Behold now behemoth, which I made with you; he eats grass as an ox.…
Two monster animals, the hippopotamus and the crocodile, are set before us in typical characteristics, to idealize the great works of God in the animal kingdom.
I. GOD IS THE CREATOR OF THE ANIMAL WORLD. "God made the beast of the earth after his kind" (Genesis 1:25). We have not left the presence of God when we have come to study natural history. Here we may see indications of Divine thought. Even the coarsest wild animals are under the care of God.
1. Therefore let no one hurt them needlessly.
2. If God provides for behemoth, will he not much more provide for man?
II. MAGNITUDE AND STRENGTH HAVE A PLACE IN THE DIVINE ECONOMY. Behemoth is famous first for his size, and secondly for his physical strength. Now, these two qualities are among the lowest of good things. Still, they are good. God is glorified even by the physical greatness of his works. The chief glory of the stars is in their magnitude and in the vastness of the space which they occupy. A mere mass of flesh is the lowest excellence. Yet even this may be good if it is not abused. How much more may higher gifts?
III. EXCELLENCE IN LOWER QUALITIES IS NO GUARANTEE FOE EXCELLENCE IN HIGHER QUALITIES. Behemoth is big and strong. But he is stupid and brutal. When he opens his cavernous jaws and his dull eyes appear over them, set in a mountain of black, shapeless flesh, he is positively hideous. The gravity of his unconscious attitudes of supreme ugliness has almost a touch of humour in it. We begin to wonder how the Divine Artist who shaped the graceful gazelle and gave the perfection of motion to the swallow could have fashioned the ugly and clumsy hippopotamus. Perhaps one object was to show what a poor thing bulk of body is in comparison with brains, with thought and soul. The young man who is more proud of his biceps than of anything else belonging to him may see his ideal humiliated in behemoth. For no man can attain to the strength of a hippopotamus.
IV. THERE IS A HARMONY IN ALL GOD'S WORKS. Behemoth is suited to his home among the coarse grasses or the Nile. There his voracious appetite can find ample sustenance. God provides for all his creatures, and he suits all his creatures for the spheres in which he has called them to live. Behemoth is naturally of a low and stupid nature, and he has all that his nature requires. Man is of a higher nature. He must not be content to dream his existence away in the sleepy land where soul-life is stifled. The true "lotus-eaters" are not refined Sybarites, but hippopotami.
V. GOD, WHO WORKS IN THE GREAT, WORKS ALSO IN THE LITTLE. He made the monsters of the deep. He also made the microscopic cell. From behemoth to the amoeba all the living creatures of nature are" fearfully and wonderfully made." When we think of God behind the tiny cell, quickening its mysterious life,
"The small becomes dreadful and immense."
VI. BULK AND POWER ARE NOT THE MOST TERRIBLE THINGS. Behemoth is a vegetarian. He is not cruel, like his much smaller fellow-creature, the lion. The little asp that he tramples beneath his feet is far more deadly. Big troubles may not be so hurtful as troubles that we can scarcely see till they have bitten us. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.