Spiritual Warfare: Fighting Leviathan from Behind the Hedge (Job Sermon 28)
November 21, 2021 | Andy Davis
Spiritual Warfare, Suffering
The problem of evil and suffering we are learning about in Job cannot be addressed without understanding the role of demons and Satan… our invisible enemies.
- sermon transcript -
Turn your Bibles to Job 41 to continue in our series in the book of Job. One of the most exciting, one of my favorite books that I've probably ever read, is a book called To Conquer the Air, and that's the story about Orville and Wilbur Wright and what they did to develop the first heavier than air craft, flying machine, airplane. Now the book's title To Conquer the Air, came from the insight that the Wright brothers had watching birds fly, that conquering and indeed using the eddies and currents, air pressure, the wind, was the issue, the whole issue in flight. And so while others, like Samuel Langley, worked on smaller and lighter and more efficient engines, the Wright brothers worked on the shape, the contour of the wing, and how to conquer the air through the wing. In all of their research they used wind tunnels, among the first to develop a wind tunnel to study the shape of the wing, and the contour of the wing and came to fruition, as we well know, December 17th, 1903, in our home state of North Carolina, you see it on all the license plates. Now I want you guys to know, as loyal as I am to my adopted home state, those were Ohio boys that did that, they just came because there was a bunch of sand dunes and some wind down there, but we want to take credit for it and put it on the license plate, “first in flight,” there it is, Kitty Hawk. What enabled this heavy craft to lift off was the cumulative lift power of invisible molecules of air, air pressure, combining to create a force called lift.
Nowadays we modern people are so used to the scene of a jet airplane taking off, like a Boeing 747, which can weigh over a million pounds, fully loaded. Imagine if Orville and Wilbur could see a million pound aircraft taking off. It lifts off the same way theirs did, by the cumulative power of invisible air molecules, beating on the underside of the wing with more force and net force compared to that, which presses on the upper part of the wing, invisible air, and therefore invisible air must be a very powerful thing, much more powerful than we can imagine. If you were in that cabin and soaring up through the atmosphere, cutting through the clouds like that, sometimes you can feel the change in air pressure, you can feel it in your ears. Has that ever happened to you? It's especially acute if you have an ear infection or some kind of an ear condition, can be very painful, and that's because there is a constant beat of air pressure on our body all the time, about 14.7 pounds per square inch, constantly pushing on your body, every square inch, almost 15 pounds of pressure on every square inch of your body. You're just so used to it, you're you don't even notice it.
Why am I talking about all this? Well, there's a verse in the book of Ephesians that describes Satan's immense, but invisible, power on planet Earth. Ephesians 2:2, calls Satan the ruler of the kingdom of the air. It's an interesting phrase, ruler of the kingdom of the air. Satan's powerful kingdom is like the air, it's invisible, but it's around us at every moment, affecting everything we do with its invisible pressures and eddies and currents and forces, spiritual forces, on our minds and on our hearts. The ruler of the kingdom of the air, that's Satan. Now at the end of that same book, Ephesians, Paul tells the Ephesian Christians that their true warfare is not with other human beings. Ephesians 6:12 says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” As we come to Job 41, we see a description of a beast, an animal, a creature, called leviathan, God brings up this creature and talks about this creature, leviathan, and understanding him as the focus of this sermon.
My basic concept, and I unfolded this or began to open my mind to you two weeks ago, is that leviathan represents Satan, the enemy of God's people. The book of Job, generally, is situated in the canon of scripture with a central purpose to help God's people understand the problem of human suffering, understand how it is that human beings can suffer so much, and specifically a Godly person like Job. The kind of general slogan, “why do bad things happen to good people?” I have all kinds of problems with that slogan, because as Jesus said, there was no one good, but God alone. We understand what that means, and we expect retribution to wicked tyrants who try to conquer the world and end up cowering in a reinforced concrete bunker and committing suicide, that makes sense to us, or a criminal that ends up in some kind of a fire fight with law enforcement and loses his life or ends up getting arrested and sent to prison for his crimes, we understand all that. That's not the problem of evil and suffering. We're talking about why does it happen to innocent people, the little children? Why does it happen to other people? And specifically for us, Christians, why do we go through such grief and sorrow and pain? Why does God allow these kinds of trials to come into our lives? That's the question, and the book of Job is given to answer that. I'm asserting that the problem of evil and suffering cannot be addressed without understanding the role of demons, and the role of Satan, our invisible enemies, kingdom of the air.
