Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 926 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
I am Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Slaying the Sea Monster – Wisdom Wednesday
Thank you for joining us for our five days per week wisdom and legacy building podcast. We are broadcasting from our studio at The Big House in Marietta, Ohio. Today is Day 926 of our trek, and it is Wisdom Wednesday.
Creating a Biblical worldview is important to have a proper perspective on today’s current events. To establish a Biblical worldview, it is required that you also have a proper understanding of God’s word. Especially in our western cultures, we do not fully understand the scriptures from the mindset and culture of the authors.
In order to help us all have a better understanding of some of the more obscure passages in God’s word, we are investing Wisdom Wednesday reviewing a series of essays from one of today’s most prominent Hebrew Scholars Dr. Micheal S. Heiser. He has compiled these essays into a book titled I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible.
You may have a good grasp of the creation account found in Genesis, but there are aspects to it that our modern translations miss. Today’s essay explores an aspect of creation you may have overlooked…
Slaying the Sea Monster
When we think of creation, we think of everything beginning with God’s spoken word, as Genesis l tells us. But some Old Testament writers concentrate on another aspect of creation—and a weird one at that. In the middle of God’s ordering of the sea and dry land and His establishing of the sun, moon, stars, and the seasons in Psalm 74, we find another event: God destroying sea monsters.
You, O God, are my king from ages past,
bringing salvation to the earth.
You split the sea by your strength
and smashed the heads of the sea monsters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan
and let the desert animals eat him.
You caused the springs and streams to gush forth,
and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
Both day and night belong to you;
you made the starlight and the sun.
You set the boundaries of the earth,
and you made both summer and winter.
· Warring the Sea Monster
The reference to God smashing “the heads of the sea monster” and crushing “the heads of Leviathan” has led many on a desperate study of Old Testament zoology. But this, along with many other confusing Old Testament images, has a cultural context.
In the ancient world, the original (“primordial”) chaotic conditions of creation were often portrayed as a monstrous dragon. This is reflected in stories from ancient Babylon and Israel’s closest neighbor, Ugarit (ancient Syria, just north of Israel).
In the literature of ancient Ugarit, the god Baal battles the sea, who is portrayed as a chaotic, churning sea and a terrifying sea dragon named Tannum and Litanu. These terms are equivalent to the Hebrew words in Psalm 74:13-14, “You divided the sea by your might; you smashed the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan.”
Other parallels are found elsewhere in the Old Testament. In Ugaritic stories, Litanu is described as a “twisting serpent” and a “fleeing serpent.” Those precise phrases are used to describe the sea beast Leviathan in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 27:1 – In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan, the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent. He will kill the dragon of the sea.
Job 26:13 – His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent.
· What’s the Point?
God didn’t really fight a literal dragon at the beginning of creation. This imagery reflects the mindset of the ancient world, which viewed the sea as unpredictably violent and unable to be tamed. It frightened the ancients. Only the power of a mighty God could produce a habitable world from the chaotic sea—a deed portrayed as a battle with the untamed deep. God was victorious in this conflict, as told in Psalm 74.
This imagery was intentionally repurposed throughout the Old Testament.
Wake up, wake up, O Lord! Clothe yourself with strength!
Flex your mighty right arm!
Rouse yourself as in the days of old
when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.
Are you not the same today,
the one who dried up the sea,
making a path of escape through the depths
so that your people could cross over?
This imagery—the same imagery used in creation stories—effectively describes the birth of a new nation after God’s defeat of Egypt.
Isaiah also describes the end of days with the same language: “In that day the Lord…will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea,” Isaiah 27:1. The book of Revelation, taking its cue from Isaiah 27:1 describes a time when there will be “no more sea.” This is found Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.”
The elimination of all that opposes God will only come with His final reign on earth. Only when the new heaven and new earth are brought into being will the violent sea monster truly be slain.
Tomorrow we will continue with our 3-minute humor nugget that will provide you with a bit of cheer and help you to lighten up and live a rich and satisfying life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along with us tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of our past 925 treks or read the Wisdom Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Apple Podcast or Google Play so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you tomorrow!