Another animal that God presents to Job is the ostrich (verse 1313“The ostriches’ wings flap joyously
With the pinion and plumage of love,
). God does not question Job about this animal, but He describes it. Although God does not ask questions, the description may raise the question of why God created the ostrich. It is the largest bird living today. Weighing up to one hundred and fifty kilograms, the ostrich is unable to fly. With her impressive height of up to two and a half meters, she also has difficulty hiding. While the stork [“love” can also be translated with “a stork”] has pinion and plumage with which it can fly long distances as a migratory bird, the ostrich has only rough haired, blunt wings. But that’s not what she’s concerned about. God has adapted her well to her lifestyle.
With the wings she has, she can’t fly, but she can joyfully flap her wings. Other birds can also use their feathers to flap their wings. They can also fly with them, but the ostrich can only make noise with them. The fact that of the other birds the stork is called by name is not for nothing, but indicates a contrast made by God Himself. We read of the stork: “Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons” (Jer 8:77“Even the stork in the sky
Knows her seasons;
And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush
Observe the time of their migration;
But My people do not know
The ordinance of the LORD.
). God gives birds a certain knowledge or He withholds it from birds. The latter is the case with the ostrich (verse 1717Because God has made her forget wisdom,
And has not given her a share of understanding.
Verse 1414For she abandons her eggs to the earth
And warms them in the dust,
begins with “for”, which indicates a contrast with the foregoing, the other birds that can lift themselves up from the earth with their wings. The ostrich only runs over the earth. She goes through life without worrying about anything and also without any sense of responsibility for her young. This is evidenced by the lack of care for her eggs. Other birds sit on it to breed, but also to protect the eggs. The ostrich is easy to lure away from her nest.
She forgets – God speaks here of the animals as if they were humans – that the eggs are unsafe that way. This is a gross lack of parental affection. There is no care for the offspring. She doesn’t care that anyone can step on the eggs with his foot (verse 1515And she forgets that a foot may crush them,
Or that a wild beast may trample them.
). It can also happen that the animals of the field trample them.
It does not mean that she has forgotten the place where she left her eggs. That turns out when the eggs hatch and she has the young. The way she deals with her young connects to the lack of parental feelings she already showed with the eggs she laid. “She treats her young cruelly, as if [they] were not hers” (verse 1616“She treats her young cruelly, as if [they] were not hers;
Though her labor be in vain, [she] is unconcerned;
; cf. Lam 4:33Even jackals offer the breast,
They nurse their young;
[But] the daughter of my people has become cruel
Like ostriches in the wilderness.
). She does not worry about what will become of her young.
It will be clear that there are important, warning lessons for the education in the ostrich’s behavior. This is not the place to go into that further. However, we would advise the reader to look for it in this section and ask the Lord to help him or her not to behave toward his or her children as the ostrich does toward her young.
The ostrich’s indifference and cruelty is because God “has made her forget wisdom, And has not given her a share of understanding” (verse 1717Because God has made her forget wisdom,
And has not given her a share of understanding.
). God has not given her the wisdom and a share of understanding He has given to other animals. He is free in what He does and does not give to animals. There is a wise intent behind this action. The fact that we do not always understand it does not change the wisdom of God. It should make us realize that God acts according to His will, without us always seeing the reason or getting the explanation.
God has not given the ostrich wisdom, but He has given it the ability to run very fast. She does not use her wings and feathers to protect her young, but to flee as soon as she sees danger. At a time of danger, “she lifts herself on high”, that is, she stands, and makes a run that even a horse cannot keep up with (verse 1818“When she lifts herself on high,
She laughs at the horse and his rider.). The strength of her legs is enormous. Her top speed is at seventy kilometers per hour. She laughs at the horse and whoever rides it.
The lesson is that God, if He wants to, makes creatures who are stupid and make a strange impression on us, who pretend to be crazy. Here we see a bird that can’t fly. Although the animal has wings, it can run faster than a horse. Job could not understand what God was doing in his life. God tells him that the created world is sometimes just as difficult to explain. The ostrich is a stupid animal, yet God takes care of her, as He takes care of her young that she has forgotten or against whom she is being hard on. The question has not been asked, but is locked up in it: Is Job able to explain the deviant behavior of this animal?