I really hadn’t read the book of Job ever, and still haven’t read it all. It’s a complicated book. The rhetoric is complex and deciphering the wrong counsel from Job’s friends and the right counsel from Elihu can get pretty tricky. If you grew up like me, all you came away with from the book was that Job was righteous and that all his friends were mean but he stuck it out and God blessed him in the end for all his suffering. So be like Job.
It wasn’t until more recently that I even began to understand how wrong this summary is. And so I’ve picked up the book several times trying to read through all the monologues (you got me monologuing again!) and find myself scratching my head throughout.
But the one thing that I did get through was God’s monologue. I suppose that’s the most important one anyway. What really struck me was that after the back and forth with Job, and his friends carrying on and on, God finally chooses to speak and what does He say? It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting Him to come in and say something like, ok this is why all this is happening and here’s what I want you to do. No. What He does is a nature channel series. What He does is recount various animals and things in nature and how they are made and how they operate. Then, the real crazy part, He discusses at length the sea creature called Leviathan. Ummmm ok?
“Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth is terror.” (Job 41:14 ESV)
It’s something straight out of a sci-fi horror story. It sounds crazy, if I dare say that something God says is crazy. But as I read through the detailed descriptions of the creatures and of nature, the behemoth and leviathan, I began to realize what God was doing. He was saying how He made these things. Through magic. From scratch. Not even scratch, from nothing. He thought it up, designed it, made it, and knows everything about it and commands it with a word. And He lets us get ourselves to the next conclusion… He made us! He knows us. Inside and out. He knows exactly how we work, how we think, how we behave. He knows our weaknesses and strengths. He knows every inch of our anatomy. He knows our failures, our shames. He knows us more than we know ourselves.
And what’s more is He makes a covenant with us. In Job 41, He says He can make a covenant with leviathan! I found that fascinating. Why would God make a covenant with a sea monster? He says leviathan serves God forever. All of creation serves God under the laws and order of nature which He has established from before time was time. But our covenant is something else, isn’t it? Our covenant rests in the work of God alone, not our ability to behave or to do a good job of serving Him. In fact, He could have made me like any other creature where I was bound to the laws of nature and did exactly what I am supposed to do without much deviation. Instead, He gave me choice, He called me to answer, and He gave me the grace to see what I needed most. He commands all of nature and creation answers to HIm, and yet this same Creator God stooped to me and invites me to believe.
It’s when I stop trusting Him that the monsters make more sense. What if He wasn’t omnipotent and all of creation just ran amok? What if He didn’t control the winds and the waves, doesn’t choose to keep back the raging seas from overtaking the land, refuses to stay the rain so it will never flood the earth again? Is it possible? No. It’s isn’t possible for one moment that God is not strong enough to control. It isn’t possible that God will break His promises. It isn’t possible in any circumstance with any alteration of the laws of science that the created can overtake the creator. There is no Jurassic Park scenario, where oh woops the dinosaurs have outsmarted us – again – and we are fleeing for our lives. God is God is God is God. All of creation knows it. All of science adheres to it. And in the end, every created being will bow to its truth – He is Lord. The choice is not IF you bow – the choice is bow now or bow later.
I believe. Help my unbelief.