Spiritual warfare lessons in the Book of Job
There are many lessons to be learned from the story of Job, but one I have never heard taught is that it is one of two premiere lessons in scripture about spiritual warfare. The other is found in Ephesians chapter six.
Yes, Job is a portrayal
of bad things happening to good people. But why did our Creator allow Job, a
perfect and upright man, to lose everything he had, including his children, who
he obviously adored, to suffer grievous physical affliction, and to endure
mockery from self-righteous miserable excuses for friends. I propose that it was so great good could come to many people.
The book of Job is written like a screenplay, with first-person dialogue from each player. We see descriptive narrative about what is happening only at the beginning and at the end of the book. The middle consists entirely of first-person dialogue of the various reactions to what is happening, including dialogue from the Almighty himself.
Job suffered terribly. Though he never blamed God for his troubles, he sunk into a pit of despair and self-pity. He said he wished he had never been born. I believe he genuinely wanted to die. I don’t know how I could endure the loss of all three of my children in one fell swoop. How does one recover from such? And to top that, he suffered from physically painful [and disgusting to look at] boils. Everyone could see his appalling affliction, and no one was showing him compassion. He was surrounded by mockers and naysayers.
Job just wanted to have it over-with and die. His emotional condition was perfectly understandable. But it was harmful to him and would only make his problems worse [if such a thing was possible] if he couldn’t snap out of it.
Worse, Job was unaware that his troubles did not originate from any natural source such as Murphy’s Law [if anything can go wrong, it will] or simply “bad luck.” Job did not know that all his troubles stemmed from a vicious spiritual attack, 100%.
But the Lord knew how to deliver him from his despair, humiliation, and poverty…if only Job would listen.
Confides in Job
Job 40:14: Then will I also confide
The King of heaven and earth shared a confidence with Job, something he couldn’t come out and say plainly. That would have nullified the deal he made with the enemy of our souls Job 1:6-12. But as we will see, God got the message across, Job’s eyes were opened, and he listened. The LORD said, “Your own right hand can save you from this.” What
What could Job do that
was going to save him from the clutches of an unseen enemy that had already
destroyed life as he knew it? And who was this enemy?
Job was a man of God being oppressed by a powerful evil entity: A fallen angel, a devil, a demon, take your pick of what which name to call it. It makes no difference. What did Job do to cause this oppression in his life? Absolutely nothing. But, as we will show, it was not a pointless oppression. It had an overarching and far-reaching purpose.
As we will show, God
intended the suffering of Job to bring about much good and to save many lives down
through the ages.
Dual Meanings in
Leviathan may be a dual identity: an actual sea creature and an actual spirit being named Leviathan.
We often see types, shadows, and dual meanings in scripture. For instance, the King of Tyrus in Ezekiel 28, was an actual person, but the scriptures also portray him as an angelic being, the Covering Cherub, who was present in Eden, the garden of God Ezekiel 28:13. In Isaiah 14, the King of Babylon shares a dual identity with Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, who said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” These are not symbolic or allegorical entities. These are real people and real personal beings.
Leviathan and Water
In Job chapter 41, a powerful sea creature named Leviathan is introduced. Leviathan may be an actual sea creature of some kind, but he is also a very powerful, and very evil, spirit being. Leviathan the sea creature, is described as moving in the water.
In scripture, water, especially deep water, has been shown to represent spiritual attacks by evil spirits. It is written, that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord raises up a war flag against him.
Leviathan is not
We are still on the subject about God confiding in Job that Job’s own right hand could save him from the nightmare he was in. In chapter 41, Leviathan is introduced as an intelligent and terrifyingly evil personal being. In the book of Job, the descriptions of Leviathan are vivid, detailed, and literal. They are not symbolic or allegorical. From these descriptions, it is clear that Leviathan cannot be aligned with any known living or historical creature.
Most Bibles contain footnotes that reduce Leviathan to a simple crocodile, even though the context refutes this. Why is it that most Bible translators and commentators fail to question the common interpretation of Job chapter 41? Why would a description of a mere reptile be inserted into a book whose sole purpose is exposing a devastating spiritual attack on a God-fearing man?
Whatever else he is, it is certain Leviathan is not a crocodile.
Leviathan is portrayed as a deep-sea creature. Crocodiles are not deep-sea creatures, nor do they make the water churn with the speed of their swimming.