I believe, as I said two weeks ago, behemoth, the Hebrew plural, beasts, but singular, and then even more leviathan, even more powerful and terrifying beasts introduced here in this chapter, Job 41, are best understood representing demons and Satan. The message about both is this: Job, your suffering, in part, is caused by Satan and demons, by satanic forces, and as with these two monsters behemoth and leviathan, they are too strong for you. You can't handle them, you cannot control them, you cannot capture them, you cannot kill them, but God can, almighty God, the God of the universe, has absolute power over these terrifying beasts, over Satan and demons. And not only that, but God is channeling them in some way, blocking them, restraining them, redirecting them, he's got them on a leash, all of these things for his wise purposes, and in the end he will capture them, and in the end he will kill them for all eternity, in the lake of fire.
So, we Christians should be aware of Satan, we should prepare for Satan, we should resist Satan, we should be confident in ongoing protection from Satan, we should venture forth boldly in life and ministry despite Satan, and we should be hopeful over the future of Satan's death. And we should understand, much if not all to some degree, of the evil, the sorrow, and misery that happens in this world is ministered or directed or brought about by satanic influences. Now, a key verse for me in interpretation of this, and I began to explain why I'm going this direction, is Isaiah 27:1, which mentions leviathan as well. Isaiah 27:1 says, “In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword, his fierce great and powerful sword. Leviathan, the gliding serpent, Leviathan, the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.” That's God killing a monster, in Isaiah 27:1 it seems to represent evil, though leviathan is an actual sea creature in Psalm 104:26, Isaiah seems to use Leviathan to represent an evil enemy of God, which at some later time, he will kill with his fierce great and powerful sword. It is biblically reasonable to see Leviathan as some evil force that is set against God, as an enemy against God. Also because Satan is portrayed as a dragon in Revelation 12-13, a dragon, it lines up with the dragon like attributes that we may see in Leviathan. Revelation 12:3, the apostle John has a vision and it says then another sign appeared in heaven, an enormous red dragon with seven heads and 10 horns and seven crowns on its head, so a dragon, and then a few verses later, verse 9, Revelation 12:9, “The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray, he was hurled to the earth and his angels with him.”
This is the biblical backdrop of my interpretation of leviathan as Satan. I did say to you two weeks ago that I am 100% certain, that demons and Satan are immediately involved in the suffering of human beings all over the world. There's no doubt in my mind biblically about that, there's no question about, it's not controversial at all. And, as a matter of fact, in this same book of Job, in Job 1 and 2, Satan is right there, active and involved. I am not 100% certain that behemoth and leviathan represent that.
So as I said, if you would rather go literalistic on this and say, “I just think they're two more animals,” remember what I said, in Job 38, there are 10 animals that God brings out as evidence, natural theology, Job 39, those chapters. And he brings out 10 animals beginning with the lion, and then nine others that show God's amazing creative power. God's very creative, and the lesson is, such a creative, wise, powerful God should be trusted, you should trust him in the midst of your sorrow and suffering and not bring any accusations against me. Job repents and then God comes back with two more animals and the book ends. So, if that's how you want to look at it, I understand, I respect that, and so then you would try to figure out what they are, hippopotamus and crocodile. It's right there in the notes, just look there, all right, God made the hippo and they're very dangerous and they are very dangerous, you don't want to mess with a hippo. One of the biggest, maybe the biggest, animal killer of human beings in Africa, they are dangerous. Then what a dragon maybe, or maybe a crocodile, possibly. The message then in this just simple literal approach would be: “You can't handle behemoth, you can't handle leviathan, but I made them, I can handle them. So how do you think you can challenge me? I'm far greater than they are,” so look at verse 10-11 in the very chapter, what you just heard Dave read, “No one is fierce enough to rouse him [meaning leviathan] who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” I think that's a completely valid way to look at these two animals. It's a “how much more” argument, “I made them, I'm more powerful than they are, but you can't handle them, you can't control them, you can't capture them, you can't kill them. Therefore, how do you think you can challenge me? You ought to trust me.” That's the logic there, and I think that's a valid way.
