about-bg about-bg

Watch/Listen

Making Friends with the Monsters

• Jonathan Martin

We all have monsters in our life that we deal with. Often, humanity tries to make sense of and control these monsters. In this sermon, Pastor Jonathan Martin shows us how God treats these monsters and how we should react to them.

Show Extended Summary Hide Extended Summary

We all face problems in this world. Every person in every situation will one day face a problem that seems too large and monstrous to solve. Job faced what many believe to be the worst type of situation a human can face. Job was a man of faith and did everything God asked of him. But, everything was taken from Job; all of his possessions, his health and his family. He was left with nothing. And there was an understanding that a monster called Leviathan was the epitome of all the bad things in the depths of the sea.

In the bible, there was a monster called Leviathan which epitomized fear and suffering. God describes this monster in Job 41. He says that the weapons of men cannot do anything to it and that the gods trembled before Leviathan. This myth and metaphor made a monster out of everything that people faced in this world. Leviathan represented pain and suffering, and ultimately fear. God uses this monster as a way to describe how people deal with their fear, pain and suffering.

People always try to control the monster. In Job, we see Job’s friends trying to rationalize everything bad that has happened to Job. They say that Job must deserve this punishment because of something he did. The monster in Job’s life is a product of Job’s sin or wrongdoing. Job’s friends do this because they fear a monster that’s not a result of something they can understand. They can’t understand why something bad would happen unless it’s the result of Job’s sin. To have a monster for another reason would mean that they have no control over whether bad things happen in their life.

We still see this thinking today. It seems that every time there is a natural disaster or something bad happens, people want to stand up and blame others. The earthquake in Haiti was due to witchcraft. Hurricane Katrina was due to the sin of the city. AIDS was due to homosexuality. Even on a local, individual level, we see blame tossed around when bad things happen. We even blame ourselves. This desire to control the source of pain and suffering is alluring to humans, but it ultimately leads us to failure.

The best thing that we can do in our pain and suffering is to realize that the monster is very small to God. God challenges Job and his friends to control Leviathan. He questions their ability to control such a monster. God tells Job that it’s God’s job to tame Leviathan. No man-made weapons will prevail against such a monster. When humans are all out of options (and hopefully before we get to that point), we should trust in God to help us beat Leviathan.

We don’t have to know what to do with leviathan; we only need to trust God. This is a tough lesson, especially when our monsters threaten us everyday. Control is something we want, but it’s not always best for us to strive for it. Learning to trust God and try to see God’s plan to deal with our monsters is our best survival strategy in this world. And, one day, God will deal with all the Leviathans of this world.

Hide Extended Summary

Topics: Fear, Pain & Suffering, Power


Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Video File
Study guide (opens new window)
Slides


Focus Scripture:

  • Job 41:1-34

    1 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook,

    or press down its tongue with a cord?

    2 Can you put a rope in its nose,

    or pierce its jaw with a hook?

    3 Will it make many supplications to you?

    Will it speak soft words to you?

    4 Will it make a covenant with you

    to be taken as your servant forever?

    5 Will you play with it as with a bird,

    or will you put it on leash for your girls?

    6 Will traders bargain over it?

    Will they divide it up among the merchants?

    7 Can you fill its skin with harpoons,

    or its head with fishing spears?

    8 Lay hands on it;

    think of the battle; you will not do it again!

    9 Any hope of capturing it will be disappointed;

    were not even the gods overwhelmed at the sight of it?

    10 No one is so fierce as to dare to stir it up.

    Who can stand before it?

    11 Who can confront it and be safe?

    —under the whole heaven, who?

    12 “I will not keep silence concerning its limbs,

    or its mighty strength, or its splendid frame.

    13 Who can strip off its outer garment?

    Who can penetrate its double coat of mail?

    14 Who can open the doors of its face?

    There is terror all around its teeth.

    15 Its back is made of shields in rows,

    shut up closely as with a seal.

    16 One is so near to another

    that no air can come between them.

    17 They are joined one to another;

    they clasp each other and cannot be separated.

    18 Its sneezes flash forth light,

    and its eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.

    19 From its mouth go flaming torches;

    sparks of fire leap out.

    20 Out of its nostrils comes smoke,

    as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.

    21 Its breath kindles coals,

    and a flame comes out of its mouth.

    22 In its neck abides strength,

    and terror dances before it.

    23 The folds of its flesh cling together;

    it is firmly cast and immovable.

    24 Its heart is as hard as stone,

    as hard as the lower millstone.

