July 29, 2021

The God of Beasts and Prayers of a Priest

Job 40–42

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And the LORD said to Job:

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
    He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Job Promises Silence

Then Job answered...

And the LORD said to Job:

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
    He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Job Promises Silence

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
    I lay my hand on my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
    twice, but I will proceed no further.”

The LORD Challenges Job

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Dress for action 1 like a man;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Will you even put me in the wrong?
    Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
Have you an arm like God,
    and can you thunder with a voice like his?

10  Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity;
    clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
11  Pour out the overflowings of your anger,
    and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.
12  Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low
    and tread down the wicked where they stand.
13  Hide them all in the dust together;
    bind their faces in the world below. 2
14  Then will I also acknowledge to you
    that your own right hand can save you.

15  Behold, Behemoth, 3
    which I made as I made you;
    he eats grass like an ox.
16  Behold, his strength in his loins,
    and his power in the muscles of his belly.
17  He makes his tail stiff like a cedar;
    the sinews of his thighs are knit together.
18  His bones are tubes of bronze,
    his limbs like bars of iron.

19  He is the first of the works 4 of God;
    let him who made him bring near his sword!
20  For the mountains yield food for him
    where all the wild beasts play.
21  Under the lotus plants he lies,
    in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh.
22  For his shade the lotus trees cover him;
    the willows of the brook surround him.
23  Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened;
    he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth.
24  Can one take him by his eyes, 5
    or pierce his nose with a snare?

6 Can you draw out Leviathan 7 with a fishhook
    or press down his tongue with a cord?
Can you put a rope in his nose
    or pierce his jaw with a hook?
Will he make many pleas to you?
    Will he speak to you soft words?
Will he make a covenant with you
    to take him for your servant forever?
Will you play with him as with a bird,
    or will you put him on a leash for your girls?
Will traders bargain over him?
    Will they divide him up among the merchants?
Can you fill his skin with harpoons
    or his head with fishing spears?
Lay your hands on him;
    remember the battle—you will not do it again!
8 Behold, the hope of a man is false;
    he is laid low even at the sight of him.
10  No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up.
    Who then is he who can stand before me?
11  Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
    Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

12  I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
    or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame.
13  Who can strip off his outer garment?
    Who would come near him with a bridle?
14  Who can open the doors of his face?
    Around his teeth is terror.
15  His back is made of 9 rows of shields,
    shut up closely as with a seal.
16  One is so near to another
    that no air can come between them.
17  They are joined one to another;
    they clasp each other and cannot be separated.
18  His sneezings flash forth light,
    and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.
19  Out of his mouth go flaming torches;
    sparks of fire leap forth.
20  Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke,
    as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21  His breath kindles coals,
    and a flame comes forth from his mouth.
22  In his neck abides strength,
    and terror dances before him.
23  The folds of his flesh stick together,
    firmly cast on him and immovable.
24  His heart is hard as a stone,
    hard as the lower millstone.
25  When he raises himself up, the mighty 10 are afraid;
    at the crashing they are beside themselves.
26  Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail,
    nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
27  He counts iron as straw,
    and bronze as rotten wood.
28  The arrow cannot make him flee;
    for him, sling stones are turned to stubble.
29  Clubs are counted as stubble;
    he laughs at the rattle of javelins.
30  His underparts are like sharp potsherds;
    he spreads himself like a threshing sledge on the mire.
31  He makes the deep boil like a pot;
    he makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
32  Behind him he leaves a shining wake;
    one would think the deep to be white-haired.
33  On earth there is not his like,
    a creature without fear.
34  He sees everything that is high;
    he is king over all the sons of pride.”

Job's Confession and Repentance

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
    and repent 11 in dust and ashes.”

The LORD Rebukes Job's Friends

After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.

The LORD Restores Job's Fortunes

10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil 12 that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money 13 and a ring of gold.

12 And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. 15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job's daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.


[1] 40:7 Hebrew Gird up your loins
[2] 40:13 Hebrew in the hidden place
[3] 40:15 A large animal, exact identity unknown
[4] 40:19 Hebrew ways
[5] 40:24 Or in his sight
[6] 41:1 Ch 40:25 in Hebrew
[7] 41:1 A large sea animal, exact identity unknown
[8] 41:9 Ch 41:1 in Hebrew
[9] 41:15 Or His pride is in his
[10] 41:25 Or gods
[11] 42:6 Or and am comforted
[12] 42:11 Or disaster
[13] 42:11 Hebrew a qesitah; a unit of money of unknown value

The God of Beasts and Prayers of a Priest

Key Verse | Job 42:2, 8b

"I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."
. . .
"And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. . . ."

