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The Wonder of God's Creation

The Wonder of God’s Creation

The Book of Job - the Old Testament book right before the Book of Psalms - is an interesting part of the Bible. It is a report of a man who was at the peak of success who, in a very short amount of time, lost everything. A man who was given some interesting advice. A man who became upset, including with God. A man who God corrected quite forcefully.

Most of today’s message is about God’s correction. The purpose is to celebrate the wonder of nature, which God mentioned in his correction of Job. Celebrating God’s nature seems appropriate on this beautiful spring day. But let’s begin with how rich Job was and what happened to what he had.

For that, we will start with chapter 1 of Job.

Here is what Job had. He had seven sons and three daughters, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen. There are two ox in each yoke, so Job had 1000 oxen. He also had 500 female donkeys and very many servants.

With all that, Job was greatest of all people in that part of the world at that time.

However, as mentioned, in a very short amount of time, all Job had was lost.

Here is an important point, which is my answer when people ask why bad things happen. What happened to Job was, it is recorded, not God’s doing, but the work of Satan. It was Satan who took away all Job had. It appears God allowed that to happen to test Job, but it was not God’s idea to take away all Job had. It was Satan’s idea. Satan, not God, is to blame, when bad things happen, even now.

What happened to Job is this.

It was the custom for his children, all of them grown at that time, to gather for meals at one or another of the son’s houses. During one of those get togethers, enemies came and took Job’s oxen and donkeys and killed the servants tending the animals. All the servants except the one who gave the report to Job.

As that report was being given, another servant arrived, telling of a great storm that had killed all the sheep, along with the servants tending them, except for the one giving that report.

As that report was being given, another servant arrived, telling that other enemies had come and taken all the camels and killed the servants watching them, except for the one giving that report.

As that report was being given, yet another servant arrived. His news was that as Job’s children ate, a great wind had struck the house where they were. The wind had struck the four corners of the house. The house had collapsed and all the children were dead. The only survivor was the servant giving that report.

Wow. Such tragedy. Such loss - Job’s children were gone. Job’s wealth in the form of animals was gone. All but a few servants were gone.

Job’s response? I am sure he mourned, especially the loss of his children. It is recorded he tore his robe and shaved his head, which were signs of grief.

But his words indicate an acceptance of his situation. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Chapter 1 ends with the words, “In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

However, in chapter 2, Satan asked for, and God granted, permission to do one more thing to Job. Yes, God again allowed it to happen, but what happened was the doing of Satan. Satan was to blame. That one more thing at the hands of Satan was to take away Job’s health.

Satan afflicted Job with horrible sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. The sores were ugly. They were smelly. They itched. Job had to use a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself.

Even with that, Job, at that point, did not speak against God. Even though he was advised by his wife to speak against God. Isn’t that interesting? Job’s wife advised him to “curse God and die,” but he answered her, “You speak like a foolish woman. Shall we receive only good at the hand of God and not evil?”

Toward the end of chapter 2 of Job, he remained pretty upbeat, despite his problems. But then three friends - Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar - came to visit. Their purpose was to express sympathy to and comfort Job, which started out fine. They sat with Job for a full week, day and night, saying nothing. Just their presence was meant to help him.

But then, in chapter 3 through most of the rest of the book, the rest of the visit did not go well as the three friends over and over criticized Job and Job defended himself. The result, as the book proceeds, was Job becoming more and more upset, first at his friends, then because of his suffering, then at God.

We jump way ahead to chapter 38 of Job, in which God begins to answer Job. I am attracted to God’s response, especially when springtime reminds us of the beauty of nature. For the most of the rest of this message, let’s consider the many parts of nature God listed for Job.

Verses 4 through 7 of chapter 38. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth?” That was God reminding Job - and us - that He has always existed. “Was it you, Job, who determined the earth’s measurements?” That was God reminding Job - and us - that He - God - alone was and is smart enough to measure how large our planet should be. And it is not just the Earth that was formed. So, too, were all other parts of the universe, including the stars.

