Lions and Tigers and Leviathans
Scripture to meditate on:
The Lord said to Job:
“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”
Then Job answered the Lord:
“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:
“Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.
“Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron.
It ranks first among the works of God,
yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
The hills bring it their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby.
Under the lotus plants it lies,
hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
the poplars by the stream surround it.
A raging river does not alarm it;
it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
or trap it and pierce its nose?” – Job 40
God’s questioning of Job continues in today’s reading. God is asking Job what he knows about the Behemoth and the Leviathan. It’s worth noting that even modern scientists and archeologist don’t know what animals this section refers to. The best conclusion of Biblical Scholars is that God is referring to mythical, terrifying creatures that the ancients imagined inhabiting the deep and unknown places.
With that as background, we should consider what God is really asking Job. I would propose that God is asking Job about his fears. What do you fear, Job? Do you fear losing your possessions? Your position in your community? Your relationships? Do you fear the things that you do not know or understand? What haunts you at night, Job?
What do –you- fear? What keeps –you- awake at night? Once again we see that a faithful reading of Job can be an unsettling experience. What God seems to be telling us through the book of Job, is that we fear all the wrong things. Fear God! This is the command that God shouts at Job through the whirlwind.
Proverbs says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more.” – Job 40:3-5
Questions to ponder:
- What do you fear?
- What does it mean to “fear God?”