John T. Willis

Thursday, November 19, 2009

God's Second Speech--Job 40:6-42:6--Part 2--The Crocodile

God's second "parade" animal is the "Leviathan," which most likely is the crocodile. As in the case of the hippopotamus (see Job 40:15-24), God challenges Job to meet the crocodile in a "hand to hand" combat in preparation for encountering the CREATOR of all these creatures in the World Heavy Weight Boxing Match on earth. This second portion of God's second speech appears in Job 41:1-42:6, and fall into two parts.

I. The Crocodile [Leviathan]--Job 41:1-34.
a. God again raises embarrassing questions to Job. Job, can you catch a crocodile with a fishhook? Can you put a rope in the nose of the crocodile and lead it around like someone leads a dog around? Will the crocodile make supplications and speak soft words to a human being out of fear for a human being? Will a crocodile become your servant? Will you play with a crocodile, or put it on a leash so your children can play with it? Will merchants bargain over a crocodile? Can you harpoon or spear this creature? All of these possibilities are absurd. Hence God invites Job:
"Lay hands on it;
Think of the battle; you will not do it again!" (verse 8).
The point is very clear!!! Job cannot defeat a crocodile, SO how absurd is it for Job or any human being to confront God!!! And yet, this is precisely what Job tried to do throughout his speeches. (Verses 1-11).
b. God now describes the crocodile in detail. Its limbs are strong, it has a splendid frame, when it acts, there is "terror all around," its back is fully protected, its look and movements are awesome. (Verses 12-29).
c. When the crocodile moves in the swamp, it moves swiftly, leaving a shining wake behind it. (Verses 30-32).
d. According, God concludes:
"On earth it [the crocodile] has no equal,
a creature without fear.
It surveys everything that is LOFTY;
it is king over ALL THAT ARE PROUD." (Verses 33-34).
Just like Elihu, God emphasizes that THE problem of human beings is PRIDE, SELF-CENTEREDNESS, INGRATITUDE.

II. Job responds brief to God's second speech. Job 42:1-6. This response falls into two parts.
a. Job confesses that God "can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Then Job quotes his own words in verse 3a, and admits: "Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." (Verses 1-3).
b. Then Job again quotes his own words in verse 4a, and then responds in verses 5-6:
"I had heard of you [Yahweh] by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself in dust and ashes."

In recent years, scholars have sought five different interpretations of the last line--see Carol A. Newsom in the New Interpreter's Bible on Job, volume IV (1996), page 629. I invite the reader to examine these nuances.

In light of the overall context and the entire thrust of the Book of Job, it seems clear that Job here repents of his sins uttered in his speeches against God, challenging God to meet Job in a fair court trial. As suggested early in our journey through this Book, Job lost his wealth, his health, and his wisdom=his fear of God.

But now we discover that this is important. Often we need to lose our faith--in order to receive from God a much deeper faith. This is that happened to Job. For myself, God has changed him completely around through my life. I am an entirely different person from what I was 60 years ago, 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, etc. God TRANSFORMS people. This is what life is all about. I am so glad that God continually changes my beliefs, my ideas, my traditions, my whole life.

What about YOU? How has God changed YOUR life? Share your thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU. I need all the help I can get.

John Willis


  • Wow...pride, self-centeredness, and ingratitude...This really convicted me...God's word is so fresh and real...

    By Blogger gaylamom, at 3:52 AM  

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