Job 41 (NLT)
The Lord’s Challenge Continues
Contending with Leviathan:
“Can you catch Leviathan with a hook
or put a noose around its jaw?
Usually Leviathan is considered to be a mythical sea-monster or dragon that terrorized sailors and fishermen. Some believe that Leviathan describes an ancient dragon-like dinosaur that either survived to Job’s day, or survived in the collective memory of mankind, so that God could refer to it as an example. Others consider that in this context, Leviathan is nothing more than a mighty crocodile.
2 Can you tie it with a rope through the nose
or pierce its jaw with a spike?
3 Will it beg you for mercy
or implore you for pity?
4 Will it agree to work for you,
to be your slave for life?
5 Can you make it a pet like a bird,
or give it to your little girls to play with?
6 Will merchants try to buy it
to sell it in their shops?
7 Will its hide be hurt by spears
or its head by a harpoon?
8 If you lay a hand on it,
you will certainly remember the battle that follows.
You won’t try that again!
9 No, it is useless to try to capture it.
The hunter who attempts it will be knocked down.
10 And since no one dares to disturb it,
who then can stand up to me?
11 Who has given me anything that I need to pay back?
Everything under heaven is mine.
The point is clear. If Job cannot contend with Leviathan, how could he ever hope to stand against the God who made and masters Leviathan? This was another effective way of setting Job in his proper place before God.
And finally, my servant, Job,
Can you draw down and then disrobe
Leviathan, the king of all
The sons of pride, and in his fall
Strip off his camouflage of strength,
And make him, over all the length
Of earth and heav’n, to serve the plan
Of humble righteousness? I can.
I make Leviathan my rod.
Belovèd Job, behold your God!”
–John Piper, from The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God
The description of Leviathan:
12 “I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs
and its enormous strength and graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its hide,
and who can penetrate its double layer of armor?
14 Who could pry open its jaws?
For its teeth are terrible!
15 Its scales are like rows of shields
tightly sealed together.
16 They are so close together
that no air can get between them.
17 Each scale sticks tight to the next.
They interlock and cannot be penetrated.
18 “When it sneezes, it flashes light!
Its eyes are like the red of dawn.
19 Lightning leaps from its mouth;
flames of fire flash out.
20 Smoke streams from its nostrils
like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes.
21 Its breath would kindle coals,
for flames shoot from its mouth.
Definite dragon-like qualities! Think Smaug, from The Hobbit!
“My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!”
–J. R. R. Tolkien
22 “The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck
strikes terror wherever it goes.
23 Its flesh is hard and firm
and cannot be penetrated.
24 Its heart is hard as rock,
hard as a millstone.
25 When it rises, the mighty are afraid,
gripped by terror.
26 No sword can stop it,
no spear, dart, or javelin.
27 Iron is nothing but straw to that creature,
and bronze is like rotten wood.
28 Arrows cannot make it flee.
Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass.
29 Clubs are like a blade of grass,
and it laughs at the swish of javelins.
30 Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass.
It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud.
31 “Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.
It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.
Psalm 104:25-26 (NIV)
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
32 The water glistens in its wake,
making the sea look white.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal,
no other creature so fearless.
34 Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.
It is the king of beasts.”
“Jonah was swallowed by a whale; but the believer in Jesus Christ swallows the whale. We eat Leviathan for breakfast. It takes a very big God, and a very big faith in God, to be able to absorb so much evil. Leviathan seems to endlessly sprawling, gargantuan, invincible. But the essence of the gospel is that the love of God is greater than any evil.”
As I have been thinking about sea creatures, I have also been thinking about bodies of water — and HERE is “The Blue Danube” by Richard Strauss II. Composed in 1866, it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. This performance comes from the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria on January 1, 2014.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
“An artist’s drawing of the Pannoniasaurus inexpectatus that lived 84 million years ago in freshwater floodplains.” http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/PannoniasaurusInexpectatus_.jpg
Smaug, the Dragon, by Evolvana. http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2013/293/e/3/smaug_the_dragon_by_evolvana-d6qohvt.jpg
Danube River. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YDCSue2IqAk/T9nwcDtRzXI/AAAAAAAAATI/pRvTHb_wjfc/s1600/Danube-River.jpg