    25 When it raises itself up the gods are afraid;

    at the crashing they are beside themselves.

    26 Though the sword reaches it, it does not avail,

    nor does the spear, the dart, or the javelin.

    27 It counts iron as straw,

    and bronze as rotten wood.

    28 The arrow cannot make it flee;

    slingstones, for it, are turned to chaff.

    29 Clubs are counted as chaff;

    it laughs at the rattle of javelins.

    30 Its underparts are like sharp potsherds;

    it spreads itself like a threshing sledge on the mire.

    31 It makes the deep boil like a pot;

    it makes the sea like a pot of ointment.

    32 It leaves a shining wake behind it;

    one would think the deep to be white-haired.

    33 On earth it has no equal,

    a creature without fear.

    34 It surveys everything that is lofty;

    it is king over all that are proud.”

Subscribe to Podcast Buy Media

17 thoughts on “Making Friends with the Monsters

    LouAnne Johnsoon says: Tuesday January 14, 2014 at 1:19 am

    I misse have missed your sermons while you were on sabbatica welcome back

    Reply
    Carol Williams says: Wednesday January 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

    A Word in due season. Go preach and make disciples of all nations…baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for obeying by speaking this teaching. Blessings I send from the love within from this love I’ve received of our beloved.

    Reply
    Amy Luna Manderino says: Friday January 17, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Wonderful message that love conquers all monsters, without and within. And fear only give monsters power. <3

    I noticed that you mention God the Father, Son, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Robert Redford, James Cameron, George Clooney, Job, and lots of references to "guys." Bad guys, good guys, etc.

    Yet females are mentioned as an anonymous Samaritan "woman," "our" daughters and "your" girls.

    With this kind of language, males have names and identities and females don't have names and are the property of others. This way of speaking is left over from when women were the property of males, which was the case up until only less than a century ago in the U.S. and in much of the world women still are the property of men, which is a form of slavery. It's easy not to notice that are language is still so dominated with masculine imagery, male characters and male examples.

    May I suggest that you try to use anecdotes to illustrate your points that have named females who are the sovereign subjects of their own stories and lives? I think that would be a great way to make the majority of God's people (females) feel seen, heard and acknowledged and help shift the residual unconscious way of speaking that's left over from when women were not considered equal to men.

    I hope this comment isn't considered "inappropriate." I notice that comments about "race, gender and sexuality" are considered "inappropriate." Isn't that what they told Jesus, when he spoke up for the minority voice and advocated equality? Why would those comments be inappropriate on a Christian comment page?

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Saturday January 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    One of the most beautiful things that I’ve ever heard in my life were the Monks at San Miniato al Monte just outside the city of Florence doing their evening Gregorian Chants to the Virgin Mary –

    ……Alleluia. Virga Jesse Floruit. Virgo Deum et hominem genuit.
    Pacem Deus reddidit, in se reconcilians ima summis. Alleluia…….

    My wife and I sat there and listed for about an hour while we took in the view of the incredible sculptural roundels by Luca della Robbia. I’m not a Roman Catholic in any sense of the word, but I was truly moved, almost to tears by how deep and spiritually profound the singing and the words were. It got me thinking that somewhere along the path of Protestant Reformation with all of its attenuations and divergences, we lost our balanced ability to pay respectful homage due to the Virgin for the tremendously courageous and faithful woman that she was.

    Now, there’s no way in Disneyland that you will ever catch me defending the countless millennia of abusive and self-destructive masculine behavior, but if one were to accept and buy into all of the misandry of Luce Irigaray’s and or Camille Paglia’s phallogocentric and misanthropic arguments, then sure, I could see where Jonathan’s message might come across as being somewhat insensitive in its linguistic content and exegetical selections. However, at no point in the message did I ever get the sense that he was coming across even remotely sexist or gender biased.

    But……..perhaps like so many men, I’m simple soaked and pickled in my own cultural “Machismo” that I can’t see the forest through the trees? Therefore I apologize!

    Dominus vobiscum!

