Posted in Job

Trying to Put God on a Leash

“Can you make a pet of him like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls?…Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse him. Who then is able to stand against Me? Who has a claim against Me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to Me.” Job 41:5; 9-11

God is describing to Job an animal called Leviathan in the text above. It’s a wild animal that has now gone extinct, but there are many other animals God created to be wild.

Job’s friends tried to put God on a leash. “Here’s how God works,” they argued (my paraphrase). “God blesses the righteous with temporal blessings and punishes the wicked with temporal hardships. Therefore, Job, you clearly have done something wicked because you are suffering.”

Job responded to them with equally long arguments that can be summed up by something like this: “You guys have it all wrong. There are many examples where wicked people don’t get what’s coming to them in this life, and where the righteous suffer – I am example one of this! I have been righteous but am suffering horribly. Your formula for God is wrong.”

When God revealed Himself at the end of the book, He said that Job’s friends had spoken what was wrong about Him and that Job had said what was right. (Job 42:7) But Job still needed to repent when God confronted him. He felt God somehow owed him something for the righteous life he had led and for the righteous acts he had performed. What was happening to him was “not fair,” so he had longed for a face to face encounter with God to tell him so.

God eventually gave Job that encounter and in the text above is rebuking him for trying to put Him on a leash. God will not be told what to do and does not owe mankind anything. Job then apologized: “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

Have you tried to put God on a leash? Have you questioned His ways because you feel entitled to a better life? Why not repent now and lay every sense of entitlement down at the foot of the cross. May the mystery of who He is lead us to worship more than ever.


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin