Job 41:26-34

None on earth can compare to him; he is made to be without fear. He looks on all the proud; he is king over all proud beasts (vv. 33-34, CEB). 

Leviathan may fear no other, but by his thrashing all other proud beings in the Leviathan’s world will know fear. And humanity may be the most dangerous of all the other proud beasts. Carl Sagan wrote in his book Contact that humans are such an interesting species, capable of beautiful dreams and horrible nightmares. Similarly, in his painting “Saturn Devouring His Son,” the Spanish artist Francisco Goya captured the nightmares of the proud and fearful in the 1820-23 Spanish Civil War. His painting depicts the Greek myth of the titan Cronus (Saturn, in Latin) who hears a prediction that one of his children will overthrow him. Fearing the loss of his power and authority, the titan devours each one of his children at their birth. Goya’s artistic reflection on the civil strife in early nineteenth-century Spain captures our human history of fear and the violence that follows from it. We can’t help but link this story with the murder of the Bethlehem children under the fearful reign of Herod at the announcement of Jesus’ birth as King of the Jews (Mt 2). The potent mix of fear and loss of control often leads to a desperate and violent attempt to regain order. 

Job faces difficult questions. His life has been compounded by the tragic loss of his family and the isolation of his grief. He has endured scapegoating by his friends. He appeals to God for an audience and explanation. The voice of the Lord responds, but not with the answers that he sought. How will he respond? How would you respond? 


Where have you seen the tyranny of fear and violence exposed in your community, workplace, or neighborhood? In what ways could you break the cycle of fear and the abuse of power?


God, give me the wisdom to recognize the violence within myself that comes out of a fear of loss. Help me locate my strength in you, and grant me courage to seek redemptive actions that break the cycle of fear and violence. Amen.

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