A Summary of Zechariah

A Summary of Zechariah

A Summary of Zechariah
Explaining the Book of Zechariah

 
 
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A Summary of Zechariah: So, for the last year and a few weeks, we’ve grown accustomed to turning our attention to the book of Job. But unfortunately we came to the end of that book and now we need to move on to something else.

And as I prayed, a few different possibilities were in my mind. Finally, it seemed that the Lord had placed a specific book in my mind as the next subject of our study.

But it’s a really hard book. It’s really rather cryptic. And for that reason I initially despaired of even trying to seek to explain this book in front of all of you. But the Lord is able to give us understanding and help with this, so we’ll press on.

A Summary of Zechariah: In Brief

The book I’m referring to has a number of very interesting accounts. Allow me to lead you on for a little while longer! This book has horses and myrtle trees. There are four horns and four craftsmen. This book has a man with a measuring line, and the High Priest Joshua standing before the Lord being accused by Satan. There’s a candelabra being fed with olive oil. And don’t forget the flying scroll and the woman in the ephah being sent to Shinar. Chariots, a crown of gold, questions about fasting, and oracles about the nations and about Israel all are featured in this book. And this book – which is in the Old Testament – features several exciting but veiled references to the coming Messiah.

And so, of course, the book that I’m referring to and which we’ll be studying for a little while is the Old Testament book of Zechariah. So, let’s turn there.

A Summary of Zechariah: The Lord Remembers

Now, the name Zechariah (zakar + yah) means “Yah Remembers” – the LORD remembers. Well, what does the Lord remember? We’re going to see in this book that the Lord is displayed as remembering his people, Israel. He hadn’t forgotten them.

A Summary of Zechariah: Exile

Why is that important? Well, because the Jews had been in exile. Look at Zechariah chapter 1, verses 1-2.

KJV Zechariah 1:1 ¶ In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.

Let’s skip verse 3 and read verses 4-6.

KJV Zechariah 1:4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying,

Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings:

but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me,

saith the LORD.

5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers?

and they returned and said,

Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us,

according to our ways, and according to our doings,

so hath he dealt with us.

Now, this is pointing to the reality of the exile of Judah by Babylon. A long time prior to Zechariah’s ministry, God had been calling these people to repent. They refused. And so, God had to send them out of their land for 70 years.

Now, at this point as Zechariah is prophesying, God is speaking with the children and grandchildren of those exiles. And he does so – it says here – in the second year of Darius.

By the way, that’s one of three time-references in this entire book – in chapter 1, verse 1. The second time-reference that we’re given is in chapter 1, verse 7. And then the last time-reference we’re given is in chapter 7, verse 1.

And we’ll try to get into the details of the time frame discussed in this book as we deal with the individual chapters and verses throughout this study. But suffice it to say that a certain number of Jews had returned from Babylon at this point in history. And they were charged by King Cyrus of the Persians – and by the Lord himself – to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

But the people got discouraged.

Is there anyone in here like that? You have a task that you know that God wants you to perform but it’s hard and you’re ready to quit. That’s what was happening in Israel in Zechariah’s time.

And so, God sent this prophet, Zechariah – as well as the prophet Haggai – and their job was to encourage the people to continue the work that God had for them.

So, in the midst of this situation, God has the following message of encouragement for his covenant people, the Jews. That’s verse 3 of chapter 1 of Zechariah.

KJV Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say thou unto them,

Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts,
and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.

So, draw near to God and he will draw near to you. That’s the message that the Lord gives Zechariah to start off this book of the recorded prophecies that were given to him. God is ready to receive his formerly disobedient people. He’s ready to restore and forgive. He’s giving them another chance. This is a hopeful book. The Lord indeed is remembering (zakar-ing!) his people.

And in God’s manifold wisdom, he doesn’t choose to convey this message of hope and encouragement in a straightforward manner. Instead, God gives visions to Zechariah, which the prophet then records for us to read now thousands of years after they were originally given.

So, in chapter 1 and verse 8 and running through to the end of Zechariah chapter 6, the prophet relates to us 9 visions. And all of them contain some message of hope for God’s previously forgotten – but now remembered people!

A Summary of Zechariah: First Vision

Look at chapter 1, verse 8…

KJV Zechariah 1:8 I saw by night,

and behold a man riding upon a red horse,

and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom;

and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

And that’s it. That’s literally what Zechariah sees. Now, this isn’t happening in the physical material realm. This is a vision. That’s very important to note.

We need to read the Bible literally. And part of that literal reading is taking the author seriously when he tells you that what he’s conveying to you he saw in a vision. Not in this material world – but rather something that God portrayed to the prophet.

So, the prophet isn’t saying that he woke up at night to peek out his window and then he saw myrtle trees and horses of several different colors. God is giving him this vision in a supernatural way. But he is literally seeing these things even if they are not literally, physically, materially there.

Now, sometimes, these visions can be confusing to us. And while that’s sort of embarrassing to us and humbling and maybe even a little frustrating, we’re actually in good company. Because Zechariah himself couldn’t understand what these things meant either. Verse 9…

KJV Zechariah 1:9 Then said I,

O my lord, what are these?

And the angel that talked with me said unto me,

I will shew thee what these be.

And of course the angel explains what Zechariah is seeing. These horses go throughout the earth and discover that all the nations are calm and peaceful at this point in history. And yet, Jerusalem and greater-Israel are in ruins. God’s place is desolate.

And so, the Lord speaks words of comfort. He expresses his anger toward the nations and then promises to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and repopulate Jerusalem.

And while certainly some of this was fulfilled in the years between the Old and New Testaments, its ultimate fulfillment will occur in the Millennium when Jesus the Jewish Messiah reigns in this great city of Jerusalem.

So, that’s Zechariah’s first encouraging vision. God is going to favor Israel once more.

A Summary of Zechariah: Second Vision

So, let’s move on to the second vision. Read chapter 1, verse 18.

KJV Zechariah 1:18 ¶ Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.

Now, mind you, this is still in Zechariah’s dream vision. We’re in his dream visions until the end of chapter 6.

And what Zechariah goes on to relate in this second vision is that the horns – probably looking to him like literal animal horns – that they represent the nations that have oppressed God’s people the Jews. And these nations are the ones that are now at ease, as the horsemen just attested to.

But there’s good news. God is going to send some craftsmen to shave down and cut off these horns so that they won’t scatter God’s people anymore.

Now, are God’s covenant people the Jews still scattered? They are. Are there still nations that are seeking to scatter them yet again? Yes. But there’s a day coming when that will no longer be the case.

And the Jews didn’t experience this deliverance in Zechariah’s time or in the time leading up to Jesus’s first advent. They’re not experiencing this today. So, can you guess when this will finally happen for them? Once more, in the Millennium when Jesus their Messiah King and ours is reigning in Jerusalem.

So, that’s the end of Zechariah’s second vision. God will deliver Israel from their enemies.

A Summary of Zechariah: Third Vision

So, let’s move on to Zechariah’s third vision.

Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line in his hand in chapter 2, verse 1. And that prompts him to make the following comment in verse 2.

KJV Zechariah 2:2 Then said I,

Whither goest thou?

And he said unto me,

To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

Well, that’s still not so clear to us or to the prophet. And so, an angel comes and explains a bit more to Zechariah. Basically, the idea is that Jerusalem will once again be inhabited. And that God will protect her and actually dwell in her.

And because of that, God calls for his scattered people to come back to the land and to escape from the places to which they were previously scattered.

And then we get this awesome glimpse of the Lord sending… the Lord to deliver the Jews from the nations that are oppressing them and then to personally dwell in their midst.

And the result is that not only will the Jews be gathered to the Lord, but even many nations will be as well.

So, that’s Zechariah’s third vision. Jerusalem will be repopulated, dwelt in, and protected by Jesus – their Messiah and ours.

A Summary of Zechariah: Fourth Vision

Let’s briefly consider then his fourth vision.

Read chapter 3, verse 1.

KJV Zechariah 3:1 ¶ And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD,

and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

And so, with Joshua we have the representation of Israel’s religious system and leadership. The problem that will become apparent as you read through this vision is that Joshua is in filthy clothes. Israel’s religion had become defiled by gross idolatry and immorality and disobedience. That’s why God had to kick them out of the land.

But that’s not the emphasis of this vision. The emphasis is on restoration.

The Lord rebukes Satan – not listening to the accusations that he was hurling against the High Priest. And then Joshua is clothed with fine and clean garments, signifying that God has once again cleansed his people’s religious system and leaders.

And that’s just the beginning. God was going to do something much better in the future. Because it’s here in this vision that God prophesies that he is going to bring forth the man he identifies mysteriously as “The Branch.”

And we learn here and in the book of Jeremiah that this Branch is the Messiah – whom we now know to be Jesus of Nazareth. And this vision will end by speaking of the peace that this one will bring to Israel and the whole world.

So, that’s the fourth vision. A cleansed and restored religious system and leadership – ultimately, preparing the way for the ultimate High Priest – Jesus the Messiah.

A Summary of Zechariah: Fifth Vision

Time for Zechariah’s fifth vision.

And we find that in chapter 4. Let’s read verses 1-3.

KJV Zechariah 4:1 ¶ And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,

2 And said unto me,

What seest thou?

And I said,

I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:

3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

And so, that’s what he sees. So… what does that mean?! That’s what we all wonder.

And again, thankfully Zechariah is just as in-the-dark as we are! And so, he asks the angel about what this means.

And the Lord then gives a message to Zerubbabel that’s based on this vision. Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah at this time. And God wants him to know that God will use him to rebuild the temple – not by might nor by power – but by God’s spirit. Just like the oil in the vision constantly was being supplied to the candle contraption – so too God’s spirit would continually provide the needed grace and strength for Judah’s governor to finish the work on the temple.

And toward the end of this vision, Zechariah asks about those two olive trees and olive branches that provide the oil. And God says that these are the two anointed that stand before him. And so, I honestly don’t at this point feel prepared to give the interpretation of that. One source says that these represent Joshua and Zerubbabel. I’m just not quite sure yet. And that’s why we’ll be going through each of these chapters in some detail in the coming weeks.

