The whole of this chapter, like the former, contains the Lord's solemn, but tender expostulation with Jobadiah In a very beautiful manner the Lord sends his servant to the inferior creation for lessons of instruction, and in showing him how merciful the Lord is, in providing for all the wants of the several creatures he hath formed, thereby to convince him; that it is impossible God should overlook the higher order, in his creature man; so that Job's charging God with inattention, and unkindness, was altogether unjust and ill founded.
(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.
Under the representation of GOD'S superintending providence over the wild goats of the rock, and the hinds in their calving, who all do well, without the aid of man, or the want of him, the LORD intimates how secure his people may find themselves, who cast themselves upon his grace and love. And I do conceive that this portion of scripture might, under GOD'S gracious teaching, be made helpful to give comfort to every daughter of Eve, when fulfilling the months of her pregnancy, and when passing through the hour of nature's extremity. The Apostle had it in commission to tell the Church, that though the woman was in the transgression, whereby she fell under that just sentence of GOD, that, in sorrow she should bring forth children, yet she should be saved in the child-bearing; that is, I apprehend, in the child-bearing of the LORD JESUS, that promised seed of the woman, if her faith in him made her strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might. Genesis 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:14-15.
(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.
The LORD next calls Job's attention to the wild ass, who, without owner, without house or home, is yet provided for, and not suffered to want. And can a soul, in the redemption of JESUS, who hath both house and home in Him, be suffered to be less provided for?
(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?
Having, from the view of such creatures being provided for, taught Job the unreasonableness of his repining, the LORD next sends him to learn another lesson from the unmanageableness of the larger beasts of the field. And hence as plainly shows the folly of man in being restive to divine government.
(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.
From beasts, now the LORD sends Job for instruction to birds, and instanceth in the ostrich plume, and the peacock's wings and feathers, that how improvident soever these creatures are, yet their Maker's care of them never remits. In the carelessness of the ostrich, leaving her eggs in the sand, exposed to many dangers, and yet her race is preserved, how graciously doth the LORD teach, that his mercy and providence is called forth to make up all the deficiencies of the several creatures, which are what they are by his ordination and appointment. But is there not an higher lesson intended here. Are not sinners, like the unthinking ostrich, who leave their grand concerns, like the eggs of this bird in the sand, to peradventures, and live regardless of all consequences? Reader, how many, who are all alive to observe the folly of this bird, are yet foolish in a matter of infinitely higher moment, and neglect the one thing needful, the care of their immortal souls!
(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.
What a description is here given of the horse, and under what characters doth his Maker here set him forth! In sending Job for lessons to this noble beast, surely the LORD graciously meant to show, how dull and senseless man must be, whose understanding doth not lead him to such pursuits as may be for the glory of his Creator. Doth the unthinking horse rush carelessly to the battle, and will man be no better than the brute that perisheth? And yet, when the voice of the trumpet, and GOD'S messengers of his gospel, sound an alarm to the holy war, wherein doth the sinner manifest greater wisdom than the horse, in turning not his back from the sword?
(26) ¶ Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?
This is not the only part of scripture where the LORD makes use of the instinct of nature, in the birds or beasts of the earth, to teach man wisdom. What a beautiful description is given by the Prophet of that peculiar property in the birds of passage, when, on the approach of winter, they collect in parties, and take their flight to warmer climates. The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD . Jeremiah 8:7.
(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 chapter closes with the relation of the eagle; and, in many parts of the word of GOD, instruction is conveyed to the church and people of GOD from this bird. But perhaps the most beautiful and most striking is that wherein the LORD himself condescends to represent his solicitude and care over his people, under the similitude of the eagle. Ye have seen (saith the LORD) what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings. Exodus 19:4. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. Deuteronomy 32:11-12.
READER, let you and I, in the perusal of this chapter of GOD'S tender mercies over all his works, draw the same conclusion from the review of so much love, as the Apostle did on another occasion, and say, Doth GOD take care for oxen, or saith he it altogether for our sakes? Doth GOD so clothe the grass of the field (saith our adorable Redeemer when admonishing his people to cast all their care upon GOD, who careth for them) which today is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven? Precious LORD in the view of such things let our souls be firmly, fully, faithfully established in the unalterable assurance, that in JESUS all our interests are secured; all our concerns are everlastingly provided for. What is there that a believer in JESUS should be anxious about? Hath he not CHRIST for his portion; and can he fail when anchored here? Can he miscarry when JESUS himself hath said, Because I live, ye shell live also? Reader, oh for faith, in lively exercise to hang upon a Covenant GOD in CHRIST, when the outward circumstances of visible comforts seemed dying; for this is the very moment for the exercise. Had Job uniformly done this, and when the streams failed, in sensible comforts, had he removed to the fountain head, he would have found a Covenant GOD in CHRIST, whom he knew, and had professed to be his kinsman-Redeemer, sufficient to have borne him all the way through. Reader, let you and I derive this sweet and blessed conclusion from what the LORD hath so conclusively set forth in this chapter. He that caters for the birds of the air; He that affords suited strength to the wild goats of the rock in bringing forth; that provides against the silly unconcern of the ostrich, and the unthinking horse in the battle; He will never be less provident to his own children, that call upon him. They are the gift of his love to his dear Son! they are the purchase of his Son's blood! they are the objects of his grace, and brought under the quickening influence, and divine teaching, of his blessed SPIRIT and therefore he will arrange and direct all things for his glory and their welfare. They are brought within a wise appointed covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: they are under his own wise providence; they are encompassed with exceeding great and precious promises; and, to crown all, GOD is a faithful GOD, and a sure Covenant GOD in CHRIST. Hence be gone, I would say, all doubts, all fears, all misgivings. Let nothing so unbecoming in me, and so dishonorable to my GOD, for a moment arise in my mind. Let creatures die; let all my substance, like Job's, be wasted; if my GOD sees it fit, it must be wise, it must be right. JESUS lives, and that's enough. Oh! how sweet his words: 'Amos I not better to thee than ten sons?' Yes, precious LORD! thou art indeed in the place of millions of creature-joys; for millions without thee would be nothing; and having thee, I have all things: my joy here, and my portion forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 39". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany