Hope Defined

                                                 Job 14:1-14

                                                June 13, 2021

 

For your individual study I have on the website at www.adultbibleclass.com

 

1.      Notes for today’s lesson:  #1c

2.      Thoughts from Job picked from the chapters as I prepare them - #1ee

3.      Each individual chapter  #’s 839 to 881.

 

                                                Thoughts From Job

 

Though some of these topics and passages seem to be at random, there is

 a sequential presentation from chapters 1 to 42 of Job.

 

These are topics that I separated from the Pulpit Commentary for emphasis, though

all passages in Job are instructive.   To study the chapters in detail, may be done

on this website:  #839 through 881.  (I recommend such a study - for an example,

it took me from May 28 to August 23, 1974 to complete Job from the

exposition only.   To put Job on the website as I want it {both exposition and

homiletics}has taken around five months, probably averaging 2 hours a day

[May 15 to July 13, 2013 and March 4 to June 9, 2021]CY - 2021) Of course

one can study Job in less time than it took me to get the “public domain”

material on the website.  “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the

soul ...........Moreover by them [His Words] is thy servant warned and and in

the keeping of  them is great reward.”  (Psalm 19:7-11)

 

  • Over the whole of Job’s life is cast the guard and the sanctity of HABITUAL

RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE. Declaring

 

Ø      Job’s faith in God;

Ø      his reverent fear;

Ø      his knowledge of the doctrine of redemption by sacrifice;

Ø      his religious domestic discipline.

 

In all these Job is a model for the head of a family.

 

Most proper was it that such a man should be “the greatest of the sons of

the East.” Happy the nation whose greatest men are its best! Happy the

people amongst whom the most observable are the most worthy of

imitation. Such was Job, the subject of one of the most interesting, as of

one of the oldest, examples of poetical, dramatic, religious writing.

 

 

 

 

 

It is the duty of a father to protect his family, not from temporal evils only,

but from spiritual; to provide for their temporal and spiritual needs. The religious

duties of  parents embrace:

 

·                     RELIGIOUS EXAMPLE.

·                     RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION.

·                     RELIGIOUS GOVERNMENT OR DISCIPLINE.

·                     RELIGIOUS WORSHIP.

 

The Christian father, standing as the priest or representative of his family

before God, has not to offer a sacrifice for the sins of his family, but may

and should plcad the one Sacrifice on behalf of all committed to his care.

These the first conditions of a happy home. In Job’s case the spiritual

instincts of the father are excited on behalf of his family exposed to the

evils of surrounding idolatry

 

  • Over the whole is cast the guard and the sanctity of HABITUAL

RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE. Declaring

 

Ø      Job’s faith in God;

Ø      his reverent fear;

Ø      his knowledge of the doctrine of redemption by sacrifice;

Ø      his religious domestic discipline.

 

In all these Job is a model for the head of a family.

 

Most proper was it that such a man should be “the greatest of the sons of

the East.” Happy the nation whose greatest men are its best! Happy the

people amongst whom the most observable are the most worthy of

imitation. Such was Job, the subject of one of the most interesting, as of

one of the oldest, examples of poetical, dramatic, religious writing.

 

 

·         JOB GUARDED AGAINST THE DANGER. The patriarchal religion

made the father the priest of his household. So he must be always when he

realizes his position. Parents lay up property for their children; it is more

important that they should make provision for their children’s spiritual

welfare. They watch anxiously for symptoms of disease in them; much

more should they be on their guard against the first signs of moral defects.

Job’s children were sanctified — ceremonially cleansed. Ours need to be

truly dedicated to God by parental prayers.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the greatest blessings of my life was daily, with my wife and children,

having a time of devotion.  Our practice was to daily read a chapter from the Bible,

consecutively, starting with Genesis.  There were my wife, myself, two

daughters and a son and we each took turns reading five verses apiece.

It would take three and a half years to go through the whole Bible.  We

did this long enough to go through the Bible three times with my oldest

daughter, two and a half tiimes with our son and two times with our youngest

daughter.  When the eldest went to college, it was never the same.  I regret not

continuing this,  but nevertheless, the children had a foundation in the Holy

Scriptures.  It was also a time of prayer and fellowship.  I agree that the morning

hour would have been the best but ours was done at bedtime.  God has blessed

and continues to bless that time we shared together.  I pray that

all families would take time out of their lives to reap such great

benefits from communion and fellowship with God, Jesus Christ and

the Holy Spirit.  – CY – 2013)

 

 

                        Job’s Unparalleled Calamities (ch. 1:13-19)

 

Job’s trouble was only once surpassed IN GETHSEMANE!

 

 

 

22 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

In all this Job sinned not. It was only the commencement of

the probation; but so far, at any rate, Job had not sinned — he had

preserved his integrity, had spoken and done rightly. Nor charged God

foolishly; literally, gave not folly to God, which is explained to mean either

did not attribute to God anything inconsistent with wisdom and goodness”

or “did not utter any foolishness against God.”

 

·         EVERY MAN’S LIFE IS THE OBJECT OF OPPOSING INFLUENCES:

      of good and evil, pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, heaven and hell.           

Nowhere is this grand secret of the mechanism of our being more

      distinctly disclosed than in this book. The presence of an evil

influence, ever curious and busy about our life, is distinctly acknowledged;

its origin left in mystery. We must recognize this dualism of influence on

man’s life without attempting to solve it. After all that has been thought

and said on the subject, we can only acknowledge that it is a fundamental

condition of our earthly existence. To ignore it, and try to live in some

fool’s paradise of extreme optimism, is to expose ourselves to

disappointment and to danger; or to fall into the other extreme of a

gloomy, desponding pessimism is to be unfaithful to that instinctive sense

of God’s goodness which is deep-seated in the heart. Scripture guides us in

a middle course between these extremes — places before us, in equal

distinctness, the two poles of thought, the opposing currents of influence;

and this makes the practical duty manifest:

 

Ø      to abhor the evil and cleave to the good,

Ø      to fill the heart with reverence and trust for God, and

Ø      to depart from evil in all its forms.

 

 

  • THE APPEAL OF HUMANITY TO THE HEART OF GOD.  (ch. 14:4)

 

 

In order that man, the poor hireling, may be able to perform his appointed

task. On human life as a term of hard service, and man as a miserable

hired drudge.  The prayer tells us that no man can adequately execute

the tasks assigned him by God on earth whose body is racked by pain

and whose mind is tormented by spiritual fear. The soul that cannot

look on God as a Friend, or upon whom God seems to look as an

enemy, can never be at perfect rest (Isaiah 57:21). But he from whom

God averts His face in the sense of not marking iniquity (Psalm 32:1),

 and much more upon whom God makes His face to shine in

 loving favor (ch. 33:26; Psalm 89:15; John 16:22; Acts 2:28),

POSSESSES THE TRUE SECRET OF HAPPINESS  and

the noblest inspiration for Christian work  IN CHRIST the face

of God is turned mercifully away from human  sin, and

COMPASSIONATELY TOWARDS HUMAN SORROW!

 

“A clean thing out of an unclean.”  (v. 4)

 

Job seems to mean that man cannot transcend his origin. He comes from

the frail, imperfect, human stock; how, then, can he be expected to

manifest the traits of perfection and immutability? Job’s question and the

difficulty it contains may be applied in various ways.

 

HEREDITY. Men inherit their parents’ characters.  Moral guilt cannot be

charged till the individual soul has chosen evil, and consented to sin in its

own freedom. But the degradation of evil tendencies is in us from our birth.

Men are shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5).

 

·         REDEMPTION. This is offered by God. It cannot come from man.

No sinful man could redeem his brethren. To do this would be to bring the

clean out of the unclean. We must have a SINLESS REDEEMER!  Moreover,

as sin has lowered the whole of life, there is need of a perfect Man to raise the

type of the race. Even this would not be enough, for the great work is not

to set an example, but to transform the world. None but God who created

it can do this. Thus we need what we have in Christ — a sinless, perfect

Man, who is also the only begotten Son of God.

 

·         REGENERATION.

