Derek here looks at the creature that is called Leviathan, the king over all the children of pride. Yet God is over him; his Creator. Derek then speaks of God, who cares for even the smallest of creatures like the sparrow, and how He cares for us. Job sees God for who He is and humbly confesses his own ignorance.
In chapter 40, verses 15–24 and chapter 41, the whole chapter, He deals with two particular creatures. In chapter 40, verse 15 He says:
“Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you...”
And we don’t know what the behemoth is. Some people think it’s the elephant.
Then chapter 41, there are 34 verses that deal with one creature which is amazing, if you think how economical the Bible is of words. And this creature is called Leviathan. And there’s a very, very vivid picture of Leviathan. I don’t think anybody knows for sure but if you read the description, the thing it sounds most like is a dragon because it has fiery breath, its breath can kindle. And it’s totally impervious to any kind of weapon. Any weapon you use against it just doesn’t have any affect on it. This is simply a thought, but you know that in many mythologies, especially in China, there are many vivid pictures of the dragon. I personally believe there is a reality behind them. I believe there is a Leviathan. The Bible speaks about him in various places. Apparently, Leviathan lives mainly in the sea.
Many, many years ago—and I always regret deeply that I didn’t keep this record—in the 1950s I got hold of a book in England that recorded reports from the British navy of a creature that had been seen on several occasions in the sea --- and this was official naval reports, this is not hearsay. I believe that probably that was a sighting of Leviathan. There’s other references to Leviathan which we won’t go into but I believe that Leviathan is a real creature. God says, “Can you deal with Leviathan?”
It’s very interesting because there are 34 verses describing Leviathan. He must be of some significance. The final verse, verse 34, speaking of Leviathan says:
“He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride.”
That really is a description of Satan. He is the king over all the children of pride.
If you look for a moment in Ephesians 2, Paul says:
“You who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this age, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”
That’s really the same thing as the one who is king over all the children of pride. So, in a certain sense God is saying, “Can you deal with Satan?” And do you know what my answer is? Definitely not! I’m glad that God has accepted the responsibility. I don’t want to take the job out of His hands.
And when Job was confronted with this he said, “Lord, far be it from me.” But I think there’s a very important lesson. Lots of people today impute the way God is running the world, they have all sorts of criticism why doesn’t He stop war, why doesn’t He stop famine, why doesn’t He stop disease? But God says, “Are you prepared to take over? Can you do a better job than I’m doing? If not, let me run my business my way.” I think that’s a message to all of us, it’s not just for Job.
Now the next thing that comes out of God’s answer is very important. I think it’s often overlooked. It’s this: God is not remote and indifferent in regard to His creation. He is continuously and intimately concerned with all His creatures, whether it’s a donkey or goat, a hawk or an eagle, or whatever. He’s not remote, He doesn’t view it from afar, He’s interested. He’s interested in the time the deer give birth. He’s watching over it. You see, that’s a very different picture than from what most people have of God.
There is a philosophy called deism, I don’t know whether you’ve heard of it. Deism, which is a serious error and came into the church around about the 18th century mainly and has a profound effect, deism says in effect “God created the world, the universe, put in motion all the laws and now He sits back and doesn’t take much interest, He’s just leaving the universe to take care of itself.”
The Greek philosopher Aristotle had a theory about God. Aristotle said, “What is God?” And he said, and this is typical Greek thinking, “The highest thing we know is mind so since God is the highest thing He must be mind. And mind has to contemplate something. What is the highest thing that mind can contemplate? It’s mind. So God is mind contemplating mind and not much interested in anything else.” Well that leaves out the question why did God create everything else? It’s in my opinion a stupid answer.
The picture we have of God is quite different. He’s loving, He’s approachable, He’s interested, He watches over every detail of every creature. That’s a staggering thought.
Let me give you just one picture of Jesus which says it all, in a way. Matthew 10:29:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will...”
But that’s a very unfortunate translation because what the Old King James says is right.
“Not one of them falls to the ground without your Father...”
In other words, God the Father is interested in every sparrow that falls to the ground. I heard a preacher once say God takes time out to attend the sparrow’s funeral. That’s a totally different picture from what most of us have.
It’s even more impressive if together with that you read Luke 12:6. Nothing could emphasize more God’s intimate concern in the smallest details of His creatures. Luke 12:6, Jesus said:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.”
So, if you have one copper coin you can buy two sparrows but if you have two copper coins you can buy five. In other words, an extra sparrow is thrown in free of charge. Jesus says God is interested even in that extra sparrow. It’s a totally different picture from what most of us have of God. He’s not remote, He’s not uninterested, He’s not unaffected; He’s concerned about the very smallest of His creatures and He watches over them all with intense interest.
Let’s go on. Pursuing the story of Job we get to chapter 42. Now we get Job’s response to what God has been saying in verses 1–6:
“Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from you.”
Do you know that? It’s important to know it. God can do everything and not one of His purposes will ever be frustrated. That’s a powerful scripture to lay hold of.
And then Job says:
“You asked who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me which I did not know. Listen please, and let me speak; You said I will question you, and you shall answer me. I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
When he had a personal encounter with God his whole attitude was radically changed. You might say, well, Job says he was righteous. God said he was righteous, I pointed that out last time. How then can Job say, “I abhor myself, I repent in dust and ashes?” My answer to this, it’s my personal answer and you’re free to make your own decision about it, is there are two dimensions: the horizontal and the vertical. When Job looked horizontally he was righteous. By all human standards he was righteous. But when he looked vertically and saw God in His holiness, he saw how utterly base and vile he was. by comparison with God. So really, the question is with whom do you compare yourself? God never disputed that Job was righteous, right from the beginning to the end of the book. But when Job saw God he said, “I’m vile. I’m not fit for your presence, I’m unworthy.” He hadn’t changed, he just saw himself from a totally different perspective.