39 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the does?
Can you number the months that they fulfill,
and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
and are delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open;
they go out and do not return to them.
“Who has let the wild donkey go free?
Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
to whom I have given the arid plain for his home
and the salt land for his dwelling place?
He scorns the tumult of the city;
he hears not the shouts of the driver.
He ranges the mountains as his pasture,
and he searches after every green thing.
“Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
Will he spend the night at your manger?
Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes,
or will he harrow the valleys after you?
Will you depend on him because his strength is great,
and will you leave to him your labor?
Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain
and gather it to your threshing floor?
“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
but are they the pinions and plumage of love?
For she leaves her eggs to the earth
and lets them be warmed on the ground,
forgetting that a foot may crush them
and that the wild beast may trample them.
She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;
though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
because God has made her forget wisdom
and given her no share in understanding.
When she rouses herself to flee,
she laughs at the horse and his rider.
“Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrifying.
He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;
he goes out to meet the weapons.
He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
he does not turn back from the sword.
Upon him rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars
and spreads his wings toward the south?
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
and makes his nest on high?
On the rock he dwells and makes his home,
on the rocky crag and stronghold.
From there he spies out the prey;
his eyes behold it from far away.
His young ones suck up blood,
and where the slain are, there is he.”
Job 39 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It’s almost like Dr. Doolittle, the old story originally written in the 1920’s who as most of us remember, talked to the animals. Here God begins a parade of thought regarding the various animals of the earth and brings them to Job’s attention. He has gone from the galaxies to the things of the earth bringing down the level of knowledge. Job could easily have observed many of these things but the point is he does not know the ins and outs of the animal kingdom.
As Commentator Mason states, it’s almost like a psalm or rhapsody of wonder regarding all that God has made and has a hand over. The beauty is from the beginning God gave man dominion over the animals of the earth as stated in Genesis 1:26. But even with such a title of responsibility, man has little authority over nature. The point is clear. How could Job expect to have control over the mysteries of his own life and events?
The beauty is God has not come to Job as one who is standing behind a bench ready to judge him for his questions. Instead, he has met Job as a teacher. One who is simply opening his eyes to the realities of life that often are right before his eyes yet have gone unnoticed or had not given heed to.
Our searching for answers often brings us up short. In particular with the hard questions to God about the way He moves and what His control is over. The reminder to Job and even us is that God is in control of so many things of which we take for granted. We want answers to the pain we have, the turmoil we’re in, the struggles we face.
And although God does not give any specific real answers to Job of what he inquired, what God is stating here is the answer is Himself. There are so many things in life we don’t understand. Mysteries that indeed may not be revealed. Yet, we are called to trust in God’s power, in His wisdom and the goodness that radiates from the central core of God’s character. For His dominion is over all things, down to the nature of animals.
If you have been searching for answers and wrestled greatly with something – where is God simply asking you to open your eyes to His ultimate control of all things (maybe even things in the animal kingdom) and trust His goodness and wisdom? Where is He being a teacher to you in the middle of it all that may not give answers but reaffirms to trust His heart and His character?
Job 39 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Many times it’s true that our expectations of God are outmatched by His unfolding plan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worried about certain outcomes only to be surprised when God delivers in a different or abundant way. I actually get really upset at myself that I am still so surprised because it happens all the time. I think my trust and faith do grow slowly, but it’s so easy to slip back into processing things through our own dysfunctional methods.
The way we think about and process situations tends to become more “human” the further removed we are from His glory and His presence. This is true of Job. In God’s presence, though still seemingly in his suffering, Job has to feel extremely humiliated by his former attitude and language toward God. It’s moments like this that remind us of our place and just how much God is working when we don’t see Him or feel Him.
In a rapid-fire series of questioning, God continues to rhetorically illustrate His great and mighty power. Specifically, he uses the animal kingdom to make his point. At this point, Job is receiving exactly what he had prayed for. His day in court has arrived. He is being put on the stand to be prosecuted by God. The only difference is, God is answering him from a storm instead of a court room. The anwers to God’s question are obvious.
I want us to think about that. The answers are obvious. All the questioning Job did. All the whining. All the debating and processing with his friends. All of the suffering and wondering and waiting led to this moment of truth. God is gently and firmly putting Job in his place.
“Job had identified himself closely with the ostrich (Job 30:29). Therefore, the Lord ironically agrees that there are similarities. Both are deficient in knowledge (v. Job 39:17; Job 38:2). But although the ludicrous-looking ostrich is no doubt laughed at (as was Job; Job 30:1) and experiences misfortunes (vv. Job 39:14-16), the ostrich is not concerned about the situation. This contrasts with Job, who has been full of worry (Job 3:25; Job 15:24).”Nelson’s New Illustrated Commentary
Many of us will read this chapter with 20/20 vision wondering why Job was so intent on questioning God, but the truth is, we do it all the time. And the answers are obvious (even more obvious) for us who have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question God. It just means that when we do, we need to remember who we’re talking to.
I’ve said this many times but it remains true – we aren’t unintelligent, but we do need reminders. God is reminding Job who is really in control and shifting his vision back to spiritual lenses.