But, the big idea is that not only has Israel’s religious system been set right – Israel’s governing system has been fixed. Both their High Priest and now their Governor are both receiving God’s help and grace and acceptance. That’s the big idea behind this fifth vision.

A Summary of Zechariah: Sixth Vision

So, let’s move on to the sixth vision.

Now, the sixth and seventh visions as I count them seem to be related in that they picture something flying in the air.

So, let’s become acquainted with the sixth vision in chapter 5, verse 1.

KJV Zechariah 5:1 ¶ Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.

Or a scroll that was flying. And we’ll see that this scroll is a full 30 feet long and 15 feet wide!

And we’re going to see the activity of this scroll. It destroys sinners – people who are transgressing against God’s law.

And that seems to be perhaps not be so encouraging. And yet, we need to recall that much of the suffering and misery in this life is caused by people sinning against others. In fact, this was a large part of the reason that all Israel needed to be exiled – they couldn’t stop sinning against and abusing one another. And God was gracious with them for a long time. And that actually encouraged them to keep on sinning in more extreme ways.

But God is picturing a time when it’s as if his law flies through the air and into homes and deals immediately with sin. This will be a good thing.

And I think this is picturing a time when Jesus the Messiah reigns on earth and sin is dealt with promptly and appropriately.

A Summary of Zechariah: Seventh Vision

So, let’s get to the seventh vision.

It begins in chapter 5, verse 5 with an ephah – a large container – going out of the land of Israel.

But what’s really interesting in this vision is the content of that container. Look at verse 7.

KJV Zechariah 5:7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead:

and this [is/!] a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

So, the heavy lead lid of this ephah is lifted and we’re confronted with a woman sitting in it. And again, let’s remind ourselves that this is a dream vision outside of the realm of time and space. This is not a literal woman with flesh and blood and a soul. This is the portrayal of such a woman.

My point is – don’t feel bad for the woman. This vision could have the warning: “No women were harmed in the giving of this vision.” This is not advocating putting women in ephahs, either! Don’t do that.

So, we’re told then that this woman is wickedness! That’s the meaning of this woman. Wickedness is being taken out of the land of Israel – purged out.

But she ends up somewhere. And that’s in the land of Babylon, where there will be a place made for her.

God’s temple goes up in Jerusalem and as a result, wickedness needs to find its own place somewhere else.

So, to summarize visions 6 and 7, sin will be dealt with in Israel and wickedness will be cast out. And in its place, the Messiah will rule in Jerusalem.

A Summary of Zechariah: Eighth Vision

That gets us to the eighth vision of Zechariah.

Let’s read chapter 6, verse 1.

KJV Zechariah 6:1 ¶ And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold,

there came four chariots out from between two mountains;

and the mountains were mountains of brass.

So, we get the picture of strength. And we’ll see that there are four horses, all of different colors. And they go forth to the south and to the north. And they quiet the north country – perhaps Babylon.

And I hope to find more significance in this vision as we study it in a more concentrated fashion later on. But for now, that’s what we see – God’s spirits as he calls these horses going forth to put down rebellion from the nations. And this certainly will be the case when Jesus the Messiah reigns.

A Summary of Zechariah: Ninth Vision

Alright, on to the ninth and final vision.

This vision ends chapter 6. And in it we see some exiles coming from Babylon to make a crown. They put that crown on Joshua the High Priest. Well, that’s strange because priests don’t wear crowns!

Ah, but there will be a priest who wears the crown in Israel someday. And that’s this enigmatic figure referred to once more as “The Branch.” He’s going to rebuild the temple.

Wait – I thought Zerubbabel builds the temple! He does – but there’s going to be another one after that! And Jesus the Messiah will build it.

And what’s more – he will rule as a priest and a king. Kings and priests were separate offices in the Old Testament. But Jesus will be both king and priest. I should say, he is right now both king and priest!

And that’s the end of the visions in this book.

A Summary of Zechariah: Fasting

The next section runs from chapter 7, verse 1 to chapter 8, verse 23.

And the situation is laid out for us in chapter 7, verses 1-3.

KJV Zechariah 7:1 ¶ And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,

3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying,

Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

So, the question is whether they should weep and fast. Apparently, after the exile – to commemorate the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon and the destruction of the former temple, these Jews had been holding some sort of formal religious observance marking these events with some level of somberness and sorrow.

And God’s response will be one that we’ve heard numerous times in the Old Testament. And that is to say that God was aware of their external religious devotion – fasting and weeping – and yet, that fasting wasn’t really for him. The external show of humility and repentance was not matched by the internal reality of a truly repentant heart.

And so, God calls on them to do what he wanted their ancestors to do. Not the external religious devotions devoid of all internal reality – but he wanted their hearts and he wanted them to do right. And that God’s big emphasis through to the end of chapter 7. Live right! Don’t expect to live as a pagan and then do some little religious exercises and consider yourself to be fine with God. No – live it! Live your faith.

And then God begins chapter 8 breaking out with wonderful magnificent promises to restore Israel and Judah and to do them tremendous good and to bless them. And he just wants them to learn from the mistakes of their fathers and to do right.

And then finally at the of chapter 8, the Lord returns to their original question about fasting. And God basically says that he’s going to make those fasts into feasts. He’s going to turn their sorrow into singing.

And the result will be that all sorts of nations will come and seek out the Jews because they want to go up to the House of the Lord in Jerusalem! What a day that will be!

A Summary of Zechariah: Burdens

Now, we still have chapters 9-14 left.

And these chapters consist of prophesies concerning a large range of time – from Zechariah’s day through to the Millennium when Jesus the Messiah is reigning in Jerusalem.

A Summary of Zechariah: Burden 1

Chapter 9 starts with an oracle against an area that extends from up north in modern-day Syria down through the Mediterranean coast near Israel.

And many of those nations and cities in that area will be destroyed. But God will protect Jerusalem in that day.

And then we have an amazing reference to Israel’s king coming lowly and seated on a donkey – which is referenced by the Gospel writer concerning Jesus’s coming into Jerusalem at the start of his passion week.

And to the end of chapter 9 there seem to be alternating times of military loss and victory for the Jews, with victory being the permanent condition eventually for them.

Chapter 10 then is addressed to the Jews and is full of promises of future strengthening of them and answering of their prayers.

Chapter 11 then is addressed to Lebanon at the beginning with threats of burning and destruction.

And then for the majority of that chapter there’s this talk of shepherds and sheep and staffs being broken and 30 silver pieces being given to the potter and a foolish shepherd who will not care for the flock. And I trust that we’ll gain more insight into that chapter as we study it in detail.

A Summary of Zechariah: Burden 2

Then, chapter 12. It’s a burden concerning Israel.

All the nations one day will come against Jerusalem. And God will protect that city and fight for it and destroy those nations.

And then at that time, the people of Israel will all mourn when they see the one whom they’ve pierced. We all know who that is! Jesus the Messiah!

Then in chapter 13 God tells of a time when he will open a fountain of cleansing for Israel. And he’ll destroy all idols. And there will be no more false prophets in the land.

But in the midst of that discussion, God foretells striking his shepherd and having the sheep scatter. And from there into chapter 14 God speaks of a major battle that’s to occur in Israel. But God will fight for them and carve with his foot a valley into the midst of the Mount of Olives and living waters will flow from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea and Mediterranean Sea. The Lord will rule the whole world in that day and every nation will come to Jerusalem to worship Jesus and everything will be utterly holy to the Lord.

And that’s the book of Zechariah. I hope this introduction will help us see the big picture as we get into the details in the coming months.

Job 42 Summary

Job 42 Summary

Job 42 Summary
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 42 Summary: Let’s turn our attention to Job chapter 42. We’ll be studying the last chapter of the book of Job today.

We started this series October 15th, 2017. And even though that was more than 52 weeks ago, this is only the 47th lesson in this series.

And so, we’ve studied through the entire book of Job.

In the beginning we were introduced to this righteous man. And then we were made aware of this meeting in heaven in which God brings Job to Satan’s attention. Satan insinuates that Job is righteous only because of what God gives him – only because God favors him and blesses him with all sorts of good things in this life.

So then God took those things away in order to prove to Satan that Job was genuinely righteous and that God wasn’t somehow buying Job’s obedience and devotion.

And Job started well. Even when his wife encouraged him to curse God and die, Job refused – and actually gently rebuke his wife, encouraging both of them to take both good and evil from the Lord.

But by the time that Job’s three friends come and they sit with him in silence for seven days, Job related to them what a struggle he was having in his heart. He began by cursing the day of his birth and wishing for death. Life had gone from unrestrained blessing to unrelenting pain and suffering.

And what was most difficult for Job was that God seemed to be punishing him. And Job couldn’t figure out the cause of this punishment. It didn’t make sense to Job.

And Job wasn’t alone. His three friends also sensed that God was punishing Job. And so they urged him to stop sinning and start praying. And if he did, they assured him, God would stop the punishment and bring back the blessings.

There was only one problem with that arrangement in Job’s mind. Job was not sinning and he was praying. And so, he knew that this punishment – as he saw it – was undeserved. And therefore, his mind started going in the direction of placing blame as well – just like his three friends. Only, Job wasn’t going to blame himself – because he knew he was innocent and undeserving of punishment. So, Job took the step of starting to blame God.

Not that God is evil – in Job’s mind. But maybe God just is a little bit mistaken. Or maybe God is finding fault with Job in some area that Job knows nothing about – sort of unfairly punishing him for secret sins that Job himself is unaware of.

And so, Job begins to demand that God explain himself. Job orders God into court to defend his ways – his mysterious, confusing ways – in Job’s life.

And that’s when Elihu comes and is angry that the three friends have no charge against Job and yet they accuse him anyway. And he’s also angry at Job because Job was basically making God look bad in order that he might look good. And Job didn’t need to do that. God can remain perfect and his people remain righteous – even when we’re suffering. We don’t need to make God look bad when we’re suffering.

And one thing that Job really should have reckoned with is the fact that not all suffering is punishment. When God brings suffering into our lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s angry with us. It doesn’t mean that he is exacting punishment on us. And Elihu even said as much.

And then the Lord shows up. Just like Job was demanding. But, the Lord wasn’t prepared to explain himself to Job. God had no plan to lay out the whys and wherefores to Job about his suffering. God said not a word about Satan. Those things are not what Job needed to learn.

