In Job’s rebuttal to Zophar, he told him to look to nature and it will teach him of God. He cited three categories of fauna and the earth itself as a source of instruction about God (12:7-9).
First, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you” (Job 12:7). Ask a chipmunk, with a body barely six inches long, who made it able to carry and hide more than a bushel of acorns in just three days so he will be prepared for the long winter. Ask the snowshoe hare who turns its fur white only in the winter and the fawn who gave its spots to camouflage them from predators. Ask the sleek cheetah, the fastest land animal, who made it able to reach speeds of 70 miles an hour. Let the animals teach us of the marvelous endowments and providence of their Creator.
Job went on: “Ask… the birds of the air, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7). Ask the millions of birds who endowed them with the marvel of migration as their feathered power takes them incredible distances, with the champion migrant—
the small arctic tern—making an annual round trip of over 20,000 miles. Ask the ruby-throated hummingbird, weighing only an eighth of an ounce, who made it able to fly 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, its wings beating 50 times a second. Ask the birds and they will tell you who teaches them their solar and stellar migration, who planted their inbuilt compasses enabling them to span continents and oceans. Far more than Job ever knew in his day, the birds are able to tell us about the marvels of God’s creative handiwork.
“Or speak to the earth,” Job went on, “and it will teach you” (Job 12:8). What eloquence is spoken by creation in the miracle of seedtime and harvest, of the tapestry and wonder of a tree, the exquisite beauty of a flower, the spectacle of a sunrise that causes all the earth to blush at the extravagant beauty it is about to unveil.
“Or let the fish of the sea inform you,” (Job 12:8) added Job. The infinite variety, the incredible fecundity, and the exotic creations of marine life testify to a God of unlimited imagination and creativity.
Annie Dillard, in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, writes, “The extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. The Creator will stop at nothing. The Creator loves pizzazz.”
May we pray to be kept open and aware to the wonder and beauty of God’s creation and its untold blessings to us.
Henry Gariepy, Portraits of Perseverance