THE BIG BEAST COMETH
Lord, in a world that see guarantees as a right, I trust in your promises and your help all the way through. Thanks be to God.
Read JOB 40
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.
Listen for the voice of the Lord to speak out of the storm, to challenge, humble, inspire, and change us within.
Contending with God is not a good idea. The Lord challenges Job to do so, but he shrinks from the idea, realizing how close his previous discourses have come to crossing that line. ‘Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker’, warns the prophet Isaiah,1 likening it to a clay pot arguing with its potter. The craftsman knows what he is about; it is futile for the item formed to complain. Job realizes this and puts his hand over his mouth (v 4). This may be a new posture for prayer – perhaps we should think about adopting it sometimes.2
The heart of God’s words to Job in these chapters is found in verses 6–14. Here God defends his justice and basically says to Job, ‘Well, all right then – you rule the world and see how you get on!’ This ridiculous idea reveals just how far Job has misjudged the power and might of God. He is a God of wisdom, power, and justice, whatever our circumstances.
The carnival of creation passing Job now introduces a beast beyond his comprehension. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon in Zimbabwe we would go as a family to a wildlife park near our home to watch the elephants. Their huge ears and swaying trunks intrigued our young son, especially when they took to spraying one another from the lake. Job seems equally entranced. Behemoth is the plural of the Hebrew word for ‘beast’ but probably here means ‘beast par excellence’.3 God’s power is on display as this awesome and powerfully strong animal is shown to be in submission to its maker (v 19). So are Job’s struggles, hard as that must seem to him. There may be an ‘elephant in the room’ in our lives, but God is still in charge.
The Jewish leader Gamaliel coined the phrase ‘fighting against God’.4 Is there any area of your life where you are doing that? If so, why not surrender today?
Heavenly Father, my prayer today reflects Job’s words: “I’m speechless in awe, words fail me… I’ve talked way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen” (vs 4-5, The Message).
1 Isa 45:9 2 Hab 2:20 3 David Atkinson, The Message of Job, IVP, 1991, p153 4 Acts 5:39
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.