What Job needed to learn is what we need to learn. That when God’s ways don’t make sense to us, we need to trust his wisdom.

And so, the Lord started questioning Job on various aspects of nature that God perfectly controls – just like he perfectly controls the lives of his people. And God asked Job – can you do this? Do you know this? Where were you when this happened?

And the only one who could answer any of those questions was God himself. Not Job.

Job was demanding that God explain his ways to him – in particular, in the realm of Job’s circumstances. And God’s questions were intended to help Job see that Job can’t even understand what God does throughout creation. How would Job even begin to understand why and how God was working in his life the way he was?

And then God challenges Job to try out being God for a day!

And then the Lord brought to Job’s attention two wonderful beasts that each were intended to teach Job something.

Behemoth was to be imitated by Job. Behemoth lived with the strength that God gave him without worry and without fear. And Job needed to take the posture of that creature.

And then Leviathan. Job was supposed to think about God and treat God more like Job treated this dangerous powerful creature. Job was treating God so commonly – as if it’s proper to impel the Master of the Universe to a court of law so that he can explain himself and make himself accountable to a puny little creature like man is. Job wouldn’t expect Leviathan to show up for his day in court! Why should he expect God to do so?

Job 42 Summary | God Can do Any/Every Thing

And after all of that – forty-one chapters that have taken us over a year to study – Job gives his final response to the Lord in verse 1 of chapter 42.

KJV Job 42:1 Then Job [answered/replied to] the LORD, and said,

2 I know that thou canst do [every thing/all things],
and that no [thought/purpose/plan] can be [withholden/thwarted] [from thee/of yours].

So, this the first confession of a man who’s seen God and been rebuked by him. The response is “I know you can do everything.” And on the opposite side of that, “I know there’s nothing you can’t do.

If God wants to stop the suffering of one of his people, no one will stop him. If God – in his sovereign wisdom – chooses to bring suffering into the life of one of his faithful servants, suffering that servant will have to endure.

It’s all up to the Lord though. He gives and he takes. And whatever he does, he’s right. And whatever he decides to do cannot be stopped by anyone but him.

Job 42 Summary | I Spoke Ignorantly

And in light of this reality that God can do anything and won’t be stopped by anything, Job makes a second confession in verse 3.

3 [you asked…] Who is [he/this] that [hideth/darkens/obscures] [my…] counsel without knowledge?

By the way – let interject here – that’s not Job speaking to the Lord. As in that’s not Job accusing God of hiding counsel without knowledge.

Rather, this is Job repeating a question that God had asked him earlier in the previous few chapters.

Job is saying, “you asked me, ‘Who is this that hides or darkens or obscures counsel without knowledge.’” And the idea is that Job is saying – “you were right, God.” And that’s what he admits to in the rest verse 3.

[therefore/but/surely] [have I/I have] [uttered/declared/spoke of] that I understood not;
things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

So, Job’s second confession to the Lord is that he spoke ignorantly. He spoke as if he fully understood things that now he’s come to see he has no idea about. Job spoke so confidently about his own innocence – and equally confidently about the fact that he believed that God was wrong in the way he was dealing in Job’s life.

But after all these questions and all these mighty works of God paraded before him, Job realizes that he knows nothing! He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know. He couldn’t make the world work for one millisecond! He was way out of line in speaking of things that he’s so ignorant of.

And brethren, we need to be aware of this fact as well. Let me just put it rather bluntly – what areas of your life do you think that God is totally botching? Or has totally botched? Are there events in your life that you look at – and to think of them fills you with bitterness toward others and ultimately toward God himself?

Can you see things the way that God sees them and understand that you really don’t understand? Have you been humbled to the point of Job and confess that those things that you take issue with God about – really, you’re the one who’s in the wrong.

Job 42 Summary | I See You and Abhor Myself

Well, Job has one more confession to make in verses 4-6.

4 [You said…] [Hear, I beseech thee/Hear now/Pay attention/Listen now], and I will speak:
I will [demand of/ask/question] thee, and [declare thou unto/you instruct/you will answer] me.

And once more, I’ll break in and remind us that Job is not at this point demanding God to answer him. Job again is repeating to God a question that God himself asked Job in the last few chapters.

And Job wants to let the Lord know that he did indeed hear the Lord. God commanded Job to hear. And so, Job says…

5 I [have/had] heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
[but/and?] now mine eye seeth thee.

Job has heard from and seen God. He has indeed listened and paid attention to the Lord. And now he has this extra added bonus of actually seeing God.

And certainly Job is speaking of physical sight. And yet, I think Job is pointing to a reality beyond that. Job has not just seen the physical representation of the Lord. But he’s experienced God. Through Job’s suffering and the struggles that have attended that suffering, Job has literally come face-to-face with the Lord and he has experienced God. It’s not just hearing about God from his three friends or from his wife. No – now Job has heard from and experienced God directly. And that’s enough for him.

And this is Job’s response to that reality.

6 [Wherefore/Therefore] I [abhor myself/retract/despise myself],
and repent in dust and ashes.

So, Job confesses to both hearing and seeing God. And he confesses that his response is like Isaiah’s – “Woe is me! I am unclean!” Or as Job puts it, “I abhor myself and repent!

And that’s Job’s last statement.

He’s confessed that God can do anything. That Job himself spoke ignorantly. And that he has seen and experienced God and therefore abhors himself and repents.

No more arguments. No more accusations. No more demanding God to come to court and explain himself.

God has spoken. And that is enough for Job.

So, that’s how God rebukes Job and sets things right with that righteous man.

Job 42 Summary | God Rebukes the Friends

But God’s not done dealing with people. Elihu doesn’t need to be dealt with by God. He generally spoke on God’s behalf and experiencing no rebuke from the Lord.

But Job’s three friends are another matter. God rebukes them in verse 7.

7 ¶ [And it was so, that after/It came about after/After] the LORD had [spoken/said] these [words/things] unto Job,

the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,

So, we notice that the Lord targets Eliphaz. Now, we’re going to see God speak to all three of these men. And yet, somehow Eliphaz gets the direct attention of God. This might indicate that Eliphaz was perhaps the leader of this group. Maybe that also explains why he would begin each of the three sections of dialog between Job and his friends.

But anyway, God addresses Eliphaz and says…

[My wrath is kindled against/My anger is stirred up against/I am angry with] thee, and against thy two friends:

Why? Why is God angry at these three men?…

[for/because] ye have not spoken [of/about] me [the thing that/what] is right,

as my servant Job hath.

So, even though Job was wrong in his approach to God in demanding that God explain himself to Job – God says here that what Job said about him was essentially correct.

These friends on the other hand were speaking falsehoods about God. And yet, we remember that they had the wisdom of the ancients on their side – they had the testimony of ancient wise men who had passed on before them. One of these guys kept referring to visions he had received – remember the spirit passing before one of their faces at night and causing him great fear and then giving him a revelation. All of that is nonsense when it doesn’t correspond to the word of God.

Visions and experiences and ancient wisdom is all fine and well – but these are not what we should be basing our life on. Our experience is not what we should be pulling out and relating to someone who is suffering. The person who is suffering needs God’s words delivered to him compassionately and patiently.

And so, these three friends had not spoken orthodox doctrine to Job. They had said things about God that just weren’t true. They had asserted that God always punishes evil and always rewards good in this life and pretty much immediately. And God says here, “that’s just not right!

Job 42 Summary | God Orders the Friends to Sacrifice

And so, because of the folly of these friends, God would be right to destroy them on the spot. Or even to apply to them the kind of suffering that Job had experienced.

And yet, instead, we’re going to see God be merciful to these three men and command them to sacrifice in verse 8.

8 [Therefore/Now therefore/So now] take [unto you now/for yourselves] seven [bullocks/bulls] and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering;

and my servant Job [shall/will] [pray/intercede] for you: for [him will I accept/I will accept his prayer]:

[lest I/So that I may not] deal with you after your folly,

[in that/because] ye have not spoken of me [the thing which/what] is right,

[like/as] my servant Job [has…].

So, Job had been on the short end of things for a while now. These three men have been pompously accusing him of secret sin. And Job had been pretty much defenseless against them.

But now the tables have turned. And God fully recognizes in the sight of these three accusers, that Job is his – what? It’s stated three times in this verse. Job is God’s… servant. There was some doubt about that. But not anymore. God makes it clear that Job is his true servant.

And so, these men are at Job’s mercy now. They’re sacrificing – not to Job – but to God. And yet, Job is their priest and mediator before God.

And if they don’t offer that sacrifice and if Job doesn’t pray for them, God menacingly threatens that he will deal with these men according to their foolishness. These men, who had considered themselves as wise! God says that they’re fools!

And God repeats the charge against them. They spoke of God what was not correct.

Job 42 Summary | The Friends Sacrifice and Job Prays and God Accepts

And you better believe that these three men – as foolish as they had behaved themselves – they do fear God and they’re going to make a bee-line to Job with those sacrifices in verse 9!

9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did [according/just] as the LORD [commanded/told] them:

[the LORD also/and the LORD] [accepted/had respect for/accepted the prayer of] Job.

And where Job had felt such a lack of God’s presence – such a rejection of his prayers – now the only one whose prayers are effectual before God is this one who has felt so rejected by God. Job is no longer rejected.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job in Summary

And that applies to his prayers, but we’re going to see from the rest of this chapter that everything is restored to Job. He’s going to experience acceptance by God in every way. Verse 10 summarizes this role reversal.

10 ¶ [And/So] the LORD [turned the captivity of Job/restored the fortunes of Job/restored what Job had lost/made Job prosperous again],

[when/after] he prayed for his friends:

So, God did wait until Job showed that he had truly forgiven these men. And sometimes that is what is holding back some of God’s blessings in our lives is when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us in some pretty serious ways. And yet, God wants us to forgive everyone – just like he’s forgiven us…

[also/and] the LORD [gave Job twice as much as he had before/increased all that Job had twofold/doubled all that had belonged to Job/gave him twice as much as he had before].

So, that’s Job’s restoration in a summary fashion.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Relationships

Now, we’re going to see Job’s restoration in detail with some specifics.

Verse 11 has Job’s relationships restored.

