What does it say?
Job has continually clamored to ask God for answers. That moment finally arrives (Job 40), and Job has absolutely nothing to say. God challenges Job to consider Behemoth, a literal transliteration of the Hebrew word for “beasts” (plural), but the singular verbs suggests its use here as a title. Theories abound about this creature’s identity. Some translations suggest a specific animal, but that’s speculation. Is this a real animal, unknown or extinct? Is this symbolic of the beasts of Revelation? Whatever it is, Behemoth is formidable and figures highly in God’s creation.
Next (Job 41), God mentions another beast without certain parallel in the natural world, often transliterated as Leviathan. This word appears several times in scripture in the context of symbolic representation of the Devil. Here, God calls him king of the proud.
The drama ends (Job 42) with Job confessing his ignorance to God and God rebuking Job’s three accusers, commanding them to offer a burnt sacrifice. In an almost comical act, God tells them that Job will pray to protect them from the full weight of divine fury. And young Elihu? Not even mentioned! Job’s health, wealth, family life and status are restored double. Oh, and Job still has no answer or reason why as far as we can tell.
What does it mean?
Let me mention three important lessons. First, we do well to toss that list of questions to ask God someday. When we finally get the chance, they won’t matter.
Second, as interesting as it is scrutinize these two strange beasts, the main point in their brief appearance on stage is to impress Job (and us) that we are engaged in a cosmic struggle far beyond our ability to comprehend. Some answers we will never receive. There is far more to life than we can see, and we are impotent apart from humble submission to God’s control.
Finally, Job is not only redeemed from his tribulation, he is doubly restored. God is not just on a rescue mission, he is getting ready to hit the reset button to restore factory defaults.
How will I respond?
What is the most pressing question I want God to answer? Honestly, will the answer to that question really change the course of my life or even matter five minutes into eternity?
Why not better focus on preparing for and engaging in God’s mission? How can I better learn the Bible? How can I more effectively and relevantly share God’s love with those who do not know him?