The God Of Nature
A daily devotion for December 22nd
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt'?
12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 "What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 "Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God's dominion over the earth?
34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?
36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
1 "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
2 Do you count the months till they bear?
Do you know the time they give birth?
3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
their labor pains are ended.
4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
they leave and do not return.
5 "Who let the wild donkey go free?
Who untied his ropes?
6 I gave him the wasteland as his home,
the salt flats as his habitat.
7 He laughs at the commotion in the town;
he does not hear a driver's shout.
8 He ranges the hills for his pasture
and searches for any green thing.
9 "Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
Will he stay by your manger at night?
10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness?
Will he till the valleys behind you?
11 Will you rely on him for his great strength?
Will you leave your heavy work to him?
12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain
and gather it to your threshing floor?
13 "The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.
14 She lays her eggs on the ground
and lets them warm in the sand,
15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
that some wild animal may trample them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
she cares not that her labor was in vain,
17 for God did not endow her with wisdom
or give her a share of good sense.
18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
she laughs at horse and rider.
19 "Do you give the horse his strength
or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?
20 Do you make him leap like a locust,
striking terror with his proud snorting?
21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength,
and charges into the fray.
22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
he does not shy away from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against his side,
along with the flashing spear and lance.
24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground;
he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, 'Aha!'
He catches the scent of battle from afar,
the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
26 "Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
and spread his wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle soar at your command
and build his nest on high?
28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
a rocky crag is his stronghold.
29 From there he seeks out his food;
his eyes detect it from afar.
30 His young ones feast on blood,
and where the slain are, there is he."
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, you understand (Job 38:4).
Surely chapters 38-41 are the climax of this great book of Job. Here the voice of Jehovah Himself is heard, speaking out of the whirlwind.
Jehovah challenges Job,
Gird up your loins like a man and let me ask you some questions. You have claimed that you want a trial before me. Let me examine your competence to see if you can answer some simple questions first. In the account that follows, Jehovah's voice subjects Job to a series of very penetrating questions.
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations? Where were humans? They were not even in existence yet. That is why in all the centuries since this question was asked of Job, humans have never been able to settle the question of origin. Where did the universe come from? How did it originate? Who brought it into being? What process was followed? The whole world is debating that question today, but humans have never been able to answer the question of the origin of the earth because they were not there to observe it.
Then 38:6 addresses the question of procedure. How did God hang the earth upon nothing, as Job himself asked earlier in this account? Back in the days when the Scriptures were written down, the scientific world believed that the earth was flat. There were strange, legendary accounts of how the earth came into being, that it floated on elephants' backs or rested on turtles swimming in the sea. But in the book of Job is the clear statement that God has hung the earth upon nothing.
Now God asks Job,
How did that happen? The only answer that science can give today is gravity, but nobody knows what gravity is. It is just a word we use, but it does not tell us what it is. Here again is a question that we still cannot answer today. How is the earth suspended between the various heavenly bodies in such a way that it moves in orderly procession through the illimitable reaches of space? How can it be? We still do not know. Finally, God says,
Were you there when it happened? and He links it with a tremendous event when the whole creation seemed to break into harmony and melody, when
the morning stars sang together, and all the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7).
Like Job, Father, I bow in silence before You. Who am I to accuse the Almighty? Who am I to complain about my lot in life and say it is wrong? Lord, I have been silenced but I pray that You will take me deeper and in graciousness show me more of how great You really are.
Life Application: Do we waste valuable time and energy arguing with God, when surrender to His sovereignty opens His treasures of forgiveness, cleansing, and loving fellowship?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.