11 Then came there unto him
all his brethren,
and all his sisters,
and all they that had [been of his acquaintance/had known him] before,
and [did eat bread/they dined/ate] with him in his house:

and they [bemoaned/consoled/comforted] him, and [comforted/consoled] him [over/for] all the [evil/adversities/trouble] that the LORD had brought upon him:

every man also gave him a piece of [money/silver], and every one [an earring of gold/a gold ring].

So, one thing to note here is that all of these people had apparently abandoned Job. What help these folks could have been to the suffering Job in his hour of need! And yet, isn’t that sometimes what God orchestrates in our lives so that we don’t trust man – so that we don’t rely on man for our happiness. Sometimes, the Lord brings us to the point where we have literally no one. And the ones we might have are no help.

And that’s OK. It’s as God intends. We don’t have recorded here that Job was bitter against these fair-weather friends and family. He has heard and seen God – experienced God. And I think that he wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. His heart is like that of Joseph’s where he could harbor no bitterness against his brothers but instead saw that where they meant evil, God meant good – and God won!

And I think we need to notice one more thing in this verse. Who brought the evil on Job?

The inspired author of this book places the blame for all the bad stuff that happened on God. This is not Eliphaz saying this. It isn’t even Elihu. It’s the divine author stating in no uncertain terms that God himself brought this evil on Job. God is not apologizing about it. He’s not seeking to shift blame to Satan. He’s not concerned that his reputation will take a hit when people realize that he himself is the one who brings evil – calamity – hardship into the life of one of his righteous people.

I started out this series over a year ago in part because I had a friend whose two young children died in a car accident. And I was talking to one of my sons recently who was a friend of the older boy and we were talking about grief. And my son asked if grief is supposed to go away. And I said that I don’t think you ever get over the death of someone who you love and care for. And he seemed relieved – because even he is still after over a year grieving the loss of his friend.

Now, I want to be clear that I think the first thing that I would say to this grieving father would not be along the lines of this truth – that the Lord made this happen. And certainly you would never relate this to a person in a cold and callous way with no emotion in your voice or face. This is not some truth to beat grieving people to death with.

But it is a truth that we all need to recognize. God is in control. He brings good and he brings bad in this life. And it doesn’t matter who you are.

Can we accept that God ultimately brought the evil into the life of this missionary family in Cameroon? Can we accept that there’s a little 6 year old boy in Minnesota who just had to have a large tumor removed from his brain and still has cancer in his spine and might be enduring harsh treatments for months – and even then he’s not fully out of the woods – can we accept that this is God’s doing?

And I can admit, I don’t want to accept it! I don’t like this. I want the Millennium – now! I want all tears wiped away from our eyes! I want the lion to lay down with the lamb – now!

But we don’t have that now. We have what God has wisely orchestrated in our lives. And as blind and shortsighted as we are – we must trust our captain. We must trust God’s wisdom.

And in fact, you talk to the wife of this murdered missionary or you talk to the believing parents of this dear young child – and you’ll hear them speak of their trusting the Lord. You’ll hear of them being confused and not being able to make sense of things – but you’ll also hear their unwavering faith. And they are an awesome example of what God is teaching us in this book.

And you know – all of these things will be made right one day when we’re with the Lord.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Fortunes

But God saw fit to restore Job in this life – even his fortunes in verse 12.

12 So the LORD blessed the [latter end/latter days/second part/latter part] of [Job/Job’s life] more than [his beginning/the first]:

for he had fourteen thousand sheep,
and six thousand camels,
and a thousand yoke of oxen,
and a thousand [she asses/female donkeys].

And I’ll just note here that all the way back in chapter 1 and verse 3 we’re told that Job had these kinds of things as well. Only there, he had half as much. God blessed him with twice as much material blessings – just like he said in verse 10. And these blessings didn’t come because Job stopped sinning and started praying. They came simply because God is gracious.

This is his posture toward his people. He wants to give us good things. And most of those good things are reserved for us in heaven. And yet even on earth he gives us so much to be thankful for.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Heirs

And the restoration continues in verse 13 where the Lord gives Job more children.

13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.

And Charlie Hatchett once told me of a really interesting encounter. I can’t remember who the two people were – I think one of them was Dr. Cedarholm who founded Maranatha Baptist University. Dr. Cedarholm paid a visit to a pastor who was struggling with how God was working in his life. And this pastor had found himself in the book of Job and got to this point. And the pastor noticed with some dismay that even though God blessed double all that Job had materially – he only gave him back the number of children that he previously had – 10, not 20. But God said in verse 10 that he gave Job double all that he had before. And so this pastor was really distraught about this seeming oversight by God.

And Dr. Cedarholm came to him and this pastor related that struggle to him. And Cedarholm reminded this pastor that God did indeed restore double to Job even in the area of his children. His previous 7 sons and 3 daughters… were with the Lord. And because of that, they’re just as alive as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are. And he would see them again. Job did indeed receive double in the area of children.

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Names

And interestingly enough, the Lord draws great attention to Job’s daughters in the next few verses.

In verse 14 he focuses on their names.

14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima [dove…];
and the name of the second, Kezia [cassia…];
and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch [horn of eye-paint…].

By the way, as you know, women often go unnamed in the Old Testament. And so the fact that these daughters of Job are named I think is significant.

So, I feel compelled to try to tie these names to some sort of meaning. So, here’s a try.

Doves are graceful. Think of the difference between a dove and a crow. Even though doves tend to flit around whereas a crow is a bit more confident, the flight of doves is more graceful than that of a crow or other birds.

Or perhaps the reference to a dove speaks of a beautiful voice. Doves can have very pleasant songs that they sing.

Cassia smells nice. It’s the bark of a tree that is burned and gives off a really nice scent. This in the days before air fresheners and potpourri and artificial stuff like that.

And then cosmetics applied around the eyes enhances one’s beauty.

So, gracefulness or a sweet voice – pleasant scent – and physical beauty. We’re led to think that these attributes characterized Job’s second three daughters.

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Beauty

And while what we just considered bears implicit testimony to the physical beauty and charm of these ladies, verse 15 makes this very explicit.

15 And in all the land were no women found [so fair/as beautiful] as the daughters of Job:

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Inheritance

And what’s really unusual is the next fact we hear about them. These girls were so special that they received an inheritance just like their brothers.

and their father [gave/granted] them [an…] inheritance [among/alongside/along with] their [brethren/brothers].

So, typically in the ancient near east, the boys got the inheritance. The girls would get whatever inheritance was left to the man that they ended up marrying.

But I think the idea here is twofold. First, that God gave Job some very exceptional daughters. And second, that God gave Job so much that he had an abundance to give to even his daughters. There wasn’t any scarcity in Job’s latter life.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Allows Job to Know His Heirs

So, next we hear a summary of Job’s long life in verse 16.

16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his [sons/children], and [his sons’ sons/their children], [even four generations/to the fourth generation].

I’m guessing then based on the twofold arithmetic that we’ve experienced so far that Job lived 70 years before his trial. Because 70 x 2 = 140, which is how long Job lived after his trial of suffering.

So, he lives 140 of his 210 years on this earth after his suffering.

Job 42 Summary | Job Dies Happy

And then Job dies. And he dies a happy man.

17 [So/And/And so] Job died, being old and full of days.

And death is always sad. And yet, there are certain deaths – maybe you’ve been to certain funerals where you just feel like the deceased lived a really good and long and pleasant life. Like, yes we’re very sad that this person is no longer with us. And yet, what a life he or she lived!

And that’s how Job dies. He lived a full, blessed, happy life.

And it wasn’t just because of the stuff that God gave. It’s because Job had heard and seen the Lord. And in light of that encounter and all that led up to that moment with his sufferings and trials – Job had come to understand how to correctly value the stuff that God gave him in this life.

Did Job understand God’s ways? No! He still didn’t. But Job had come to learn to trust God’s wisdom. God saw fit to bless him in his latter years. But I think that even if Job hadn’t been materially blessed in this life, he still would have carried that lesson with him of trusting the Lord in everything.

So, may the Lord help us to trust him in good times and in bad. When we feel like everything’s going for us and when we feel like just to get through the day is an uphill battle. In everything, God is wise. And he’s trustworthy. May the Lord help us to trust him.

Job 41 Meaning

Job 41 Meaning

Job 41 Meaning
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 41 Meaning: Let’s turn in our Bibles to Job, chapter 41. Lord-willing, we’ll be finishing this chapter today! We’ll be studying verses 22-34. If you want to study verses 12-21 read this. Verses 1-11 are here.

And we’re entering into this section of God responding to Job’s accusations throughout this book. And in this last bit of this response we’ve seen the Lord point Job’s attention to this creature called Leviathan.

And in our last lesson we saw the Lord declare that he won’t keep silent about how he created this beast – but rather that he was going to elaborate on Leviathan’s physical features. And so, that’s just what he did for most of the last part that we studied. And the Lord continues doing that in these last verses of this chapter that we’ll be studying right now.

So, the last thing we heard about was how Leviathan literally breathed fire out of his mouth!

Job 41 Meaning: Neck

And now, in verse 22, the Lord continues to speak of Leviathan’s attributes – what he’s like. And God is going to mention the strength of this creature’s neck.

22 In his neck [remaineth/lodges/resides] strength,
and [sorrow/dismay/despair] [is turned into joy/leaps/runs/goes] before him.

So, that first statement is easy enough to understand – Leviathan has a really strong neck. That’s simple.

But what about that second statement? What does it mean and how does it relate to the first statement? Does it relate to that first statement?

Well, I think that the way we would tend to read the KJV rendering of that verse might give us the wrong impression. When it says, “sorrow is turned into joy before him,” what impression does that bring to your mind?

I’ll tell you how I picture it. We’ve had God talk about how frightening and dangerous and deadly this creature is for the last 21 verses. And all of a sudden, we get to the second line of verse 22 and it’s as if the dark clouds roll away – the sun starts to shine – and all of God’s creatures scamper joyfully in front of Leviathan and lead him on a joyful happy parade!

That cannot be what God is saying! Context, context, context!

What God is saying is that it’s as if sorrow or dismay or despair leap before him or run before him. In other words, these emotions are coming for you unless you get out of his way! Leviathan is a menacing, terrifying – and as the first line of this verse says – strong beast that you need to avoid.

