Job 38-41 part 8
Elihu has finished his speech and now it is time for God to speak to Job. Job was getting his wish, but it does not turn out like he had envisioned because God asks Job over 70 questions that open Jobís eyes to just how ignorant he is in comparison to God and how foolish he was to ramble on as he complained and accused God about the things that were happening to him. These same questions that were asked to Job will help humble us today as well because we are all ignorant and helpless in comparison to Godís wisdom and power.
Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:† 2 "Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?† 3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. †††
The word ďwhirlwindĒ means a strong destructive wind storm, which could include a hurricane. This is the same word used to describe how Elijah was taken up into heaven. It is also used to describe Godís wrath. We donít know for sure what kind of wind storm this was, but I imagine it to be an impressive display of Godís control over the wind as His voice comes from this wind. Seeing this alone would have been freighting, but now God speaks out of this wind storm wanting to know who Job thinks he is to be questioning God with words without wisdom. He wants Job to prepare himself and be ready to defend himself so that he can answer the question that God will ask him. God wants Job to understand that he is on trial and not God.
I will be reading everything that transpires in these 4 chapters, but for the most part it will require little comment from me. However, next week, when we finish up the last chapter in Job, I will revisit some of the things God asks Job in these chapters and show you some of the science that is found in Godís words. Let us begin with,
Job 38:4 " Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.† 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?† 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,† 7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?† 8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb;† 9 When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band;† 10 When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors;† 11 When I said, 'This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!'
God is showing how He was there in the beginning and how He created the earth and determined how big it would be. He points out how He designed the oceans and made it to where they would have their own place on the earth. What does Job know about that? Of course he knows nothing about it other than what God has told us. Even today, we cannot fully comprehend how God did all this with His power, but we do know that He did it and we are given a few details about in the book of Genesis. While some want to explain away the creation of our universe with the big bang theory and evolution, it does not make sense because everything is in a certain order, which shows that there is a designer. Even the complexity of one of our cells is to complex to have evolved from simple organism that spawned from lightening hitting some primordial soup.
Job 38:12 " Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place,† 13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?† 14 It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment.† 15 From the wicked their light is withheld, And the upraised arm is broken.† 16 "Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?† 17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?† 18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.
Of course Job had done none of these things nor did have the knowledge to answer such questions. I can just imagine how dumfounded Job was by all these questions, but God was just getting started.
Job 38:19" Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place,† 20 That you may take it to its territory, That you may know the paths to its home?† 21 Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great?† 22 "Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail,† 23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war?† 24 By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth?† 25 "Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt,† 26 To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man;† 27 To satisfy the desolate waste, And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?† 28 Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew?† 29 From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?† 30 The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen.
Not even Job was old enough to know the dwelling of the light or how itís diffused. He certainly doesnít have the power or the wisdom to control these different aspects of the weather that God is talking about here.
Job 38:31 " Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?† 32 Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?† 33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?
God is now asking Job questions about astronomy. The constellation Pleiades appears in the spring, and when the people saw it, they could know that spring was arriving. The constellation Orion appears in late October and was used to know when winter was arriving.† One thought is that God is asking Job if has the ability control the seasons and what kind of knowledge does have of ordinances of heaven, which means that they have a set of laws that they go by, which again indicates a lawgiver or creator. I will discuss another possible meaning about these constellations next week.
Job 38:34 "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you?† 35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, 'Here we are!'?† 36 Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?† 37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,† 38 When the dust hardens in clumps, And the clods cling together?† 39 " Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,† 40 When they crouch in their dens, Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?† 41 Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?
Job nor anyone else can do these things, only God can. The only wisdom we have comes from God because He has given us the ability to learn and increase our wisdom within the confines of His creation. Only God had the power to create the earth in such away that it can sustain life and provide food for all of Godís creatures. Only God had the ability to make these animals with the natural ability to know what to do when it comes to hunting and providing food and protection for their young ones. God continues in chapter 39 asking Job more questions about the animal kingdom.
Job 39:1"Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young? Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?† 2 Can you number the months that they fulfill? Or do you know the time when they bear young?† 3 They bow down, They bring forth their young, They deliver their offspring.† 4 Their young ones are healthy, They grow strong with grain; They depart and do not return to them.† 5 "Who set the wild donkey free? Who loosed the bonds of the onager, (wild donkey) 6 Whose home I have made the wilderness, And the barren land his dwelling?† 7 He scorns the tumult of the city; He does not heed the shouts of the driver.† 8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, And he searches after every green thing.
God knows when all these animals give birth and how long it takes, and He has provided them a place to live where they are free from the hustle and bustle of a city, but Job cannot do this nor does he know all these things.
Job 39:9 "Will the wild ox be willing to serve you? Will he bed by your manger?† 10 Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes? Or will he plow the valleys behind you?† 11 Will you trust him because his strength is great? Or will you leave your labor to him?† 12 Will you trust him to bring home your grain, And gather it to your threshing floor?
