You rule the oceans.You subdue their storm-tossed waves.You crushed the great sea monster. You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. (NLT)
When I first read this verse above, I thought “how weird!” Since when are there sea monsters of biblical proportions lurking about in the oceans? I have probably read this verse at some point in my life, but for some reason the whole sea monster concept grabbed my attention this time.
So with my curiosity peaked, I did a little research about this unfamiliar verse and supposed sea monster. This is just my untheologically trained opinion of course, so you can just take it for its worth.
I began my study by looking up this same verse in the NIV Bible, which was translated this way, “You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain.”
So this mysterious sea monster actually has a name – Rahab (not to be confused with the prostitute in the book of Joshua).
I discovered that in Hebrew, the name Rahab portrayed a mythical sea monster, that represented chaos, and was referred to as the demonic angel of the sea. Rahab is not really a sea creature at all, but instead, it is merely the portrayal of a being that possesses ungodly and evil qualities.
This sea monster is also referred to in Job, which indicates that it is an alternative for the word “Tiamat,” which is the Babylonian name of the dragon of darkness and chaos.
The Wikipedia website explains Rahab this way:
Rahab is or was the angel of insolence and pride, responsible for shaking the waters and producing big waves; he is also responsible for the roaring of the sea. According to some sources, he was the guardian angel of Egypt, a position often designated to other angels such as Belial, Mastema, Samael, and Uzza.Rahab represents Chaos in ancient texts such as the Bible.
Another bible study website I visited had this to say:
In the Canaanite world, Rahab was a mythical coiling sea-monster, slain by Baal in the primordial chaos. Biblically, Rahab is used as a symbol of Egypt. Metaphorically, the nation is a monster in the chaos of the sea of nations. While Rahab the sea monster occurs six times in the Hebrew Old Testament, it doesn’t always come through clearly in the KJV, as the word is sometimes translated instead of being preserved as a name. The name Rahab means storm or arrogance and so when the KJV translates the word it uses English words like pride or the proud, though the KJV margin sometimes does make reference to the original.
The association of Rahab with the sea/waters confirms the fact that it belongs to the sphere of evil. The sea is often a symbol of the forces of oppression and death and Rahab seems to embody all of these qualities.
As I pondered all of this information, I began to notice how many negative things and sins that this one sea monster stood for: chaos, darkness, insolence, pride, storms, and arrogance. Things that lead to oppression and death.
These are all qualities that God sees as monster problems in a Christian’s life; problems that affect the soul; problems that affect the faith walk; problems that can pull us away from Him, cause us to fret and worry, and eventually lead us into a state of feeling as if we are in a raging sea of life with huge waves crashing down upon us.
Stress and chaos are so prevalent in today’s society that they have actually become an epidemic. People are looking in every direction for stress relief, including self-help books, counselors, vacations, prescriptions, and even drugs and alcohol. People are drowning in the seas of a nation whose cultures lives and thrives on chaos.
For some, stress is a symbol of success – an outward example of how busy they are, thus exemplifying their importance. Pride and arrogance can result.
For others, stress is simply a by-product of situations occurring beyond their control. Chaos, darkness and hopelessness can result.
Either way, the end result is not a pretty picture for anyone – either way, the end result can seem like oppression, and maybe even spiritual or physical death.
So why we do look everywhere for stress relief, except the Bible? Why do we spend time searching for something or someone who can save us from these sea monsters in our sea of life – when God is only a prayer away?
The answer is simple – because we may not believe that God is powerful enough to handle all of our problems. We lose faith in the journey, because our life’s journey has begun to feel like a little boat, caught in a raging storm, and being tossed around in the waves like a leaf in the wind. We neglect to reach up for Gods help, and end up being pulled deeper into the abyss by these invisible monsters.
But in Psalm 89:9-10 God’s triumph over Rahab is made crystal clear. The Psalmist praises God saying, “You rule the raging of the sea and still the surging of its waves. You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound.”
Regardless of how mighty and powerful the monsters in our life may seem, God is bigger. He has the weapons needed to slay the monsters. He has already won the battle. He will be triumphant.
God can effortlessly still the brutal waves in a raging sea of life. But we have to put our life in His hands, before He can still the waters.
The Lord had total victory over Rahab, the powers of evil, the mythical sea monster that personified sins of the soul, that lurked about ready to devour anything that crossed its path, and He can have the same victory over our sea monsters too.
Monsters in our life can be anything that pulls us away from Him, that causes us to feel prideful or arrogant; that causes us to live in darkness instead of His light; or that makes our life seem stressful, chaotic or out of control.
No monster is too powerful for the All Powerful….
Repeat after me: HALLELUJAH!
I truly believe that God piqued my interest in this verse to remind me that He is bigger than all of our problems – even the ones that seem to be sucking the life right out of our every breath. These monsters that seem pretty mild when they first rear their ugly head in our hearts, but result in a life apart from God.
Ask God to reveal to you what monsters are lurking in your life, then turn those monsters over to Him. Let Him take over the battle for you, and then take a deep breath, and rest in knowing that HE WILL have victory.
No matter how bad the storm may seem right now, God can always still the waters.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.