- Job 40:15 (ESV)
“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord?”
- Job 41:1 (ESV)
Last week on Sunday Morning Coming Down we discussed the appearance of God in a whirlwind after Job had been so upset trying to understand why his life had been shattered. He just wanted to understand why and was angry with God for not explaining it to Him and God remained silent to his request until making His surprising appearance. But instead of answering Job, God began questioning him about his lack of understanding of Him and showed him why he had no justification to ever demand anything from God, that Job's place was to accept whatever God provided. The answers would come in accordance with God's time frame, not Job's.
As this biblical Wisdom Book draws toward its closing, God now questions Job about two very horrific creatures that were in his Creation, the behemoth and the leviathan, showing that even these dreaded living things were part of his plans. And since we today know not what they might really be and what their purpose was, it's appropriate that they receive mention.
While no one who has researched and pored over the scripture seeking answers can be certain about much regarding these beasts, there is general agreement that the behemoth was a huge land beast and the leviathan was a creature of the water. The words of the Bible make that much clear.
Some have guessed that the behemoth was something akin to cattle, just much greater in size or perhaps some type of great mammoth, but there is no definite answer. As for the leviathan, similar agreement comes that it is from the water, perhaps a giant serpent, great fish or even a huge crocodile, but we really don't know for sure. There is evidence, however, that mammoths existed in the time of Job (in the neighborhood of 2000 B.C.) and, of course, large sea creatures did exist. And the impact of ancient mythology on the people of those times could have been used to show just how powerful God was and that He could create anything He so desired.
One likely idea is that, whatever these frightening things were, they would likely be evidence of the evil side of the world which would follow from God's having banished satan (not worthy of capitalization) to roam the air and spirits around earth, the home of mankind. They would certainly provide incentive to all hearing of them to ask God for protection from them, but since we don't even know for sure who the writer of Job was, it's hard to get much closer.
And maybe that's just the end result that God wanted, for with the provision of free will to lead us to choose between good and evil, dating back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, wouldn't that be appropriate? Biblical evidence has been passed from generation to generation with hints, significant evidence but something short of absolute certainty. But with our hearts open to Him through the Holy Spirit, we must accept His reality with faith, for faith is what leads us to believe. And it is through belief that we find the answer and the truth to all our questions.
And at the conclusion of this discussion in Job, God then, in the finale, returned to Job his riches and many more children and he would live for many years thereafter in the Land of Uz, always true and never complaining again to God, His Creator. Job is a wonderful book to help explain the virtue of patience in waiting for God to provide answers to all the concerns we have.
Dear Lord, We thank you for the Book of Job and what it can teach us about patience and perseverance, for patience and perseverance lead us toward faith. Help us to use this story to further our devotion, understanding and love for you and to use that love to follow the course you desire of us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.