Many scholars believe this wild ox was a larger ox that was to wild to be tamed, but is now extinct. The KJV calls it a unicorn, but this incorrect. The reason they called it a unicorn was because the Greek Septuagint rendered the word used here to mean ďone horn on the basis of the relief representations of the wild ox in strict profile, which they found in Babylonian and Egyptian artĒ (Wayne Jackson, Book of Job p.82-83). God question is who created this wild ox and if Job nor any other man can tame this wild ox how could he possible be qualified to question God or stand against Him.
Job 39:13 "The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork's?† 14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground, And warms them in the dust;† 15 She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them.† 16 She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers; Her labor is in vain, without concern,† 17 Because God deprived her of wisdom, And did not endow her with understanding.† 18 When she lifts herself on high, She scorns the horse and its rider.
God is telling Job in these questions that the ostrich is not as loving and caring as the stork is and the ostrich is not a smart bird. She will lay her eggs in the sand and she lays around 30 eggs and it takes about 42 days for the incubation period, but she will not stay with eggs all the time, but the sand does keep them warm. As it appears to be careless about its eggs, the ones that are exposed on the outside will most likely get stepped on. However, these broken eggs give the newly hatched ostriches something to eat. If any danger comes they will flee the nest, but many times this is a ploy to protect their nest. Even though she may not be the smartest bird, God has still given her the skill she needs to survive. When they run they lift their wings for balance, and they can run around 40 miles an hour and most horses can match her speed. Speaking of horses, notice what God asks next.
Job 39:19 "Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder?† 20 Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror.† 21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; He gallops into the clash of arms.† 22 He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; Nor does he turn back from the sword.† 23 The quiver rattles against him, The glittering spear and javelin.† 24 He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.† 25 At the blast of the trumpet he says, 'Aha!' He smells the battle from afar, The thunder of captains and shouting.
God wants to know if Job has the power to make this beautiful animal serve man even in the heat of battle.
Job 39:26 "Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, And spread its wings toward the south?† 27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, And make its nest on high?† 28 On the rocks it dwells and resides, On the crag of the rock and the stronghold.† 29 From there it spies out the prey; Its eyes observe from afar.† 30 Its young ones suck up blood; And where the slain are, there it is."
Hawks are expert flyers and eagles can spot its prey up to 3 miles away. Did Job give them their wisdom of flight and their ability to see so well? Of course not!
Job 40:1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said:† 2 "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it."† 3 Then Job answered the LORD and said:† 4 "Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.† 5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further."
Job has his chance to plead his case before God, but when given the chance, he has a change of heart because he realizes how insignificant he is in the presence of God and so he puts his hand over his mouth and remains silent. At this point, all Job is doing is keeping silent, but he has not reached the point of repentance yet, so God will continue with his questions to make Job see the folly of his past speeches.
Job 40:6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:† 7 "Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me:† 8 "Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?† 9 Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?† 10 Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, and array yourself with glory and beauty.† 11 Disperse the rage of your wrath; Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him.† 12 Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; Tread down the wicked in their place.† 13 Hide them in the dust together, Bind their faces in hidden darkness.† 14 Then I will also confess to you That your own right hand can save you.
Again, God speaks out of the whirlwind and wants to know if Job thinks he wise enough powerful enough to override Godís judgment. When Job was proclaiming his innocence and accusing God of injustice, he was making himself more righteous as he condemned God for His supposed injustice. If is true that Job had the right to do this, then he should be just as powerful as God, so God challenges him to get up and adorn himself with majesty and splendor and to use his power to pass judgment on the wicked. If he can do this, God says He will confess that Job is powerful and righteous and has the ability to save himself.
Of course we know that Job does not have that kind of power and he has no right to judge God or falsely accuse Him of things that He has not done. In fact, no one living today has the right to judge God or assume that God caused some tragedy to happen. Next, God will show how strong He is by talking about two different creatures.
Job 40:15 "
Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass
like an ox.† 16 See now, his
strength is in his hips, And his power is in his stomach
muscles.† 17 He moves his
tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.† 18 His bones are like beams
of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron.† 19
He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can
bring near His sword.† 20
Surely the mountains yield food for him, And all the beasts of the field play
there.† 21 He lies under the
lotus trees, In a covert of reeds and marsh.†
22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; The
willows by the brook surround him.† 23
Indeed the river may rage, Yet he is not disturbed; He is confident,
The first creature he describes is the behemoth or great beast. While the word can describe any type of beast, God is describing a specific animal. This animal was a herbivore, it was huge with strong muscles and bones, it had a noteworthy tail, it stayed near the water and it was fearless.
What is this beast that God has described? Some have suggested that it is a hippopotamus or maybe an elephant. While parts of God description might work for either one of these animals, there are least 4 reasons it cannot be either one.
1. God says he moves his tail like a cedar, which indicates an impressive tail, but neither one these animals tails are very big.
