“Do you know…? Can you number…? Can you bind…? Do you give…? Do you make…? Is it by your understanding…?”
Job 39:1, 2, 10, 19, 20, 26
I was in the second year of my pastoral ministry when the news broke.
Scientists in Scotland had successful cloned a sheep using a cell from another sheep. While this wasn’t the first time an animal had been cloned, it was the first time one had been cloned from an adult cell.
Being a fan of science fiction books and movies, I knew a little about clones. But now science fiction had become science fact.
At the gathering of pastors that spring we discussed and debated what “Dolly” (the cloned sheep’s name) meant to the Church.
Both those in the scientific community and the religious community raised concerns about the ethics of cloning animals. And, of course, this led to heated debates on whether the cloning of humans would ever happen or ever should happen.
There is no doubt that it can happen. We, as humans, have figured it out. We have the capabilities to use scientific knowledge to do things like this and much more.
The questions that God puts to Job in chapter 39 are not rhetorical in the sense that humans could not know how to influence the animal kingdom. 3800 years after Job it is verifiable that we can.
But maybe they are rhetorical in the sense of God asking Job (and us) not could we but rather should we.
Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should do a thing.
God is asking Job these questions not as an interrogation as to what Job knows and doesn’t know but to make the point that there is a God and Job isn’t him!
In this chapter, we meet the God who created mountain goats, wild donkeys, wild oxen, ostriches, horses, and hawks.
They each have their idiosyncrasies and ways that many people do not understand. That doesn’t mean we could never understand them.
But it does mean that we cannot make them to be what they are.
God can and did! He is the Creator of all that exists and has given living things their living breath.
And the ultimate point, again, is that since we cannot do this and only God can, we should trust God that he knows what he is doing.
Even when something bad happens to us.
In Job’s case, it is the loss of his wealth, his family (all except his wife) and his health. Job doesn’t understand why this has happened to him. But God points out that this isn’t all that Job doesn’t understand.
He also doesn’t understand how wild goats, wild donkeys, oxen, ostriches, horses and hawks live and move and have their being. Yet they still do.
God is subtly asking Job to trust him. It is as if God were saying to Job, “I know you don’t understand what’s going on now, but trust me! I love you and I will never leave you nor forsake you!”
Jesus would echo this sentiment to his disciples.
“What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand” (John 13:7).
We may have the capability to alter or mimic the creation process of God, but we need to understand God as best we can before we start messing around with his creation.
And the best way to understand God is by faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, who forgives our sins and gives us new life through his death and resurrection!
©2017 True Men Ministries