Job 41

God’s arguments in the last part of Job chapter 40 and all of chapter 41 are unusual and interesting. He describes in great detail two of the wildest and most powerful creatures of the animal kingdom: Behemoth and Leviathan. Nobody really knows the exact identity of those animals, but good guesses abound.

Behemoth, described in Job 40:15-24, sounds like it could be a hippopotamus. Hippos are massive, weighing up to four tons, and extremely aggressive. They can charge at speeds approaching 20 miles per hour and are said to be the most dangerous animals on the African continent, killing around 200 people every year. Whether Behemoth is the hippopotamus or not, it is a reflection of the untamable power of its Creator. If Job could not subdue a creature like that, he had no business thinking he could contain or restrain the One who created it. A God like that is to be respected, trusted, and loved — not controlled.

Chapter 41 records God’s presentation of Leviathan. Behemoth may be big and bad, but Leviathan is bigger and badder. Again, no one knows for certain the identity of this animal. Some have suggested that the description fits that of a large crocodile, but I prefer the idea that it is a long-extinct sea creature from ancient times — a dinosaur. God describes it as a massive animal with thick, impenetrable scales. No man-made weapon could harm it. Most frightening is the idea that it breathes fire like a mythical dragon (v.18-21)! So what is the point of the lengthy description of this creature?

God was putting Job in his proper place. The question in verse 10 makes the point: God asks, “Who then is he who can stand before Me?” The answer of course is, “Not Job, not me, not anybody”. Along with Job we must conclude that if we could not contend with Leviathan, we could never hope to stand up against the Maker and Master of Leviathan. So we bow down before Him and we surrender to His authority. And the wonderful thing that we find is that this great and awesome God is full of love and grace! Depending on how you respond to Him, you will either be crushed by the power of His judgment or lifted by the power of His love. Your choice.

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