Job forty-one portrays a
powerful spirit being capable of destroying property, health, and lives. It
ruins health and causes extreme physical and emotional pain. It abuses in any
way it can, through anyone it can. It is a shapeshifter, that is very good at
hiding from those it oppresses.
Discerning of Spirits
Without revelation from God, Leviathan (or any other spiritual oppressor) cannot be detected and defeated. Fortunately, God, in his love and mercy, has provided us with everything we need to identify and defeat this powerful enemy.
In Job forty-one, we read how this terrible being was effectively used by Satan to wreak havoc and destruction in the life of a good man. Leviathan might well be Satan himself, but that is legitimately debatable. We also read how Leviathan was ultimately defeated and Satan proved a liar.
Let’s take a
look at Leviathan.
Job 41:12: Leviathan can take more than one form. This verse refers to Leviathan's "comely
proportions," or perceived attractiveness. That means he can manifest in
whatever form or abstract idea that is attractive to his prey.
Leviathan can appear as either a helper or
as a warrior. But regardless of how he gains access to
a person’s life, his goal is always the same. Utter and complete destruction.
This is not how he gained access to Job, because Job did not have any unhealthy coping habits. But it warrants discussion as the Holy Spirit saw fit to include this description in Job forty-one.
Job 41:4 says Leviathan can pose as a servant, a helper, to those who are oppressed by him. The Bible says, “Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him as a servant forever?
Isn't that amazing? His victims do not even realize they are being victimized! Instead, they believe they are coping with stress and anxiety in ways they believe are their own ideas, but in reality they are relying on the help of a vicious spiritual entity.
This same verse tells us that he cannot be depended on. Although his victims place their trust in him (they think in their own coping habits), he makes no agreements with them.
Leviathan often gains access to people’s lives in this way, by providing false emotional hiding places, unhealthy coping mechanisms. His unfortunate victims are guaranteed to be disappointed.
Too make matters worse, he comes around only when he chooses too—not when his victims choose. The Bible says, “Behold the hope of him is in vain...” Job 41:4,9.
Leviathan as a
Job 41:8,10, tells us Leviathan is a fierce fighter. This is how he attacked Job. For any who swagger about believing they are God’s invincible warriors and want to take him on, beware. God himself told Job that Leviathan is not to be engaged carelessly, taken lightly, nor underestimated. The Lord God says of him that none is so fierce that dare to stir him up.
But our Creator goes on to say “But who can withstand ME?
This is where the Born-Again
Believer finds recourse. This is what God meant when he told Job that his own
right arm could save him, that it was in his own power to defeat the enemy
that had just taken everything from him but his life.
God speaks clearly yet cryptically to Job in chapters 41-42. He tells Job how to defeat this terrifying foe. He warns him about the power of this enemy.
But even though the fierce are reluctant to engage him, even the fearsome Leviathan cannot stand before the power of Almighty God. The scriptures declare that everything under Heaven belongs to God.
This is critical information for those who encounter this formidable creature.
Job 41:10-11, makes it clear that Leviathan can be defeated, but only in a very specific way.
Job 41:11-14: Who can expose Leviathan? Who can uncover and reveal everything about him? The Lord is telling Job (and us) that HE can!
They who have ears to hear, let them hear....
Job 41:13, speaks of double bridle. It takes two bridles to hold him back. This creature is so ferocious that God, in his mercy, will not allow him to exercise his full power against us. Remember God drew the line at taking Job’s life. That means God was the one placing limits on Leviathan’s power. But despite a double jaw restraint, he remains a daunting and, to Job’s children, a lethal foe.
Job 41:15-17: God gives Job one warning and description after another of the ferocity and deadliness of Leviathan. Leviathan's armor has no visible vulnerability. In fact, The Lord God himself tells us, that there is actually no vulnerability in Leviathan's armor. This is not a deceptive appearance.
Yet God told Job that his deliverance was in his own right arm. How could that be?
For all the world it sounds as if God is trying to dissuade him from taking on Leviathan.
He was...if Job didn’t
plan in fighting HIS way.
In his mercy, he gives Job [and us] the raw facts. This enemy is so devious and so dangerous, our Lord in his infinite kindness, informed Job us of exactly what he would be up against. He let Job know that he had better not try and face this foe unless he knew exactly how to do it.
God is leading up to the finale where he reveals the key to Leviathan's defeat.
He is saying to Job, listen....
During Job's discourse with his friends, the Lord pointed out the answer to his dilemma, if he would only pay very close attention to every word....
Remember, it was not agreed that the Lord would tell Job, plainly, that his woes were part of a horrific spiritual attack.