    Reply
    M85 says: Sunday January 19, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Hi Dave, it’s always interesting reading your comments because you seem to know a lot about Italy and italian culture but I think you’ve misunderstood the whole Virgin Mary issue in the Catholic Church. What i’ve come to understand is that the veneration of the Virgin is in fact in a certain sense a rejection of real women and especially their sexuality in favour of a platonic, “spiritual” being who is forever a Virgin (despite the fact that she had children naturally AFTER Jesus’ supernatural birth). Obviously there have been important female figures in the Catholic Church, but the priesthood is esclusively male, as you well know. Just some thoughts…

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Sunday January 19, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Big M,

    Ha! “Au contraire, mon frère” Notice how I said, “tremendously courageous and faithful WOMAN that she was”. Ref – Luke (11:27 -28) where someone tries to elevate her status, etc…

    I certainly don’t believe that she is or ever was a sinless Platonic spiritual immaculately conceived and ascended being that needs to be worshiped – Ha! Like I said, I’m not “Roman Catholic” – and not all RC’s believe that either!

    What I am saying is this – That a heck of a lot more could have and should have been done throughout church history, to celebrate the incredible role of Women in scripture – stating this to add some admittance and credence to what Amy is saying in her comment above.

    However, I do think it is equally prudent not to apply too arduously an historical deconstruction analysis of patriarchal linguistics so as to end up demonize men. Back in Grad school, “meat eating men” were blamed for nearly everything from the Fall of Rome to the Vietnam War. After a few semesters of this, I was so full of guilt I seriously considering an emasculation!

    Since the “residual coconscious way of speaking” is so landlocked into cultural norms, I’m wondering if language itself is to blame? There’s a great online article that might shed some further light on the subject –

    Pax tibi!

    Masculine-Feminine Difference: How Max and Fran Talk …
    difference-works.com/masculine-feminine-difference-how-max-and-fran…‎

    Reply
    Amy Luna Manderino says: Sunday January 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Dave,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on my observations. I hope you will not mind if offer the advice that it’s a good idea in conversations of a sensitive nature , not to hear facts as attacks. I pointed out merely that this sermon had a lot of masculine imagery in it (which it did) and I even offered a possible reason for that (a habit left over from a different time when things were different) and suggested a positive solution to help move things into a better place for men and women, together. 🙂

    At no time did I refer to any of the female authors you named, nor did I use the word “sexist,” “insensitive” or “biased” nor did I “demonize” the speaker. In fact, I started my post by complimenting him on the wisdom of his sermon.

    I was, like Jesus did, merely pointing out a way we can all move in a better direction.

    When one has a hypervigilant response to observations and suggestions, it only serves to perpetuate the dualistic “us vs. them” “win/lose” paradigm that I believe is counter to Christ’s message.

    Peace,

    Amy Luna

    Reply
    Amy Luna Manderino says: Sunday January 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Oh…and I wanted to comment on the Mars/Venus type article that you linked to about differences in male and female communication.

    Studies of differences among the sexes only tell us what has been, not what could be. Recent findings in epi-genetics and neuroplasticity in the last decade or so have really called into question whether the (usually relatively small) average difference in behavior between males as group and females as a group is a result of nature or socialization in a gender polarized culture.

    Also, any human behavior exists on a continuum with much overlap in the middle between men and women. Usually, the differences among individual men or individual women is greater than the difference between men as a group and women as a group.

    In other words, seeing the world in “pink and blue” is not really an accurate reflection of reality, nor is it productive to focus on differences between any groups. It seems much more Christian to be focusing on our similarities and common humanity, as people.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Monday January 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Amy,

    Firstly, sorry for my shoot from the hip knee jerk reaction! I want to apologize for using hyperbolic, inflammatory and bombastic language in my extremely insensitive response! I was wrong and I humbly ask for your forgiveness! – (James 5:16)

    However, all hyperbole and sarcasm aside, I think we’re simply just going to have to disagree on this one. I really truthfully and honestly don’t see how the language and examples that he employed during his message were in anyway suggesting, implying or inferring that – “Females don’t have names and are the property of others” even in a remote secondary or tertiary sense. If anything, I think perhaps maybe your response could be considered a distortion of the facts and somewhat “hyper-vigilant”. But…. if you felt that was actually the case, then I must respect that and let it go. I don’t speak for the man or for WHC.

    But instead of bantering this around with me for the entertainment value of the participants and followers here on this blog, why don’t we simply ask the man himself what he thinks and if in fact his use of language and examples in his opinion, were leaning heavily towards the “masculine side ” of historical cultural reality?

    Jonathan ???? –

    Second, I definitely don’t see the world through some trite “Pink and Blue” periscope. I just thought the article was helpful in its light-hearted presentation of Language and how it relates to gender socially. We do however, have different “Brains” – thank goodness and the structure of our “connectomes” can lead to a different understanding of spatial and emotional reality and ultimately, what we deem as important to our own survival. Ref. – Ragini Verma’s PhD’s research on Brain Connectivity, etc…

    And as you know from Scripture, in the end, it would seem that our gender differences ultimately won’t matter anyway – Matthew 22:30

    You can have the last word!