The one question I would ask for you though, who would want to take only a literal approach here, to these animals, is it even true? Can you name a single animal on earth that we don't win against? Name it. Are you telling me we can't capture hippos and put them in zoos? I've seen a hippo in a zoo. You got to be careful. But the logic that you can't stand against the hippo and all that, I was like, I wouldn't go unarmed and I wouldn't go alone, I wouldn't go at all. There are some people that are skilled at it and they can figure it out. Then the dragon, if it literally was a dragon, now they're extinct, that's fine, I get it. We were given planet Earth, to fill the earth and to do it and rule over it, we win. I just think you're challenged, if it's literal, to actually think this could even be true, that there's no weapon that could possibly be forged against a physical creature named leviathan that we wouldn't win. I think it pushes you toward a spiritual or metaphorical symbolic interpretation. That's the approach I'm going to take.
I. Leviathan: The Terrifying Dragon
Leviathan, the terrifying dragon, is introduced for us in verse 1 and right away, it's an adversarial approach. Keep in mind if that's all that God wanted to do, lions are sufficient, don't you think? Lions are terrifying, you can't just approach a lion. As a matter of fact, in Isaiah they're represented as utterly fearless, they are in no way intimidated by shepherds that are gathered against them yelling and brandishing sticks. If you want to do that, you can do that with lions. But what he's saying right away here, as he did with behemoth, but now even more with leviathan, is as an adversary, you will lose. Look at verse 1-2, “Can you pull in Leviathan with a fish hook or tie down his tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook?” so with this verse, God is challenging Job, and all humanity, about leviathan, he cannot be controlled or captured. Right away in this first verse there's a sense of hunting. Like I said, an adversarial relationship with this terrifying beast and man's weakness in the face of leviathan, strength is obvious. The language to pull in leviathan with a fishhook would be to control or capture him. So also, to tie down his tongue with a rope, or put a cord through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook, it's the same kind of thing. Controlling him, you can't control him. These are hunting images, and God's saying, “You cannot do this, you cannot control a leviathan with a cord or a hook through his nose. You cannot capture him or tie him down with a rope.” Later, we will see that he's going to say all weapons forged against him will fail, anything you could think of, it'll fail. So, we'll get to that, but that's where we're heading.
God next speaks of leviathan's aggressiveness. He is beast, he is beast through and through. Hear verses 3-6, “Will he keep begging you for mercy? Will he speak to you with gentle words? Will he make an agreement with you, for you to take him as your slave for life? Can you make a pet of him like a bird or put a leash on him for your girls? Will traders barter for him? Will they divide him up among the merchants?” It's all rhetorical questions. There's no, no, no, no, no. You can't handle this beast, he is aggressive, he will never speak with general words, you can't reason with him, too powerful for you. Leviathan cannot be killed by man; no human weapon forged against him. I'm going to say more against that, but that's what verse 7 speaks of. They're just many more verses about this later, “Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?” Well, that would do it, wouldn't it? To fill its head with spears would kill him, but you can't, you can't. Then there's the terror of hunting leviathan verse 8-10, “If you lay a hand on him, you'll remember the struggle, and never do it again.” You'll remember it the rest of your life if you even just laid a hand on him. “Any hope of subduing him is false, the mere sight of him is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse him.” Now at this very point, as I've already cited, and I preached a whole sermon on these two verses, verses 10-11, it's vital. God interjects himself right here in the midst of the leviathan section, he just puts himself in, because God, throughout the whole book of Job, God is the issue always, always. Look at verse 10-11, “Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” God is the creator, and the sustainer, and the owner of the entire universe. He is also the active ruler and judge of the entire universe. No creature is powerful enough to stand against God, less we forget, Satan himself is a creature, a created being who openly rebelled against God in the heavenly realms, as Revelation 12 makes plain, was defeated and thrown to the Earth, and in the garden of Eden Satan came subtly masquerading as a serpent, what Revelation 12:9 calls that ancient serpent. So he comes in disguise, hence the beast language just makes sense, because he's just always doing this. He's disguising himself; he masquerades as a serpent.
