In my home state of Alabama we recently had a state of emergency weather alert. Schools were canceled all over our area and surrounding counties in order to keep our children safe. As our local meteorologist studied satellite images and made their best predictions as to what dangerous storms appeared to be heading our way, as our state government took the necessary steps needed to not burden our school administrators with “make-up days” placed on them by other government entities, as businesses, churches, and parents focused on what we needed to do to make sure everyone was as SAFE as possible… a nation across the water was under a chemical attack.
Yesterday as we learned that the storms did NOT hit our area my social media newsfeed became filled with rants of those condemning our meteorologist and condemning those who condemned our meteorologist.
Such outrage over an attempt to keep our children and the people of our area as safe as possible… and no outrage… none over a chemical attack in Syria. Why? Because most were glued to the weather man because we have lost the ability to be able to walk outside and look out of our own windows and discern the signs of danger for ourselves.
But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?
If we have become a people that cannot discern the approaching of a storm… how can we even come close to discerning the work of God in our midst? Do we really understand the times in which we live? Are we aware of the day? Are we so concerned with being SAFE that we cannot see those in danger?
Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?
Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.
I am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
I go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help.
I have become a brother to jackals
And a companion of ostriches.
We know that Job was in a place of great suffering. In the last verse of this passage he says that he has become a brother to jackals and a companion of ostriches. What could he mean by this?
Jackals mate in pairs and are territorial. Both the female and the male mark and defend the boundaries of their territory. Yipping calls are made when the family gathers. Here is the kicker: members only respond to their own family’s calls and ignore those of other individuals.
Ostriches, when threatened, run although their powerful, long legs can be formidable weapons, capable of killing a human or a potential predator like a lion with a forward kick. At the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Their plumage blends well with sandy soil and, from a distance, gives the appearance that they have buried their heads in the sand.
So here’s the picture Job is painting for us. He needs help. He is crying out for help. He is in the midst of suffering. He is hurting. He has experienced great loss. He has spent his life helping others and now that he needs help… he finds himself among jackals and ostriches.
He realizes he is surrounded by those who only care if it’s their own and those who run from him and lie low so that they might claim they did not know of his pain or of his trouble.
We have a world full of Job’s…
And we have church buildings full of jackals and ostriches.
Church let us lift up our eyes and see. Let us learn again how to discern the signs of our times. Let us step out and hear the howls of those that are not our own and run to them in their pain and NOT away from them. Stop laying low and playing ignorant… when we know that we know someone needs the grace and mercy of God and the hands and feet and words and love of Jesus.
For the love of Christ and the call of His heart let us be willing to leave the safe ninety-nine and go after the one that is lost.
What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?