Job Sees The Light - Forty-second in a series
Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion
Christian children are taught about hell. We learn that hell is a terrifying place where wicked people end up. I don’t recall who explained this to me, but I’m sure my parents confirmed it after Sunday School. Yes, hell is a real, terrible place where bad people go after death. It is true!
No one tried to scare or manipulate me by this new knowledge, but the church’s teaching confirmed by my parents served to deter me from disrespecting God, except at those times when I was a backslider. But generally, throughout my life I have feared God, partly because I have feared hell.
So it was that God described Leviathan to Job, instilling a useful fear in his heart. Next will come the final chapter where Job’s life is restored with double the possessions and blessings he had previously enjoyed.
The Leviathan was unassailable with terrible teeth round about, scales aligned so he was impenetrable and indestructible, eyes like the morning sun, and breath with sparks of fire that would kindle coals. He was a fire-breathing dragon created by the Lord to serve as “king over all the sons of pride.” (Job 41:34)
Job 41:1-8 NIV The Leviathan was not a creature designed for man’s use as a pet, for food, for service, nor could hunters capture him for sport or barter. What was his reason for being? It seems he was a picture of Satan for men to consider. As I had understood hell as a child and determined I would not end up there, so Job might ponder Leviathan and feel impressed to take refuge in the Lord for protection— ‘hiding from God in God.’
Job 41:9-11 NIV If we would cower before this beast, how much more should we bow before the Lord who made him?
Job 41:12-32 NIV God describes Leviathan. He is rightfully proud of the design of this one whom He made. See the full description here.
This same creature is mentioned in Psalm 104 as one playfully enjoying the sea, (Ps 104:26) and again he is described in Ps 74:
Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. (Ps 74:13-14)
In verse 13, God crushed the heads of the dragons, plural, in the waters. This may be a symbolic mention of the Egyptian leaders who pursued the Israelites across the Red Sea but were drowned in it. In verse 14 the leviathan (singular) has many heads which may be a prophecy about the dragon in the Revelation with seven heads (Rev 13:1). This dragon will likewise be destroyed by God to help his people suffering in the wilderness.
Job 41:33-34 NIV Pages could be written to elaborate on the mentions of Leviathan in Scripture and how the passages may be related. In the context of our study of Job, whether the Leviathan had many heads or was more like a terrifying crocodile or whale as some think, or a dinosaur or similar extinct reptile, he was unlike any other creature.
Though God never explained to Job Satan’s role in his trial, he revealed his type through the description of Leviathan. That sealed the fear of the Lord in Job.
Without fear of God, man’s conscience is impaired. Job was certainly a man who carefully considered all of his ways and behavior, yet in that he felt he could recommend himself to God, he was not clear in his mind and heart on who God is.