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God Made Ostriches “Dumb” for His Glory (Job 39:13)


"The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? 14 For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, 15 forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. 16 She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labour be in vain, yet she has no fear, 17 because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. 18 When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider. (Job 39:13 ESV)

When God created the world, he declared that everything that he made was very good. From the lush emerald greens of the tropical jungles, to the massive leviathans of the deep that swim the untamed oceans, to the mighty herds of four-legged creatures that roam the sun-warmed lands of the African savanna—our Creator crafted the entirety of this world with his matchless brilliance and wisdom ex nihilo (out of nothing) to display his glory.

God’s genius in creation speaks so magnificently to his divine wisdom that when Job complains to God about his seemingly unjust and pointless sufferings, God does not attempt to convince Job with argumentation or reason, but simply points him to the staggering complexity and sheer awesomeness of the created order. God is the one who loads the storm clouds with moisture so that they shower the earth with rain (37:11). God is the one who forbids the waves of the raging ocean to surge an inch beyond the stops he has placed for them on the seashore (38:11). God is the one who feeds the ravens in the sky with the food that they need each day (38:41). And God is the one who crafted the arid plains of the inhabitable desert into a home for the wild donkey (39:5).

But the spectacular wisdom of God is not just to be seen in the mighty works of nature that awe us with their absolute immensity or raw power. The wisdom of God is even more brilliantly displayed in the seemingly foolish, weak, and insignificant things of the world that are possessed with hidden qualities that their Master has placed in them. The ostrich is indeed a strange creature in this world. It has a tiny head attached to a long neck that is coupled to its plump football-shaped body. It has wings, yet it cannot fly. It is a bird, yet it lives on the ground. Unlike other airborne fowls, the ostrich makes its nest not in the safety of a tree’s lofty branches, but in the vulnerable, unsafe environment of the ground where a heavy foot might stomp on its eggs or a wild beast might trample them (39:15). If one could give the ostrich marks for parental skill, the ostrich would earn a failing grade in the art of baby-proofing her home. But the reason for this lack of intelligence is stunning to us. For, the ostrich is dumb, because God made her dumb and given her “no share in understanding.” (Job 39:17)

Now one might be tempted to think that such a “dumb” creature is a mistake, a blight on God’s brilliance, yet nothing could be farther from the truth! For despite the ostrich’s silly demeanor, awkward proportions, and lack of parental wisdom, her twin legs can propel her to such incredible speeds that she can leave the fastest horse and rider trying to hunt her in the dust. So quick is this “dumb” creature that she veritably laughs at the feeble attempts of any pursuer to catch her! In short, God shows his brilliance and ingenuity in designing a foolish creature that defies our expectations and shames the wisest human hunters and their nimble steeds.

Brothers and sisters, is this not a perfect illustration of the wisdom of God displayed in the work and person of Jesus Christ? Does not the apostle write that the word of the cross is foolishness to the perishing world (1 Cor 1:18)? Is not the wisdom of the world utterly insufficient when it comes to knowing God (1 Cor 1:21)? Who could have imagined that the masterplan of God was to consign all of mankind to disobedience so that he might pour out his matchless grace and kindness on all of us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 11:32)? What human science is capable of plumbing the very depths of the infinite wisdom of God? There is none.

The greatness of God’s wisdom is not ultimately found in things that appear glorious and wise to us. The greatness of God’s wisdom is found in the stunning significance of things that seem inconsequential and even dumb to us, whether this involves sickness, suffering or even the sword. For our God’s glory shines not just in the things that we deem to be honorable and worthy in this world, but in the lowly, dishonorable, yet surprising things.

Perhaps your life’s griefs and sufferings are as inexplicable as that of godly Job’s. Perhaps you find yourself in a precarious position at work with close relationships around you that seems utterly foolish to you and you are at a complete loss to see how any good might come out of your circumstances. Perhaps you are simply stressed out by the enormity of the tasks that God has heaped on you and you lack the wisdom to know what to do. But when you are tempted to grumble and complain, remember the ostrich.

Remember that God made the ostrich dumb to display his glory. And if his glory can shine so brilliantly through such a silly creature, what can he do through you, O you of little faith?

Article by: Samuel Chua


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