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3rd December 2023


(The Lord) said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’

Job 38:11

King Canute was one of the most powerful men on earth in the eleventh century. In a now-famous tale, it is said that he ordered his chair to be placed on the shore as the tide was rising. “You are subject to me,” he said to the sea. “I command you, therefore, not to rise on to my land, nor to wet the clothing or limbs of your master.” But the tide continued to rise, drenching the king’s feet.

This story is often told to draw attention to Canute’s pride. Actually, it is a story about humility. “Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty,” Canute says next, “save Him by whose will heaven, earth and sea obey.” Canute’s story makes a point: God is the only all-powerful One.

That was something Job discovered. Compared to the One who laid Earth’s foundations (Job 38:4-7), who commands morning to appear and night to end (v 12–13), who stocks the storehouses of the snow and directs the stars (v 22, 31–33), we are small. There is only one Ruler of the waves, and it is not us (v 11 & Matthew 8:23-27.

King Canute’s story is good to re-enact when we begin feeling too clever or proud about ourselves. Walk to the beach and tell the tide to halt, or try commanding the sun to step aside or not to set. We will soon remember who is really supreme, and thank Him for ruling our lives.

Bible Reading

Job 38:1-18.


Lord Almighty, You are high and above all. I bow to You as the Ruler of my life. In Jesus name. Amen.

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