Listen to what would be an absolutely radical message in the American culture today, coming from Jesus Christ.
Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow, they do not reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. In other words, he does care about them. But then Christ goes on to say, are you people not worth much more than they?
Jesus Christ would never be invited on Oprah. Far too radically right message. God has created a vast array of animals.
Maybe you have one or two living in your house with you right now. How are we supposed to relate to the animal kingdom? What place do humans have in this world?
Are we just part of the animal kingdom? As God interacted with Job and taught Job about his sovereignty, he discussed the animal kingdom that he had created. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey turns to that passage because, like Job, there's much for us to learn. Stephen called this lesson to the zoo and back.
Here's Stephen with today's message. It's been fascinating to watch our female beagle, Patches, care for her puppy. She had one puppy eight weeks ago, only one. In fact, she wasn't supposed to have any. She didn't ask for permission or anything. It's been nearly five years since her last litter.
She's actually 56 years old in human life, way too old to have a puppy. We thought we were out of the woods, so to speak, and we don't have any neighbors around us for some time. We first moved in over there, lived where it used to be kind of the country. This all changed and the cul-de-sac is full now. In fact, neighbors then about a year ago moved into our cul-de-sac with a male gray schnauzer, obviously unconverted and unsanctified.
What we were afraid of happened. Patches delivered one puppy eight weeks ago that my daughter named Pixie, a hyperactive ball of gray and tan fur. My daughter's already convinced me to keep her. Of course, I said yes because I rule the household well.
It's been amazing to watch. This puppy has been born with the instinct to nurse. Her eyes completely shut. She can still smell her way to a dinner.
But there have been problems. Of course, the mom's just too old to nurse. So my wife, three times a day, my faithful wife, caring wife with a bottle and a big plastic syringe, worked with both of them to try to get more milk inside that puppy than on the outside.
Sometimes my daughter would volunteer, sometimes I'd even help out. My shirt would be covered with milk, my sleeve. I think there was more milk on the outside than on the inside of that puppy. We had to go to the veterinarian, of course, several times because of Patches' condition.
The puppy had a swollen paw and needed antibiotics. Now, several hundreds, in fact tens of thousands of dollars later at PetSmart. You know they've got a hotel for dogs in that place? You know that? The hotel looks nicer than hotels I've stayed in.
I'm dead serious. You can actually for money, a little extra money, have a private room for your dog and they can watch Lassie reruns. I'd like to do that. I'd like to have a private room and watch Lassie reruns too. Can you imagine that? In fact, the money I've given them, they have been able to redecorate that hotel and buy new TVs.
You know, I've sort of scoffed at people who spend money at the, you know, veterinarians for anything other than the normal rabies shot. But now, here we are, my wife and daughter, you know, looking at me, honey, daddy, and something's wrong with patches, something's wrong with pixie. And of course, I've been saying, they'll work it out. They'll work it out, leave them be. They didn't work it out.
God evidently wanted me to help them work it out. And so now we've got computer files at PetSmart and medical records. In fact, the last time I was there, I could see on the computer screen at the top of the form, pixie Davey. She is not a Davey. It's been amazing to watch the instinctive abilities in our female dog, the mother, and even the puppy. The puppy somehow knows how to act like a dog, doesn't act like a rabbit, doesn't act like a turtle, doesn't act like a cat.
If it did, we'd get rid of it immediately. Acts like a dog. I was outside to let it, you know, run a little bit. And it was over in the neighbor's yard, he's in the bathroom. And I'm standing at the driver going, good girl, good girl.
No, I'm saying no, over here, over here. Well, just watching that puppy paw away at the ground with her back paws as she scampered away. And I thought, down to the last detail. She is acting like what she is. Pixie's now eating regular food, drinking water.
In fact, just this week I moved Patches and Pixie to the backyard where they will live happily ever after. Everything about their instinctive abilities goes back to, tracks back to their DNA, designed amazingly and implanted in their kind by creator God. In fact, one of the most devastating discoveries to the theory of evolution is this code of information called DNA. We now know that the DNA code contains all of the information that enables the organism to reproduce, to preserve itself, to repair itself to some extent.