2 Corinthians 12 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. If you could see him as he would present himself, he would be beautiful and alluring. He was enticed by his own beauty, that's why he fell into wickedness, but he really is a monster, and human race this is who you made a covenant with, this is who you broke away from God to serve, this beast, this monster, this is who you made a deal with and who Christ broke that deal, so that we would be drawn into a covenant relationship with God. You need to understand he is a beast. We, Job, all of us, are members of a rebellious race, rebellious. We joined Satan in rebellion against God. Did any of you think we were going to get through this world unscathed? That there wouldn't be any pain. There wouldn't be any loss. The three categories of misery that Job went through: the loss of his wealth, the loss of his loved ones, his children, and then the loss of his health. We’re not going to make it through unscathed, death we leave it all behind, because the wages of sin is death, and whatever God does to us, he has the right to do. We can never have a claim against God that he must pay, but we owe him everything. We are answerable to him; he's not answerable to us. That's what he's saying in these verses. So, no human being, even in the midst of extreme suffering, has the right to challenge God or question God, because we belong to him and we're accountable to him. So, God says you ought to be afraid of leviathan, he is too powerful for you, but you ought to be even more afraid of me because I made leviathan and I made you Job. I don't owe you anything, but you owe me everything, and furthermore, as we'll see in the rest of this sermon, God in the form of his son, Jesus Christ, will exert his infinite power over Satan on our behalf, Jesus is our dragon slayer, he will go forth into battle for us, he will destroy this dragon and set us free forever from his clutches. I already told my own good news, but you knew it, you knew it was coming. This dragon is too powerful for us, but Jesus went forth as our champion on our behalf, to fight him.
"We can never have a claim against God that he must pay, but we owe him everything. We are answerable to him; he's not answerable to us."
So, to continue in the account, leviathan's armor is described, look at verses 12-17, “I will not fail to speak of his limbs, his strength and his graceful form. Who can strip off his outer coat? Who would approach him with a bridle? Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth? His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.” simple message here, as we've said already, as no weapon man can craft can penetrate such armor, that's what he's talking about here. Then verses 18-21, the dragon becomes a fire breathing dragon, fire breathing.
Look at verse 18 and following, “His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn. Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds. His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth.” Now many artistic depictions of dragons, especially in the European dragons, not so much the Chinese dragons, depict the fire breathing dragon sort. Amazingly, in the book of Revelation, it's not fire that comes out of the dragon's mouth, but a river of water, Revelation 12, to sweep away the woman and her children. I'm not going into Revelation 12 right now, I preached on that. That imagery is difficult enough, I'm having a hard time with Job 41, so we'll just stick to the difficulties of this one chapter, but out of the dragon's mouth comes a river to sweep away the woman and her children, Revelation 12:15. Then in Revelation 16, evil spirits come out of the mouth of the dragon and the beast, so he opens his mouth there and out come evil spirits. Revelation 16:13, “Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs, they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” The beast that came from the Earth, the antichrist, had a mouth like a dragon, Revelation, 13:11, “Then I saw another beast coming out of the Earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” Actually it's the false prophet, but he's got a mouth like a dragon.
So, whether there's literal fire that came out of the mouth of a physical dragon, doesn't seem to be the point. For me, this metaphor of Satan is the amount of damage that comes from Satan's words. False doctrine, every false religion in the world that there ever has been, has come, ultimately, from Satan's mind. All of the alluring temptations of the world come from him. And then once we fall into sin, he turns around and accuses us of our sins. Satan's assaults on the people of God in Ephesians 6 are depicted as flaming arrows, flaming arrows. Ephesians 6:16, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one,” shield of faith can extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. I think there's two great categories, when I think about flaming arrows, temptations and accusations, temptations and accusations, so you lift up the shield of faith so you can extinguish them. Verses 22-25, Job 41, describe the overpowering might of leviathan, “Strength resides in his neck; dismay goes before him. The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable. His chest is hard as a rock, hard as a lower millstone. When he rises up the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing.” just power, power, you can't defeat him. And now we get, as I've been saying and saying throughout the sermon would come, verse 26-29 says no human weapon forged against him will succeed. Nothing you can contrive can hurt him in any way. Verse 26-29, “The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. Arrows do not make him flee; sling stones are like chaff to him. A club seems to him but a piece of straw; he laughs at the rattling of the lance.” that's the whole armory friends. We cannot kill him. There's nothing the human race can do to defeat this beast, that's the point.
