But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach you; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell you:…
I. NATURE REBUKES MAN'S IGNORANCE. Job refers his friends to nature in a tone of reproach. They ought to have known what nature was proclaiming. There are two grounds for this rebuke.
1. The wealth and fulness of nature's testimony to her Creator. Go where one may, nature is ready to speak for God. The beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the creeping things on the ground, the fishes of the sea, all speak for the power and wisdom of their Maker. There is variety in this grand utterance of nature, yet there is unity. Many creatures, of diverse sorts, concur to bear witness to the same great truths. If we cannot understand the beasts, the birds may teach us; if the insects are an enigma, the fishes may instruct us. Though all these different voices of nature may not be sounding in our ears as once, we cannot be long out of the reach of some of them. Therefore -
"In contemplation of created things
By stops we may ascend to God."
2. The greater intelligence of man. "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee" - as though those dull brutes knew what man had missed discovering. So the lord of creation is sent to be a pupil of his humblest subjects. Of course, to be prosaically accurate, it must be said that the beasts do not understand the lessons they teach; that only man can know God, and that the testimony of nature is unconscious. Still, the higher faculty of man makes it a shame that he should not know what nature is teaching in so many ways all around him.
II. NATURE REVEALS GOD'S PRESENCE.
1. By its constitution. The very variety of the creation bespeaks the mind and power of the Creator. For this variety is not confused, but orderly. There must be a sameness about the very disorder of chaos which is not seen in the cosmos. The various species of living creatures keep their several places in the scale of creation, fulfil their distinctive destinies and perform their separate functions. There is mind and purpose in the very variety of nature.
2. By its life. Nature is not a huge mosaic. If its variegated picture were motionless and changeless, we could not but admire the infinite skill with which it had been put together. The exhibition of stuffed specimens of dead animals in a natural history museum gives us abundant proof of the skill of the Creator. But the fields show us what no museum can reveal. In the great world of nature all is life and movement. Thus we have not the relics of an ancient Divine activity of God, like fossils of extinct animals, but the creatures in the very flush of life. And this life must be constantly maintained. Then by its very continuance it proclaims the presence of God. He is in nature, energizing in it every moment. In his hand is the soul of every living creature.
3. By its human connections. Man shares in the common life of nature. The hand that holds the soul of every living thing holds the breath of all mankind. "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Therefore we have not only to lock around us on the animal creation. If we do but consider our own existence, we have daily evidence of the presence of God. The testimony of creation is designed to remind us of our own dependence on God. It is especially a good corrective of the subjective notions of a visionary. Job answers Eliphaz and his awful vision most aptly by appealing to the great living voice of nature. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: