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A Trip to the Zoo

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Job 38:39–41; 39; 40:1–14

Dwelling on God and His wonderful creation puts our lives into perspective. Seeing the limitations of our knowledge and strength in light of God’s wisdom and omnipotence, silences our complaints and energizes our worship. This was the lesson for Job, and it is a lesson for us.


One of the most devastating blows to the theory of evolution was the discovery of that little spiral codebook of genetic information called DNA.

Charles Darwin accepted the prevailing theory of the 1800s that variations caused by the environment could be genetically inherited by the offspring. He used this theory to explain the origin of a giraffe’s long neck, which he said was “the inherited effects of the increased use of parts.” In other words, Darwin reasoned, giraffes would stretch their necks for the high leaves, which then resulted in longer necks being passed on to their offspring.[1] 

And by the way, that is the theory we are still hearing presented over and over again in the secular world. But the truth—and it’s a truth that is being suppressed today— is that modern genetics has disproved this theory. We now know that the length of a giraffe’s neck is determined by its genetic code—by its God-created DNA—not by stretching to reach tall limbs over millions of years.[2] 

Beloved, when you believe the biblical creation account, you understand that God created every animal species to function according to His design. And here is the bigger point God is going to make to Job: God has created us as well, and we are living on a designer-made planet under the direction of our creator God.

When God finally showed up to talk with Job, the Lord began asking him questions about the constellations, the stars, the earth, and water. Now He shifts His focus and essentially takes Job on a field trip to the zoo.

The Lord is going to show Job His care over creation, from the smallest animals to the biggest. And the message He is sending Job becomes obvious and comforting: If God can design and care for His animal creation, how much more will He care for mankind.

First, God asks Job about the lion, here in chapter 38:

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket?” (verses 39-40)

The truth is, Job probably doesn’t care if lions ever eat again!

I was within a foot or two of lions while tucked inside a jeep on an African reserve a few years ago. These lions were massive! One of them walked by the jeep, and his back reached the bottom of my window ledge. Even though my window was rolled up tight, I could hear him purring—it sounded like an engine idling.

God is reminding Job that He has designed these lions with their hunting instincts. God is the original lion tamer.

In verse 41, God asks Job about another animal: “Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help?” God wants Job to know that He cares about the ravens and their young. And if a raven is cared for by God’s providence, how much more will God care for Job.

That’s the same message Jesus preached to anxious people in Matthew 6:26, when He said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Clearly, God cares about them. Then the Lord says to His audience, “Are you not of more value than they?” 

You are worth far more than birds. That’s a message our world needs to hear today. You see, when the creator God is rejected, animal life is elevated and human life is devalued. So, today it is illegal to crush the egg of an unborn eagle, but you can take the life of an unborn baby without any legal penalty. This is a tragic reversal of God’s created order.

I want to point out now how God describes a rather strange bird in chapter 39:

The wings of an ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them . . . God has made her forget wisdom, and given her no share in understanding. (verses 13-15, 17)

In other words, this is not the brightest bird on the planet!

The ostrich is a rather interesting bird. In fact, it is the largest living bird today, the adult weighing more than 300 pounds and standing nine feet tall. It has wings but cannot fly.

Pliny, the first-century Roman naturalist, was among the first to write of an ostrich ignorantly hiding its head in some bushes, thinking it was safe because it could not see anything. Today we talk about people burying their head in the sand, ignoring reality.

But notice that for all its strange ways and ignorance, the ostrich is amazing to watch as it runs. God says here in verse 18,“When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider.” The ostrich lifts its head, extends its small wings for balance, and takes off running at some forty miles an hour.

God takes Job to the zoo, as it were, to look at an ostrich. This is God’s way of saying, “Job, I create things that don’t seem to make much sense.”

You look at an ostrich and wonder what in the world God was thinking. And that is the point. There are times in your life when you wonder, Lord, what are You thinking? This doesn’t make much sense.

Well, there are chapters in your life that might go under the heading of “strange – this doesn’t add up.” And you have to agree that God’s ways are not your ways, and His thoughts are not your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

Now God moves on to describe another bird in verses 27-29:

Is it at your command [Job] that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag . . . From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away.

An eagle, flying 600 feet above your home, beloved, can watch a spider crawl across your driveway. An eagle was created with eyesight capable of seeing a fish jumping in a lake five miles away. I have trouble seeing my computer screen five feet away.

Now evolutionists would say the eagle developed that eyesight because it made its nests so high up. But they are denying that genetic information—DNA. God designed the eagle with such amazing eyesight because it would soar up so high.

The diversity of creation shows the diversity of God’s creative ability. But it also points to accountability. If God created us, we belong to Him and we answer to Him.

And that’s how God ends this part of the field trip to the zoo. He says to Job here in chapter 40 and verse 2, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” Job responds in verse 4, “What shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.” 

Even though the Lord continues to challenge Job all the way down to verse 14, Job realizes he no longer has any desire to demand answers from God. In the presence of an awesome Creator, Job has found the best answer of all. The creative design and care and control of God over His animal creations points us to His amazing design and care and control over our lives this very day.


[1] John MacArthur, The Battle for the Beginning (Thomas Nelson, 2001), 134.

[2] Ibid.

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