Let’s read this interesting portion. “Will the wild ox be willing to serve you? Will he bed by your manger? Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes? Or will he plow the valleys behind you? Will your trust him because his strength is great? Or will you leave your labor to him? Will you trust him to bring home your grain, and gather it to your threshing floor?” (NKJV)

In this passage the Lord asks Job seven questions about the “wild ox” and the obvious answer to each question is “No.” The wild ox refuses to be tamed and brought into subjection to man. This was also true of the “wild donkey” in verses 5-8. What was the Lord’s purpose in turning Job’s thoughts to the animal kingdom? What lessons did He have for Job to learn at this time?

Time and space forbid us from going into great detail, but this subject begins in Job 38:1-2 which reads, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words with knowledge’?” In the first 37 chapters we have Job’s great trial of faith where after suffering the loss of all his possessions, his children, and his health, he was confronted by his “three friends” who basically accused him of being chastised by the Lord for secret sins he must have committed. Job responded to each accusation by defending his honor and eventually he silenced them. Another man named Elihu came to Job and reproved him for acting self-righteously, yet Job refused to admit that he was guilty of any wrong. He no doubt prided himself in his “words of wisdom” to his three friends and he truly believed he had God’s thoughts about the whole matter, thoughts which would vindicate him and drive away his persecutors who judged him wrongfully. But Job had to learn that instead of speaking “words with knowledge” he had actually “darkened counsel” by misrepresenting God. Though Job was surely a “righteous man” (see Job 1:8), he had indeed become self-righteous, even to the point of questioning God’s dealings with him, implying that God was NOT righteous. Thus God needed to humble him and to bring the pride that lurked in his heart to the surface. The Lord asked Job no less than 75 questions in order to show Job how “little he knew.” One has said that these questions can be summarized in three questions:

  1. Can you explain My creation? (38:1-38).
  2. Can you oversee My creation? (38:39-39:30)
  3. Can you subdue My creation? (40:6-41:34)

In these questions God didn’t explain the “mystery of suffering” that Job was experiencing, but rather He gave Job (and us!) demonstrations of His great power, glory and wisdom as seen throughout His creation. God’s words had their desired effect, for after the Lord was done speaking we hear Job’s heartfelt response in 42:1-6: “Then Job answered the LORD and said, I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job humbly owned that God was indeed righteous in His dealings with him and that he had spoken of things that were beyond his comprehension. Job was truly humbled to the dust. (257.5) (DO)