Bio | Julie Fowler

Hi! I'm Julie, and my husband's name is Scott. We're in community with another Julie and Scott, and we recently lived next to—you guessed it—another Julie and Scott! We went on a blind date after my grad school professor met my Scott at the DPS and thought we'd make a good match! We have three wonderful teenagers and a golden retriever. We've also owned a rabbit, a fish, two illegal turtles we innocently bought at the beach, and a roly-poly named Sparkle. I love serving in Watermark's Shiloh ministry to encourage those experiencing infertility and miscarriage.

Central Truth

God is all-powerful and all-knowing. Even in His sovereignty, He graciously meets us in our suffering and gives us the privilege of participating in His plans.

Devotional | Job 40–42

Do my prayers make a difference, or does God do what He is going to anyway? These were my sincere questions amid multiple miscarriages and infertility. I knew God invited and commanded me to pray (Jeremiah...

Do my prayers make a difference, or does God do what He is going to anyway? These were my sincere questions amid multiple miscarriages and infertility. I knew God invited and commanded me to pray (Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 6:18) and that bringing requests to God would give me peace (Philippians 4:6-7), but did my prayers have an effect on what God would do?

In these rich chapters, God graciously continues the conversation with Job and showcases His omnipotence, wisdom, and creative detail. Job is convicted and comforted by God's responses—convicted for demanding answers from the sovereign Creator and comforted that God is with him in the suffering. During one of my infertility pity parties, it was Job 38:4a, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?," that God used to remind me that I couldn't see what He could see and didn't know what He knew. I memorized this verse for just such parties. Job 41:11 is another great "pity-party" verse.

After God's speeches, Job concludes with a wonderful truth, ". . . no purpose of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2) In my grief, this meant neither personal mistakes—mine or another's, discouraging diagnoses, nor failed treatments could foil what God has ordained. God's ultimate plans always stand.

Equally as powerful and comforting is that God utilizes Job's priestly prayer to bring mercy to his friends (Job 42:8). Though God "can do all things," He says that Job also has a significant role. God doesn't need Job's prayers, but acknowledges them as what changes His dealings with Job's friends. I recall this account when doubting whether my prayers matter, especially for the chronic or challenging. My prayer may be just the thing that God uses to accomplish His will.

C.S. Lewis wrote that God didn't have to require food for nourishment or missionaries to spread the gospel, but ordained those things, just as He did prayer, to give us the privilege of being part of His strategy.

This passage is such a gift. He is graciously sovereign. And my prayers do make a difference.

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Discussion Questions

1. Job 42:2 says, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." What difference does this truth about God make in your present circumstances?

2. For more examples of God responding to specific prayer requests, read Joshua 10:12-14 and Genesis 24:12-27. How do these two examples and God responding to Job's prayer for his friends (Job 42:7-9) encourage you in your prayer life? Whom or what can you pray for today?

3. What are your main takeaways from the book of Job? Ask God for an opportunity to share what you have learned with someone else, and then keep your eyes open for God to open a door to share. 

4. Take time to write out a prayer praising God for what He has revealed about Himself. Feel free to use actual words from some of the verses you have read about God's wisdom, power, and creativity. Or, make an attempt to describe the wisdom, glory, and creativity God has displayed in specifically creating you and your family.

11 Comments available

Michael Scaman about 2 months ago
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Hugh, right after Jeremiah 9:23-24 God says what the wise man knows about God that he executes lovingkindness and mercy on the earth for in these things I delight.

And Job probably did not understand that till maybe the end of his life James 5:11

Linda Green about 2 months ago

Prayer is somewhat of a puzzle, Julie! But it has been transformational to begin with praise for the unchanging attributes of God. Eternal, All-powerful…

It takes me from “hand-wringing prayers” to praying expectantly for God to work for His glory. God invites me to join in His divine work through prayer-what an honor!

In these verses, had to change my idea of the voice of God in my head from sounding like a grouchy old person using their “get off my grass!” voice to a truth-teller who isn’t carrying a grudge. Just speaking the truth in His glorious God voice.

Interesting that God spoke at length about a beast on land and a beast in the sea. We can’t even figure out what animals He is talking about! But one day He will fill in all the blanks (1Corinthians 13:12).

Greg Jones about 2 months ago

Q3-Job27:11-23 I will teach you…” outlines what Job teaches about God.

