May 14, 2015.
Daily Reading: Job 40-42.
Background: Job 38-39.
Concepts and Connections.
Seeing the glory of God through Behemoth: The Lord again addresses Job in a rhetorical way to emphasize the immense difference between man and God, and Job promises silence out of his shame for contending with the Almighty. This chapter focuses on the glory of God and His great power, power to put on splendor and glory, and abase the sons of men in their pride. There is not a man that can stand in comparison to God, yet Job was going to try and find fault with Him (see Job 13, 31:35-37)? To point out to Job just how mighty the Lord is, He points to the pinnacle of His creation, implying that if God created a beast such as the Behemoth, then God must be larger and more powerful than the beast. This would give Job a tangible display to look at to better understand who he is in relation to God. Throughout the years there has been much discussion as to what Behemoth actually is. Some have suggested that it was a hippopotamus, crocodile or an elephant, but the description of the beast doesn’t really fit any of these animals fully. Others, especially fundamental creationists, suggest that the Behemoth is a dinosaur, such as the Apatosaurus, as the description of Behemoth is much closer to this animal than any known animal today. Still others contend that the beast, since the word is plural, is representative of a combination of the strongest attributes of the animal kingdom, all created by God. Regardless, the point that is being made is that Behemoth was something that was large, powerful and not able to be contained by man; yet Behemoth was created by God. Thus God’s glory and might is even larger than one of the biggest and awe-inspiring beasts that Job had ever known.
Seeing the glory of God through Leviathan: Similar to Behemoth, the Lord then draws Job’s attention to Leviathan, a monstrous sea creature who is unable to be captured or tamed. Like the Behemoth, there has been discussion as to what Leviathan was. Some have suggested a crocodile, however, once again the description and the way Leviathan is talked about doesn’t really match very well at all. The description sounds more like a dragon than an animal that we know of today, and others have suggested it to be a dinosaur. Leviathan is mentioned in other passages of scripture, and is sometimes depicted as an adversary to God (see Isaiah 27:1). The way it is depicted here is a fire-breathing sea creature that is formidable to mankind. This picture again is God’s way of showing Job who He is though His creation (see also Psalm 104:26). God is well above man, and should inspire awe and fear in each one of us due to His very nature. God cannot be captured or contained by man, for He created man. Thus, it is important to remember who we are in comparison to the Almighty.
Conclusion and lessons from the book of Job: As the story of Job comes to a close, some very interesting things happen that shed some light on God’s perspective of Job and his friends. Job answers the Lord in repentance, in dust and ashes, for he knows that he has spoken unwisely in his affliction to assume that he could appear before God and call Him into court (see Job 23:2-7). He makes the distinction between knowing of God and actually experiencing God. When we just have the knowledge of God, it is easy to put Him in a box, so to speak, as to assume that we are on somewhat of the same level, even if we don’t consciously admit to thinking in this way. However, when Job was answered directly by God, his perspective quickly changed. This is one of the first lessons that we can take from the book of Job: It’s okay to question God, but if you do, you should be prepared for His answer. Job questioned God, and in the end He was vindicated by God to his friends. However, first he was rebuked for some of the things that he had said in his affliction, and the rebuke was heavy.
A second, and very important, lesson that we should take from the book of Job is that God doesn’t owe us an answer as to why things happen. Notice that Job’s ultimate question was never answered, though God talked to him directly. Job asked why these things had come upon him since he was a righteous man (see Job 23:2-7), but God never told him why, nor did He tell Job’s friends why. We are blessed with the insight as to why it happened (see Job 1-2). Job, being a righteous man (probably the most righteous on earth), was given by God into the hand Satan to test, for He knew that he would pull through. It was not because of a sin that Job had committed, as Job’s friends assumed. When God answers Job, however, He doesn’t say this. He basically says “Who are you to find fault with Me?” Job was put into his place. He received an answer, but not the one for which he asked.
In the end, however, Job’s fortune was restored to him two-fold. God told Job’s friends that they had to get Job to offer sacrifice and pray for them so that He would not deal according to their folly. They had not spoken right of God. This is yet another lesson we can take from this story. We need to be very careful when we speak on behalf of God. The main problem that Job’s friends had was that they were very apt to tell Job how God felt about something or what He would do in given situations. They were very confident that they knew the mind of God well enough to instruct Job definitively in what He would do. This was not good, for they were very wrong about God. We need to remember that our thoughts and feelings about God do not necessarily represent what He has to say or what He will do. Only He can tell us that information. When we speak for God where He hasn’t spoken, we are taking quite a risk, one that we probably should not take. Let us let God speak through His word and the Holy Spirit, and not though our earthly thoughts and motives.
Job was blessed by God in the end. The old adage “this too shall pass” seems to be very fitting for Job. His trials did not last forever, and the Lord showed His love and mercy to him in the end. Job died an old man, full of days. Let us take comfort in this, knowing that the Lord is in control, and that He works for those who are called by His name. This does not mean our time in life will be absent of trials, but rather that God will be with us through think and thin. God never left Job, as he had assumed at some points. He was ever with Job, as He is ever with us. Let us praise His name.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Jeremiah 32-36.
All glory be to God.