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Day 39
Fear God!

Scripture to meditate on:
“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
    or tie down its tongue with a rope?
Can you put a cord through its nose
    or pierce its jaw with a hook?
Will it keep begging you for mercy?
    Will it speak to you with gentle words?
Will it make an agreement with you
    for you to take it as your slave for life?
Can you make a pet of it like a bird
    or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
Will traders barter for it?
    Will they divide it up among the merchants?
Can you fill its hide with harpoons
    or its head with fishing spears?
If you lay a hand on it,
    you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
Any hope of subduing it is false;
    the mere sight of it is overpowering.
No one is fierce enough to rouse it.
    Who then is able to stand against me?
Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
    Everything under heaven belongs to me.

“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
    its strength and its graceful form.
Who can strip off its outer coat?
    Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
    ringed about with fearsome teeth?
Its back has rows of shields
    tightly sealed together;
each is so close to the next
    that no air can pass between.
They are joined fast to one another;
    they cling together and cannot be parted.
Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
    its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
Flames stream from its mouth;
    sparks of fire shoot out.
Smoke pours from its nostrils
    as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
Its breath sets coals ablaze,
    and flames dart from its mouth.
Strength resides in its neck;
    dismay goes before it.
The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
    they are firm and immovable.
Its chest is hard as rock,
    hard as a lower millstone.
When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
    they retreat before its thrashing.
The sword that reaches it has no effect,
    nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
Iron it treats like straw
    and bronze like rotten wood.
Arrows do not make it flee;
    slingstones are like chaff to it.
A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
    it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
    leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
    and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
    one would think the deep had white hair.
Nothing on earth is its equal—
    a creature without fear.
It looks down on all that are haughty;
    it is king over all that are proud.” – Job 41

God is shouting to Job through the whirlwind and chaos of Job’s life, “Fear me! Be in awe of me! Put me in my proper place in your life!”

This is the fundamental message of all of the Bible’s Wisdom Literature. God should occupy the first place in the ordering of our lives. He is the creator, the sustainer, and our sovereign.

Too often we operate under a misguided notion that we are in control of our lives. That if we behave well, and “do religion right” we can manipulate God into giving us “the life we deserve.” As if God is a cosmic slot machine. If we put in the ‘right stuff,’ God is then obligated to give back what we’ve ‘earned.’

The book of Job lays waste to that kind of thinking, what one commentator calls “faithful legalism.” Legalism is also a sign of great brokenness. For what could be a greater sin than to image we can somehow control God? What happens when God intrudes on the well-laid plans for our lives? What if God’s plan for us is not wealth and comfort, but pain and suffering? What if illness and depression persist in our lives despite our earnest prays to God? Does that mean that God has somehow failed in his promises to us?

We want God to adopt our tidy, prosperous plans for ourselves, bless them and then return to his corner in heaven.
But God is demanding his rightful place in our lives. “Fear me. Be in awe of me. Worship me.” This is the beginning of wisdom.

Key Verse:
“Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook?” – Job 41:2

Questions to ponder:

  • What are you in awe of in your life? What do you worship?
  • Does the way you spend your time and resources reflect the answer to question #1?
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