Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron. He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword! For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play. Under the lotus plants he lies, in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh. For his shade the lotus trees cover him; the willows of the brook surround him. Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened; he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth. Can one take him by his eyes, or pierce his nose with a snare? ~ Job 40:15-24
Has someone ever told you, “You look like you eat well.”? Or, “You have a big mouth.”?
We just celebrated what is often referred to as the “super bowl” of Christian holidays — the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (aka Easter). And I was freshly reminded that for many of us, the Easter story is very familiar.
We have heard and seen it played out multiple times. I personally have lost track of my viewings of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” in attempts to remind and refresh my heart of this particular weekend’s significance.
And like anything else, that which is commonplace loses its potency; we get comfortable. God help us to never become cozy with the cross of Christ upon which He died for the sins of the world!
The Gospel can actually get reduced to plain vanilla, if we’re not careful!
So what’d you think about that passage from Job above? What a random excerpt, right?! Not exactly your type of “devotional” material, I imagine. Moreover, what in the world does it have to do with Easter or Jesus’s substitutionary atonement?
First, a little background on Job is helpful. He was righteous and well-off. Unfortunately, these qualities turned into magnets for tragedy. In the beginning of the book, Job loses practically everything — his livestock, his servants, and all ten of his children! And this is all in the same day!
And you thought you had a bad day?!
Subsequently, the majority of the book details Job, along with three “friends,” trying to figure out what happened. Why did Job experience such calamity?
After a while, Job takes an inappropriate posture towards his God and he begins to question Him. He sort of puts God on trial. Towards the end of the book, however, God turns the tables and puts Job in his place — He starts to ask the questions of Job.
This is what we observe in chapter 40 regarding Behemoth and chapter 41 with Leviathan. Job is being sobered by his smallness compared to his great God.
Now, I am no expert on the book of Job, or even the Bible for that matter. I love Jesus and am very familiar with His Word, but please understand that what I say here (or anywhere else) should always be checked against the scriptures. This is just food for thought.
There are two differing, scholarly camps I would like to draw upon as we ponder the creature known as “Behemoth” in Job 40.
The first camp interprets this creature as a literal, land-dweller. Either it was something akin to a hippopotamus or perhaps an extinct dinosaur.
The second camp, however, sees Behemoth, and Leviathan, as something much greater and deeper within the text of Job than physical animals. Due to the imagery and language used throughout the book, these individuals suggest that the creatures metaphorically or symbolically represent entities that you and I still face today, ones that even Jesus faced during His faithful life, death, and conquering resurrection.
“What are they?”, you ask. More on this next time.
Until then, stay hungry hipsters because death is on the menu!
I’ve been thinking of how You wept for Lazarus. Tears on Your cheeks, Resurrection on Your lips.
Sometimes mercy can feel like abandonment, but You know all about it.
You let my heart die, but left Yours beating in my chest.