. Abraham likewise did not distinguish himself in the midst of trial before Pharaoh (resorting to lies and excuses to defend himself). Yet for all of that there is something about Abraham’s understanding of God that is reflected in what God did and did not have to do to get Abraham’s attention. Job was entrenched in his anger and his resentment. Abraham was teachable. Abraham was convinced that God was with him even through the difficult times. We never find God having to correct Abraham to any great degree. Job is in need of correction in a dire way and God lovingly provides it.
What about ourselves? Is God going to have to do some cosmic parlor trick such as speaking out of a whirlwind to get our attention? Abraham’s faith was activated through several encounters with God in the deserts of Sinai. Those encounters changed Abraham and founded his faith. Our faith is first based upon the reality of the shed blood of Christ. We become born again by believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day. God doesn’t have to come to each of us individually to impart some unique spiritual experience in order to provoke us to believe. He has given us Jesus and the resurrection to look back to and like Abraham make up our mind in spite of our challenges to trust in Him as our covenant friend. Experiences will come and spiritual visions and visitations but they are not intended to take the place of the cross and the resurrection as the basis of our trust in God who always looks out for us even in the midst of trial and times were aren’t sure how to see Him in the midst of the confusion we may face at times.
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