July 1, 2019
The audacity of the human race can be quite the spectacle at times. Throughout history, people have been both bold and foolish to make proclamations, declarations, and take stances in their self-assurance. Many people have been revered for their pride and boldness, but the Bible frequently condemns this sort of attitude. It is one thing to be bold to proclaim God’s Word. It is another thing to be bold proclaiming our own word. Moreover, the Bible teaches that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart. Therefore, while some might not be so bold to outwardly proclaim their self-reliance and confidence, their hearts might still be prideful. This is a problem. God resists the proud. Therefore, those who are assured in their own ability, are continually being distanced from God. The other part of this issue is this: What do we as people have to be assured about? What is it that we are so proud of? What do we have and what have we done that makes us so sure of ourselves?
The manner in which the Lord God Almighty answered these questions in the testimony of Job is compelling! In Job 41:1-11, the Bible explains that God pointed to another one of His odd creatures to prove how “vile” Job really was. God addressed Job by reminding him about the extent of His power, control, and wisdom as the Creator and Controller of all things in the universe. When God asked Job to speak for himself, Job humbly declined. Job confessed that he’d rather keep his hand over his mouth. Job admitted to God, that after thinking about the true nature of God, he, by comparison was vile. Job admitted that he was worthless, horrid, offensive, repugnant, loathsome, and disgraceful. He was right, but God could see that Job’s opinion of himself was still too high. Though Job was being humbled, he still had room to grow in lowliness. Therefore, God taught about His creature called Leviathan.
In Job 41:1-11 God asked Job about Leviathan through a series of rhetorical questions. The questions were simple. The answers were simple. God’s conclusion was also simple, but sometimes the simplest truths are the most easily forgotten. God first asked if Leviathan could be drawn out with a hook or a line. In other words, though Leviathan was obviously a sea creature, was it as common as other fish of the sea that it could be baited, caught, sold, and consumed? God asked if a manmade hook or reed could even pierce Leviathan’s nose, suggesting that its skin and bone structure were impenetrable. God asked if Leviathan was making “supplications” to Job or any other person. Obviously, Leviathan wasn’t dependent or reliant on any human being to live or thrive. God asked if Leviathan would “speak softly” to Job or any other person. Clearly, Leviathan wasn’t afraid of any human, regardless of their weaponry or strategies. Leviathan didn’t have a reason to honor or fear people, so he didn’t. God asked if Leviathan was making covenants with Job or anyone else? Here, the Lord was reminding Job that Leviathan doesn’t value any contribution mankind can make to its existence. Leviathan wasn’t making any deals to which it valued the contribution or partnership of humanity. There wasn’t anything people could bring to the table that Leviathan valued in any way, shape, or form.
These points were made in comparison to God Himself, which God made clear in His next question. God asked if Job or anyone else was able to take Leviathan as a servant “forever.” Not only was it impossible for anyone to make Leviathan subject to them, getting them to do their personal will and bidding, but no one was qualified to do that eternally. Even those who have servants of other kinds aren’t able to remain their masters forever. Death comes to visit all people, and has never lost a fight. If a person cannot make a dog their servant forever, how much less the great Leviathan? The bigger point is this: Leviathan is God’s servant, and He alone is eternal. God is able to make ALL things subject to Him forever. God is the essence of power, ability, wisdom, and life itself. At the time of Job, no one was able to demonstrate any form of skill, power, wisdom, or authority over one creature for any amount of time. Yet, God used Leviathan as His servant, and is able to do so “forever.”
God reminded Job that a simple creature like Leviathan was untamable and uncontrollable by any person or group of people. No one could play with him as a pet. No one could put a leash to control him or walk him like a work animal. No one could catch him to make a banquet of him, presenting Leviathan as a feature dish. In fact, God referenced that there might have been many men that tried to take on Leviathan and failed.
“Lay your hand on him; remember the battle – never do it again!”
