Theme: God is bigger than our ideas about him
Bible refs: Job 40 v 15 – 41 v 34
Similar clips: Kingdom of Heaven – God Will Understand
Location of clip: 21 mins 10 secs to 25 mins 16 secs
Dr Alan Grant agrees to return to Isla Sorna, the former breeding ground of all things prehistoric. He think he’s just taking a wealthy adventurer and his wife on an aerial tour; what he doesn’t know, is that they recently lost their son in a boating accident, and they’ve come to track him down. The usual carnival of raptors and T-Rex’s come out to play, and our heroes spend the next 90 minutes screaming a lot and running from one bush to another.
The group arrives on the island, only to be attacked by one of its green scaly inhabitants. They try to take off but the plane crash lands in a tree and before they can climb out, the monster is at them again, using the plane as its plaything, rolling it around with his foot. When the group tries and flees the monster chases them and they have to hide in the undergrowth. Just when they think they are safe a T-Rex raises its head nearby and they have to retrace their steps. Suddenly they find themselves caught between a rock and hard place – both of which have incisors the size of tombstones. Fortunately the monsters do battle with each other, rather than the paltry humans that were originally on the menu.
After Job and his friends have confused themselves and us with their many vain attempts to understand God a storm turns up. And along with the storm, the presence of God. Suddenly the earth trembles and all the discussion ceases, all their fancy ideas and clever theology crumbles in the presence of the one they’re debating.
Malcolm Muggeridge once said, “The Church is man’s way of keeping God at bay.”
You could say that we see this principal at work here. There has been much discussion about Job and his pain, and his friends have presented many noble theories, but they have avoided the one thing that really matters. God’s presence with us through all of life.
They’ve been been trying to explain things and demand answers from Job instead of looking for the one who can help them. God only allowed this suffering in the first place because he was confident that Job’s friendship was not just cupboard love.
Now it’s as if God himself is highly frustrated by all this impotent banter and so bursts on the scene with a whole host of special effects, including storms, hail, thunder and monsters.
“Enough,” he says, “you know nothing. You’ll never understand me. So stop trying to immediately. Instead – open your eyes, look at the world. Don’t try to understand me – just get to know me better.”
It seems to me that there is a big difference between getting to know God and trying to understand him. This being that is ‘other’ – different to anything our small minds may conceive.
God describes two great creatures in meticulous detail. Depending which version you read they’re either the hippo and the crocodile, or Behemoth and Leviathan. Either way there’s an awful lot of fine detail about them. God says take a good long look at what I’ve made. Some of it is not what you expect. Some of it is wild, dangerous, uncontrollable. Like me. Don’t try and put me in a box, Job, I’ll just chew my way out.
It is thought that Job may well be a play, and that it may well have been the first book of teh Bible to be written down. If that is so it warms my heart. Job deals with the toughest question in life – why do bad things happen to us, do we cause them? Or is there a bigger more complex picture. And waht is God like amidst the troubles. Jesus shook everyone up by tolling into town with his fistful of beatituides, procaliming, ‘God is with the poor, the sick, the broken, the grieving, the lost.’
God is with us in our trouble, though we may fear we have been in some way cursed. In reality God never abandons us. Though life may be very hard indeed sometimes. Bono, the lead singer of U2 once said, ‘God cares about the broken and the poor, and he is with us, when we are with them.’
In Ezekiel chapter 1 this reluctant prophet sees God and his vision is pretty strange, involving multiple-eyed winged creatures with more wheels than an articulated lorry. In chapter 4 God asks Ezekiel to deliberately defile himself by cooking over human faeces. Ezekiel protests, surely God doesn’t want him, a priest, a holy man, to make himself deliberately sinful? But God’s more concerned with communication than contamination.
In the next chapter God’s at it again. “Ezekiel – shave your head.”
In Leviticus 21 it’s made clear that priests should never shave their heads – yet God says the opposite here. He’s breaking his own rules. This time Ezekiel’s got the point, he doesn’t protest, he just gets out the Gillette.
God is uncontainable. We may have our say about him, but God has the last word. Look at creation, open your eyes in the normality of life and we will see so many lessons, so many living sermons about God. So many messages from him coming at us on the airwaves of the ordinary, and yes – even through the hurricanes and the monsters.
- What do you think of when you watch the dinosaurs in the clip?
- Have you taken time to learn something from God through animals, people or places?
- What do you think about the notion of God having a wild side?
- There are places on earth no one has ever seen. Yet they contain great beauty and intimacy. What does that say to you about God?
- Did the clip make you think about anything else?