 

Ø      In the individual man. He must first be regenerated. All prior attempts at

goodness fail. Really clean words cannot come out of a foul heart. Clean

deeds must spring from a clean soul. All the corrupt man’s conduct is

BESMIRCHED WITH THE FILTH OF HIS OWN INNER LIFE!

He must be pure in heart in order to live a truly pure life. The sinner

must have a new heart before he can live a new life.

 

Ø      In Christian work. He who would lead others from sin must first forsake

sin himself. The reformer must be a reformed man. The missionary must

                        be a Christian. To do good we must first be good.

 

  • LEARN.   

 

1.      There is no room for pride of ancestry in man, since all

            alike are WOMANBORN. 

2.      Since man’s days are so full of trouble, it is a mercy they are

      few; and since they are so few, MAN SHOULD STUDY TO

BE PATIENT IN TROUBLE.  (In a recent study of Judges,

I learned, that since man is so sinful, it is good that his life is

so short!  - knowing me, I would make bigger mess, the second

time through, than the first one!  - CY – 2013)

3.      The swift approach of death should stimulate to diligence and promote

            heavenly-mindedness.  (“Set your affections on things above, not

            on things of the earth.”  Colossians 3:2) 

4.      The heart of God can be, and is touched with a feeling of our

      infirmities.  (Hebrews 4:15).

 

 

 

It is most startling to me how that the oldest book in the Bible has such

sound advice for modern contemporary culture and addresses many problems

which we face today.  I wrote this on March 21, 2021 during the study of ch. 8.

 

ch. 2:4

 

Life is very, very, valuable, much more than material possessions.  In origin, it is

of the breath of God’s Spirit!  (Genesis 2:7)  Physical life, tainted by sin, is

doomed to decay and dissolution, while spiritual life and the riches of the

soul ENDURES FOR EVER!  (Matthew 6:19-21)

 

Here, then, the weakness of distrust and the folly of despair in the human

heart, represented by Job’s wife, stand opposed to the nobleness and

grandeur of a fathomless confidence in the Eternal.

 

God is the Author at last of all we suffer. Is that a reason for forsaking God?

No, replies faith; it is a reason for reposing more entirely upon His

everlasting arms. “If my ship sinks, ‘tis to another sea.”

 

                        “Thou He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”  (Job 13:15)

                        “Lord, to whom shall we go, Thou hast the words of eternal life!” 

                        (John 6:68)

 

o        The justice of God’s dealing.  How fair is Job! And how unfair

are many men in accepting boundless mercies without a thought of

gratitude, and then shrieking with rage at the first twinge of adversity!

                        We cannot choose our own course in the world wisely, much less

                        can we decide how God should act.

 

Ifwe struck the balance between our blessings and our troubles, should we

not find the former vastly outweighing the latter? And if we accept the

blessings from God, should we not be prepared to take the reverse of them

also?  (Remember the song Count Your Blessings - CY - 2021)

 

                                    Count Your Blessings

 

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God hath done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly
And you will be singing as the days go by

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God hath done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

When you look at others with their lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God hath done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

So amid the conflict, whether great or small
Do not be discouraged, God is over all
Count your many blessings, angels will attend
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God hath done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

 

                                                Songwriter: Jackie Williams

 

Ø      Its self-restraint. “In all this did not Job sin with his lips. It is

uncharitable of the Targum to add, “But in his thoughts he already

cherished sinful words.” If thoughts of rebellion were beginning to rise —

and Job was but mortal — the brave man silenced them. It is much to learn

how to “be still.”

 

                                                         

 

                                    From the Quarterly by Terry J. Betts

 

Losing hope in the future zaps strength for the present. Job 14 highlights

that believers will find strength in the present when they look to God and

hope only in Him.

 

Between the introduction to the book of Job in the first two chapters to

its conclusion in ch. 42 we are exposed to some of the greatest questions

in living life, facing suffering and eventually death!

 

In the book of Job, the main characters grapple with suffering as it relates to

what it reveals about the sufferer, and how it squares with God’s providential

government of the world.

 

One of the key questions addressed is:  

What is the nature of wisdom and where can it be found?

 

In the Book of Job, the earliest in the Bible, we understand that the order

of the universe is not fully revealed and we must learn to trust God who through

the appearing of Jesus Christ, His Son, “....who hath abolished death and hath

brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.´ II Timothy 1:10)

 

The Book of Job is an exploration of the way God works in the world and the

appropriate human response to Him.

