What is This Bit About the Horse?

There are so many times in scripture when animals are mentioned metaphorically and the reasoning is made clear by the poetic context of the verses.  Today I want to zoom in on the book of Job to a passage that piqued my interest years ago, and until recently, has remained a mystery.
We know about the “horse and the rider” thrown into the sea in Exodus, by the very hand of G-d; and we are aware of when the psalmist warns us not to put our trust in the strength of horses or the chariots of Egypt (well, because they ARE the horse and rider that were mentioned in Exodus)…but what about Job?  What does a well skilled, trained WAR HORSE have to do with the story of Job?
Remember Job?  Yes, the Righteous Man whom G-d was able to bless (he was very wealthy).  Then one day, the Accuser comes before G-d and requests permission to test him, because everyone knows it is easy to love G-d when our earthly concerns are few.  (There is probably a profound lesson there, too…if we chew on that…with a little or with nothing, our earthly concerns are few, if our true priorities are straight.)
So, we see Job lose his family, his wealth, and eventually his health, too…He is then accused by his friends of sinning (although only G-d is the True Judge)…and finally in chapter 38, G-d answers Job out of the storm.  (Note to self:  the Teacher is ALWAYS quiet during the test!)
Who are you, Job?  Where were you when I created the heavens and the earth?
What is G-d saying here?
Job.  Have you forgotten who you are?  You are the vessel of clay, ~ I am the Potter.  You are the Harp ~ I am the musician.
You are the Horse ~ I am your rider.
Anyone who has ever ridden a horse KNOWS the deep level of intimacy that a rider must have with his horse in order to ride into the face of danger.  A horse can tell if he can trust you, they size you up as you approach.  If they trust you, they will let you touch them; if they trust you still, they will let you mount.  But it takes hours of riding and a close, intimate relationship before they will let you guide them into an obviously dangerous situation.
And Job, well….Job was confident, but his knees were about to buckle.
Let’s see what G-d has to say about the horse:
Job Chapter 39:
Have you given the horse his strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder?  Have you made him to leap as a locust? The glory of his snorting is terrible.  He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he goes out to meet the clash of arms.  He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; neither does he turn back from the sword.  The quiver rattles upon him, the glittering spear and the javelin.  He swallows the ground with storm and rage; neither believes he that it is the voice of the horn.   As oft as he hears the horn he saith: ‘Ha, ha!’ and he smells the battle afar off, {N}
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
This is G-d’s description of the war horse.  He is powerful; he is fearless.  He trusts completely in his rider, tuning out everything.  The thunder of the captains, the shouting, the shaking ground under his hooves.  The ONLY thing this horse is paying attention to is the smell of the battle and the movement of the rider.
This is intimacy.  This is intense.  This is a situation where neither the horse, nor the rider survives alone.  They completely depend on each other.
This is the secret I believe He is trying to show Job.  Close your eyes, listen beyond the thunder of the war, and hear my heart beat.  Feel my presence.  Tune in to my every subtle move and we will make it out of this together.
Job, maybe he is a bright student, or maybe he has finally been humbled in a new way; either way, he reacts quickly and appropriately to G-d’s rebuke, and the story ends well.
May it be so with us.  Shalom!
Today’s artwork was provided by Rochelle Allen.  It is entitled “The Secret.”
“Rochelle Allen is a self-taught oil painter. Her first love is landscapes, but she also enjoys animals, figures, and the occasional still life. Born in Massachusetts, she currently lives in Northern Vermont with her husband and two young sons.  You can follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RAllenArt or on Instagram @rochellea09
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