What You’ve Missed…
* More crying out from Job. (No real surprise there.)
* Some young punk named Elihu comes out of the woodwork dropping some serious wisdom on the old men around him. (Score one for the young guns!)
* God responds to Job from a passing tornado. It isn’t pretty.
Days 30 and 31
Daily Readings: Job 38-42
As a lover of stories, I’ve seen my fare share of twist endings. (I’m one of the rare people who admit to not only being surprised at the end of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, but but actually liking it too.) But the end of Job caught me completely off guard, for a couple of reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that God himself throws some sarcasm Job’s way.
Before I go any further…let’s remember that God is speaking to Job from “the whirlwind” (Job 38:1) I’m thinking of this as some form of tornado. Now, I’ve never seen an actual tornado, but since I have seen The Wizard of Oz, Twister and almost a full episode of Storm Chasers, I feel qualified enough to say that tornados are pretty intense. Including ones that are talking. And especially if they’re intentionally humiliating you. So, that’s crazy enough in and of itself. Here is a man who was humbled by a talking tornado. I’ll let that register a minute.
Moving on. God in tornado form is asking Job if he’s ever commanded the sun to rise, where he was when the foundations of the earth were laid, and whether or not he knows how to get to the gates of death. But to drive the point home, God gets straight up sarcastic with Job saying, “But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!” Daaaang. That’s a serious burn, people. Job just got burned by God. Hard. (I think it’s at this point Job starts to realize he’s outmatched in a big way. And since David and Goliath hasn’t happened yet, I don’t think he’s holding out too much hope for a major underdog victory here. Rather, he’s probably wetting himself. Possibly while curled up in the fetal position.)
So, God-as-tornado kicks off the crazy ending, but things continue to progress. God doesn’t simply let Job off the hook with some heady questions, but rather goes on to describe how immense, how powerful, how incredible some of His creations are. He begins to describe a creature that cannot be tamed by men, then goes on to describe an even more powerful creature that can only be handled by God himself. We’re not talking lions, tigers or bears (oh my!) here people. God has taken us into the realm of Behemoth and Leviathan.
So what are Behemoth and Leviathan? Well…. (My Bible’s footnotes say there is a dispute of whether or not these are actual, earthly creatures, or mythical beasts of ancient literature.) As an educated man, I struggle to write the following…but I think God might be talking about…dragons. That live in the sea. Seriously. I’ll let you check out the description of Behemoth for yourself (Job 40:15-24) while I touch on Leviathan. Now…I realize that saying the Bible talks about ocean-dwelling, fire-breathing dragons may be ridiculous, and possibly even slightly insane…but I don’t know what else to think. Here are some of the descriptions of this bad boy…
-“Who can penetrate its double layer of armor?” (Job 41:13)
-“When it sneezes, it flashes light! Its eyes are like the red of dawn. Lightning leaps from its mouth; flames of fire flash out.” (Job 41:18-19)
-“Its breath would kindle coals, for flames shoot from its mouth.” (Job 41:21)
-“Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.” (Job 41:31)
-“Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless. Of all the creatures, it is the proudest. It is the king of beasts.” (Job 41:34)
Okay. What? This thing breathes fire? (The beast is also described as having scales like shields, terrible teeth and strength more terrifying than anything known to man.) Tell me that’s not a dragon. And God seems to be talking about this thing as if it’s real. I mean, really real. As in, this is not Puff the Magic Dragon. As in, The Loch Ness Monster is an adorable puppy compared to this thing. As in, this thing exists, and it will wreck you. In a big way.
It is more powerful than any other creature. It is beyond man. We are not talking about your garden variety Harry Potter Hungarian Horntail here. This sucker would use the Horntail as a chew toy. God is using Leviathan to show Job that He is ultimate. The most ultimate of beasts, beasts we can’t begin to compare with, are still beasts He created. He is more ultimate than the most ultimate thing on earth. That’s what’s so interesting…it’s as if God expects Job to know what He’s talking about. To know what Leviathan is. And God seems to be acting as if it’s real. He’s talking about a creature with red eyes that breathes fire and lives in the ocean. Thanks Jaws, “Don’t go in the water” is right. Except, Jaws, you just became a guppy.
So yeah…make of that what you will. But if you’re a Christian…this is in your holy book. Your God is talking about some pretty wild stuff.
And just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of crazy endings, God goes and pulls one last twist. After God speaks, Job repents, walking away humbled and awed by his Creator. God seems to not just forgive this prideful, slightly arrogant guy, but blesses him as well. At the end of the story, God has returned to Job DOUBLE what he originally lost, and provided him with more children.
A lot of people stop there saying the point of the story was that Job was a man who honored God, and so God blessed him. But after reading, I think the point was that Job had a complete change of heart. Not only did he become more humble and reverent toward God, but it says he also included his daughters in his will (not common in those times), which to me says that he became grateful for everything in his life after his run in with God. He seems to appreciate his life and loves the people in it more than before. His entire outlook on existence seemed to be changed by his encounter with The Creator.
Talking tornadoes, dragons of the sea, and a man’s life changed forever. Now that’s what I call an ending. And that’s what I call crazy. Thanks for the ride Job.