Friday, August 12, 2016

Justice Devotional - "Who has let the wild ass go free?"

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration
Creation Care “Who has let the wild ass go free?”

The last several chapters of the book of Job offer an incredible window into God’s love of creation and of the varied, wonderful creatures God placed on the earth. Most of us are familiar with the overall storyline of Job. He thought he had lost everything, pitied himself, declared himself righteous and cursed God. Granted, Job had experienced great suffering and the entire text is, in many ways, terrifying (though one must recall that for the rest of his family and his animals, who were dead, Job was at least still alive). God responds to Job with the powerful voice of the whirlwind. And in this divine answer, human beings are, not so subtly, reminded that we are not the center of the universe.

God asks Job, and through him all humanity, a series of questions — where were you when the earth was formed? Did you create the rain? Did you give the horse strength? And as God lists the beautiful traits of myriad creatures, Job’s self-centered world begins to melt away. But something else happens as well, God’s other creatures are elevated. They do not exist for humans, they exist for the glory of God and for themselves — the other animals have inherent value, they are complete without any humans around at all. The wild ass is free, and God is the one who loosed the bonds of the ass. The ass ignores the driver (the human) and ranges the mountains. The wild ox cannot be bound. The horse laughs at fear and divine wisdom fills the wings of the hawk.

Job 39 is a divine hymn to the beauty, independence and self-worth of the animals God created. It is a reminder that humans are just one of the many amazing parts of God’s creation. If we open our eyes and ears to the beauty and richness of all of God’s creatures, we, like Job, will begin to understand things too wonderful, which we did not know.

Dr. Laura Hobgood-Oster: Professor of Religion and Environmental Studies Bethany Beach Christian Church, DE and Southwestern University, TX Creation Care
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