Lions And Ravens
June 19, 2019
The circumstances of life can be hard and trying whether suffering is involved or not. Life simply presents a lot of variable and so it becomes impossible to predict how the variables will affect us on a day-to-day basis. As people, we like to know what’s coming. We make plans and hope that they are fulfilled to meet certain expectations, thereby providing fulfillment and satisfaction. When we find that there were variables in life that we didn’t account for, and our plans for life are changed, it can be difficult adjusting to that change, even for simple things. The Bible encourages the people of God to focus on more pressing matters, trusting the Lord with the simple things as well as the weightier spiritual things of life. Has God not proven Himself able to handle the tough things AND the simple things? Has God not proven His goodness, His faithfulness, and His righteousness? Has God not proven that His ways are better than ours? God has proved Himself trustworthy for all things simply by showing that He is able to account for all of the variables of life because He’s in charge of all facets of life in the universe, whether they have a direct effect on us or not. The world continues to rotate and life continues to go on because God enables it. He’s obviously been doing this for a long time. Thus, when it comes to our opinions and desires about how we think our lives should go, all of those thoughts should be given over to the Lord, allowing Him to declare what is actually right and wrong, good or bad.
In Job 38:39-41, God reminded Job about His wisdom, power, and faithfulness to take care of all forms of life on this planet. When Job suffered, he felt like he was distant from God. Job felt like he had become an enemy of God. Job felt like God had forgotten about him, and that even when he prayed and called out to God, the Lord didn’t hear. Did God’s ear stop working? Did God’s arm grow short? Did God forget or lose sight of Job? The scriptures show that Job felt distant from God simply because he was trying to approach God the wrong way, and was thereby unable to receive the benefits of his pursuit. Job tried to seek God with an attitude of self-righteousness and self-entitlement. Having been used as an instrument of God’s righteousness for most of his life, Job felt that he was entitled to a certain quality of living and certain privileges from God. When Job’s life was filled with chaos and pain, he felt like God was expressing anger against him for some unknown sin. Job found it hard to believe that God would treat him such a way since he felt he was such a good servant. Job thought so highly of himself, figuring that his past service to God was good enough to keep him from the common sufferings that many other people deal with on a daily basis. Job was wrong.
Job made demands from God. Job didn’t curse God and deny Him, but spoke to God pridefully. Job didn’t really expect God to turn his life around, but did expect God to relieve his pain in other ways. Job wanted God to take his life so that he could escape the pains of this life and enjoy the benefits of eternal life. This might seem like a good eternal perspective, but Job was not in any position to make demands from God. Job’s “prayer requests” were reflective of his discontentment with God’s purposes. Job didn’t like that God allowed him to suffer to the degree that he did. Job didn’t like the frustrating circumstances that were being compounded by his friends. Job didn’t like that he had become shameful in the eyes of others in the community and even by his wife. Job felt that his miserable circumstances needed to change, and was willing to accept death to enable that change. Still, who was Job to criticize God’s use of sovereignty? Was God wrong because Job had pain in his life? Was God wrong because things weren’t going the way Job thought they should have?
Unfortunately, these are common ways of thinking for many people. We might not come out and say that God is wrong, but our expressions of opinions and personal desires that contrast the things God is actually doing, shows discontentment and disagreement with God. Whether we like it or not, everything that God does is right and good, even when He exercises supreme control over our life to facilitate seasons of frustration, pain, and suffering. To prove Himself, God reminded Job about the extent of control He has over all life – not just human. It is not often that we think about the functioning and continuing of wildlife, but life in the wild does go on, and God is the cause. In Job 38:39-41, God reminded Job about this simple truth. God mentioned His care for lions and birds to show that He has been able and will continue to be able to do what is necessary to sustain life the proper way. God reminded Job that life is dependent on Him, not Job. If wildlife were to start going up to Job to thank him for provision and protection, then Job could have value behind his opinions directed against God. However, that’s not how it works. God is in charge of all life and always has been; and the continuing functioning of life, even in the wild, shows that God knows what He’s doing, whether we agree with Him or not.
God asked Job a silly question to prove this point.
“Can you hunt the prey for the lion or satisfy the appetite of the young lions?”
It is not often that people consider the well-being of lions. There is good reason for this. They seem to do well on their own. They are the kings of the jungle and the wilderness. They are the hunters, not the hunted. Somehow, they are able to manage just fine without human intervention. Lions aren’t waking up every day dependent on meals prepared by human hands. When a lion gets hungry, they exercise the instincts, skills, abilities and wisdom that God has provided them to hunt their own prey. Lions are not dependent on training from humans to learn how to fend for themselves. Lions don’t patrol the wild seeking out human life to find access to food supplies, that is of course, unless the human becomes the food!