We know that after the Earth was formed, God designed the configuration of the waters on and over the Earth, forming the seas and clouds above. That is what the LORD reminded Job in verses 8 through 11. He asked, “Who did that?” The answer, of course, is that God, not Job, did that, the point being that neither Job nor anyone else should question God, including the wisdom and power of God. God is too wise and powerful for that.

Verses 12 through 15. God created the dawn. What a wonderful gift that is, lifting darkness, thus making it difficult for those who are wicked to do their dastardly deeds. God asked Job if he - if Job - created the dawn. The answer again is no. With the power of God so evident, why would Job question Him?

By the way, let me add that if we are upset with God, it is certainly our right to mention it to Him. Many other places in the Bible that is taught as being acceptable. However, may we never forget who is the wisest, strongest, most creative of all, that being God. Let’s never forget that we should always be beholden to Him.We may not understand all that happens, including when we suffer, but we need to remember God is God and we are not.

Verses 16 through 18. “Who has entered the deepest parts of the oceans? Who knows the place of death. Who knows just how big the Earth is?” Not Job, who at most was familiar with only with the part of the world in which he lived. But God has entered and knows the oceans and the place of death and all the Earth. That is because He is everywhere.

19 through 21. God asked Job, “Do you know where light dwells? Do you know the place of darkness? Do you determine the paths of light and dark?” The answer is yet again no.

22 through 30. Several more examples of God-created nature are listed. Snow. We certainly received a lot of that part of God’s creation this past winter. And hail and wind and rain and dew. And thunder and ice. And grass. After our long winter, how good it has been to see the greening of the grass. There is, as we know, another part of God’s creation that grows very well. Dandelions. They add an amazing yellow hue to the landscape.

Verses 31 through 33. God returns in His explanation to the rest of the universe by asking Job if he - Job - was involved with the control of the stars that make up the constellations. God named some. Pleiades. Orion. In Boy Scouts I earned a merit badge in astronomy. Especially with the lights of the city, Orion is the only constellation I can still see and identify. The Mazzaroth, which is a group of twelve constellations. And the Bear, which we know as the Big Dipper.

God guides those stars. What an impressive part of His creation they are.

34 through 38. God asked Job, “Can you speak to the clouds? Can you send for lightning?” Of course the answer is still no. Clouds and lightning are again examples of God’s power.

And what about the animals on the Earth and the birds of the air? Who feeds them? According to verses 39-41, God.

We might think God had made His point very well in Job 38, but He continued in chapter 39 with a list of many more parts of His creation. Let’s continue since we are celebrating what God gives us in nature.

Job 39:1-4. God determined the life cycles of mountain goats and hinds, which are female deer. He set in motion their reproductive time tables. Did Job do that? Do we do that? No. God took care of it. That is how powerful He is.

Verses 5 through 8. God created wild donkeys. God created the exact kind of habitat needed by donkeys.

9 through 12. While donkeys were created to roam free, not so oxen. God created them to serve people. To accomplish that, God made them very strong.

Verses 19 through 25. Horses were also created by God for their great strength, and brave enough to be used when going to war.

13 through 18. The ostrich is listed as part of God’s creation. That species of bird is described in this passage as not very smart, including being vain in showing off their feathers and female ostriches laying their eggs where they can easily be stepped on and crushed. But, God said, they have no fear. Ostriches innately trust in God.

26 through 30. Hawks were made to soar. And eagles were made by God to make their nests at high places, from where they can easily see their prey, with which they feed themselves and their young ones.

Remember the main purpose of this message is to celebrate God’s creation. The many, many parts of it, from the earth to the stars, from water to storms, from animals to birds. The hope is that we will take time to observe what is around us and above us, enjoy all we see, and give thanks to God, who created it all. Job did not create anything. We have not created nature. God is the one strong enough, powerful enough, wise enough to have created.

