Job 38, 41, 42; Isaiah 53; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Philippians 2:1-11; Hebrews 5:8-8; Revelation 12
Of all the dreadful beasts prowling about our collective human consciousness, the most dreadful is the dragon. The dragons that come most often into our stories and imaginations are the ones with wings that fan a hurricane, tails that level buildings, and flaming breath that incinerates everything in its path. They may work with humans to achieve some common goal, but dragons can never be tamed, and can never, ever be considered servants, pets, or property of mere humans.
Are dragons real? One is: Satan, the great adversary of God and of humanity. There is a description of him in Job 41, where he is called Leviathan and takes the form of a sea serpent. This is the Dragon we fear, but he is also the Dragon we seek to imitate.
This is another lesson from Job. The description of Leviathan is the last part of a long speech God delivers to Job in which He explains just how powerful He is – and just how small and weak Job is. When the Creator finishes speaking, Job humbly confesses,
I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen You. Therefore I despise myself, and repent on dust and ashes.
Job 42:5-6 TLV
Why does Job repent? He never sins, and God Himself says Job had spoken rightly about Him, and that He found Job acceptable. What need did he have for repentance?
Great need, for even righteous Job still had a root of pride in his heart that asserted his innocence and demanded to defend himself before God. He was within his rights to do so, but by standing on those rights he played into the adversary’s hands. That’s why the Creator had to give such a detailed description of Leviathan – a description that might not have registered with Job had God not concluded His description with these words:
He sees every haughty thing; he is king over all who are proud.
Job 41:34(26) TLV
Leviathan, Satan, the Dragon, is king over every person who holds on to any form of pride – even the innocuous pride of defending oneself against unjust accusation. The hope of vindicating oneself leads inexorably to self-justification, and if left unchecked, brings us to that place where Lucifer embraced iniquity and fell from grace.
The only creature more powerful than the Dragon is the Lamb – the Lamb Who was silent as He was led to the slaughter. The Dragon clings to life, grasping until the end for a way to make it his own. The Lamb surrenders His life, knowing that the death of His free will brings resurrection to the Source of life in the Creator.
Job’s life foretells Messiah’s work. God gave him the opportunity to do what he asked: to defend himself before the Almighty. Yet when God interrogated him, Job could not answer. Thus Job gave up his free will, surrendering entirely to the will of the Creator.
In the end, Job didn’t repent for nothing; he repented for living in a way that suggested, however humbly and subtly, that his will mattered more than his Maker’s.
Albert J. McCarn and David Altman