THE BESTOWED CAPACITY
Lord, teach me never to contend with You over anything.
Read JOB 40:1–24
40 The Lord said to Job:
2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”
3 Then Job answered the Lord:
4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”
6 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.
15 “Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God,
yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
20 The hills bring it their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies,
hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
the poplars by the stream surround it.
23 A raging river does not alarm it;
it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
or trap it and pierce its nose?
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40:31).
The Lord concludes his first speech by challenging Job: “Let him who accuses God answer him!” (2b). Putting his hand over his mouth, Job admitted his unworthiness and inability to reply: “How can I reply to you?… I have no answer… I will say no more” (4,5). We may wonder why the Lord needs to speak again after this. We should note that the same opening word occurs in the Lord’s two speeches: “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (7). Job’s silence in verse 5 doesn’t seem to be a sufficient response, as he is repeatedly expected to answer God.
God’s second speech focuses on Job’s justification of himself by condemning God (8). Demonstrating his governance of the world, God introduces the Behemoth (15–24), a great beast which may be a hippopotamus, elephant or water buffalo. It does not matter whether the creature is natural or mythological—it mirrors Job in some ways.
First, Behemoth was created along with humans (15), which associates Job with the beast. Second, it is a creature with extraordinary power and strength, with bones like “tubes of bronze” and limbs like “rods of iron” (16–18). Job once lamented, “What strength do I have…?,” finding his “bones” and “sinews” not as strong as “bronze.” As Samuel E. Balentine puts it, “If God has indeed made Behemoth just like him, then perhaps God has created Job with capacities he has not yet realized” (Job: Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary, 684). Third, Behemoth withstands the raging river of Jordan, and no one can tame it (23,24). However, it doesn’t pose a threat to God’s created order. Similarly, Job’s courage to stand before God with unyielding faith and untamable strength is commendable.
Amidst adversity, let’s notice the enduring capacities God bestows on us. May Moses’ blessing to Asher reassure us: “Your strength will equal your days” (Deut. 33:25).
Lord, instill within me the spiritual strength proportional to the physical strength of