Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook?Job 41:1-2
On the next sections God calls Job's attention to two amazing animals, the behemoth, a land animal for the most part, and leviathan, a sea creature. Commentators have had a great deal of difficulty trying to determine just which animals in our natural world are referred to here. Some think that behemoth may be the hippopotamus or the elephant or perhaps the rhinoceros. Others say that leviathan is the crocodile, though some think it could be the whale.
I believe that it is irrelevant which animals God is speaking of because the language that is used here clearly goes beyond the actual realm. In the last section, where God was taking Job through a tour of His created universe, all the animals were recognizable and in line with what anyone can still observe about them in nature, though they were described in poetic language. But here is something that goes beyond the natural.
Therefore, some commentators have believed these are mythical, legendary creatures, like the unicorn and the dragon. But I think if we admit that this is mythical language, we can also see that it likely is referring not to myth but to supernatural beings. These beasts that appear here are symbolic beasts, tied to animals in the natural realm as symbols of that which is invisible and supernatural.
Your mind may have already run ahead to the great section of the book of Revelation where in chapter 13 two beasts emerge that dominate the scene in the last days. One is a beast that comes up out of the sea and reigns over the waters, which, we are told in Revelation, represent the multitudes of peoples of the earth. The other beast comes up on the land. Behind both of these beasts is still a third incredible animal called the great dragon. There we are told plainly that this dragon is Satan, and he gives his power and authority to the beasts. Now, tracing this symbolism through and applying it here in the book of Job, I believe that it is warranted that we should say that these beasts represent a satanic power made visible in terms of our earthly existence.
As I understand this, the first of these beasts, behemoth, represents the satanic twist that we all labor with and struggle against in our own lives that the Bible calls the flesh, the fallen nature within us, our humanity, with its continual desire to assert and live for itself. The second beast represents the world with all its vast influence upon every one of us, pressuring us to conform, to reflect the values and attitudes of those around us, dominating all our thinking and all our life in every possible way. Behind them both is the devil, with his malevolent, cunning wisdom and power, incredible in his might and his interference in human events.
What God, then, is setting before Job is a very pertinent question for all of us:
Are you able to handle the enemy within and the enemy without, especially that malicious being who is behind them all--the world, the flesh, and the devil?
Lord, thank You that I can claim Your strength rather than my own in fighting the enemy.
Our arch enemy pushes his agenda against our souls from within and without. Do we presume to engage in this spiritual warfare using our own carnal weaponry?