"Hi, Job. Ready for our morning chat again? I never asked you if you are the Starbucks type, Job, who now, after your great distress, would like to gather at the coffee shop for morning conversation? Or, would you object to Starbucks as an expression of the evils of the American corporation? They have good press, you have to admit, and they seemingly have tapped into a need that American's feel to begin their day with a shot of caffeinated beverage--even though their blueberry muffins crumble like ancient papyri when you touch them. I think, frankly, that you are not a Starbucks kind of guy. I don't really know where we would speak, then. Are you a "retreat center" type of guy? A restaurant man? An "office" type of talker? Would you invite me to your home? Would you come to mine? I really can't say I have an answer to that one. In any case, let's continue.
I am working on this double-whammy theory of God's speeches to you in 38-41, Job. My point is that God knew that you hadn't "knuckled under" by the time he demanded that you speak in 40:2, and so he needs to clobber you once again. This time, however, God will make sure that you, like Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," will never be able to be defiant again. That, at least, is the thesis I am working on.
So, what does God do in addressing you in 40:6-41:34? I see him really digging into you. I want to say a verse that I think cut right into your soul. God says to you, "Look on all who are proud, and bring them low; tread down the wicked where they stand" (40:12). God wants you to examine the "proud" creatures of the universe and see if you can bring them down. Of course you can't. That will be one of God's points. But he has a more cruel point here, a point that justifies your statement in 30:21--"You have turned cruel to me." God is basically saying, 'look in the mirror, too, buddy, because I am going to bring you down, too.' I am really not too impressed with God at this point, Job, but what can you do? He is the 2,000 pound elephant who can sit wherever he wants, I suppose. So, God will then proceed to bring you low, so to speak, in the next 45 verses.
You can tell that God is really playing for high stakes in the rest of 40-41 because of the examples that he gives. The two proud creatures that he brought low are Behemoth and Leviathan. These are huge mythological creatures whom God subdued in primeval times. You know, Job, parts of the Bible, like Genesis 1, try to conceal the fact that creation was a tough effort for God. Gen. 1 makes creation so easy for God that I can't believe it. All he has to do is speak and it happens. He doesn't even have to snap his fingers. But the rest of the Bible knows that this isn't really the way it happened. The other passages know that God had to tame some pretty great, unruly and chaotic forces in order to bring some kind of order into the world. The mythological traces stick out in the Bible like limbs from Procrustes' bed. As Procrustes lopped them off, so the author of Gen. 1 has done the same. But the rest of the Bible knows differently.
So, what God is doing in 40-41 is telling you the story of how he whomped a few proud creatures, Job. In case you are dull, God lays it out in crystal clear terms. "Look at Behemoth, which I made just as I made you (you dummy, implied); it eats grass like an ox" (40:15). In other words, that once powerful creature that opposed me, that primeval monster, is now peacefully grazing in the pasture, eating grass, tame and calm. You can almost hear Haydn playing in the background. The once proud and oppositional Behemoth is now called "The first of the great acts of God" (40:19).
But God introduces Behemoth, as he will Leviathan in the next chapter, to kind of taunt you, doesn't he, Job? God says, "Hide them in the dust together...then I will acknowledge to you that your own right hand can give you victory" (40:13-14). It is as if God is saying, 'Look what I can do and you can't, Job. I can tame the proud. You can't. And (implied), I am now going to tame you.'
But, hello. What kind of God do we have here? You know what is happening, Job? God is imitating you again. Just as I said in an earlier talk that God's words in 38:3-10 are an imitation of your rumination in 7:12, so God's approach here is in imitation of your tone in 7:11-21. Your tone there was one of cynical bitterness. You challenged God and taunted God. And, isn't that what God is doing here in 40-41? He is challenging and taunting you. God is nothing more than an imitatio Jobiani (or whatever the genitive singular of your name would be). So, not only is God cruel, but God is uncreative here. And, he is vindictive. He wants to bring you down to size, Job, and he will do it because he can do it.
But all you asked for was for someone to answer your complaint. Now you are dealing with a God who is pissed off, who doesn't like your seeming effrontery, and will cut you down to size. You in your creative thinking and relentlessly honest attack have exposed the weaknesses of God. I've got to love you for that, Job.