Crocodile God

Sep 3, 2006Find joy today

I’m finished with the book of Job as of today. What struck me was this: God likened Himself to a crocodile, and after He spoke of Himself thus, Job repented.

Consider these words, and think of God as you do…

Can you catch a crocodile with a hook or put a noose around its jaw? Can you tie it with a rope through the nose or pierce its jaw with a spike? Will it beg you for mercy or implore you for pity? Will it agree to work for you? Can you make it be your slave for life? Can you make it a pet like a bird, or give it to your little girls to play with? (Job 41:4-5).

I wonder how much we try to harness God, to make Him in our own image. To make Him a Rachel from Friends. Or a Ross. Just one of the gang. Or worse yet, to make God our slave for life. Isn’t that what the name-it-and-claim-it-folks do? I follow God because of all the great stuff He gives me. I manipulate my slave God to do what I want Him to do, to give me what I want to receive, to have perfect health, perfect relationships, perfect everything. Tell me, how is that NOT making God a slave?

God answers back to those trying to make Him their slave:

No, it is useless to try to capture it. The hunter who attempts it will be thrown down. And since no one dares disturb the crocodile, who would dare stand up to Me? Will will confront Me and remain safe? Everything under heaven is Mine. (Job 41:9-11).

We cannot capture God. We cannot even glimpse His vastness. He is wild. Untame. Sovereign over all the earth. With all the talk about God being our Lover, I wonder where we lost the metaphor of God as our Crocodile? Does God love us? Yes. So much more than we can fathom. But He is not manageable. He is not mechanical. He is not a supercomputer, manned by engineers. He is a crocodile, thrashing tail against the sea. Consider these words:

When it sneezes, it flashes light! Its eyes are like the red of dawn. (vs. 18).

The tremendous strength in its neck strikes terror wherever it goes. (vs. 22).

When it rises, the mighty are afraid, gripped by terror. (vs. 25).

To the crocodile, iron is nothing but straw, and bronze is rotten wood. (vs. 27).

When we teach others about God, why do we sanitize Him? Why do we make Him so easy to like? He is stronger than the whirlwind, more devastating than hurricanes. The Bible says to FEAR Him. To wonder at His vastness, to marvel at His unknowableness. Job ends his one-sided conversation with God (God spoke; he listened) with words that sound a lot like “You’re God. I’m not”:

I had heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance. (Job 42:5-6).

Job realized his error. Will we? Will I? Trivializing God, sentimentalizing His majesty, is a sin of which we must repent. So many of us long to hear and see God. Job heard. And then he saw, after God described Himself as a crocodile. Are we willing to see God this way? We speak of this “personal relationship with God,” but do we even know what we’re saying? We hold in tension that Jesus calls us friends with the fact that God is untameable. It’s a wild paradox . . . we are friends with the Wild.

How big is your God? How strong? How majestic? How wild? Have we trinket-ized God to the extent that we only see His softer side? And yet, He is a Lion, a crocodile, a whirlwind. And in knowing that, I repent in dust and ashes saying, “You are God, and I am not.”