2. God said that this animal was the first or chief of the ways of God, which many believe is referring to the great size of this animal. While the hippo and the elephant are large animals, they donít really stand out as being the chief work of God because our fossil records show that there much larger beast than the elephant.
3. Verse 24 tells us that man cannot snare this beast and even if he snares the beast in the eye or the nose God says it remain undisturbed. Again, this does not fit with a hippo or elephant. We can see in Egyptian art where they captured hippos during their day and we know that elephants can be captured and trained.
4. There are specific Hebrew words that describe a hippo and an elephant, so if the hippo or elephant were under consideration why would God use the word behemoth if He wanted to describe one of the animals.
So the best animal that fits the description of the behemoth is a dinosaur. While we cannot be dogmatic on which dinosaur several of them could fit the description such as a Brontosaurus also known as Apatosaurus, which weighed around 25 tons and were around 75 feet in length as opposed to the 4 tons a hippo weighs or the 10 tons an elephant can weigh. Some other possibilities would be the Brachiosaurus or the Argentinosaurus.
Next, God talks about another interesting animal.
Job 41:1 "Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?† 2 Can you put a reed through his nose, Or pierce his jaw with a hook?† 3 Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak softly to you?† 4 Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him as a servant forever?† 5 Will you play with him as with a bird, Or will you leash him for your maidens?† 6 Will your companions make a banquet of him? Will they apportion him among the merchants?† 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, Or his head with fishing spears?† 8 Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle -- Never do it again!† 9 Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?† 10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. Who then is able to stand against Me?
Godís point with the Behemoth and the Leviathan is that these are two creatures that man cannot snare or tame, but God has the power to control them. So, if Job or mankind cannot control these two creatures that God created, how does Job or any person think he can stand against God when canít even snare or control these two creatures. God continues describing the Leviathan as we continue in:
Job 41:11 Who has
preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is
Mine.† 12 "I will not
conceal his limbs, His mighty power, or his graceful proportions.† 13 Who can remove his outer coat?
Who can approach him with a double bridle?† 14 Who can open the doors of his
face, With his terrible teeth all around?† 15 His rows of scales are his
pride, Shut up tightly as with a seal;† 16 One is so near another That no
air can come between them;† 17
They are joined one to another, They stick together and cannot be parted.† 18 His sneezings flash forth
light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.† 19 Out of his mouth go burning
God gives us a detailed description of this mighty creature and some have suggested that it might be whale, crocodile or a dolphin, but these animals do not fit the description of the leviathan. The closest of these 3 would be the crocodile, but notice the following reason it cannot be the crocodile.
1. This animal sneezes flashes of light and it is able to shoot fire of out its mouth. The crocodile cannot do that.
2. When this animal raises himself up, he causes the mighty to be afraid and he is able to see every high thing, which indicates this animal is extremely tall when it stands up or possible can fly in the air. When a crocodile stands up it is not any scarier and it certainly cannot see all the high things.
3. †This animal is well protected all the away around including its belly, so that javelins and other weapons would have a great deal of trouble piercing it through. While the crocodile has a tough back, its belly is unprotected and can easily be pierced.
4. According verses 31-32 this creature makes a big wake when it swims in the water, but a crocodile does not do this because it is a stealthy swimmer.
So, what is the Leviathan? While we cannot be dogmatic on what it is the best animal that describes it an extinct dinosaur and more specifically a fire breathing dragon. We know that it possible for a creature to breath fire because there is insect that exist today called the Bombardier, beetle which can shoot a fiery stream around 212 F to defend itself against its enemies.
A man by the name of Gish said there are 3 types of dinosaurs that had helmet-like, bony crests on the top of their heads. Their fossils reveal that these structures were hollow and that they were connected by tubes to their noses. He suggest that it is not impossible that these great beast possessed a firing apparatus somewhat analogous to that of the bombardier beetle, and that this may be the creature referred to in Job. (Wayne Jackson, Book of Job p. 88).
It is also interesting that most of our countries across our globe have reported creatures in their history that breathed fire and fits the description that God has given of the Leviathan. Whatever this creature was specifically, we can see that it was not a whale, dolphin or crocodile, but was most likely an extinct dinosaur that breathed fire.
Well, God has made his point and has shown Job how powerless and ignorant he is in comparison to God. Next week we will finish up the last chapter of Job, and we will see that Job has been humbled by God and has realized the folly of his own wisdom and judgment against God, but before we look at that the last chapter, as I said earlier, I want to revisit some of the areas of what God has asked Job and show how Godís wisdom fits perfectly with what has been proven by modern day science.
I hope this lesson has shown how powerful and wise our God is and how insignificant we are in comparison, and I hope that you find it encouraging to know that someone as powerful and wise as God loves us and cares for us and wants us to be part of His heavenly realm, and I hope this lesson has shown how humble we should be about ourselves, and we should trust in Godís judgments and His ways without complaining realizing that He is always there for us and that He is in control.