Look at the BehemothPosted August 23rd, 2012
by Ernest Jones
“Stop!” my niece shouted. “See those cars up there. It must be some animals.”
Excitement pulsated in me as my nephew stopped the car. We were in Yellowstone National Park, and we had learned that when we saw a car stopped along the parkway it usually meant some animal was nearby.
“Over there,” someone said. “Look at those buffalo.”
I walked with the group for some distance, my eyes riveted to the huge animals. I stood with my camera in hand as I stared at the scene before me.
The herd of American Bison—fifty or more bulls, cows, and calves—were rolling in the mud. The adults grunted as they rolled, sounding to me more or less like a large herd of pigs. The calves, in their light brown coats, frolicked around the adults, running, kicking up their heels, and pushing each other around. By comparison, the adults were ugly with their dark brownish-black coats, matted with mud. They smelled as bad as they looked.
In the Road
As I stood in the middle of the road like a statue, some of the buffalo started walking at an angle toward the road. I was thrilled at a sight so few Americans see today. The huge beasts were so close I could focus on their bright eyes (this was several years ago, when my eyes still allowed me this pleasure).
I don’t know how long I stood there; it must have been several minutes. I was transfixed by the wonderful scene in front of me. The tunnel vision I had at that time was not a problem as I took in every detail. I watched the first of the herd cross the highway perhaps seventy feet in front of me, their huge shaggy heads bobbing back and forth like pendulums.
Suddenly I heard a voice through a bullhorn: “Come back. Come back now.”
Curious to know who the voice was talking to, I turned around and realized I was the one being ordered back! I was alone, standing in the center of the road with the buffalo just in front of me. Everyone else had returned to stand in a group a hundred feet behind me. My wife Dorothy was waving at me wildly.
I had not realized that the buffalo herd had split into two groups, with part of the herd nearing the bank that led up onto the parkway behind me. Had I remained where I was, I would have been alone—surrounded by buffalo.
“I wanted to call you,” said Dorothy, “but I was afraid I’d startle the animals and make it worse.”
Why was I left alone? With my narrow range of vision I hadn’t noticed the bison coming up the draw behind me. I had seen only those in front of me.
I never did take a photo of any of those beasts. I forgot all about my camera. Still, that picture is engraved in my mind.
Many years before my experience in Yellowstone, God reminded Job of His creative power by presenting him with a similar scene. God said:
Look at Behemoth,*
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron. . . .
The hills bring it their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby. . . .
The poplars by the stream surround it.
A raging river does not alarm it
(Job 40:15-23, NIV).
Well, as I read further in this chapter I can see that Job was more than impressed by God’s creative power. And on that day in Yellowstone, so was I.
*The word “behemoth” is derived from the Egyptian word that means “water ox.”