Shockingly, the attack on Job, was agreed to by God, ostensibly to test his loyalty. But this writer believes God agreed to the test for a far greater purpose than simply the one stated. Our Creator knew in advance that Satan's challenge was coming and prepared a great deal of good to come of it.
God doesn't always reveal, up front, every detail of his intentions. Remember the crucifixion? Had the princes of this world known what they were doing, they would never have crucified the Lord of Glory.
But they did. And through that evil choice, which God had planned from before the foundation of the world, God pulled off the greatest victory of all time, salvation to all who would receive it, by faith in his risen son. It was the same with Job.
God permitted a violent and deadly attack on an upright and perfect man (as good as any human can get this side of Heaven) and allowed it to be recorded in what most scholars agree is the oldest book of the Bible. Because of that, believers have been equipped for thousands of years, with a fool-proof defense against an enemy intent on physically killing, at the very least grievously afflicting, anyone he can.
Job 41:25: In addition to the physical devastation and mental anguish caused by his attacks, Leviathan causes confusion in his victims (the phrase "they purify themselves," can also mean, "they are confused."
Job 41:24-30: Leviathan is implacable. He is indestructible by any of the commonly used weapons of war, or by any other earthly means. Yet God confided a secret to Job. He told Job that the power to win this battle was entirely under his (Job’s) control.
Job 41:13-22, 41:31-32: Leviathan is a powerful and fast-moving foe. His swiftness is illustrated by the sudden devastating losses experienced by Job when Leviathan struck with lightning speed, as well as by the picture of his churning of the deep and the wake he leaves behind as he speeds through the waters.
Anyone who lives in locales where crocodiles or alligators thrive, know this cannot be a description of reptiles that are known to be silent, invisible, swimmers. Crocodiles or alligators cause no churning of the waters, nor do they leave wakes trailing behind as they swim. And, as previously stated, they are not deep-sea creatures.
Job 41:10,24-25,33: The Living God says Leviathan is afraid of nothing. God himself describes Leviathan as the most vicious, implacable, fearsome, and fearless creature under heaven.
Since Satan had just publicly challenged God concerning Job? Wouldn't it make sense that he would pull out his most vicious weapon against him? The enemy of our souls had just laid his reputation on the line and was not going to take any chances that Job would retain his integrity.
That Satan used a powerful spirit-being to try and cause Job to curse God is evident, as the Lord God himself described this Being to Job. Why else would He do that? God then gave Job the key to defeating him. What else would have been relevant at this point?
As the Lord God, still bound by his agreement to Satan’s challenge, cryptically revealed this hidden enemy to Job, giving him the key to its defeat, Job was listening.
Are you ready to hear how Job’s deliverance was in his own power to win?
Job 41:34, tells us that Leviathan's strength and fortress...is pride.
And there is only one thing that defeats pride, and that is
Can it really be that simple?
Yes, it can.
In Job chapter 42, Leviathan is called King over all The Children of Pride. And we witness his sound defeat at the hand of Job by one simple act of humility and obedience to God.
Job 42:3-6: We read of Job humbling himself and repenting publicly for speaking about things he knew nothing about.
Job 42:10: We read of his proud friends admitting they were wrong and asking Job to pray for them, as God had commanded them to do. And we read of Job graciously forgiving his miserable comforters (abusers) and praying for all of them.
Leviathan's power was
then broken over Job's life. His horrific circumstances were turned around in a
miraculous way, and all of this because he listened and obeyed through
simple and sincere humility.
The scriptures say that only through pride comes contention (Proverbs 13:10). If there is contention and strife in our lives, then there is pride. If there is pride, then Leviathan is present, as he is King over all the Children of Pride (Job 41:34).
He is a predator, always hunting for prey.
Job 41:31-32: In the form of Leviathan, two separate identities are revealed in the Bible, as is done when Lucifer is also portrayed in passages that speak of the king of Babylon and the Prince of Tyrus: the one a spiritual being and the other a physical creature.
Leviathan viciously manifested throughout Job's ordeal, through murdering his children, stealing his property and his health, through excruciating physical and emotional anguish, and through verbal abuse from friends and family who were filled with pride and contention.
Consider Job. Look at the devastation, loss of life, health, and fortune that Leviathan's presence caused in the life of a perfect and upright man. Leviathan, a powerful spirit creature, had to go, before healing and restoration could come to Job.
And through one simple
act of humility, that is exactly what happened.
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