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Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: Behemoth and Leviathon

Today's Reading: Job 40-42

There is an old traditional Scottish Prayer:

"From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!"

Yesterday, Job heard rhetorical, managerial questions from God for which he had no answers. In fact, Job is absolutely embarrassed and tongue-tied: "Well, shut my mouth," he states, as he realizes his foot is lodged in his mouth.

But God is on a roll and is not going to let up. "Now," God says, "Let's talk about all those things that go bump in the day and night...let's talk about who really has power over those things that seem to rule the world, those creatures that evoke fear in your breast."

Two creatures are mentioned in the book of Job that have puzzled readers for centuries: Behemoth and Leviathan.

Behemoth, the plural form of wild beast, which, in its plural form emphasizes in a superlative way the true wild abandonment of this creature. This is king of beasts evokes sheer terror on land. Though some have thought it to be mythological in nature, others believe it to be some dinosaur, extinct now. In any case, this beast exemplifies the land beast of ultimate terror. No one can control it. No one can capture it. No one is its master.

And Leviathon, Behemoth's counterpart, is the king of the sea. This fire breathing dragon of the ocean is untouchable, unbeatable. Lest we quickly believe no fire breathing creature ever existed, we need to look to the bomardier beetle which is able to eject fire from an explosion producing mechanism in its rear to ward off its enemies. Unbelievable? Let's just say, it's complicated. But if there is a fire squirting beetle roaming the earth today, there could have once been a "fire breathing" creature of some sort.

All of which is to say, there were and are terrifying things in this world, over which God says we have no control, but in God's realm are putty in God's hand.

"I'm in control," declares God; "you are not. Once you understand this truth, you have found wisdom--a wisdom which will transform your life."

This is the revelation in the book of Job. God is the one and only creator, sustainer and controller of God's creation. Jesus echos this wisdom in Matthew: God keeps track of the smallest details (hairs on your head are numbered, sparrows are tabulated) and God's sweeping hand provides in the grandest of ways (lilies of the field are robed more glamourously than the richest rulers of the world.)

"So quit your fretting over sorrow and pain. Quit your worrying. Quit trying to analyze your life situation. Be still and know that God is God."

"The Behemoth bullies and the fire breathing Leviathons in your life must answer to God. Their power is limited. God is in control."

I don't know how much comfort this gives...

But once we understand this, the words of Job enter our vocabulary: "I know You can do all things, and none of Your purposes can be thwarted...Therefore, I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."

"...Instruct me, O God."

"From things that go bump in the night...Good Lord, deliver us."

1 comment:

  1. It IS comforting because if God controls the big Leviathon's and Behemoth's in my life, He definitely will handle the many smaller but just as scary things that happen everyday. Thank you, God!