And just like Leviathan, God is strong. He’s all-powerful. And to stand in his way is to invite upon yourself sorrow.

He is a God to be loved and close to. But he’s also a God who is strong and to be respected and yes feared.

Job 41 Meaning: Flesh

Well, the Lord wants to move on to the next physical attribute of Leviathan that is noteworthy. And that’s his flesh in verse 23.

23 The [flakes/folds] of his flesh are joined [together/tightly]:
they are firm [in themselves/on him]; [they cannot be moved/immoveable].

So, Leviathan’s skin had folds that were apparently very tight. So tight – in fact – that they were practically unmovable.

Now, God’s human creatures these days spend a lot of money on trying to achieve what Leviathan already had. You could go to a store and be confronted with a good portion of an aisle dedicated to tightening the folds of your flesh – to use the language of this passage. Maybe someone here could capitalize on this and develop some Leviathan cream!

Anyway, Leviathan had tight skin and that’s because that’s how God made him. He did nothing to get that kind of skin.

And just like Leviathan’s skin – God can’t be moved either. And we’ve explored that consideration already so I won’t belabor it here.

But in addition to God’s inability to be moved if he doesn’t want to be move, just like the tightness of Leviathan’s skin – I think that we’ve come to appreciate – as surely Job had – the way that God manages this creation. How tightly ordered this cosmos is. What integrity the systems that God has created display. How well God knows his routine – what needs to happen when.

It’s like having a boss who knows your job better than you do. He knows what needs to happen when. And you can be assured that nothing will get dropped or be forgotten.

So, that’s what we learn of God through a consideration of Leviathan’s skin.

Job 41 Meaning: Heart

And next up, God wants to showcase Leviathan’s heart or perhaps more broadly his chest.

24 His [heart/chest] is as [firm/hard] as a [stone/rock];
[yea,/even] as hard as a [piece of the nether/lower] millstone.

So, let’s consider millstones. These are and were stones that would be used to grind grain into flour. Of course, they needed to be hard and heavy.

In the setup that God is alluding to here, you’d have one large, hard, heavy stone that served as a base on the bottom of the setup. And then there’d be another stone that was rolled on top of that lower stone. And in between the two stones would be the grain.

And so, that lower stone needed to be hard.

And that’s what God is saying the heart or chest of Leviathan is like. It’s hard and strong!

And there’s one way to think of this if God is speaking of his heart and another way to think if he’s speaking about his chest.

If God is speaking of Leviathan’s heart as being hard then we might think of this beast as cruel and callous. Nothing can move him emotionally. He’s hard like that.

If God is speaking of Leviathan’s chest as being hard then we get another picture of impenetrability. We’re reminded once more that Leviathan is practically invincible and untouchable.

And either of these situations can be applied in certain ways to God and what he’s like. God doesn’t need to be moved emotionally by anything – and yet we see him condescend to his creatures and show emotions – anger, joy, sorrow, etc. And of course, as has been mentioned many times in this chapter, God is unable to be affected by anything if he doesn’t want to be – not even attempts by his human creatures to manipulate him as Job and his three friends had done.

Job 41 Meaning: Effect on Others

Well, the hard-hearted and hard-chested Leviathan – like God – tends to be unaffected by others. And yet, this beast had quite an affect himself upon other creatures.

25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty [are afraid/fear/are terrified]:
[by reason of/because of/at its/before his] [breakings/the crashing/its thrashing] they [purify themselves/are bewildered/withdraw/retreat].

So, even the most powerful flee in terror when Leviathan raises itself up – and then crashes itself down or thrashes around or whatever it chooses to do.

And of course, if this beast that was created by the Lord has this kind of effect on even the most powerful of its fellow-creatures – then how much more should even the mightiest human fear the Lord when he raises himself up?

And God has done this to Job. He is raised up in a whirlwind. And we’ve seen and will yet again see Job’s response. It’s a proper fear and reverence of this supreme being who created this terrifying creature, Leviathan.

Job 41 Meaning: Inability to be Attacked Successfully

And part of what causes this creature Leviathan to have so terrifying of an effect on others was the difficulty that anyone would have in attacking him.

26 The sword of him that [layeth at/reaches/strikes] him [cannot hold/cannot avail/will have no effect]:
the spear, the [dart/arrow], nor the [habergeon/javelin].

So, to bring a sword against Leviathan would have no effect. Neither would the spear or arrow or javelin.

Job 41 Meaning: Ineffectiveness of Weapons Against Him

And that’s because the material that these devices are made of are nothing to Leviathan.

27 He [esteemeth/regards/treats] iron as straw,
and [brass/bronze] as rotten wood.

Straw and rotten wood of course are very flimsy. And yet to this amazing creature, they might as well be iron and bronze – or vice versa. The material doesn’t matter due to the strength and ferociousness and imperviousness to attack that Leviathan had.

And so, God turns once more from the materials of these weapons that have no effect on Leviathan to the weapons themselves.

28 The arrow [cannot/do not] make him flee:
slingstones [are turned/become like/are like] [with/to] him [into stubble/chaff].

So, he’s not afraid of arrows. And his mindset concerning stones that someone might use to throw at him – which would be very heavy and solid – well, Leviathan considers them as if they’re like stubble or chaff that are easy to just blow away. They’re light and inconsequential.

And the Lord wants to speak one more time of how ineffective weapons are when it comes to Leviathan.

29 [Darts/Clubs] are [counted/regarded] as [stubble/a piece of straw]:
he laugheth at the [shaking/rattling] of [a/the] [spear/javelin/lance].

And so that ends a section of a few verses where God wants to impress on the hearers the fact that no weapon is effective against Leviathan.

And the Lord ends that section stating Leviathan’s response to all of these weapons. He laughs.

And that reminds us of the Lord’s response to those who rage against him. Psalm 2 – the Lord laughs. Just like Leviathan does – the Lord laughs at all those who rage against him.

Job 41 Meaning: His Wake

So, the Lord has already spoken a few verses ago about Leviathan’s effect on the mighty around him. But now, he’s going to highlight the effect of Leviathan on his surrounding environment in verses 30 through 32.

30 [Sharp/Jagged] [stones/potsherds] are [under him/his underparts/his underside]:
he [spreadeth/leaves its mark like/leaves a trail like] [sharp pointed things/like a threshing sledge] [upon the mire/in the mud].

So, Leviathan’s belly had a sharp and hard covering and as he would slide on by through the mud, he would leave an unmistakable mark. You could tell that he had been there. He had a visible effect on his surroundings.

So, that’s the solid surface he was traveling on. And from there he goes down into the water and so let’s see what happens there in verse 31.

31 He maketh the deep to boil like a [pot/cauldron]:
he [maketh/stirs up] the sea like a pot of ointment.

Now, we need to consider what God means here. Is he being literal about the sea boiling? He could be. After all, Leviathan could breathe fire!

Or perhaps God is being poetic and is wanting to portray the bubbles that would be created by Leviathan’s sharp twists and turns in the water as if the water were literally boiling.

Either way, we’re told by the Lord of Leviathan’s effects on the water that surrounds him.

And I think God is envisioning the water a little bit lower down. But in the next verse – verse 32 – the Lord speaks of Leviathan’s effects on the surface of the water.

32 He [maketh/leaves] a [path/wake] [to shine/that glistens] [after/behind] him;
one would think the deep [to be hoary/to be gray-haired/has a head of white hair].

So, picture the wake created by a boat. And that’s close to what Leviathan made the surface of the water to look like as he passed by through it.

So, whether it’s the ground he’s on or the water he’s in – both down deep and on the surface – Leviathan left his mark everywhere he was.

And God is similar. Romans 1 tells us that everything that he’s created bears his marks. And so, no one is excused from worshipping him and giving him thanks.

Even in Job’s suffering, God’s marks – his handiwork – was all over it. Job clearly recognized that God was behind his suffering. It was evident that this was God’s doing. Now, Job didn’t like it – but he did recognize it. It’s unmistakable. Just like the effects that Leviathan leaves behind him in his environment. Clearly discernible.

Job 41 Meaning: Uniquely Fearless

Well, two verse left in this chapter.

And so, the next verse has God pointing to the uniqueness and fearlessness of Leviathan.

33 [Upon/On] earth there is [not his like/nothing like him/nothing his equal],
[who is made/one made/a creature] without fear.

So, God extols Leviathan as uniquely fearless. And why shouldn’t he be? He has no predators and he’s pretty much invincible. Really, the only thing that can end this creature’s life is the Lord himself, who gave him that life.

And if the Lord points to Leviathan as a one-of-a-kind creature, then how much more uniquely excellent is that one who created him?

And this lack of fear that Leviathan had corresponds to the lack of fear that Behemoth had. And we’re supposed to imitate Behemoth and think of God the way we think about Leviathan – and so this is not the time to encourage ourselves to be fearless. Rather, this is where we should marvel at the fact that God never fears. He has no fear. What would God ever be afraid of? There is no unknown to him. There are no credible threats. He can’t die. He cannot be injured or wounded.

That’s amazing!

Job 41 Meaning: Triumph Over the Proud

And so, the Lord finishes his speech about Leviathan in verse 34 with a note on how Leviathan triumphs over the proud.

34 He [beholdeth/looks on/looks down on] [all high things/everything that is high/every haughty being]:
he is a king over all [the children of pride/that are proud].

And this is the kind of work that God had ordered Job to do back in chapter 40. If Job thought that he could be God, then the Lord told him that one of the things he needs to do is to look on the proud and deal with them.

Well, Job was unable to do that – at least to the extent that God could. And yet, even Leviathan – this creature – is able to do that. Leviathan doesn’t struggle with proud people. He will kill them in an instant. If they wanted to attack him, they’d never succeed. Leviathan is better at “being God” in that sense than Job was.

And so, all of this calls for a great deal of humility from Job. God has inundated him with a barrage of questions that he can’t answer. And now the Lord has challenged him to try to be God, to imitate Behemoth, and finally here to consider God the way he would consider this dangerous creature Leviathan.

So, what we saw in verse 34 is the last statement made by God to Job which we have recorded in this book. God is going to speak to Job’s three friends in the next chapter, but this is the last thing he says to Job.