When we compare the natural abilities and wisdom of a lion to humans, lions are far better equipped to deal with their circumstances. Lions don’t need help to hunt down their prey. Our manner of living has made it incredibly difficult for many people to have sufficient food supplies as readily available as lions. Lions seem to work less and eat more, and are satisfied with their provision. People seem to labor constantly to indulge in provision that never satisfies. What can we teach a lion? What can we give to the lion that the lion cannot provide for itself according to the ability that God provided first? History has shown that we as people can’t even satisfy our own appetites. We constantly consume and are even willing to horde resources from others to fill ourselves. Yet, with all of our consumption, we are not satisfied. Only God is able to satisfy. Lions are dependent on the Lord for their fill, not people. Lion’s weren’t approaching Job for their food and for their satisfaction.
God created lions and has since, fed the lions. Since lions continue to live and express satisfaction in their manner of living, God is obviously not a problem for them. The work that God does to sustain and satisfy animals as large and powerful as lions has been proven sufficient. If God is able to feed and satisfy such a creature as a lion, and has been faithful to do so since the beginning, who are we to criticize the manner in which He provides and the ways that He satisfies? We are not the ones who created life. We are not the ones who sustain life. We are obviously not the ones that bring lasting satisfaction into our lives. God is; and the satisfaction that lions show with God’s provision and the manner of it, shows that we are the problem, not Him. We don’t find lions joining up together to gripe and complain about how life isn’t going the way they think it should. Only people…
God then mentioned the ravens of the sky. Yes, God feeds them too. Here, God shows that the quality of animal or manner of their living doesn’t affect His ability to feed and satisfy. The type of creature doesn’t matter to God. He is able and faithful to care for His creation regardless of the creature. God doesn’t just care for and satisfy the large and powerful creatures like lions. God also cares for the small and scavenger-like creatures like ravens. No one wakes up on a daily basis with care and concern for the ravens of the air because we know and trust that they’ll figure it out. The ravens find a way to get what they need, and they are able to do so because God provides that wisdom, ability, and provision. Like the lions, birds are not showing up at the doorsteps of people demanding breakfast. Birds are up in the morning functioning according to the purpose God ordained for them, and they fulfill their purpose without complaint. When baby birds cry out, they don’t cry out to people for specific menu items. They cry out to God and are satisfied with the quality of provision He gives, regardless of what it is. The ravens don’t have contact with Job, hoping that he has time in the day to tend to their needs. The ravens are able to live because God is eternally and immutably omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
When God addressed Job about these things, He used simple sense to remind us of who’s really in charge, and that He knows what He’s doing. We might not always like what God does in our life, but God has NEVER been proved wrong. For all the complaints, doubts, and rebellion against God, no one has, or ever will stand before God to prove their case and their ways are better than His! Life has gone on in the wilderness just fine without human intervention. In fact, scientist have found over time that it is human interference with the functioning of our planet that poses the greater threat to wildlife. If not for our influence in many places, wildlife would be better off. This shows that God is the One that is able. God is the One that knows. Thankfully, when we do take the time to consider the continuity of wildlife, remembering God as the cause, we can find compelling evidence that God is also the One who is faithful.
When Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, He encouraged His disciples to abstain from worrying about the mundane and trivial matters of this life. People get uptight about basic and fundamental things in this life all of the time, simply because we’re discontented with “basic need.” We want more than the basics and feel entitled to it. So, we sweat and worry about excess as if it’s the same as the basics. Jesus told us not to do that. He gave good reason too. He pointed to the birds of the air and the grass of the fields. Don’t the birds go through their day just fine? Doesn’t the grass grow the way it’s supposed to just fine? This is because God is aware of what grass needs to grow, and He is able and willing to give. God is aware of what birds need to eat to survive, and the protection they require, and He is able and willing to give. Jesus reminded us that we are far more valuable to God than grass and birds. Thus, He is willing to give. However, we, like Job, must remember to humble ourselves before God. We must trust the extent of His provision and the manner in which He gives it. God doesn’t give anything that is bad – only that which is good and just. When the quality of our giving rivals that of God’s, then we are justified in our complaints. When we can feed all the lions and birds unto satisfaction, then we can level with God about what we think we deserve. Until then, we should remember who God is, trust the supremacy of His goodness, remembering how amazing the extent of God’s power, control and wisdom is for all creation on a daily basis.