June 12, 2014
READ: Job 38:1-41
For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, “This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!” (vv.10-11).
Ancient civilisations were terrified by the ocean. To them, the sea was a stormy, unpredictable place where swells swallowed up courageous sailors. So it’s not surprising that the religions of the Ancient Near East all contained accounts about how their god defeated the evil sea of chaos and its seven-headed monster—often portrayed as a dragon or serpent. Whether it was the Mesopotamian Marduk slaying Tiamat, goddess of the sea, or the Canaanite Baal cutting off the heads of the oceanic chaos monster, the ancients made a point of saying that their god had triumphed over evil.
Scripture uses the sea and the chaos monster to make an even better point about God. Yahweh demonstrated that He alone was God when He “dried up the sea” so His people could escape from Egypt (Isaiah 51:10). And Rahab confessed to the spies, “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the LORD made a dry path for you through the Red Sea” (Joshua 2:9-10).
God reminded Job that He has placed limits on what the sea can do, and that He dominates the sea monster Leviathan (Job 38:8-11, 41:1-34). Asaph later wrote of God: “You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan” (Psalm 74:13-14). God’s power is greater than any enemy we will face on earth—even the enemy of our souls.
Jesus promises to return and slay “the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil”, and He will create a new earth with no more sea (Revelation 20:2, 21:1).
I don’t know what ocean of chaos has buckled your knees, but give your chaos to God. He can tame it. —Mike Wittmer
365-day plan› Matthew 2:1-12
Read Genesis 1:1-10 and consider what this passage teaches about God’s relation to the chaos represented by the sea.
What person would you like to tell about God’s power over the ocean of chaos? How have you experienced God’s power over chaos?