Wise Words and Actions
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?”
“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?”
“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
and it is dyed like a garment.
Light is withheld from the wicked,
and their uplifted arm is broken.”
“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.”
“Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
Surely you know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!”
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?”
“Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no one lives,
on the desert, which is empty of human life,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground put forth grass?”
“Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.”
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?”
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
so that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods cling together?”
“Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens,
or lie in wait in their covert?
Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God,
and wander about for lack of food?”
“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the deer?
Can you number the months that they fulfill,
and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch to give birth to their offspring,
and are delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open;
they go forth, and do not return to them.”
“Who has let the wild ass go free?
Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
to which I have given the steppe for its home,
the salt land for its dwelling place?
It scorns the tumult of the city;
it does not hear the shouts of the driver.
It ranges the mountains as its pasture,
and it searches after every green thing.”
“Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
Will it spend the night at your crib?
Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes,
or will it harrow the valleys after you?
Will you depend on it because its strength is great,
and will you hand over your labor to it?
Do you have faith in it that it will return,
and bring your grain to your threshing floor?”
“The ostrich’s wings flap wildly,
though its pinions lack plumage.
For it leaves its eggs to the earth,
and lets them be warmed on the ground,
forgetting that a foot may crush them,
and that a wild animal may trample them.
It deals cruelly with its young, as if they were not its own;
though its labor should be in vain, yet it has no fear;
because God has made it forget wisdom,
and given it no share in understanding.
When it spreads its plumes aloft,
it laughs at the horse and its rider.”
“Do you give the horse its might?
Do you clothe its neck with mane?
Do you make it leap like the locust?
Its majestic snorting is terrible.
It paws violently, exults mightily;
it goes out to meet the weapons.
It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed;
it does not turn back from the sword.
Upon it rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground;
it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
When the trumpet sounds, it says ‘Aha!’
From a distance it smells the battle,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.”
“Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
and spreads its wings toward the south?
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
and makes its nest on high?
It lives on the rock and makes its home
in the fastness of the rocky crag.
From there it spies the prey;
its eyes see it from far away.
Its young ones suck up blood;
and where the slain are, there it is.”
There is a God-given wisdom imparted and perhaps implanted within nature itself. It has often struck me as so very odd, the comment the disciples made about Jesus when he caused the storm to stop while they were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. “Even the winds and waves obey Him!” Job chapter 38 is a long interogation by God, in which God questioned Job’s ability to contend with Him in a debate about what is right and wrong, good and bad. God questioned Job only about knowledge, not power to intervene in the course of all things relating to wind and water: the rain and snow, the rivers and seas, etc.
Coincidentally, these very elements of wind and water make up the Eastern concept of Feng Shui, the study of flow and the practice of going with it. You see, the best wisdom of the ancients realized we would never master and dominate the wind and waves, and even as much work as we have accomplished with dams, we are still constantly at the mercy of storms through floods, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, as well as droughts and the erosion caused by both wind and water. We go with the flow. We move around the power of nature. God, however, does not need to follow Feng Shui. He is the One Who directs the flow Himself. Wind and water flow wherever He wants it to.
Likewise, God has imparted wisdom into the animal kingdom as well. The lion and raven know how to hunt. Wild goats always give birth in season. the wild ox and donkey roam freely, fehding for themselves without me, to feed them. The ostrich may act foolishly, but it knows when to run and co- escape nearly any trouble that comes its way. The horse also knows when to fight and when to flee, and can often sense enemies long before its rider does. The hawk spies its prey from afar and is able to catch it by swooping down from above. If these are considered creatures of less intelligence than you or I, where did they learn the wisdom to do these kinds of things you and I often cannot do?
They have no words, but they have wisdom in action. Where did it come from? This is the culmination of God’s questions to Job.
Where do you find wisdom acted out even when it is not spoken?
Where do you have wisdom in words that have not yet become action?