In chapter 40 of Job another animal is listed. In verse 15 it is named “Behemoth.” The footnote names it hippopotamus. As God said in chapter 40, hippos are strong. They have power in their muscles. Their bones and limbs are strong. And they are unafraid, no matter what.

In chapter 41, crocodiles are mentioned. The wording is “Leviathan,” but as the footnote mentions, that is a crocodile.

Lynna Gene and I had the opportunity to travel to Australia several years ago.

We attended an International Church of God Convention in Australia. We also traveled into the Outback region of that country. At one stop at a game preserve, we saw a crocodile resting with its mouth open. 

The guide used that view to explain part of the anatomy of crocodiles. At the back of the throat is a special layer of skin that closes when the animal is under water but the mouth is open. That is critical because the way a crocodile kills large prey is by grabbing the prey in its strong jaws, then holding the prey under water until it drowns. Of course the crocodile would drown, too, except for that piece of skin at the back of the throat.

What an engineering feat God accomplished in His creative design of crocodiles. What an interesting part of God’s nature.

What a marvel is God’s creation. Again, God’s creation. Not Job’s creation. Not our creation. God’s creation. On this beautiful spring day - and on hot, humid summer days and on fall days of colored leaves and on dreary, snowy days of winter - all the time may we celebrate God’s creativity, and may we marvel at the power of God, which is exactly what Job did in chapter 42.

Remember Job lost so much - he lost all but his life - at the beginning of the Book of Job. Remember that as time went on, Job became angry about his losses. Part of his anger was directed to God, in essence accusing God of not knowing what He was doing. But God answered Job by describing what He - God - had done in creation.

Here is Job’s response to God in chapter 42. “God, I know You can do all things. I know that Your purpose, God, whether I understand it or not, cannot be prevented. I apologize, LORD, for not understanding You. For not understanding how wonderful You are. I thank You for the opportunity to talk with You in the future. Talks that will be me listening to You. Before our talks, I repent.”

In chapters 38 through 41, God dealt harshly with Job. However, when Job realized his error of not understanding the power and wisdom of God and when he repented, God was pleased. And as harsh as God was, He was, in the last part of chapter 42, very kind. The LORD restored Job, doing so in two specific ways.

First, God doubled the number of animals Job had possessed before. At the end of the chapter, Job had not 7000, but 14,000 sheep, and not 3000, but 6000 camels, and not 1000, but 2000 oxen, and not 500, but 1000 female donkeys.

God then gave Job an equal number of children that he had before. Seven sons and three daughters. I guess Job’s wife, who early on had advised Job to curse God and die, got over her hard feelings. The daughters were all beautiful. There were no women anywhere as fair as Job’s daughters.

God has blessed us amazingly. Whether that continues or not, let’s be thankful as we recognize it is God who was and is so strong and wise and creative that He designed the entire universe and everything in it and on it. Let’s be thankful for all He gives us to enjoy.

Today’s closing song is the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. Let’s sing the words in celebration of all God has created.

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful;

The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,

Each little bird that sings,

God made their glowing colors,

He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,

The river running by,

The sunset, and the morning

That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,

The ripe fruits in the garden:

He made them, every one.

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful;

The Lord God made them all.

Verse 4 of the hymn provides a very pleasant challenge. That we see and share with others the beauty of God’s creation. Let’s accept and fulfill the challenge as we sing verse 4.

God gave us eyes to see them,

And lips that we might tell

How great is God Almighty,

who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful;

The Lord God made them all.

Lord, thank You for Your invitation many other places in the Bible to be honest with You when we are upset or angry. But thank You as well for the reminder in today’s passage that You are the one and only one strong enough, powerful enough, wise enough to create the entire universe. With that knowledge, help us to rely on You, knowing Your purpose is good and knowing Your purpose will prevail, no matter what.

Thank You, Lord. Amen.

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