A conference with Pastor David Inks
Covenant United Reformed Church of Fresno, CA.
November 6, 2021
Dragon Slayer – Part 1
Dragon Slayer – Part 2
Eliphaz 4 & 5 (the water never rises any higher than this opening statement)
Job’s Answer 6:4, 6:24, 29-30; 7:11
Bildad weighs in 8:1-10, 20
Job Responds 10:1-7 “I am righteous!”
Zophar pipes up 11:13-20 “repent and the sun will shine” but then again 20
Job answers 12:1-3 again! “I know, I agree!” 13:1-3, 18
Eliphaz 15:14-16 “Job, you can’t avoid OS and TD”
Job 19:6-11 “God unresponsive to wronging me with wrath”
Eliphaz 22:21-30 “Agree with God…be at peace…He will then deliver”
Bildad 25:1-6 final brief sputtering as they run out of gas and takes his last repeated swipe “come on, it’s easy…confess”
Job 26:1-4 speaks with disdain and sarcasm Why? 1-not a moron 2-not amoral but a righteous man of integrity 27:1-6 “I’ll never lie for you or budge an inch regarding my righteousness!”
Authorial Pause 28 (the wisdom quest) 28:12, 20
29 Life before mirth
30 Life now mourning
31 Job’s tour de force (a covenant document-14 oaths of self-malediction to his righteousness)
God is Sovereign over Leviathan
The book of Job refers several times to a monster sea serpent called Leviathan or Rahab: “Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.” 3:8
God is sovereign over this serpent.
“God will not turn back his anger, beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab” 9:13
“By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
By his wind the heavens were made fair; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, And how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” 26:12-14
When God interrogates and rebukes Job, he describes Leviathan in detail to emphasize that he is supremely sovereign over the mighty creature. Job 41 is the longest passage in the Bible about a monstrous serpent. Cf. Job 41 and now read.
The literary context of Job 41 is significant. Before God interrogates Job in chapters 40-41, Job steadfastly maintains that he is innocent in his suffering-and rightly so. But Job is wrong in at least two ways:
All will be well, Job thinks, if only he can interview God. But when Job finally gets his wish to speak with God, the interview is not what he had in mind. God responds to Job but not on Job’s terms; God responds on his own terms. Job doesn’t question God; God questions Job. And God does so by thundering out of the whirlwind (38:1; 40:6).
The exchange between God and Job (38:1-42:6) reveals that in Job’s eyes (1) God is too small and (2) Job is too large. God is not obligated to give Job anything-not even answers to his questions. So God changes the subject. Job gets vindication but not explanation. God does not answer Job’s main question: “Why am I suffering?” The closest God comes to answering it is rebuking Job for defending his own righteousness at the expense of God’s righteousness (40:8). God asks Job a series of stunning, humbling questions about creation. God’s point is that only he controls every aspect of his creation, and that Job cannot control any of them.
When God interrogates Job in round two (40:6-41:34) God asks Job a series of stunning, humbling questions about Behemoth (40:15-24) and Leviathan (41:1-34). There are at least three major views on how to identify Behemoth and Leviathan.
I find view 3 most compelling. The evidence for evil cosmic forces (view 2) is too strong to dismiss, but Behemoth and Leviathan also seem to be earthly creatures, because God tells Job that he created Behemoth (and by implication, Leviathan) just as he created Job (40:15).
Whether you hold to any of these three views you should be able to agree on why it is significant that God mentions Behemoth and Leviathan, God created these powerful, fear inducing creatures, and only God can control them. God is God; Job is not. Therefore, Job’s respectful fear of God should surpass his respectful fear of Behemoth and Leviathan.
If view 2 or 3 is correct, then Job 41 not only teaches that God controls the earthly dimensions of Job’s suffering; it also teaches that God controls the cosmic ones—namely, Satan himself. God is more powerful than Satan. And that is exactly what the book of Job teaches:
God is sovereign over serpents, which often symbolize God’s enemies. And God’s enemies ultimately do what God decrees. For example, when Amos prophesies that God will judge Israel, the Lord says. “If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.” (Amos 9:3)
The serpent is out to kill and destroy God’s image bearers, but God is sovereign over the serpent. God is more powerful than Leviathan. God is sovereign over Satan (cf. II Cor.12:7-10.
God Will Slay the Dragon
“In that day the Lord with his hand and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. (Is.27:1).
Isaiah 27:1 describes the Lord’s sword with three adjectives e (hard, great, and strong), and it also describes the serpent in three ways (Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and the dragon that is in the sea). Isaiah characterizes Leviathan in a way that complements how the book of Job appropriates it. Isaiah is not adopting a pagan mythological worldview-such as the Babylonian myth that the god Marduk had to defeat the dragon Tiamat in order to create the world. Instead, Isaiah is using a well-known concept in the ancient Near East to describe what is actually true-namely, that god will sovereignly destroy the most powerful evil monster in the universe. The book of Revelation identifies this ancient serpent-monster as Satan. And Paul promises, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” Rom./16:20.
I. Holy Man
II. Heated Man
III. Humbled Man
IV. Heavenly Man