Job 40 (NLT)
God questions Job:
1 Then the Lord said to Job,
2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Job is speechless before God:
3Then Job replied to the Lord,
4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
I will cover my mouth with my hand.
5 I have said too much already.
I have nothing more to say.”
What a difference in tone here! Before, Job was full of questions, demanding answers! Now God is with him, and Job sees he does not have the ability to judge God or even to question his actions. Job says, “You are God and I am not.”
All of the arguing of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu could not bring Job to this place. Only the revelation of God could so humble Job and set him in his right place before the Lord. Job made his strong and sometimes outrageous statements when he felt, to the core of his soul, that the Lord had forsaken him. Now with his sense of the presence of the Lord restored, Job could better see his proper place before God.
The Lord Challenges Job Again
6Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
God once again teaches Job:
7 “Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
8 “Will you discredit my justice
and condemn me just to prove you are right?
How often do I presume to judge my circumstances — and God! — so as to put myself in the right? O Lord, forgive.
Job 40:8 (ESV)
Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
We might say that Job fell into the trap of thinking that because he couldn’t figure God out, that perhaps God wasn’t fair. Yet in this larger section of God’s revelation of Himself to Job, God has demonstrated that there are many things that Job doesn’t know, and therefore he was not a fit judge of God’s ways.
9 Are you as strong as God?
Can you thunder with a voice like his?
10 All right, put on your glory and splendor,
your honor and majesty.
11 Give vent to your anger.
Let it overflow against the proud.
12 Humiliate the proud with a glance;
walk on the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them in the dust.
Imprison them in the world of the dead.
14 Then even I would praise you,
for your own strength would save you.
15 “Take a look at Behemoth,
which I made, just as I made you.
God gave Job a remarkable survey of the wonders of creation in Job 38-39, including a look at many remarkable animals and their ways. Now lastly, God gives Job a look at two remarkable creatures: Behemoth (Job 40:15-24) and Leviathan (Job 41).
Several of the commentaries I have read suggest that the behemoth might be a hippopotamus. So let’s go with that! The great African hippopotamus, pictured above, stands about 5 feet tall at the shoulder and may weigh up to 4 tons. It has been clocked running 19 mph over short distances. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive animals in the world even though it eats only grasses.
It eats grass like an ox.
16 See its powerful loins
and the muscles of its belly.
17 Its tail is as strong as a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs are bars of iron.
19 It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
and only its Creator can threaten it.
20 The mountains offer it their best food,
where all the wild animals play.
21 It lies under the lotus plants,
hidden by the reeds in the marsh.
Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.
22 The lotus plants give it shade
among the willows beside the stream.
23 It is not disturbed by the raging river,
not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it.
24 No one can catch it off guard
or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.
The Lord showed Job that He was not only the all-knowing architect of the universe, but also its all-powerful manager. He asked Job to look at Behemoth and Leviathan, not look them up in a book, which indicates that these huge animals still existed.
Based on their detailed descriptions, some people think these two beasts were what we now call dinosaurs, and the Lord made the point that He was the only one who could control them, either with His sword, or by pulling them with a hook (40:19, 24). Behemoth was a huge marsh-dwelling land beast that answered to no one but God. He was the king of the Land, sustained by “springs of water.”
HERE is “I Stand in Awe” written by Mark Altrogge and performed by the GTA Praise Band.
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.