And so, next time Lord-willing we’ll wrap up this study we’ve been having over the past year in the book of Job.

Job 41 Leviathan

Job 41 Leviathan

Job 41 Leviathan
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 41 Leviathan: Let’s turn to Job chapter 41. We’ll be studying verses 12-21 today. You can read our study in Job 41:1-11 here.

And of course, this is a continuation of God’s response to Job. And God’s response has included drawing Job’s attention to this creature named Leviathan.

And we’ve learned that no one can control this creature. No one can kill him. No one can make him beg for mercy or make him serve them or make him their pet.

And God then made the transition from Leviathan to himself when he declared that no one can stand before him. And finally, God declared that he owes no man anything.

So, through all of that we’ve seen that God mentions Leviathan here in order to help us think more accurately about God himself. The fear and caution that we would exercise in the presence of Leviathan informs us as to how we should behave with this God who is perfectly controlled – and yet is completely uncontrollable. Our God is kind and loving and patient. But he is not tame.

Job 41 Leviathan: Leviathan’s Physical Construction

And so, as we continue on in Job chapter 41 we witness the Lord continuing to speak of Leviathan by declaring that he is going to boast of the physical construction of this creature.

12 I will not [conceal/keep silence concerning/fail to speak of] his [parts/limbs],
[nor/or/and] his [power/mighty strength/might/strength],
[nor/or/and] [his comely proportion./his orderly frame/the grace of its arrangement/its graceful form]

So, the limbs of this beast and its strength and the orderliness of its arrangement are all points that God will not be silent about. Leviathan is God’s creation and he did an awesome job of it and so he’s going to talk about these things in regard to Leviathan in the rest of this chapter.

And once more though – if Leviathan is a thing of awesome power – something to behold with awe – then how much more worthy of such awe – how powerful the Lord – its Creator is!

Job 41 Leviathan: Q81-82: Scales

And then, God continues to extoll this magnificent creature in verse 13 by drawing attention to its scales.

13 Who can [discover/strip off/uncover] [the face of his garment/his outer armor/its outer covering/his outer coat]?
or who can [come to him with/come within/penetrate to the inside of/approach him with] his [double bridle/double mail/its armor/bridle]?

So, apparently the outer layer of this beast – his coat of scales perhaps – was impenetrable. That’s at least what that first line is saying.

For the second line about the bridle – God is saying either what’s being said in the first line – that no one can stab through his outer scales. Or God’s saying that no one can put a bridle on Leviathan to subdue him and ride him anywhere.

Either way, you get a picture of invulnerability when it comes to Leviathan. You can’t stab him. You certainly can’t ride him anywhere. He’s undomesticated and he will stay that way.

And of course, God his Creator is also invulnerable. You can’t find a chink in his armor. There are no vulnerabilities to expose in the Lord – not in him personally and not in his word.

Job 41 Leviathan: Q83-84: Teeth

So, God continues to speak of Leviathan in verse 14 and he focuses on the teeth of this creature.

14 Who [can/dares] open the doors of his [face/mouth]?
[his teeth are terrible round about./Around his teeth there is terror./Its teeth all around are fearsome./ringed about with his fearsome teeth?]

And so, if Leviathan were around today you’d be very careful not to get close to his teeth. It’s like how I treat the bottom of my lawn mower – do not touch – do not get close – not with your hands or your feet – not when it’s running at least. And Leviathan is always running. And so, it was always best to stay away from the terror-inspiring teeth of this creature.

Job 41 Leviathan: God Can Be Dangerous

Teeth can be dangerous in any animal – especially when they’re sharp. And as strange as it seems at first, God can be considered dangerous.

We’re used to – and very thankful for – a God who is love and who is mercy and peace and who has reconciled us to himself by his son.

And yet, we need to remember the means by which God reconciled us to himself – by nailing his son to a cross and punishing him for the sins of the world.

And we also need to remember the fate that awaits those who reject this gift provided in Jesus Christ. That fate is eternity burning in darkness.

In light of those facts, yes, God is dangerous. Now, he’s not capricious. He’s not a God who’s going to make a promise and then not keep it. In that sense he’s not unpredictable. But he is dangerous. As dangerous as – and even more so than – Leviathan’s sharp teeth.

Job 41 Leviathan: How Job & Co. Had Been Treating God

And Job and his friends – I think we can say that they hadn’t been dealing with God on that level.

As the three friends were trying to convince Job that if he just confessed his secret sins and resumed praying to God, then God would start blessing Job again – had these men taken into account that God isn’t some magical Pez dispenser or gumball machine that can be manipulated? Put good works in – get blessings in return! No – God is a dangerous being! Show him the respect such a being deserves!

As Job has been demanding that God answer his summons to a court of law – as he’s been explicitly accusing God of being unjust to him – as Job has been pointing to numerous situations in which he thinks that God has not been executing justice on people who deserve justice – Job has been treating God on a far-too-familiar basis.

Job 41 Leviathan: Don’t Be Too Familiar

Now, God is our Father and he’s kind and gracious. But at the same time – he’s not a teddy bear! Treat him like you would a creature who has sharp teeth. Show him some respect and fear! Don’t let your familiarity with the Almighty breed contempt of him in you.

I think we get the point. I think Job did, too.

So, now, with verse 14 that we just read, we saw the 83rd and 84th questions that God asks Job. And worthy of noting – after that verse, God asks no more questions for the rest of the book. After 84 questions – one after the other – God is satisfied to leave off any more questioning.

And yet, God’s not done speaking.

Job 41 Leviathan: Scales (15-17)

Because in verses 15 through 17 the Lord speaks of the scales of Leviathan.

15 His scales are his pride,
shut up together as with a [close/tight] seal.

NAU Job 41:15His strong scales are his pride,
NET Job 41:15 Its back has rows of shields,
NIV Job 41:15 His back has rows of shields

16 [One/Each one] is so [near/close] to [another/the next],
that no air can come between them.

17 They are joined one to another,
they [stick together/clasp each other/cling together], that they cannot be [sundered/separated/parted].

And so, Leviathan is protected from external harm. Nothing can get to him. Nothing can physically harm him.

And not only can no external force physically harm Leviathan – but no external force can physically affect Leviathan on any level. His armor is so tight that not even air can get through!

Job 41 Leviathan: God is Impervious to Outside Influences

And once more, this teaches Job and us a lesson about God. God is impervious to outside influences.

Job’s three friends have been acting as though God could be moved in some sort of automated way based on the effort of man.

Job had been acting as though he could somehow encourage God to change his behavior and dealings in Job’s life.

But ultimately, if God wants to remain unaffected by external forces he is able to do that.

Job 41 Leviathan: God Allows Himself to Be Affected

And yet, there are ways in which the Lord does allow himself to be affected by external forces. You can think of some ways.

How about prayer? As we ask God to do things that are in keeping with his will, he allows us to – as it were – move his hand to action!

Job 41 Leviathan: Jesus Was Touched

And once again, we’re reminded of God’s supreme exception to this rule of his being unaffected by external influences – when he sent his son to be our Savior. Jesus Christ was touched. He was handled. His human creatures grasped his garments to be healed. They grasped his garments to apprehend him. They nailed his hands and feet to a cross. They hit him. They spit on him. They killed God – the God who by his very nature is untouchable.

What irony and even paradox! That God who is unaffected by external forces allowed himself to not only be touched – but also abused and killed – because he loved us so much!

And this doesn’t make Jesus any less God – that he allowed himself to be affected by external forces in a way that’s contrary to his very nature. It simply shows God’s extreme love in sending us his son.

Well, so, God can’t be affected by external influences – just like Leviathan.

Job 41 Leviathan: Firemouth talk! (18-21)

And as we return to a consideration of this beast – we are alerted to an additional factor in why Leviathan is so unapproachable – so impervious to external forces. He literally breathes fire out of his mouth. That’s what we hear in verses 18-21.

Job 41 Leviathan: Sneezing and Eyes

And the explanation of that begins in verse 18 with a focus on Leviathan’s sneezing and his eyes.

18 [By his neesings/His sneezes/Its snorting] [a light doth shine/flash forth light/throws out flashes of light],
and his eyes are like the [eyelids/red glow/rays] of [the morning/dawn].

Job 41 Leviathan: Mouth

Then God focuses on Leviathan’s mouth in relation to his ability to breathe out fire.

19 Out of his mouth [go/stream forth] [burning lamps/burning torches/flames/firebrands],
and sparks of fire [leap out/leap forth/shoot forth/shoot out].

Job 41 Leviathan: Nostrils

Next, God turns to consider Leviathan’s nostrils in terms of his ability to breathe fire in verse 20.

20 Out of his nostrils [goeth/goes forth/streams/pours] smoke,
as out of a [seething/boiling] pot [or/and/over] [caldron/rushes/burning rushes/a fire of reeds].

Job 41 Leviathan: Breath

And lastly, the Lord considers Leviathan’s breath in relation to his ability to breathe out fire in verse 21.

21 His breath [kindleth/sets ablaze] coals,
and [a flame/flames] [goeth/goes forth/shoots/dart] [out of/from] his mouth.

And so, we’re faced with a creature that is presented as breathing fire out of his mouth. And that fire causes smoke, which billows out of Leviathan’s nostrils.

Job 41 Leviathan: Is this Poetic?

And we might hear this and think that God is being poetic or hyperbolic. And that certainly is a possibility in this book in which poetry is so extensively used.

But we need to remember that poetic descriptions of things that tend to use concrete images to convey some abstract idea – well, there needs to be some abstract idea.

Job 41 Leviathan: “The Lord is My Shepherd”

I’ll give you a basic example. “The Lord is my Shepherd.” That’s poetic.

The Lord is not a man whose job is to herd sheep. David was not a literal sheep.

But picturing God as a shepherd is a concrete image. You can see that. You can picture that in your mind. You know what a shepherd looks like. You know what sheep are like.

And then you can transfer all of that meaning into the realm of the abstract. Where God’s being a shepherd means in the abstract that he cares for you. He feeds you. He sees to it that all of your needs are met. He’s close to you. He knows you. He is willing to get dirty in order to help you. He will help you get out of the problems that your own – I don’t know how else to say it – your stupid decisions get you into.

