Have you read the book of Job lately? Using The Daily Walk Bible, along with a group of friends, I am reading through the Bible from beginning to end in 2019. Every Thursday morning my friends and I gather to talk about underlined verses, intriguing questions, and awe filled moments with God, and we just finished the book of Job.
The story of Job resonates with each of us.
Job and his companions struggle with the ways of God and man for 37 chapters, and then in chapter 38, God breaks the silence and speaks directly to Job. From that point on, the last four chapters of this inspired, authentic book feature the magnificence of God’s created world, the grace of God, and the humble place of man in comparison.
I marvel as I read God’s description of Leviathan: an incredible animal that cannot be contained. God tells of this imposing sea creature for 34 verses, even declaring that all attempts to subdue it result in defeat. Imagine this creature described in Job 41.
“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form.
Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate its double coat of armor? Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth?
Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.
Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn. Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth,
Strength resides in its neck; dismay goes before it. The folds of its flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable. Its chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.
When it rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before its thrashing. The sword that reaches it has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. Arrows do not make it flee; slingstones are like chaff to it. A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
Its undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had white hair.
Nothing on earth is its equal—a creature without fear. It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud” (verses 12-34).
Perhaps like me, you found yourself imagining the Lock Ness Monster from the movie The Water Horse? Maybe you pictured the fierce dragon, Smaug, from The Hobbit? Or, your mind pictures dinosaurs, whose bones you have seen in a museum? Regardless, this created-being featured in the Bible lived in the water and commanded the attention of all. Its formidable presence summoned devastation, dismay, and destruction.
Why does God give such specific detail to an animal He created? What is the purpose of God’s words as He addresses Job in the midst of his suffering?
At first glance, it seems odd that God goes to such lengths to catalog the greatness of this animal. Yet, God makes his point to Job when He announces the reality that no matter the impressiveness nor significance of the Leviathan, God is greater!
God proclaims: “No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Everything belongs to God. What an incredible reminder and truth for us today!
What are the Leviathans in your life?
Consider those giant intimidating and alarming situations that carry the potential to devastate, destroy and discourage. Maybe you feel like you are swimming in a tank of Leviathans?! You may have tried to subdue or control them; yet, they continue to overwhelm and discourage you. Only God can overcome these circumstances and their impact upon you.
- Job transitions
- A stagnant marriage
- Confusing questions
- Launching a new organization
- Broken relationships
- Financial turmoil
- Rebellious children
- Distracted friendships
- Demanding co-workers
- Delayed travel
- Health crisis
Just as God uses the mighty nature of Leviathan to alert Job to the reality that nothing is too big for Him, so too can we read these verses and remember that whatever we face is within the control of God.
Everything belongs to God. We may not understand like Job, but like Job we can announce, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (see Job 42:2).
Job’s response to the greatness of God, which overshadowed the Leviathan, is humility. Job noted that his knowledge of God was challenged by his experience of God; this eventually led him to a deeper respect and honor for God and His ways. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (see Job 42:3,5). In the end, we see God’s grace cover Job with increased trust by restoring relationships and bestowing blessing (see Job 42:7-17).
How do you respond to the Leviathan contexts in your life?
Do you allow any dissonance between your knowledge and experience of God to lead you to greater respect and honor of God?
Before rushing into your next commitment, take a moment to ponder with God the Leviathans in your life? Be attentive to the circumstances that evoke fear, defeat, confusion, anxiety, and anger.
Let’s follow Job’s example by humbly confessing our finite nature and depend upon the manifold grace of God.
Pray with me: God, you are awesome and above all things. Forgive me for doubting your presence and power when I face daunting situations that look like Leviathans. I recognize that everything under heaven belongs to you. Help me see You and trust your ways. You are good! I love you, Amen.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Jerry Bridges. Trusting God. Colorado Springs, CO. 2017.
Brennan Manning. Ruthless Trust. San Francisco. 2009.
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
June 12-25 – Manila, Philippines
Traveling with Gary and speaking to various groups and organizations on Soul Care for Boards, Ministry Staff and Senior Leaders.