What is Man? (Job 40; Job 41)

Heart of a Shepherd

Mar 28, 2023



Cos'è l'Uomo? (Giobbe 40; Lavoro 41)


Qu'est-ce que l'Homme ? (Tâche 40 ; Tâche 41)


انسان کیا ہے؟ (ایوب 40؛ ایوب 41)


Was ist der Mensch? (Hiob 40; Hiob 41)


O que é o Homem? (Jó 40; Jó 41)


¿Qué es el hombre? (Trabajo 40; Trabajo 41)


Что такое человек? (Иов 40; Иов 41)

What is Man? (Job 40; Job 41) 

Scripture reading - Job 40-41

A note from the shepherd: Today’s devotional is the second to the last in our study of the Book of Job. I congratulate you for completing a difficult journey. Indeed, one of the great disciplines of a chronological reading schedule is it disciplines us to consider subjects that are not appealing. Certainly, a study of troubles, trials, sickness, sorrows, and death is unattractive, but necessary. I trust a study of Job’s life has challenged each of us to accept life in this sin-cursed world will be characterized by times of sorrow, as well as fleeting times of joy.

Job 40


Today’s Scripture reading (Job 40-41) is a continuance of the Lord’s discourse with Job. Perhaps God’s question to Job is one He has brought to you and me.  Ultimately, it is the question of authority. The Lord asked Job: “Shall he that contendeth [strives with] with the Almighty [Shaddai] instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it” (Job 40:2).

Frightened by the reality of God’s majesty, power, and sovereignty, Job saw himself for what he was as a man, and replied: “Behold, I am vile [cursed]; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth [have nothing to say]. (5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:4-5). 

Humbled by the presence of God, Job yielded to the LORD. He no longer attempted to justify himself, and had nothing more to say.


Then, the LORD questioned, “Wilt thou also disannul [dispute] my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be [i.e., appear to be] righteous?” (Job 40:8) Will you dare to question the ways of the LORD (Job 40:6-14)? Will you challenge My majesty? (Job 40:10)

To demonstrate His power, and sovereignty over nature, God proved His dominion over creation with two great beasts that roamed the earth in Job’s day: The behemoth (Job 40:15-24), and the leviathan (Job 41:1-34).


The Behemoth, and God’s Sovereignty Over Nature (Job 40:15-24)

The identity of the “behemoth” (Job 40:15) is uncertain; however, the prevailing opinion among scholars is he was either a hippopotamus, elephant, or water buffalo. I am, however, of the opinion the behemoth may be an extinct beast. Perhaps a great dinosaur that roamed the earth following the flood.


Physical characteristics of the behemoth (Job 40:15-24)

The behemoth was a vegetarian, for we read, “he eateth grass as an ox” (Job 40:15b). He was a powerful beast, with great “strength…in his loins [hips, and] …his belly” (Job 40:16). The movement of his tail, described “like a cedar” (Job 40:17a), was like the movement and swaying of a cedar tree.


The description of the behemoth continued in Job 40:18-24. His bones were like brass and iron (40:18). He had a voracious appetite for mountain pastures (Job 40:20), and when he quenched his thirst it was as though he “drinketh up a river” (Job 40:23). The behemoth was described as “the chief [greatest] of the ways [works; creatures] of God,” and yet the Creator had power over him and could “make his sword to approach unto him” (Job 40:19).

Before we consider the question, “What did all this mean to Job, and why should it matter to us?”, let us ponder another great beast…the Leviathan.

Job 41 – The Leviathan, and God’s Sovereignty Over Nature


The LORD invited Job to consider a second great beast, the “leviathan” (Job 41:1). Once again, the identity of this great beast is uncertain; however, scholars suggest it might have been a giant saltwater crocodile, one that is probably extinct today. Whatever its identity, the analogy between the “behemoth” (Job 40) and leviathan was meant to draw Job to conclude he was foolish to question his Creator. After all, man paled in size and strength to the majestic leviathan God created (Job 41:1-9). 

Job was asked to ponder if a man could tame a leviathan? Of course, the implication was absolutely not; therefore, what right did Job have to question or stand before God (Job 41:10-33).  We read how the leviathan “beholdeth all high things [for no man is his master]: He is a king over all the children of pride [and retreats from none]” (Job 41:34).

Closing thoughts - Having considered the beauty and majesty of God’s creation, and the great creatures over whom He reigns supreme, we must ask, “What is man?” 

Job 7:17 – “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?”

Job 15:14 – “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?”

Psalm 8:4 – “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

Psalm 144:3 – “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!” 

Hebrews 2:6a – “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?”


Man is an eternal soul, and was created in the likeness and image of God (Genesis 1:27; 2:7, 18-20). Because of sin, we are physically feeble, sinners by nature (Romans 3:10, 23), and bearing the weight and curse of sin (Romans 6:23). Yet, in spite of our sins and failures, God loved us and demonstrated His love “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God is our Creator. He is majestic in His glory, and sovereign of His creation. The LORD is omnipotent, holy, just, and forgiving. Yet, He is willing to save all who come to Him by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and accept His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 1 John 5:13).

Hebrews 2:9 – “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”


Is He your Savior? If so, have you given Him authority over your life?


Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith


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