Just ask the animals ∙
There are things on earth that are small but unusually wise: spiders are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces. – Proverbs 30:24, 28
7 Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
8 Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you.
9 For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the LORD.
10 For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.
Dr. John Dolittle is the title character of a series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting that began in 1920. Dr. Dolittle lived in a small English village. He spent little time with human patients. He specialized in caring for and communicating with animals. In fact, he could speak to them in their own languages. When word of Dolittle’s ability spread, many animals sought him out for medical advice.
No doubt, there is much we could learn from animals. If only they could really talk to us, but of course, they do not.
In the book of Job, Job’s friends are trying to get to the bottom of why Job is suffering. After much lively debate, they conclude that Job must be responsible. Surely, the Father is punishing him for his sins. Job defends himself and declares his innocence (Job 10:7). He asks a rhetorical question. Is it possible to understand and search out the depths and mysteries of the Father? (Job 11:7). No doubt, after a great deal of soul-searching and reflection, he came to his own conclusion. There are some things in this life that we will never really be able to understand fully. They are simply beyond us.
Job offers a whimsical suggestion, “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7).
Try as we might, we are unable to figure out how animals know things and do things simply by instinct. For example, how does a spider know how to build a web? Where does it get the architectural plans? How does the spider engineer it? How does it know where to begin and end? How does the spider perfectly carry out the design to completion? Once the web is finished, how does it navigate it? How does the spider avoid getting stuck in it?
REFLECT & PRAY
For since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. – Romans 1:20
Father, so many of the things that You have made are irreducibly complex. Father, teach me to look and to listen to the message Your creation declares.
If animals could talk, perhaps they could explain how the Father designed, planned out, fabricated, cares for, and controls His creation. But with very few exceptions, animals are mute and they cannot communicate with us in a way that we can understand.
But, without speaking, animals teach, birds tell, the earth speaks, and the fish inform (Job 12:7-10). Animals are programmed with instinctive intelligence. Some animals are born fully wired and ready to cope and function in their real-world environments. Ants and locusts know exactly what to do and how to do it.
25 The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer;
27 The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks;
Some animals, for example, birds, marsupials, and mammals, require protection, nurture, and a bit of parental direction and coaching to grow to maturity and fully functioning adults.
The Father is the Father of lights and all things that exist. He intelligently designed and created all things. All of the animals, without a word, proclaim the Father’s existence, wisdom, excellence, and greatness.
But there’s more, He cares for what He has created.
26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
28 Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,
29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.
The wondrous and amazing truth is that the Father cares for what He creates. If He cares for animals and plants how much more does He care for humanity which he created in His own image? “The point that Jesus is making is not that the birds do not work; it has been said that no one works harder than the average sparrow to make a living; the point that he is making is that they do not worry” (Barclay).
When we come to realize how much He loves and cares for us, our anxiety diminishes and we are able to experience peace and tranquility. How does this become a reality? We develop the skill of depending upon him and transferring our cares to Him. We gave Him the burden of our heavy load and He carries it for us.
“Jesus wants you to throw your cares on Him and leave them there. You depend on Him for life itself, and you acknowledge this reliant relationship by saying, ‘Here, Jesus. Take my problems. You have the answers! I trust You to show me what to do and to take care of the consequences’” (Stanley).