chaos monster

This title isn’t the name of a Sesame Street character, although it should be. Who wouldn’t tune in to the alphabet in the hands of the Chaos Monster? Just think what he could do to the number six! This could open Sesame Street to an older demographic, who would gladly pledge a few bucks for a Chaos Monster tote bag.

Actually, this is the title of an inspiring lecture that my Old Testament colleague, John Hilber, gave last night. John was so good that I decided to rip him off and turn his content into an Our Daily Journey devotional, which I post here.

Ancient people were terrified by the ocean. The sea was a stormy, unpredictable place whose swells often swallowed up the courageous sailors who dared to cross. So it’s not surprising that the religions of the Ancient Near East told similar stories about how their god defeated the evil sea of chaos and its seven-headed monster, often portrayed as a dragon or serpent. Whether it was the Mesopotamian Marduk slaying Tiamut, goddess of the sea, or the Canaanite Baal cutting off the heads of the oceanic chaos monster, the ancient people made a point of saying that their god had triumphed over evil.

Scripture uses the sea and the chaos monster to make an even better point about the true God. Yahweh demonstrated that He alone was God when He “dried up the sea” so His people could escape from Egypt (Isaiah 51:10). Rahab confessed to the spies, “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the LORD made a dry path for you through the Red Sea” (Joshua 2:10).

God soothed Job’s anguished heart by reminding him that He dominates the sea monster, Leviathan, and He has placed limits on the sea and what it can do to him (Job 41:1-34; 38:8-11). Asaph later used this fact to spur God to action. It’s true that “You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan.” So why do you allow your foolish enemies to “insult you, LORD?…Arise, O God, and defend your cause” (Psalm 74:13-22).

He will. Jesus promises to return and slay “the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil,” and He will create a New Earth that has no more sea (Revelation 20:2; 21:1). I don’t know what ocean of chaos has buckled your knees, but that’s a good position to be in. You might as well give your chaos to God, because He already owns it.

2 Comments

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  1. Wonderfully put Mike. The “seas have lifted up their pounding waves” but The Lord sits enthroned above the waters… And Jesus walked on the water to show his absolute Lordship over hostile creation! I love it… Thanks for the devotional.

  2. That’s another great verse, Tom! It’d be fun to see how many there are in Scripture.

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