And then the trail of destruction behind Leviathan is described, verses 30-32, “His undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. He makes the depth churn like a boiling cauldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair.” Now, I can think of lots of weapons that win against a crocodile. I wouldn't want to fight one, but I'm just saying. Now, if this is a literal dragon and nothing could work against that- that just doesn't seem to be the point here. The trail of devastation left by this terrifying beast is overwhelming.
And then look at the summary in verse 33-34, “Nothing on earth is his equal-“ look at that, “Nothing on earth is his equal- he's a creature without fear. He looks down on all that are haughty, he is king over all the proud.” It's like he's king over all the Earth, king over the entire human race, he rules over all humanity, the kingship, almost like king of kings and lord of lords in some way. It's significant because first John 5:19 says of Satan, “We know that we are from God and the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.” We know in the temptation of Jesus, in Luke 4:5-7 it says, “The devil led him to a high place [Jesus] and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. He said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor for it has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you'll worship me it will all be yours.’” that's what I meant by king over kings. I know that's the title we give to Jesus, Amen, it's his and he got it back, but we gave the keys to the kingdom to Satan and he rules in a secret powerful way over every nation on earth.
II. Jesus Is the Dragonslayer
So, all human beings are, in some sense, his possession. We were locked up in his dungeon, in his dark dungeon with invisible chains, unable to free ourselves. This is why we needed a dragon slayer, and Jesus is that dragonslayer. It was predicted in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3:15. Remember how I said, Satan came in the guise of a tricky serpent, that ancient serpent, Revelation 12:9, is Satan. And he came, and there was some kind of a deal or a covenant to some degree, made between the human race and Satan through the deception. And God, in judging the serpent said, “I'm going to sever the tie between you and the woman and between your offspring or seed and hers,” her seed. “He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel.” it's the first prediction of the coming of Christ. Paul says in the book of Galatians, that Jesus was born of a woman, so without a human father, had a human mother, but no human father. He is the seed of woman, he is the dragon slayer, he's the one that came to crush the head of the serpent.
And when Jesus came and did his ministry, I love in the gospel of Mark, how terrified the demons are of Jesus, amen, hallelujah. Leviathan is fearless concerning humans, but he was afraid of Jesus, he was afraid of Jesus. Mark 1:23-27, at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, this account, “Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are- the Holy One of God!’” That sounds like fear to me. “’Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. People were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching- and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.’” Jesus described his exorcisms as an act of violence done to a strong man, Satan. Listen to Luke 11:20-22, “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Now listen to this, think of this in terms of leviathan, the description I've just given you, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe, but when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him [listen] he takes away the armor in which the man trusted, and divides up the spoils.” I love that. He can strip leviathan of his armor, and then plunder leviathan's kingdom. He can just take away the armor in which he trusted, and you know what the spoils are? It's us, dear friends, we are the plunder, we are the spoils. We're the ones that were rescued from Satan's dark kingdom.
The greatest destruction of Satan and his kingdom happened at the cross, and at the empty tomb. Can't separate them, but together, Christ's death and his resurrection gave Satan and his kingdom a mortal wound. And he's been, to some degree friends, bleeding out for 2000 years. Like, “Man, I wish he would've just killed him!” he'll get to that, and we'll talk about why he doesn't in a moment, but he gave him, he inflicted on him, a mortal wound at that moment. Hebrews 2:14-15 says of Jesus, “that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is the devil- and free those who all their lives are held in slavery by their fear of death.” If you're a Christian, you're set free, you should be set free from all fear of death. You know what else? You're set free from what death can take from you. You will lose all your possessions at death, don't worry about it, you'll get your true wealth in heaven. You'll lose all your loved ones at death, don't worry about it, you'll have your loved ones, your Christian loved ones, for all eternity in heaven. Can't wait to talk to you about Job's 10 kids, we'll get to that. No don’t, see don't say those things in advance. It's exciting to spend eternity, not just a mortal life, with your loved ones. Jesus had that power, and how did he do it? That by his death, he might destroy him that held the power of death. Do you get the sense that Jesus went down as our champion, into the pit, and grabbed Satan's weapon out of his hand and turned it on him and killed him with it? He did that by dying. Habakkuk 3:13-14 gives us this image: “You came out to deliver your people,” think of this as Jesus, “You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out the scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding.” amen. With Satan's own weapon, he killed him so that we might have eternal life.
