Who Gives Wisdom?
Scripture to meditate on:
“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
Do you count the months till they bear?
Do you know the time they give birth?
They crouch down and bring forth their young;
their labor pains are ended.
Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
they leave and do not return.
“Who let the wild donkey go free?
Who untied its ropes?
I gave it the wasteland as its home,
the salt flats as its habitat.
It laughs at the commotion in the town;
it does not hear a driver’s shout.
It ranges the hills for its pasture
and searches for any green thing.
“Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
Will it stay by your manger at night?
Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness?
Will it till the valleys behind you?
Will you rely on it for its great strength?
Will you leave your heavy work to it?
Can you trust it to haul in your grain
and bring it to your threshing floor?
“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
though they cannot compare
with the wings and feathers of the stork.
She lays her eggs on the ground
and lets them warm in the sand,
unmindful that a foot may crush them,
that some wild animal may trample them.
She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
she cares not that her labor was in vain,
for God did not endow her with wisdom
or give her a share of good sense.
Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
she laughs at horse and rider.
“Do you give the horse its strength
or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust,
striking terror with its proud snorting?
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength,
and charges into the fray.
It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against its side,
along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground;
it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’
It catches the scent of battle from afar,
the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
“Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
and spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle soar at your command
and build its nest on high?
It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
a rocky crag is its stronghold.
From there it looks for food;
its eyes detect it from afar.
Its young ones feast on blood,
and where the slain are, there it is.” – Job 39
Every parent can tell you about the moment when they hold their child in their arms for the first time. Something transformational happens. You are changed forever. You know you would give your life in a heartbeat to save the one you hold.
We see that kind of fierce love throughout the animal kingdom. But apparently not when it comes to the ostrich.
Verse 13 and following sets up an odd dichotomy. The mother ostrich lays her eggs in the dirt, but the, according to this passage, has very little regard for them. She seems to be thoughtless for their safety and survival. This passage says “God has made her forget her wisdom… he did not allow to her understanding.” The Ostrich is fast, faster than some horses… but it is not wise.
Odd as it seems, this passage gets to the heart of the conflict in the book of Job. Where does wisdom come from? The author of the book of Job is making a serious point through a comical bird. It is God who gave the ostrich its’ speed, and God who will dispense wisdom to human kind. God gives wisdom to some and withholds it from others. But ultimately, wisdom only comes from God.
What does that mean for us who desire to live wise, godly lives? The book of James promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault.”
Wisdom comes from God for those who are humble enough to ask.
“… for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.” – Job 39:17
Questions to ponder:
- Consider God’s role over creation. What do you think it means that he gives instinct, speed, and strength across the animal kingdom, but to man he saves the gift of wisdom?
- In what areas of your life should you be seeking wisdom today?