Thursday, May 26, 2022

Leviathan and the Age Old Question

 "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?..." Job 41:1

"...the LORD...shall punish leviathan..." Isaiah 57:1
Portrayed in the Bible to reveal the sovereign power of God the Creator, the description of Leviathan
takes the entire chapter of Job 41. In Psalm 74:14, Psalm 106:26, and Isaiah 27:1, this same creature appears to reveal God's ultimate power over all of creation, man, and evil.

And evil has raised its ugly head this week in Uvalde, Texas. Which brings us to the age old question of why do bad things happen to good people?

A question impossible to fully answer, because we are limited in our understanding of good and evil.

This morning the creature, leviathan, captured my thoughts while reading Job 41-42.

Its description caused me to think of this creature as a representation of Satan, and the embodiment of all evil. In Job 41 God makes it clear only He has control over this fierce creature. And such control is revealed in Isaiah 27:1:

"In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

On the other hand, it seems leviathan is a creature man of which man does not have dominion. God is the victor, the conqueror, the ruler, the One with complete dominance over this creature even to the point of feeding it to His people. Though man was given dominion over all creatures, and the fear and dread of man would be on all beasts (Genesis 1:26; 9:2), this particular creature does not seem to have been delivered into our hand. 

And isn't that how it is with evil?

We are powerless against evil. Even over sin of our own lives.

Yet God has power over it. 

So why does He not stop such horrendous events like what happened in Uvalde?

I honestly cannot give you an answer acceptable to each person.

And that's the point, isn't it? We have to be willing to accept an answer (or lack of an answer) when things like this happen...but sometimes it takes time.

Job lost everything. His children killed. Things were horrible. So what does God do? Go on a tangent about how He knows everything, is all powerful, is the Creator of all, greater than Job, beyond Job in every way. 

Doesn't exactly seem comforting, does it?

God closes His monologue describing the one creature that man absolutely has no control over. A whole chapter is spent on it. Why? To bring home the fact that we absolutely do not understand nor have dominion over evil.

We look at the world in the context of time. God looks at the world from the context of eternity.

We'll never be able to see things as God does, because we are limited, and He is not.

In anger we ask, "Why does God allow evil?"

And that anger seems to be a part of the grieving process, necessary for us to walk through before we can reach a place of peace....and not peace with the horrendous situation or event, but peace with God.

No matter what anyone says, evil is evil. Abhorred by both God and man. 

And yet, God uses evil; He does allow it. From His eternal perspective, evil happens unconstrained by the framework of time, EVEN as good happens outside the constrains of time. Given from the perspective of eternity, a moment of evil and a moment of good today are less than a blip on the radar. 

We want to mourn. We want to weep. We want justice. We want revenge--in our time and sometimes even in our way.

Humanly speaking, we need time to process the evil and the hurt it created.

And if we allow ourselves to, we learn to forgive and to heal and even to see the good that came from a wretched and horrible thing. Not everyone will get to that point...and I think that is sad. Some will hang on to that anger (often lashing out at anyone that dares to have a different solution than theirs) and will hang on to that unforgiveness and turn it into bitterness, 

    and that is letting evil win.

In submission and humility, we can accept evil as an opportunity and instrument used by God to draw us to Him, if we are willing to be drawn.

But we may never fully understand.

I have heard so often the importance of needing to pay to the details of our lives. I confess to feeling that those details, while they may affect eternity and may reflect our character, are limited to a point or period of time. Our lives are not limited to this moment in time. Life does move beyond it.

God sees all of time in a moment because He is not limited by time. What we deem horrific (and is horrific), He sees with the clarity of eternity and the clarity of His all-powerful nature.

The acts of man today, while yes, they can affect eternity, they are not overwhelming to God, who sees all of eternity in a moment.

This God is in control. Evil does not overwhelm The Sovereign Creator.

The evil we experience today (because of man's free will, because the sin nature of humanity) may seem to rule this moment, but it cannot and will not conquer our Eternal God. 

This is what the description of leviathan represents--God's incredible power and rule and justice--eternal and perfect justice--over evil.

Job's pain ended with him realizing his own lack of knowledge and understanding.

And then God does something beautiful. He gives us a picture, through Job who suffered without provocation, of Christ's acceptable personage, suffering and sacrificing. Job takes on the role of a priest, of an intercessor between God and his friends, even as Christ became an intercessor on our behalf. 

Then, God gives Job a future. He restores double all that Job lost. Again, a picture of the bounty of the Christ's eternal kingdom and the abundant life He offers.

So, as part of our healing, after a period of mourning, after choosing to humbly accept God's sovereignty in every situation, after looking for Him and His hand in the workings through and around the situation, we need to begin to look for the future. Hope. Something that will cause us to leave behind the pains and the sorrows and bring joy and purpose once more.

I am praying for the people of Uvalde, Texas. Praying for healing, which cannot fully come without acceptance of God's sovereignty and power. It cannot come without allowing for and receiving God's timing of justice and grace and forgiveness. And it cannot come without a desire to trust God for a future. I am praying that good will come from what was intended for evil, and that this community would not let evil take hold of them and drag them into a lifetime of bitterness. Rather, that they'll surrender to the God who desires for them an eternity of peace, joy, and comfort.

"That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. 

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Isaiah 65:16-17 

Seasons of Life

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1  A friend started a conversatio...