"The greatest destruction of Satan and his kingdom happened at the cross, and at the empty tomb. Can't separate them, but together, Christ's death and his resurrection gave Satan and his kingdom a mortal wound. "
So, while leviathan, while Satan, is too powerful for us, he's not too powerful for Christ. Christ, in one day at the cross inflicted a mortal wound on Satan and his kingdom, and in this way, he sets all of his children free from Satan's dark kingdom. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “he [God, almighty God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” into the kingdom of his beloved Son, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Do you realize how sweet those words are? Well, what does that mean? It means that Satan can stand at the right hand and accuse you like he does in Zechariah 3, he can accuse and accuse and accuse, because that's what the Hebrew word means, the accuser. He can stand there and accuse you, but you know what the answer's going to be? Romans 8:33[-34], “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died, and moreover is at the right hand of God is interceding for us.” So you stand behind a hedge that is made of iron, really, it cannot ignite with Satan's accusations, because all of those accusations will be as nothing. God is saying, “Who will bring any charge against my forgiven children?” So, in that way, Jesus is our dragonslayer. Now you want the real final, the final killing, don't you? You want Satan to be crushed forever. Well, Revelation 20:10 says it's going to happen. “The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, [Revelation: 20:10] where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented, day and night, forever and ever.” So, Jesus is the dragonslayer. I just need to stop and say, do you know him today? Do you know him as your savior? Are your sins forgiven? Will Jesus intercede for you and stand at the right hand of God and plead the merits of his blood on your behalf. All you need for that to happen is just repent of your sins and trust in him, not by works, but by simple faith in Christ, he will slay the dragon for you.
III. God Limits Satan: the Hedge and the Leash
Now, the question is, why doesn't he just destroy the demons and Satan? In this, we need to understand the hedge of protection, or the leash, the hedge and the leash. At the beginning of the book, we see Satan roaming free over Earth and wreaking havoc. Job 1:7, “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the Earth and going back and forth in it.’” Then the hedge is described in Job 1:10 as Satan himself said, “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has. You've blessed the work of his hands so that his flocks and herds have spread throughout the land.” So Satan and his demons are blocked, they're limited in their access to us. They want to get at us, they want to steal and kill and destroy, that's all they want to do, but they can't get at us. God will not let them, so that hedge represents a wall of protection that Satan cannot penetrate.
Also the concept of a leash, a leash, look again at verse 5 in this chapter, it's God saying to Job, “Can you make a pet of him [leviathan] like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls?” “Can you leash him? No you can't, but I can. You see he's on a leash, he's like my pet.” A leash is a restraint and Satan has to ask permission for every temptation he would hurl at God's people, he's got to ask permission. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” What do you mean, “will not let you be tempted?” means Satan would like to tempt you more than he does, but God says, no. “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but with the temptation will make a way of escape so you can stand up under it.”
One thing Satan cannot do to us, which he would like to do, is to destroy our faith in Jesus Christ. Do you remember the night that Jesus was arrested? Jesus gave Simon Peter a warning of what was going to happen that night. Simon Peter was so cocky, so overconfident in his own loyalty to Jesus, you remember, “Even if all fall away on a count of you, I never will, I'm your number one believer Jesus.” Luke 22:31-32,“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you [plural, all of you] like wheat, but I've prayed for you, [singular] Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back and strengthened your brothers.” So, Jesus is at the right hand of God, Hebrews 7:25, is interceding for you while you go through trials, to the end that your faith will not fail, and it won't. You are a believer going into your trial and you'll be a believer in Jesus Christ coming out of your trial, and not because you're so great. Peter, wasn't so great. It's because you have a great Savior and a great Heavenly Father who gave you the faith to begin with and will sustain it secretly in your soul, no matter what trials you go through, no matter what Satan does, he cannot extinguish your faith in Christ.
"You have a great Savior and a great Heavenly Father who gave you the faith to begin with and will sustain it secretly in your soul, no matter what trials you go through, no matter what Satan does, he cannot extinguish your faith in Christ."
IV. God Uses Satan: the Slave or the Pet
So, then what's going on? Well, God is using demons, and using Satan, as his pets to accomplish his ends. They're on a leash, they're controlled, they have to ask permission. This is an image I have right now, I don't know how helpful it is, but imagine a huge building complex like the Pentagon. With almost limitless corridors, but then there are all these doors with swipe cards, that if you don't have the swipe card, you can't get in. You get the picture of the demons running pell-mell through the halls and they can't turn into any door that they choose. And then suddenly a door opens and they flood in there and do some damage in there, and then suddenly that door shuts and they're in there for a while, and then the door opens and they flood back out. This is going on every day at the micro level, around billions of people, all the time. And God is playing an infinitely higher game than Satan is. His intellect is almost staggeringly higher than Satan's, while his is much higher than ours. In heaven, we're going to get to celebrate the wisdom of God and how he used demons and Satan, limited them, and all of that to achieve his incredibly good purposes. God, just in his kindness, and his wisdom, decided to let the demons and Satan have at us in limited ways like he did with Job, right? An opening was made in the hedge to do this and to do that, and then it closed, and that was it. And so, we should celebrate the power of God in wisely, channeling demons and evil for his own purposes.
Final Lessons: God Warns Us to Fight Satan from Behind the Hedge
All right, so what are our final lessons? God warns us about Satan, if you don't think leviathan is about that then just read Ephesians 6 and it's right there. And there's some things that we need to do. I want- just have an image, I want you to fight Satan from behind your hedge, just fight him from behind the hedge of protection. And if a door opens it's because God opened it. He's choosing to bring some pain into your life, some disease into your life, some suffering into your life. It's limited, it's not everything the demons would want to do or Satan could do, it's not that, but it's going to have a certain impact. Trust God as you walk through that, trust him, we don't live in a dualistic universe where God and Satan are equals and all that, it's not at all. God is infinitely above Satan and is controlling him. As I finish, I'll just give you six quick duties. Christians should be aware of Satan, we should prepare for Satan, we should resist Satan, be confident in ongoing protection from Satan, we should venture forth boldly in life and ministry despite him, and we should be hopeful over Satan's future death. Be aware of Satan, it says put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11 says, “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we're not unaware of his schemes.” Schemes, evil plots, and evil plans, yes, he's playing chess in your life. They're evil schemes, be aware, be aware of it, be aware. 1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” Be alert, be aware. Don't be like Simon Peter, he walked right into the lion's den without any protection, surrounded by Christ's enemies, warming himself at the fire, thinking he was fine, he could handle it, and he couldn't he was in over his head, so be aware. Secondly, prepare, Ephesians 6:13, “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you've done everything, to stand.” prepare, prepare to suffer. Prepare for those three categories of pain that were brought in Job's life, loss of possessions, loss of loved ones, loss of health, prepare, get ready, and just every day put on the full armor of God, put on each part in Ephesians 6, get ready.
Thirdly, resist the devil, resist the devil and he will what? Flee from you. What a picture that is. Who am I? Who am I? The devil should flee from me. I know who I am, I'm nothing. I'm the puny person in front of leviathan that Job 41 was about. Well then why is he fleeing? He's not fleeing from me; he's fleeing from Jesus, and from the Spirit of God. Resist him and he will flee from you. Fourthly, be confident in God's ongoing protection from Satan. Be confident in that. He's not going to allow anything to happen to you that is not according to his wise plan. Fifthly venture forth boldly to rescue people from Satan's dark kingdom. Jesus said, “on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades or hell will not prevail against it.” There are lost people here in the Raleigh-Durham area, let's go find them, let's be bold witnesses and be unafraid. Finally, be hopeful over Satan's final demise. One of my favorite verses about this topic is Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Isn't that a marvelous verse.
Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for the chance we've had to walk through Job 41 today. Thank you for the things that we can learn. Pray that you would enable us to take to heart these lessons, and that we would be prepared for the onslaught, which is so much more powerful than we can handle, but that we would look to you, Lord Jesus, our champion, our protector, the wall, the fortress, the citadel who keeps us safe. We look to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.