Morning Readings: Job 41 & Acts 18:24-19:20 [July 15]

Job 41

The Lord continues to use illustrations to teach Job His supremacy. Chapter 41’s example is Leviathan 1. Leviathan in this chapter refers to a crocodile but the entire context of Leviathan is an untamable sea creature which the Lord of course made and controls.

Here are some descriptions the Lord gives about the Leviathan:

  • Around his teeth there is terror.

  • His sneezes flash forth light,
  • His eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
  • Out of his mouth go burning torches;
  • And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
  • The sword that reaches him cannot avail,
  • Nor the spear, the dart or the javelin.

Again, reading a full passage gives you the detailed description, context and understanding of a topic.  Reading the entire chapter sets forth the Lord’s way of describing the invincibility of the Leviathan and why it is intended to shut Jobs mouth from any further challenges to the Lord.

Acts 18:24-19:20

One of the points of verses 24-28 & 19:1-7 is that there appeared to be an incomplete understanding of the baptismal process.  Apollos and 12 men in Ephesus had only received the baptism of John.  In other words, though they believed Jesus was the Christ, their baptism only acknowledged John’s message of repentance, towards the Law of Moses, in preparation for the arrival of the Lord.

Baptism signifies an immersion into a particular message. So for John the Baptist baptism would have been into preparation for the arrival of the Lord.  Once the Lord arrived there would need to be a baptism into His message.

This message would be as Paul explains in Romans 6 a baptism into His death, burial resurrection bringing us alive unto God forever and therefore into newness of life.  A baptism in the name of Jesus would be into His life and teachings and not a return to Moses and his teaching.

Another point is the authority of the Scriptures.  The text uses the word scripture twice in reference the authority of Apollos’ teaching. He would not be an eye witness to the resurrected Christ like an Apostle but it would appear the Scriptures are sufficient to explain that Jesus is the Christ.

Paul’s message at Ephesus was the Kingdom of God. If ‘Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Proverbs 1:7) how does the Lord bring fear upon people? In Ephesus it was from the story about the 7 sons of Sceva who attempted to cast out a demon in the name of ‘Jesus whom Paul preaches’. In a battle of authority the demon asked the 7 ‘who are you’ and leapt on them and subdued them.

Fear came upon the people as a result and they began to confess their practices and burn their magic books.  “So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.” (Acts 19:20).

The Lord advances His Gospel and the glory of His name amongst the heathen in a multitude of ways.  These items in Ephesus provide a glimpse into a couple of ways.  In all of the examples the point is the Lord is supreme over all and He uses all circumstances to advance His Gospel. Like with Jesus’ healings the central person in each one regardless of the means used to heal was Jesus.  The lesson is He is the healer.

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1 Leviathan (לִוְיָתָן, liwyathan). One of the Hebrew names for the sea monster of ancient Near Eastern mythology that represented the forces of chaos held in check by the power of the creator deity. Sometimes rendered “sea monster” or “dragon” in modern English biblical translations.

Leviathan in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Literature

Leviathan is mentioned by name six times in the Hebrew Bible (Job 3:8; 41:1; Pss 74:14; 104:26; Isa 27:1). Most of these passages assert or allude to Yahweh’s power and control over the sea monster. The mythological background of the deity battling and defeating a sea monster (i.e., the Chaoskampf motif) is most evident in Psa 74:14 and Isa 27:1. The only detailed physical description of Leviathan in the Bible is found in Job 41, which describes a powerful and fearsome creature that cannot be tamed or subdued by human power. According to this passage, Leviathan has fearsome teeth (Job 41:14) and impenetrable scales (Job 41:15–17); it breathes out fire and smoke (Job 41:18–21) and breaks through iron and bronze as though it were straw or rotting wood (Job 41:27). Warriors will retreat from Leviathan when all their weapons have proved useless against it (Job 41:25–29).

Phillip J. Long, “Levi, Tribe of,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

 


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