I’m not a fisherman. My son, however, loves to fish. He has fishing rods, hooks, lines, flies, and lures for different seasons, for different water (freshwater or sea), and for different fish.
Some fish are small. Only a lightweight rod, line, and small hook are needed. If the rod is too heavy, the person fishing cannot sense when the line is pulled. If the line is too heavy, a small fish will see it and avoid it. If the hook is too big, it will not fit in the fish’s mouth.
Other fish are larger. A lightweight rod, line, and hook will not be strong enough to catch them.
We’re familiar with the fact that Jesus’ first disciples were fisherman. Of course, they didn’t use rods, lines, or hooks. They used nets. Nevertheless, the picture of a fisherman with a line and hook is found in the Bible. It comes in a conversation God has with Job in Job 41:1-11.
Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook? Will it keep begging you for mercy? Will it speak to you with gentle words? Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life? Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house? Will traders barter for it? Will they divide it up among the merchants? Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears? If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse it. 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, you’ll remember, is suffering. He’s lost his family, his livelihood, his health, and the support of his wife. None of this is because God is punishing him, but try telling that to his so-called friends. Chapter after chapter is a theological debate between him and these “friends” about whether suffering is always punishment for personal sin or not. During this debate, Job demands that God answers his plea and reveals the truth. Finally, God does answer. But it’s not the answer Job expects.
God challenges Job with a series of questions, including a challenge to pull in Leviathan with a fishhook. Bible teachers are not sure what animal Leviathan is. Is it a dragon-like creature (Job 41:19-20 say it spits fire from its mouth and smoke pours from its nostrils)? Is it some kind of large sea creature? Or is it a large crocodile? Whatever Leviathan is, a fishing rod, line, and hook are useless to trap it. No one in their right mind would attempt to use fishing equipment to subdue Leviathan.
So it is with God’s sovereignty – which is the point of God’s questions to Job. The presence of suffering and evil is hard to understand. But God is sovereign. He can defeat evil; he can conquer suffering; he can trap Leviathan. How? Well, we must look beyond Job to find the answer. The answer is God’s sovereign plan of salvation demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When we don’t always understand what is happening around us or to us, we can be sure God is more than able to deliver us and, ultimately, be victorious. He can do what we cannot, as Job realizes in Job 42:2. So, we place our lives into God’s sovereign, yet crucified, hands.
I’m not a fisherman. But I know to catch the right fish requires the right equipment. And even though I can’t always understand why someone suffers, I know that no matter the size of the enemy or the depth of suffering, God’s sovereignty is bigger. The cross and resurrection prove this.
視頻大意翻譯(video Chinese translation):
Grace and peace