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February 10, 2011 – Job 9

Click here to read Job 9 on BibleGateway.com

Sometimes for Everyday Devotions we like to try to find ways to apply scripture, sometimes we try to explore the personalities of the people in the Bible, and sometimes (like today) we get to do the funnest activity of all: weird stuff in the Bible.

You may not know this, but the Bible incorporates a lot of pagan mythology in its text, especially in poetry books like Job. Don’t misunderstand, the Bible authors didn’t simply adapt other myths to a Jewish audience or anything like that; they were inspired by the Spirit of God to write. However, it seems that the authors used images from other religions to bring home a point.

TREADING ON WATER

Today’s example: verse 8 says that God “stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.” Seems pretty straightforward, but there’s more going than what we see with our modern eyes. In actuality, this was a direct affront to several pagan mythological ideas. For example, according to some scholars, a Canaanite goddess called Asherah (of the famous Asherah poles in the books of Kings and Chronicles) was known as the “Lady who traverses the Sea,” because she was thought to have calmed the raging seas by walking across the sea god. Later on, Job will reference Rahab (not the famous one from Jericho), a sea monster tied to the myths of Egypt.

It may be surprising to you to see that God’s word has references to mythology, but it’s not as strange as you might think. How often have we said “God is the motor of my life” or “Jesus is my co-pilot” or something similar? We don’t actually mean that God is a motor, we are just using a familiar expression to help others understand what we’re saying. Job is saying “you are the God who really did all these things that the pagans ascribe to idols.”

NOT ONLY THAT…

As a special bonus today, this verse also foreshadows Jesus himself; God walks on waves. Did you ever wonder what the disciples were thinking as they read Job in the synagogue the next week after Jesus walked on Galilee? Of course we don’t know what the week’s sermon was on, but wouldn’t it be just like Jesus to walk on the water the same week that the rabbis spoke on this text? Wouldn’t be a bit surprising.

Leave it to God to incorporate pagan mythology and a prediction of Christ in the same sentence. That’s inspiration.

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