    Reply
    Amy Luna Manderino says: Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 1:28 am

    “You can have the last word!”

    I appreciate your invitation to respond to your points, however the need to argue one’s “case” to “prove” who’s right and who’s wrong is a Leviathan I have already defeated–that monster no longer has power over me.

    <3

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Understood. Not touching that subject again with a ten foot pole – You might find this web site interesting –

    http://www.worldometers.info/

    Yes, there are many “Leviathans” out there and they are busy in deed!

    Dave

    Reply
    Angel says: Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Speaking as one who has much more exposure to Jonathan than the good folks at Woodland Hills might have, I want to assure you that he fully recognizes the importance of women in the scriptures. He delights at the fact that not only Mary are part of Christs lineage, but Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba to name a few.
    Don’t just that oversized book by one message. Trust your pastor to be able to recognize a gem when he sees one. I have followed Greg for many years now and discovered Jonathan a year ago. Both men bring the Kingdom vision in a way that attracts rather than pushes away. Do yourselves a favor and check out the podcasts on Renovatus. That is Jonathan’s home church. I sometimes wrestle with Greg, Jonathan, Brian Tome and Greg Laurie, but in the end I am wrestling with God and He welcomes that.

    Reply
    Angel says: Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    PS that should say “don’t judge that oversized book”. Silly predictive text

    Reply
    Amy Luna Manderino says: Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Angel,

    How kind of you to offer your support of Jonathan! He must really have made an impression on you. That’s great!

    I think your comments were meant to make me “feel better?” Your assurances, while thoughtful, are unnecessary. At no time did I state, imply or believe that Jonathan does not recognize the importance of women in scriptures. 🙂

    Again, one of the “Leviathans” is when we hear a constructive suggestion as a negative criticism. You don’t need to soothe me because I didn’t feel attacked and, if you notice, I didn’t ever say I felt attacked. That’s something you must have assumed. <3

    Women are over half the population, yet they were statistically underrepresented in this sermon (by a huge margin) and were not mentioned by name. That's not an opinion or an attack, that's just a fact. 🙂

    That fact (and my suggestion to be more inclusive) is absolutely and completely unrelated to Jonathan's intent, motivation or ideas about women.

    It's exchanges like this that convince me of why people who speak up for social change are seen as "challenging" or "combative." It's the people LISTENING that are hearing it as an attack whenever their actions (or the actions of those they respect) are commented on.

    I wish he had gone into more about what the monsters are. I see people all over the place wanting to deflect away a calm, unemotional and considered opinion with defensive arguments or explanations meant to soothe ruffled feathers that are only in the eye of the soother.

    Both strategies are co-dependent (designed to make the person's point just go away) and not effective in finding common ground solutions where both sides feel heard and understood.

    Reply
    Amy Luna Manderino says: Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 11:16 am

    “We do however, have different “Brains””

    I do feel compelled to point out to anyone reading this comment thread that there is no conclusive evidence that women and men “have different brains.”

    It’s become popular lately to sell books, articles, etc. with the propaganda that there is a “male brain” and a “female brain.”

    First, brain anatomy exists on a continuum. There are not two discrete categories. Research suggests that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men are “bridge brains” meaning their brain anatomy lies somewhere in the overlapping middle of the continuum.

    Second, the book “Sexing the Brain” does a good job of explaining why perceived differences (which are smaller than we are led to believe) between biological males and biological females is most probably not due to biology or pre-determined genetics at all, but is due to how we raise boys and girls in a culture obsessed with the gender binary, left over from the power dynamic between men and women under the political system of patriarchy (which still exists in much of the world).

    The history of science is full of examples where the bias of society caused science to be filtered through that same bias, leading to erroneous conclusions. “Sexing The Brain” is a refreshing departure from the sea of bias in scholarship today that is looking to “prove” the pink and blue world we’ve been socialized to expect.

    It’s just not that simple. 🙂

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Well, Thank Goodness the Word of God Clears Things Up!

    Galatians 3:28 –

    “27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” NIV :)-

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

 

testimonial-icon

"It's been so supportive to have a journey group leader since 7th grade that I have made a lasting relationship with for 6 years. She has helped me grow in my faith and has been there to check in!"

– Laura, high school student