It's all coded, it's all there. One author wrote it this way, the genetic structure of every living organism limits that organism to what it is. He went on to write, Charles Darwin accepted the middle 1800s theory that variations caused by the environment could be inherited by the young. He used this theory to further postulate that one creature could change into the species of another over time, and of course even to this day not one fossil exists that shows one species morphing into another. Darwin did, to their embarrassment now, he then explained the origin of the giraffe's long neck in part, and I quote him, through the inherited effects of the increased use of parts.
In other words, in seasons of limited food supply, Darwin reasoned giraffes would stretch their necks for the high leaves, supposedly resulting in longer necks being passed on to their offspring. This is the theory you hear over and over and over again on the animal planet and the Disney Channel. Animals do what they do because they have acquired the knowledge over millions of years, so now they're smarter and they are now passing along this knowledge. We know this knowledge is coded by and began with the kind of species they are, with the origin of creation. The author goes on to write, modern genetics has utterly disproved this hypothesis. The length of a giraffe's neck is determined by its genetic code. The genetic structure of every living organism, listen, limits that organism to what it is, no more and no less. All of which causes the believer, who takes at face value the record of scripture, to marvel at the creative ingenuity and variety of our creator God, who we believe according to Genesis chapter 1 on days 5 and 6 spoke the word and the earth and seas and sky were immediately teeming with fish and birds and creatures, large and small, all of them functioning immediately according to the design of God and each of their kind.
How? DNA, which we now know. This should be, for the believer, incredibly encouraging, even to those among us today who suffer in some way. God has already taken Job on a tour of the heavens, the constellations. He has come down to the atmosphere. He's discussed the water cycle.
He's talked about earth, water, and sky. Now God shifts and effectively takes Job to the zoo and back. He will rehearse for this suffering man his care over creation from the small to the great and the implicit message is that if he will take care of mortal creatures with such care, how much more will he care for immortal mankind?
Job, you have been wondering if I care about you, if I have plans for whatever happens in your life, if I have taken note of your suffering. Let me answer that by taking you to the zoo. Let me show you one animal after another, some amazing, some ordinary, all of them interesting, and let you marvel over my creative design and come to understand my care over you. So what God will do at the end of chapter 38, which is where we left off our study, is reintroduce Job to seven, eight, or nine animals.
We'll look at briefly each of them on this field trip to the zoo. First, God brings to mind a strong animal. Verse 39, Job, can you hunt the prey for a lion or satisfy the appetite of the young lions?
The truth is, Job, you don't want anything to do with lions. You don't care if they ever eat again. They might eat you.
But God says, I do, effectively. Notice, I have designed in them the ability to crouch in their dens and lie in weight in their lair. How do they know how to crouch in their den?
How do they know how to lie in weight in the bush? You pull out your encyclopedia, which I did again, and you look up lions. The average lion can weigh up to 600 pounds, stand four feet high. I have been within a few feet of lions safely tucked inside a jeep. When I was in Africa on a reserve a few years ago, these lions were absolutely massive. One walked by the jeep and the back of that lion reached where I had my arm on the window sill. They're purring, wounded like idling engines.
I don't really care if they eat again, especially then. God, he does. Job, you have, effectively, he's saying, no ability to tame or care for these frightening predators. But God is the ultimate and creative lion tamer. God moves from the strong to the skittish, verse 41. Who prepares for the raven, its nourishment, when its young, cry to God and wander about looking for food?
You know, of all the birds that struck me that God could have brought to mind, the first one we would have chosen would not have been the raven. This large, fairly plain bird with its unpleasant caw doesn't seem to benefit mankind on any level. They eat anything and everything. They even have a penchant for decomposing flesh.
They often hunt with wolves and pick up the remains. It's as if God, though, wanted Job to know that he cared even for the ravens and their young. He hears, when they cry out, he says, as if they cry out to me, I hear. Even the undesirable, even the unpleasant, even the unattractive birds are known for and cared for by God's providence.
