Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or press down its tongue with a cord? (Job 41:1)
Job is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. It’s not an easy read. I’m pretty sure the phrase, “the patience of Job” has nothing to do with Job (he was not that patient) but rather the patience required to read the book of Job. And the moral of the story makes most people uncomfortable. Stuff happens. Deal with it. But I still love it.
It starts with Job enduring undeserved suffering. That speaks to most of humanity. Victims of war, disease, famine, poverty, are rarely deserving of their fates. Stuff happens. Sometimes really bad stuff.
Job’s “friends” come along to “comfort” him. Surely Job must have done something wrong to deserve his suffering. Just confess your sin, repent, and all will be well, they say. By the end of the story, they are all exposed for their thoughtless, self-righteous, even mean-spirited take on God’s justice which leads me to believe most T.V. evangelists never read the book of Job.
Finally, Job cracks and demands an audience before God to plead his innocence and receive vindication. That’s when the book gets good.
Chapter 38, verses 1-3.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
In my opinion, God telling Job to “gird up your loins like a man” is the greatest line in all the Bible!
At that point, God goes on a rant of epic proportions, not-so-gently reminding Job that God is God and Job is not.
And that is why I love Job so much. It keeps me humble. It reminds me that I am not solely responsible for saving the world. It teaches me once again that there is a power in the universe greater than myself. Best of all, in the end, God and Job made nice.
When I look to creation, I am awed by the Creator and I give thanks that the Creator of All is on my side, strengthening me and comforting me when I need it most.
Though it may be a little harder, I also give thanks when the Creator of All comes to me out of the whirlwind when perhaps I have gotten a little too big for my britches, as my father used to say, and tells me, “gird up your loins like a man” because the LORD your God is about to take you down a peg. Sometimes we need to hear that message, too.