Indiana Jones isn’t afraid of anything—until a snake shows up on the scene. Then we hear him mutter, “I hate snakes” and “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?” Everyone is afraid of something. Even now your greatest fear is probably creeping through your mind—something completely irrational, like heights, spiders or dolls.
Like Indy and like us, the ancients had fears as well: They hated snakes. In ancient literature the serpent Leviathan was a symbol of chaos—a great monster to be subdued. When a god subdued Leviathan in the ancient stories, it showed his supremacy.
Isaiah uses the same metaphor to proclaim that Yahweh can destroy all fears: “On that day, Yahweh will punish with his cruel, great and strong sword Leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and he will kill the sea monster that is in the sea” (Isa 27:1). Yahweh Himself mentions Leviathan when He responds to Job, who had suffered the loss of all he had: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or can you tie down its mouth with a cord?” (Job 41:1).
When we struggle, it’s easy to focus on the Leviathans in our life, but God wants us to focus on His majesty. God can provide what we need. He can bring goodness in the midst of heartbreak (Isa 27:6). Perhaps this is why Jesus allowed Peter, James and John to see Him in His glory (Luke 9:28–35). He knew that they needed to understand that His glory was more powerful than anything they feared. Perhaps this is also why Jesus repeatedly pushed back the powers of darkness in front of His followers (e.g., Luke 9:37–43); He showed them that He could subdue anything He encountered.
When the Lord of the universe, who crushes the head of the great Leviathan, is in our corner, we have nothing to fear. All powers of darkness should tremble, for He is creating a great vineyard for us out of the chaos (Isa 27:2). If only Indy had known.
What goodness is God making out of the fear in your life?
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.