How much more, Job, will I care for you? At that moment, at the ash heap, when Job would say, I am unattractive, I am benefiting mankind in no way, I would imagine Job would get the point. By the way, this message about the birds was a message that Jesus Christ picked up later and delivered. He said, are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? He went on to say, doesn't the Father never forget any of them? In other words, not even the small sacrificial sparrows that are going to be taken in life for sacrifice are outside the providence of God. Then Christ concludes by saying to his audience, listen, you are more valuable than sparrows.
See, that's a message lost in our culture, which is to be expected. For as the Creator is denied and lowered in the esteem of mankind, animals and created beings, according to Romans 1, are elevated. In fact, ultimately, they're given equal status with human beings. And in our own generation, we are watching the giving of human rights to animals and equal status with mankind and confusion is abounding. In fact, I have read that one of the fastest growing branches of law now in America is pet or animal law. It is now reversed so that today, as you know, you can crush the egg of an eagle and face severe penalty and fine, but you can crush the embryo of a human being and take its life. And according to most politicians today, use it to experiment with their stem cells and that's all right.
I call that a tragic reversal of human rights. We now live to serve the animal kingdom given to us to steward. Listen to what would be an absolutely radical message in the American culture today coming from Jesus Christ.
Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow, they do not reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. In other words, he does care about them. But then Christ goes on to say, are you people not worth much more than they?
Jesus Christ would never be invited on Oprah. Far too radically right message. His point was though, which is the point missed. So people today have no significance at all. Their dog is more important than them. The point is this, the care and the arrangement by the Father for the animal kingdom is intended to be an encouraging illustration of the amazing care and arrangement of the Father for his highest creation, mankind.
Now we're living in a day, if you ask the average person if the tree is more important than a human being, they're going to have to stop and think about it. They don't know. God moves with Job's memory from the strong to the skittish to the shy. Look at the first verse of chapter 39. Job, do you know the time the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer? Can you count the months? Do you know their gestation period? They kneel down and bring forth their young to rid themselves of labor pain. They grow up in the open field, they become strong, leave and do not return to them. Job, do you know, have you been able to follow it from beginning to end?
Of course, the obvious answer is no to all of the above. These shy creatures stay away from our view. Deer they hide during the day and in the night they come out along Yates Mill Pond Road.
You can see them all there. As I pull down the driveway through a cluster of trees off Yates Mill where my mother-in-law lives, it's not unusual to see three or four deer literally race in front of me and off into the woods. These shy creatures.
Job, I see them. It's God's point. All the time, their ways are not hidden from me. God moves from the shy to the stubborn. Look at verse 5. Who sent out the wild donkey free? Who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey? To whom I gave the wilderness for a home. I gave him the salt land for his dwelling place. He scorns the tumult of the city and the shoutings of the driver he doesn't even hear.
He explores the mountains for his pasture and searches after every green thing. Job, has the donkey ever asked you for permission to roam? Did you cut it loose, this wild thing?
No. Truth is, Job, you know, you can hardly tell donkey anything. It's kind of interesting he says here, they don't even hear the shoutings of the driver. You try to tame them.
They don't even hear. Listen, God is implying I determined their habitat. I have been the one to give them permission. I have written into them a desire for the place where they now live. God is implying to Job, I have determined your habitat. I know where you live and it's part of my plan and it only comes about through my permission and providence.
From the strong to the skittish to the shy, the stubborn, now notice the sturdy. Verse 9, will the wild ox consent to serve you? Is he going to spend the night in your barn, your manger? Can you bind him? Can you make him pull a plow? Obviously, the answer is no.
Can't do any of those things. Now the animal here is not the oxen that you would imagine in front of some plow. The authorized version translates this word unicorn, but even that animal, which is extinct, wasn't a pretty horse with a cute little pointed horn. Most Old Testament scholars believe this animal he's referring to here, the same animal, is now extinct, but was known in the Middle Ages, in fact called Middle Eastern areas, an auroch. The bull auroch was more than six feet wide from shoulder to shoulder with long horns pointed forward. Imagine a Texas steer the size of a rhinoceros and you've got the image.