Now, Psalm 23 could mention all of those abstract ideas – that God helps and heals and feeds and provides and comforts and rescues – and on and on.

But there’s a beauty to the poetic picture that David paints with simply stating “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

Job 41 Leviathan: Back to Leviathan

So, bring that into the discussion of Leviathan. If God intends to use the concrete imagery of breathing fire to teach some abstract lesson about Leviathan… then what is it? That his breath is really offensive? I don’t think so.

I can’t think of anything that God would be trying to communicate in a poetic way by relating that Leviathan breathes out fire.

Job 41 Leviathan: We Know of No Creature Who Can Do This

And so, that leads me to think that the only reason that we might want to view Leviathan’s ability to breathe fire as poetic or fictional is because we don’t know of any creature that can do this exact same thing in our day.

Now, you might be aware of a little creature known as the Bombardier Beetle. This little insect is able to shoot out a combination of chemicals and enzymes from inside its body. And what comes out of them is hotter than boiling water. These little creatures are able to make smoke and fire come out from their bodies.

Could it be that Leviathan did something like this? Maybe.

Is it entirely possible that Leviathan had some other way of making fire come out of its mouth that we have no idea about? Yes. And we have God’s word – God himself – saying that Leviathan did this.

How? We don’t know. But we do know one who cannot lie and is giving us infallible testimony that this did happen.

So, that’s all been an attempt to prove that Leviathan did literally breathe out fire.

Job 41 Leviathan: Why Does God Mention Fire?

But why does God mention that?

Remember that we’re supposed to think of God the way that we’d think about Leviathan. Leviathan breathes fire. … Does God breathe fire?

Well, not literally. God did not have a literal mouth that breathes out literal fire.

But we can think of a few times in Scripture where God sent fire from himself. Even in this book and the first few chapters we had one of Job’s servants testify that fire from God came down from heaven and consumed Job’s things. The fire came from God.

We have testimony concerning the wicked sons of Aaron – Moses’s brother. They didn’t approach God’s holy things with due reverence and God sent out fire that consumed them.

God actually calls himself in Deuteronomy 4 and several other passages “a consuming fire.” God appeared to Moses in a bush that was on fire. When God came down on Mount Sinai it was in fire. God sent fire to consume Elijah’s sacrifice on Mount Carmel. As soldiers came for Elijah later on, God sent fire to consume those soldiers. And of course, the end of every soul that rejects God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ involves eternal fire.

Job 41 Leviathan: God vs. Leviathan

And so I think that we can say that God’s use of fire far supersedes Leviathan’s. We look at Leviathan and how he’s described as breathing fire and it would strike fear into our hearts to have to confront that beast with this frightening ability to call forth fire from his mouth and burn us.

Are we not to fear the being who not only sends out fire at will – but whom to reject is to suffer fire for all eternity?

So, God is warning Job and all of us here.

Job 41 Leviathan: God vs. a Beetle!

I mean – if I was aware that there was a Bombardier Beetle living in my yard, I would alert my kids and tell them to stay far from it. I would help them learn to identify this creature and keep their distance. I myself would not play with this little bug. I wouldn’t handle it or try to step on it or get near it in any way. It might burn me and my family!

But do I – do you – show such caution when approaching God? Do we even extend the carefulness to God that we would extend to a beetle?!

Job 41 Leviathan: Acting Like a Child

How do you speak to God when you’re not happy with the way your life is going?

I imagine that we might respond the way a small child would to a parent who is intent on not reacting to the child’s impatient questioning.

The child asks for something that the parent has already said “no” to. The parent doesn’t respond. He’s already given his answer – “no.”

The child ratchets up the impatience a little and maybe asks in a louder voice. No response from the parent.

The child stomps his foot and swings his arms around. No response.

The child might get up into the face of the parent. He might try to shake the parent with all of the strength his little body can muster.

And at some point, the parent has to react. And he might react in a way that puts that child back into the place of being the child – not as an equal to the parent.

Job 41 Leviathan: God Treats Us Like Children

And I think that’s what God is doing here.

Job has been complaining to God. And like he usually does, God has not verbally responded to Job.

So, Job has started to accuse God of being unjust and unkind. And God has patiently held his tongue.

So, Job has demanded God to come to court and explain his actions – the God of the universe needs to come and explain his actions to one of his weak small human creatures! No response from God.

Job continues to make himself look good at God’s expense.

And so, finally the Lord needs to respond and say, “Don’t you remember that I’m ultimately the God who utilizes fire to deal with people both in time and in eternity? Are you really going to approach me like that?

I use fire. I am untouchable. I have teeth!

And while I am gracious and merciful and slow to anger and abounding in loyal covenant love… don’t treat me lightly.

Job 41 Leviathan: How Do You Treat God?

So, let me ask. Has God been dealing with you in this life in ways that you don’t like? Maybe you’re frustrated with what God is doing. Maybe you’re dissatisfied for one reason or another. And maybe your pleas and cries to God – your supplications – your pleas for mercy – maybe they’ve transformed into bitter insults against the Almighty! Insinuations that you are right and God is out of his mind!

No, no! God is in control. God is all wise. He knows what he’s doing. And he has the right to do anything he wishes in your life – both good and what we would consider to be not-so-good.

He can arrange things so that you can get a promotion at work. He’s equally entitled to arrange things so that you get fired or that your boss quits leaving you with no direction or allowing you to stay in a job where everyone hates you and you aren’t so fond of them either.

God can make it so that your family situation is one of bliss and comfort and joy. Or he can bring great difficulties into that situation.

He can make you rich or poor – healthy or weak – abounding or suffering need. You might be rejoicing right now. Or you might be filled with heaviness and sorrow.

Job 41 Leviathan: Trust Him

And either way, when it really comes down to it – we don’t understand God’s ways – the ways that he has not revealed in Scripture. And so, when we don’t understand his ways, we must trust his wisdom.

God knows what he’s doing – even though we don’t.

He is good. He is gracious. He is loving. But we’ve been reminded in this portion of Scripture that he has teeth. He is completely able to remain untouched by external influences. And when it comes down to it, we owe him more fear and reverence and respect than is due a fire-breathing monster like Leviathan.

So, may the Lord help us to think of him the way we would think about this awesome creature of his that we know as Leviathan.

Job 41 Commentary

Job 41 Commentary

Job 41 Commentary
Explaining the Book of Job

 
 
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Job 41 Commentary: We’ll be in the 41st chapter of the book of Job today.

I anticipate at most two more lessons after this one.

As we enter Job 41, we look back and realize that we’ve been through a lot so far.

We were introduced to a man named Job back in chapter 1 who was upright and blameless. Then a being known as Satan accused God to bribing Job to worship him. So, God allowed Satan to afflict Job in numerous ways.

Then Job’s three friends came to comfort him. But they just ended up arguing with him and accusing him of secret sin.

Finally, Elihu came and began to set these men straight. And then of course the section we’re in right now has God finishing the job that Elihu began in correcting Job.

And that correction has come in two parts.

First, God has asked Job sixty-some questions about how stuff works in this world. Or whether or not Job can do this thing or that thing that only God can do. And so, of course, Job’s first response to God was one of contrition and repentance. That was the first section of God’s confrontation of Job.

We’re now in the second part of God’s confrontation of Job. And so far we’ve seen God basically tell Job that if he thinks he can do a better job at “Godding” or being God than God is able to do – well, then go right ahead and try it.

After that, God turned Job’s attention to Behemoth. And Job and you and I are supposed to imitate Behemoth. Behemoth lived free of anxiety with the strength that God gave him. And Job and you and I are supposed to live that way, too.

And now for the final speech of God in this book to end this second section of God’s rebuke of Job. And God is going to bring to the attention of Job another creature. His name is Leviathan. He’s not a land animal like Behemoth – but is rather a sea creature. And whereas we’re supposed to imitate Behemoth, it seems that God has a different purpose for Leviathan.

With Leviathan, we’re supposed to think of God the way we think of Leviathan. We’re supposed to approach God the way that we approach a dangerous, unpredictable, uncontrollable animal like Leviathan. And I trust that we’ll see that emphasis as we start studying Leviathan today.

Job 41 Commentary: Q64-65: Control

So, the first issue that God wants to point out in regard to this creature is that it’s impossible to control him. But God phrases it in the form of a question. So, verse 1 contains the 64th and 65th questions that God has asked Job thus far if my counting it accurate.

KJV Job 41:1 Canst thou [draw out/pull in] leviathan with [an hook/a fishhook]?
or his tongue with a [cord/rope] [which thou lettest down/can you (press/tie) it down]?

So – no – Job cannot catch Leviathan with a hook or tie down his tongue with a rope. He cannot control this animal.

And Job would have known this. He would have answered these questions in the negative.

And so, what God wants Job to do then is to recognize that Job has no control over God. If Job can’t control one of God’s creature, how would he ever think that he can control God?

And yet, isn’t that what Job had been trying to do? By demanding God show up to a court room and explain his ways to Job, wasn’t Job trying to control the uncontrollable – not uncontrolled, I say but – uncontrollable God?

And where do you try to control God in your life? Do you recognize where you might be doing that? Where you’re trying to make him do your will rather than submitting to do his will?

Job 41 Commentary: Q66-67: More Control

Well, the next two questions also focus on Job’s total inability to control Leviathan.

2 Canst thou put [an hook/a rope/a cord] [into/in/through] his nose?
or [bore/pierce] his jaw [through with a thorn/with a hook]?

So, neither can Job pierce Leviathan’s nose or jaw in order to capture him.

Once more, Leviathan – and Leviathan’s Creator – are unable to be controlled by man.

Job 41 Commentary: Q68-69: Begging for Mercy

But God seems to assume for argument’s sake that Job could catch Leviathan. Because in verse 3, the Lord pictures Leviathan as pleading for mercy and he asks Job if that picture is even possible in real life.

3 Will he make [many/numerous] supplications unto thee? [i.e., will he keep begging you for mercy?]
will he speak [soft/tender/gentle] words unto thee?

And of course, the picture that God paints is ironic. A creature that’s like God describes Leviathan to be in this chapter would never be put in the position of being captured by Job – let alone be found pleading for mercy from this imaginary captor.

