Now I think, Job, you were finally ready to hear God. God told you at least twice to look on all who were proud, to survey the haughty examples of earthly power. God told you at least five times to bring them low, to back up your words with your actions. But he doesn't ask you to speak immediately. Nor, as a matter of fact, does he ask you to speak after the long Leviathan speech in ch.41. He just pauses for a moment now and says that if you can bring low all these powers, "Then I will also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can give you victory" (40:14).
While you are stupefied, then, God begins the demonstration of divine power. It is almost as if God is now a kind of art museum docent, a teacher to the uninitiated, who wants to bring you to realize some of the inner power of his creative artistry. 'Here we have a Robinson which was painted during his four-summer sojourn in Giverny from 1888-92, when he was influenced by the creative genius of Monet.' But God is not only the docent; he is the artist, too. 'Oh, and here we have Behemoth, who formerly was a rather fierce creature, but whom I have now reduced to a nice peaceful animal who lies around under lotus tress and willows of the wadis. You see that stiff tail and the way the sinews of its thighs are knit together? That was some potent creature. Job, you thought you were so potent, being the "big guy" in the East, but no man has such a "tail" as Behemoth, a "tail" that is "stiff as a cedar" (divine wink), even though some of you guys think your hardness is pretty amazing.'
'And, oh, don't forget to examine that picture at the end of the hall. It is the most fierce monster of all, Leviathan, who also was subdued in a cosmic struggle. By the way, I subdued him also. Now Leviathan was one bad monster. As a matter of fact, I could speak about Leviathan for hours.'
Isn't that kind of what it was like, Job? God had showed you your impotence, and you were willing to accept it and confess your powerlessness as early as 40:14, but God decided to take you on a further tour to drive home the point even more convincingly. But you know what is so striking to me, Job, about God's description of Leviathan in 41? It is how different it is from that of Behemoth in 40. Behemoth is described as one subdued, one who is lounging under the lotus. Every verse from 40:15-24 is absolutely clear and points to that reality. But you know, Job, when God begins to describe Leviathan in 41 it is almost as if God's mind begins to wander. He doesn't tell you how he subdued him or that Leviathan now submissively and happily swims in the water, sort of like God's trained seal. None of that. All God does is to describe his fierce shell, his tough neck, his hot breath and the remarkable wake he leaves as he sails across the water. It is almost as if God is lost in a kind of reverie of his own. You had your two great reveries in chs. 3 and 14, Job. Remember those? You only wanted to talk about darkness in 3:1-10. And, in 14:1-12 you were utterly overcome by the apparent vanity of hope for human life after death. But now God has his reverie. Each of your reveries, Job, only lasted for a few verses until the reality of your current condition "hit" you. It brought you back to the stinging sense of loss and pain that overwhelmed you.
But the divine daydreaming is different from yours. When God daydreams he never returns to the subject at hand--your need to submit to him. It is as if he is so overwhelmed by the vivid memory of the battle with Leviathan that he can only say (and I just have to quote the words--they are too good to miss):
"It makes the deep boil like a pot; it makes the sea like a pot of ointment. It leaves a shining wake behind it; one would think the deep to be white-haired. On earth it has no equal, a creature without fear. It surveys everything that is lofty; it is king over all that are proud" (41:31-34).
Whew, Job, can you believe that description? No wonder God's mind is wandering. Leviathan is such an arresting creature, such a majestic being, that even God is lost in reverie.
And those are the last words of God until the prose returns (42:7). Whereas the text said in ch.31, "the words of Job are ended" (31:40), no such marker is given us for God's words. He is just lost in his "Leviathan-induced reverie." But that was OK, wasn't it Job? God has said all that he needed to say, hadn't he? God doesn't even need to say another word. You now know that you must speak, even as you knew in ch.3 that you had to speak. There, you were undone for the first time (or at least that undoing is testified to in 7:16). Here you will be undone again. But this one, I now know, was quite different from the first undoing. Now we are getting somewhere, Job.