From shoulder to shoulder, he would have been wider than this desk with pointed horns. This is the animal David asked in Psalm 22 verse 11 to be delivered from its horns from death by auroch, attack. Extinct according to records since 1627. This enormous animal was considered in its day to be the most powerful hoofed beast hunted by the Assyrians. In fact, I found it interesting in my research that the Egyptian Pharaoh, Thutmose III, who reigned in Egypt 1,500 years before the birth of Christ, once boasted of killing 75 aurochs in a hunt. Sounds like an animal out of a Tolkien novel, doesn't it?
Well, in fact, it is. Tolkien used the name auroch for a fierce land creature. So these are not the domesticated oxen that Job would have used in his field.
This was a wild animal that could kill a man a dozen different ways. God asks the question, Job, do you think you can tame an auroch? Can you harness him? Can you make him pull a plow in a straight line?
The answer is absolutely not and I wouldn't even want to try. God is implying to Job, look, if I can direct the wild donkey and I can direct the auroch in any other wild, fierce creature in my creation, then I just might be able to control the wild chaos in your life. I can harness that to bring about my purpose. To those who don't believe God was answering Job, oh, he was answering him in the rich analogies of his created world. Now he moves from the sturdy to the strange.
In fact, he stops for a moment asking questions and just makes statements. Look at verse 13. The ostrich's wings flap joyously with the pinion and plumage of love. She abandons her eggs to the earth, warms them in the dust or the sand. She forgets that a foot may crush them or that a wild beast may trample them. She treats her young cruelly as if they were not hers, though her labor be in vain. She's unconcerned.
Why? God made her forget wisdom. He's not given her a share of understanding. God made her this way, but what an odd bird. In fact, the largest living bird there is, weighing up to 300 pounds, standing as tall as some eight feet. It's the only bird with eyelashes.
Go figure that out. She has wings, but she can't fly. Instead, she builds her nest in the sand. Now the comment in verse 16, look back there, that she treats her young cruelly as if they were not her own is probably a reference to the fact that before she buries her eggs in a shallow hole in the sand, usually dug by the male, she keeps some of the eggs out next to the nest, which will be used as food for the chicks who hatch. Her basic ignorance and lack of qualities were legendary among the Arabs. In fact, Pliny, the first century Roman naturalist and author, was among the first to write of an ostrich hiding its head and neck in the bush, thinking they were safe from predators, which of course gives us our caricature of ostriches hiding their heads in the what?
In the sand, thinking they're now safe. But notice verse 18, for all her ignorance, she is exhilarating to watch as she a bird runs when she lifts herself on high. She laughs at the horse and his rider.
In other words, this strange creation. One thing she can do better than most animals on the planet is run. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but there are only a handful of animals that can run faster than an ostrich lifting her head. She extends her wings for balance and takes off running, and she can be clocked in at around 40 miles an hour, taking strides that are 15 feet apart. Her first step, if she's running this way, is in the brass section.
The next step would be here, the third step over there, and she's gone, laughing all the way. Why in the world would God create something like this? You see that, I think, is the point. It's one of God's ways of saying, I create things you can't even conceive of. Stuff that doesn't make sense.
In fact, you go to the zoo and you stand there and look at an ostrich and you chuckle. Under your breath, you wouldn't say it out loud. What in the world was God thinking when he created that? The truth is there are times in your lives when you're left wondering the same thing. You fear to utter the words out loud, but in your secret heart, you are thinking and saying, Lord, what were you thinking? What sense does this make? It doesn't add up.
There are things that go under the category of strange, and we agree with the Lord in that his thoughts are way beyond ours, his ways above our ways. This is Wisdom for the Heart and a message called To the Zoo and Back. Steven is about halfway through this message, so next time after a little bit of review, he'll pick back up and conclude the message. Between now and then, please add yourself to Steven's text list. Once you've signed up and you're on the list, you'd be able to send Steven a text as well.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-08 00:18:48 / 2023-05-08 00:28:21 / 10