And God is implying here that he also will not be at the mercy of any man. And that sounds like a superfluous statement to make – like why does God need to bring that point up? It’s a given, right?

Well, it is. And yet in times of trial and suffering and uncertainty, we – like Job– can get to the point where we start talking and thinking as though we could get God into some strangle hold where he has to plead with us for mercy.

But not even the patriarch Jacob who wrestled with God got this kind of response from the Lord. The Lord merely told him to let him go. There was no pleas for mercy. No cajoling. It was a straightforward statement. And when it comes down to it, all God had to do to make Jacob let him go was to touch his thigh. That worked pretty well.

So, God is not at the mercy of any.

Job 41 Commentary: Q70-71: Serving

And yet, once again, God is going to go along with his farcical pretend scenario of the helpless Leviathan pleading for mercy from Job in verse 4. And now, God pictures Leviathan as promising to serve Job forever as a servant.

4 Will he make [a covenant/a pact/an agreement] with thee?
[wilt thou/so that you/for you to] take him [for a servant/as your slave] for [ever/life]?

And once more, the answer to God’s questions is “no.” Creatures like Leviathan don’t enter into covenants and they don’t make an intentional agreement to serve humans.

And God himself is not required to serve any. Now, amazingly he does serve his creatures – and he did so preeminently in the person of Jesus Christ who took on him the form of a servant – who came not to be served but rather to be the servant.

And yet, God is under no compulsion whatsoever to serve anyone. He’s not anyone’s slave. No one has any claim over his person to make him do anything.

And I’m afraid that Job and his friends basically got to the point where they conceived of God as being someone who was obliged to serve them and do their will. If they do good, then in their minds God was obliged to serve them good things.

But that’s not why God gives good things – not because somehow he’s our servant. But rather he gives us good things because he is merciful. And slaves aren’t merciful – they’re just doing what they must do. And that’s not how God operates. Not for Job and his friends – and not for us.

The moment we get this formula mixed up is the moment we depart from reality. We are God’s servants. We are his slaves. Not the other way around.

Job 41 Commentary: Q72-73: Leviathan a Domesticated Pet?

And yet, God continues the ridiculous scenario between Job and Leviathan in verse 5. And this time, God speculates that perhaps Leviathan would be willing to become Job’s pet!

5 Wilt thou [play with/make a pet of] him as with a bird?
or wilt thou [bind him/tie it on a leash] for thy [maidens/girls]?

Now, my family has no pets. We almost got one when a kitten crawled into our engine compartment the other night after prayer meeting – but we were resolved not to take that cat home!

Anyway, you might have a pet. They apparently had pets in Job’s time – at least some people did.

And most people who have pets in this country might have a dog or a cat. Maybe you might have a bird – like God mentions here.

But I guarantee you that no one has ever had a pet Leviathan. And even though we don’t exactly know what this creature was – my best guess from the text is that he’s something like a giant crocodile that breathes fire!

And even though I’ve never seen that kind of beast in real life, I would venture to say that that kind of animal doesn’t make a very good pet – a fire-breathing super-sized crocodile!

And do you know what would make an even more bizarre unlikely pet? God. You and I cannot put God on a leash. He won’t fetch for us like a dog. You would be insane to think that you can make him beg. You certainly won’t teach him how to play dead.

And you’re not going to be able to impress anyone with the control you have over God like you would a tamed animal on a leash. The realty is – you have no control over God. He does according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay his hand or say unto him “what doest thou?”

Job 41 Commentary: Q74-75: Roast Leviathan???

Well, back to Leviathan. And, you know, in our culture we typically don’t eat animals that would otherwise be pets – right? The typical American diet does not consist of cat and dog and gerbil and guinea pig.

And so, if Leviathan can’t be Job’s pet – maybe he can be Job’s dinner. Verse 6.

6 [Shall/Will] [the companions/partners/traders] [make a banquet of/bargain for] him?
[shall/will] they [part/divide up] him among the merchants?

Now, that second line pictures Job’s companions – who would apparently be traders or merchants – divvying-up Leviathan amongst themselves – either for food or as a rare commodity – like “Look, I have a piece of Leviathan!

And yet, God – as he suggests this – is doing so in a way that we could characterize as absurd. Like – this would never ever happen.

And God is going to get to his main point eventually in this chapter. But for now, we need to keep taking in the absurdity of God’s questions. And they’re intentionally absurd. And we’ll see the reason for it in a few verses.

But just like Leviathan, no one is able to divvy-up God. No one is able to devour and consume him. No one can trade him or bargain for him. He’s not for sale.

Job 41 Commentary: Q76-77: Kill Leviathan?

Alright, so if you can’t catch or enslave or domesticate or eat or trade Leviathan – maybe you can just kill him. God asks whether that’s possible in verse 7 – with the implied idea that this indeed would not be possible.

7 Canst thou fill his [skin/hide] with [barbed irons/harpoons]?
or his head with [fish/fishing] spears?

And these two rhetorical questions imply the slaying of this animal. Filling his skin with harpoons and spears would mean death for Leviathan. And yet, God implies that this cannot happen.

And though the phrase “God is dead” was coined around the end of the 1800s and is an idea that some assert, God cannot die. He never will die.

And yet, he allowed himself to be killed in the person of Jesus Christ. But even then, God cannot remain dead. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and lives to his day and is coming back any time now.

So, no one can kill Leviathan. No one can kill God.

Job 41 Commentary: Fighting Leviathan

And now – after so many of these questions that expect a negative answer – God is going to cut to the chase and he tells Job what would happen if anyone were to try to do any of these things to Leviathan.

8 [If you…] Lay thine hand [upon/on] him,
[you will…] remember the [battle/fight/struggle],
[do no more./you will not do it again!/and you will never do it again!/and never do it again!]

So, if anyone were to try to lay hands on this creature, they would certainly remember that battle and they’d never do it again.

And now, as Job is listening to God’s rebuke, I wonder if Job feels the same way. He wrestled with God. He questioned God’s goodness and justice. And he’s now experiencing a little bit of wrestling back from the Lord. And we’ll see at the end of this book – he’ll never do that again!

Job 41 Commentary: Q78: No Hope

Ad even though Job is resigned to never approach God like this, some really tough guy might think that he could in fact subdue this beast. And God says in response, “That’s a vain hope!

9 Behold, [the hope of him/your expectation/his expectation/any hope of subduing him] is [in vain/false/wrong]:
shall not one be [cast down/laid low/overpowered] even at the sight of him?

So, just looking at this creature is enough to lay a person low. You dare not even look at Leviathan!

And this is where God begins to reveal the purpose behind mentioning Leviathan at this point in his response to Job.

Job 41 Commentary: Q79: God vs. Leviathan

And the purpose is in the next verse – verse 10. God is going to point to the unparalleled fierceness of this creature in the first line. And then…God speaks of himself in relation to this creature.

10 None is so fierce [that dare stir him up/when it is awakened/to rouse him]:
who then is able to stand before […”him?” … Leviathan? No! God says…] me?

Ah hah! So, there it is. This is where God begins to meld together our conception of Leviathan and himself. I’ve been assuming this for the whole chapter because I knew this was coming. But up to this point God has not made it very clear why he’s mentioning Leviathan. But he just connected the dots here in verse 10.

So, we’re to think of this awesome, mighty, fierce creature. And we can’t catch him. We can’t enslave him. We can’t have him as a pet. We can’t eat him. We can’t kill him.

And we’re supposed to compare this creature and how we think of him to how we think of the awesome Creator of this awesome creature.

And recall, we studied Behemoth last time. And the point of Behemoth was that we were supposed to imitate him. He lived fearlessly with the strength that God gave him. And that’s what Job and we are supposed to do with that beast.

But Leviathan is different. With Leviathan we’re not to imitate him. We can’t! Just look at how he’s described – can the same things be said of you? No – instead, we’re supposed to think of God like we would think of this creature. We are like Behemoth – or should be. God is like Leviathan – only even bigger and better and stronger and more dangerous and more uncontrollable!

We fear Leviathan – or we would if it existed today. But, do we grant God that same healthy fear?

We’re aware that man can in no way manipulate Leviathan for his own purposes. But, are we aware that no man may manipulate God for his own selfish purposes?

Job and his friends had been acting as if God can be manipulated. You want good from God? Well then, just do good. It’ll work like clockwork! Like sliding your credit card into the gas pump and getting a full tank of gas in return.

Now, Job didn’t approach God that way in reality. He really did serve God for nothing – contrary to what Satan accused him of. But the way that Job was thinking of how God ought to treat him bordered on that way of thinking. God was giving him bad even though Job was still being good. And that bothered Job immensely. And so, Job needs to be warned here to stop treating God like that.

Job 41 Commentary: Q80: God Owes No Man

Because to think that if I give God something, he owes me in return is just foolish. To think that if I do good then God will give good in turn is not the way this world works and it’s not how God works – and that’s what he says in verse 11.

11 Who [hath prevented/had given to/has confronted/has a claim against] me, that I [should/must] repay him?
[whatsoever is/whatever is/everything] under [the whole heaven/heaven] [is mine/belongs to me].

So, to whom does God owe anything? Is God obliged to treat Job or us in a certain way beyond what he has actually stated in his word? Is God obliged to give you health and wealth and ease? Have you given him enough to the point where he would be constrained to repay you?

No, no one is in that kind of position with God. And that’s amazing when you think about it. Because most of us are in a position of some sort of obligation to someone. You need to pay your school bill or your property taxes or your rent. You and I are obliged to someone. We owe someone something.

But not God. God owes no man anything.

And that’s because God owns everything. There is nothing that is not his.

And that includes Job’s life and your life and mine. If we were somehow able to give our life to God – literally, not in a metaphorical sense – if we gave our life to God, we’re only giving back to him what’s rightfully his. He made us. He gave us breath. He owns us!

And so, this is the message of Leviathan. Let’s treat God with respect and dignity. Let’s not act like we can somehow manipulate the Almighty for our own purposes. Let’s give him the fear and reverence that is due even one of his creatures. How much more worthy of such respect is the Creator than the creature?

May the Lord help us to interact with him more on this level than we’ve known to this point in our lives.