Friday, December 15, 2023

The Foolish Ostrich (Job 39:1-18)

“… because God deprived her of wisdom” (Job 39:17).

An implicit message of Job 39 is that if God cares for the brute creatures will He do no less for His blessed children? If God will care for the mountain goats, the donkeys, which were considered the most untamable of creatures, and the wild ox that God has given to man for service, will He not meet the needs of human beings?

One animal God singles out in His discourse as an object lesson for Job is the ostrich. Unlike the other animals that are guided by a nurturing instinct, the ostrich is without “wisdom.” She exposes her unhatched eggs to danger, dropping them in the open for any wild beast to devour. This is an abominable trait in any creature. It is bad enough to be hardened against others, even among the animals, but it is doubly shameful for any creature not to care for their own, the very images of themselves and means for the propagation of its species. Yet, the ostrich in her fine display of beautiful colors is more concerned about protecting herself than her own young.

We can find similarities between the foolish ostrich and sinful man. “First, as careless as the ostrich is of her eggs so careless many people are of their own souls; they make no provision for them, no proper nest in which they may be safe, leave them exposed to Satan and his temptations, which is a certain evidence that they are deprived of wisdom,” Henry wrote. “Secondly, so careless are many parents of their children … not providing for their own house … and therefore worse than infidels, and as bad as the ostrich; but many more are thus careless of their children’s souls, take no care for their education, send them abroad into the world untaught, unarmed, forgetting what corruption there is in the world through lust, which will certainly crush them. Thus their labor in rearing them comes to be in vain.”

While mankind acts more like an ostrich than the Creator that formed them, God protects and provides for His people amid their failures, just as He protects the exposed eggs of the ostrich, bringing many of them to life. So great is our God that He does such things for such foolish and untamed creatures as us—this was God’s point to Job, a sound rebuke for one who had dared to charge God with injustice.

Pick any animal and read a brief exerpt on it from an encyclopedia or science book/magazine. What are the various ways that God cares for that animal? What comparisons can you make between His care of that animal and you? What should your response to God be in light of His protection and nurture of His creatures?