Job27:7-10 What Job believes concerning the unjust outlined.

V10-Will they (the unjust) find delight in the Almighty? This assumes the just find delight and have tamed the terror Job uses to teach about God.

Chapters38-39 God explains God. Concluding with eagle chicks being fed by small prey, the bad Job has experienced isn’t explained nor proven Job’s God views right. Job seems unimpressed, maybe dismissive Job40:4-5

Chapters40-41 God describes the Behemoth and Leviathan to capture Job’s view of God. God concludes:(Leviathan) a creature without fear. It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.” The eagle conclusion now looks better. Job gets it. The it he gets is a new view.

Sue Bohlin about 2 months ago

P.S. I so enjoyed Tim Mackie’s blog post at The Bible Project about the end of Job, particularly this:

So, the book doesn’t unlock the puzzle of why bad things happen to good people. Rather, it does invite us to trust God’s wisdom when we encounter suffering rather than trying to figure out the “reasons” for it.


Sue Bohlin about 2 months ago

Just OUTSTANDING devo, Julie! I loved one of your “special” verses, 41:11 in the NLT: “Everything under heaven is Mine.”

If Lot was the first book of the Bible written, and Lot was an early-early follower of Yahweh, then his lifespan belongs in the early post-flood time frame of Genesis 11 when Shem’s descendants were living several hundred years.

And if Lot was the first book of the Bible, then what God tells us about Himself in this book would have shaped the understanding of Moses in Exodus 9:29–“That you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. . .” and of David in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Just two of the multiple biblical reiterations of God’s claim that all of creation belongs to Him.

Today has been a cool dot-connecting day in God’s word for me!

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

2 of 2

Does it take a divine smack down like Job 38-41?

Isn’t “the end of the end” the place you have to come to before you get the “peace that passes all understanding?” Yes, for me. Yes, for many.

I link to a favorite verse, Jeremiah 9:23-24. Does Job “understand and know” God?

Up until Job 42, is Job “boasting” of his innocence?

How well do I need to know God before I lay my Isaac down?

Confront Pharoah?

Stand in the fire?

Or the lion’s den?

Or challenge the Sanhedrin like Peter and John in Acts 4?

As I was taught in a message few years ago: The answer is not trying harder. The answer is giving up.

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

1 of 2

GM Julie. Love your devo. Your Key Verse and Central Truth are a 720 degree slam dunk even LeBron would envy.

Q1 – I’m taught this truth, (very rough paraphrase), “Nothing that God allows will thwart His plan. And whatever He allows He will use.” A mind-bending brain melt…until you sit and pray through it.

Q2 – I’m taught that the power of prayer is represented inside the many “end times” passages we see in the OT and NT. I link to many prayers of intercession and songs of praise in the OT. It seems nearly every significant figure has a landmark prayer or song. Prayer is clearly heard and impactful.

Q3 – Take-aways: What does it take to get to repentance? REAL repentance. Not just “I’m sorry” repentance. I am talking about fork-in-the-road-and-never-ever-look-back repentance. Luke 15:16 “Eating-with-the-pigs” repentance. Zacchaeus’s repentance? 2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow.

Michael Scaman about 2 months ago

Addressing the elephant not in the room.

First animal in creation that God draws man’s attention to in Job using the world was “Behold Behemoth!!”. Tail like a cedar doesn’t sound like an elephant or hippo. Sounds like a sauropod to me.

Second animal the Leviathan and in Psalms ‘you make Leviathan play in the sea’ To man fearful and powerful like a Kraken. To God more like a rubber duck in his bathtub. Ps 104:26 “Behold Leviathon!”

God uses the word 'Behold" 4 times regarding Behemoth and Leviathan and uses behold for mon considering no other beast.

Earlier Job complained his birth stirred up Leviathan and that had a ‘Lord of the rings’ feel to it poetic and ominous.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Job was called God’s servant at both the start of the book and the end by God and in the deepest part of Job’s suffering, God’s suffering servant intercedes for the sinners, his friends, and God raises Job up.

Pointing to a greater suffering servant in the future.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Job was way ahead of his time and gave his daughter’s inheritance with their brothers. The daughters are named and the brothers are not.

The youngest is sometimes translated 'little make-up box" (horn of jewels), one is Jemimah (little dove) and one Cassia (the spice) They were beautiful.

Perhaps suffering gives a person deeper appreciation of things and how job treated his daughters a glimpse into that.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Job’s friends final speeches were short and now Job has a 2 verse answer to God with lots of humility and repentance.

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