In the above verse that serves as the title, God is addressing Job. His question, along with more than three score like it, includes speaking of the Behemoth, a herbivore with a tail like a cedar. He also mentions a sea creature, the great Leviathan. These all reveal with crystal clarity how little Job understood after all. Job wisely responded, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” (Job 40:4). With Job, we recognize that it is impossible from our vantage point to understand the omniscience of God. In our smallness we are only allowed to look through a glass darkly on the ways of God in nature, yet we also realize God hath not left Himself without witness in nature. By these illustrations, God demonstrated to Job and us many facets of His creative power and sustaining influence.
One of those illustrations is rain. In the old world, Genesis lists four principal rivers fed by one source. These all flowed in the absence of rain, as we know it. Consider Gen 2:5-6, “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” Rain, as we know it, did not fall in the form of precipitation until the seventh chapter of Genesis. It was in this absence of rain that the men of Noah’s day mocked the threat of a flood. 2 Peter 2:5 indicates Noah was a preacher of righteousness; for one hundred and twenty years, he faithfully warned the people of his day, to no avail. God’s Spirit will not always strive with men, and after long opportunity to repent, God, in His wise providence, judged the world that then was in order to preserve Godly seed upon the earth. Finally, Noah entered the ark with only seven converts. The invitation was open and the message was clear, but the people of Noah’s day received it not.
Imagine the terror a thunderhead with its deep rumble of thunder and brilliant bolts of lightning would invoke upon a man who had never experienced the dread one can bring. This was the experience of those alive as Noah entered the ark. Approximately three hundred twenty-one days later, the waters from the flood were dried up from the earth, and around the 377th day, Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives departed from the ark into a world that was vastly different from the one they had previously known. As the old world perished, the agents of it’s demise, the breaking forth of the great deeps, and the opening of the flood gates of heaven, altered the topography of the continents and set into motion the weather patterns that we see today; a system that differs considerably from the one Noah and his sons enjoyed previously.
As to what the conditions before the deluge were, we can only speculate. We may only say for certain that they were something different than we experience today.
Water itself is a testament to the brilliance of God. Our bodies themselves are mostly water, approximately 60% by weight. Water is found in our blood, cells, and tissues. A man may live for many days without food, but not more than a week or so without water. The chemical formula for water is H2O, that is, two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. If we were to add one more oxygen atom to the compound, it would become H2O2, also known as hydrogen peroxide (I wouldn’t recommend anyone drink it). If the Lord chose to split the bond between these two molecules, they would become pure hydrogen and oxygen; two very flammable substances, yet in combination they extinguish fire. Many materials are denser in their solid state than when they are liquids. Fortunately, water does not follow this pattern. If it weren’t that way the ice would sink to the bottom of the pond; and as the ice sank it would expose the rest of the water to the elements and eventually if the cold were strong enough for long enough the body of water would freeze solid killing most of the life it once supported. Do these things happen by chance? No, it is Jesus, who not only created all things but also is presently “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3).
Clouds today transport untold gallons of water annually over many miles, yet the cloud as a whole remains lighter than air. All terrestrial life is dependent upon the moisture provided by them. Without a hydraulic cycle similar to our own, or one fashioned like that of Eden, human life could not exist. Jesus said in John 7:37-38, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Daily, we are reminded of the importance of water. May we allow this natural need to serve as a reminder of the even greater need, that is, our souls need to go to God for the only draft that may quench the thirst of the soul—Christ in us, the hope of Glory!