God reminded Job that there were other men who tried to prove themselves able against Leviathan. Those men, for whatever reason, were never able again. For all of their confidence they might have had before the battle, it was quickly distilled. For all the boldness and self-assurance those men might have had at the beginning of the battle, Leviathan quickly showed that he was superior. Those men had nothing to be bold or confident about.
This was God’s ultimate point. If people who felt they were strong, wise, and able could not do something as “simple” as catch, train, or restrain one sea creature, what ability do they have to contend with the Almighty God who created Leviathan? Remember, God was seeking to humble Job because of the attitude that Job expressed against God. Job felt that he knew better than God. Job felt that, if given the chance to address God directly, he would really let God know some things and prove himself to be unworthy of suffering and mockery. Well, God gave Job that opportunity and Job shut himself up. He had nothing to say to God directly. He only wanted to speak boldly in front of other men who were also weak. Those who think they are strong-willed only appear to be strong around those who are weak. When the power of El Shaddai – the LORD God Almighty – is revealed, the strong-willed and confident have nothing to say.
God simply reminded Job that no one can contend with Leviathan. God created Leviathan to be the undefeated and undisputed champion of battles with those who fight against him. God created Leviathan so that even the sight of him was terrifying to those who opposed him. Thus, it wasn’t just the loss of the battle, but according to God, the mere appearance of Leviathan took men’s confidence away so that before the battles were even fought, Leviathan had won. Therefore, God asked the following questions:
“Who then is able to stand against Me? Who has preceded Me, that I should pay Him?
God has a compelling point. Over time, it became clear that Leviathan could not be defeated or destroyed. God pointed out that no one was so fierce that they could stir up Leviathan unto victory. Yet, when God was ready, He put this creature to rest by destroying him. At the command of God’s Word, He did what no one else could do. If the wisest and strongest couldn’t stand up to Leviathan and make that sea creature yield to their desires, how much less are we able to make God yield to us? Who do we think we are that we can bark orders at God in “prayer requests?” Who do we think we are that we can expect God to fulfill our personal ambitions and desires simply because we think we have “faith?”
Are we as people so pleased with ourselves that we think God is actually impressed with us that He owes us something? That was the attitude problem that Job had, and look at how God responded to that. We as people need to be careful in how we think, and how we deal with God. What do we really have to show for that impresses God that He would be compelled to do as we say? Have we removed sickness? Have we removed debt? Have we simplified life to produce peaceful satisfaction? Consider the weakness of our own ability in our personal circumstances. If we were so able to do “anything we put our minds to,” then why are so many people disgruntled with God? If we were really worthy of contending with God and His sovereign control, couldn’t we just will ourselves into our desires without worrying about God interrupting our plans? We act like we’re wise enough to plan on our own, but there always seems to be hidden variables in life that suddenly appear, causing frustrations and issues. We act like we’re able enough to do things on our own, but not a single person has met every goal they have without trouble, unto satisfaction. So then, who is able to stand against God?
Clearly, it is unwise to think that we know better than God. Clearly, it is terrible to think that our opinions about how we think life should go are superior to the manner in which God is actually directing life. Our contention, disapproval, and disdain for God’s work in our lives is obviously offensive to Him. Remember, the subject of God’s revelation in this manner was Job – a blameless and upright man that is later commended in the Bible as a man of faith! If Job had to be reminded of God’s sovereignty, providence, wisdom, power, and mercy, how much more do we need to be reminded as well? There is no Leviathan to observe today to be “wowed” by. Nevertheless, the testimony of God’s Word is sufficient if we would but sit down, shut up, listen to God, and submit to the humbling truths that He presents concerning us, and concerning Him. The world promotes the idea that we should “love ourselves.” Why? Based on God’s revelation of the truth, is there anything worth loving that which God desires to change? The Bible says to love God. It is when we are weak in humility by these truths that He is made strong in our lives. The command of God is not to be self-assured, but to be selfless – totally absent of our natural “self” – so that He might impart His wisdom, power, and mercy unto us for His glory, and rightly so.