God Gives Wisdom (Job 39:13–17) - Radical

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God Gives Wisdom (Job 39:13–17)

“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.”
-Job 39:13–17

Isn’t this a fascinating passage. Like God, when talking about his glory and his power in the world, he starts talking about the ostrich and basically gives Job and us, a picture of how the ostrich is not smart, is brainless. How the ostrich waves her wings proudly, but doesn’t know how to care for her young. Why verse 27? Why verse 17? Because God has made her forget wisdom and has given her no share in understanding.

Reminded that God Dispenses Wisdom

God is the one who dispenses wisdom, who gives understanding, and he’s not given any of it to the ostrich. So what’s the point of all this. When we think about all that Job has walked through, why is God talking about the ostrich in this way? Basically, God is saying to Job, Job you are suffering and all that you’re walking through is connected to thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of other mysteries in creation. And God is making clear, I’m sovereign over every single one of them.

This is so important for Job to see. It’s so important for us to see. Yes, we have questions when we walk through suffering but there are millions of questions in the world that we don’t understand and yet God has all understanding. God has all wisdom. God sees, knows, and understands everything and not just understands. He is sovereign over everything from the ostrich to every single insect in the world.

Job 39:13–17 Teaches Us God is Sovereign

That’s part of what we’re seeing in Job 38 and 39 is God’s sovereignty over everything in creation. The point is, we can trust him. We can trust God who sees all things and knows all things and understands all things, in ways that we never could.

So God, we pray for this kind of trust in you and amidst the mysteries that we admittedly don’t understand. God, there are so many things in our lives we don’t understand why. Things we walk through that we don’t understand why. Things that we observe that we don’t understand why.

Job 39:13–17 Calls Us to Pray

And yet we trust that amidst not just the mysteries we’ve experienced and we wrestle with, but amidst mysteries we don’t even know, far beyond our ability to even fathom in creation, that you are sovereign over them, that you are all-wise. God, that you know all things and see all things and as we’ll read and Job 42, can do all things. That you have sovereign power. We trust then, O God, in you in your wisdom and your knowledge and in your power over all things.

God, lead us all on a daily basis into deeper trust, deeper faith in you and especially in difficult days. Where we’re wrestling with so many things. Help us to trust in you, the one who doesn’t wrestle with anything because you see every mystery in all creation. And not only see it, but you’re sovereign over it all. We bow and pray in awe of you right now. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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