 

Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar tried to comfort Job and show

him compassion.  All three failed, falling back on the idea of retribution, the idea

that whatever a person receives in life is a direct result of their behavior.

 

It is true that God allowed Job to suffer the fate of one that is openly defiant

of God.  It is understandable that Job’s friends reacted the way they did,

accusing Job of secret sin and urged him to repent to quell God’s anger

(although the scripture tells us it was the anger of Satan that was involved).

 

Job knew he had done nothing to merit this suffering.  We also know from

God’s testimony in ch. 2:3, “.....Has thou considered my servant job, that there

is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth

God and escheweth evil?  ἀπεχόμενος - apechomenos - hold a distance away,

or abstain from.

 

Our lesson today begins to unveil Job’s wisdom in this matter,  He understood

that his situation was unique because of his innocence.

 

As Job wrestled with despair in chapter 14, we are given a glimpse into the

thoughts of a man who endured immense suffering. 

 

These things happened in the redemptive story.  From Genesis to Revelation,

God gradually and progressively revealed Himself and His plan. 

“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.”

(Acts 15:18)

 

Now we know, as believers in Jesus Christ, the whole story of redemption!

 

Life and immortality has been brought to light! 

 

Thus suffering in the world leads mankind to consider the greater questions of life!

 

Job 14

 

Job moralizes on the general  condition of humanity.  Job’s troubles are typical of the

common doom of mankind.  Man is weak and is subject to vanity (by that I take that

he grows old and wears out – CY  - 2013) and is subject also to the universal doom

of sorrow.  (ch. 3:7; 7:1-5).

 

1 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

Man that is born of a woman. In this fact Job sees the origin of man’s inherent

weakness. He is “born of a woman,” who is “the weaker vessel” (I Peter 3:7).

He is conceived by her in uncleanness (Psalm 51:5; compare below, v. 4), brought

forth in sorrow and pain (Genesis 3:16) suckled at her breasts, placed for years

under her guidance. No wonder that he shares the weakness of which she is a sort

of type. Is of few days; literally, short of days

 

 Life seems short to men as they look back upon it. To Jacob, at the age of a hundred

and  thirty, it appeared that few and evil had the days of the years of his life been”

(Genesis 47:9). Methuselah, perhaps, thought the same. We all, as we come towards

old age, and death draws manifestly near, feel as if we had only just begun to live,

as if, at any rate, we had not done half our work, and were about to be cut off before

our time. But would the case be seriously different if our tale of years were doubled?

And full of trouble (compare ch.5:7).  Man is naturally weak.  His origin is in frailty;

he is “born of woman.” His course  is brief, and full of unrest.

 

2 “He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a

shadow, and continueth not.” He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down.

Few similes are more frequently used in Scripture (compare Psalm 103:15 [I remember

as an adolescent reading and pondering on this verse – CY – 2013]; Isaiah 28:1, 4;

40:6, 7; James 1:10-11; I Peter 1:24), and certainly none could have more poetic beauty.

Eastern flowers do not often last much more than a day. He fleeth also as a shadow,

and continueth not (compare ch.7:2; 8:9; I Chronicles 29:15; Psalm 102:11;

109:23; Ecclesiastes 6:12, etc.). Shadows are always changing; but the shadows

which flee away the fastest, and which Job has probably in his mind, are

those of clouds, or other moving objects, which seem to chase each other

over the earth, and never to continue for a single minute in one stay.

 

 

Lessons from the Brevity of Human Life (vs. 1-2)

 

These words are consecrated to a supreme moment. Chosen to be the

words spoken at the side of the grave, “while the corpse is made ready to

be laid in the earth,” they hear a solemn and overwhelming testimony to a

truth men are apt, in the heat of the day, to forget. So many are the duties

and toils of men that the hurry of a short life is hardly noticed, save when,

by enforced attention, the thoughts recur to it. The truth is established —

man’s life is short, it is sorrowful, its early promise is destroyed, it

hurriedly passeth away, it lacks permanence and stability. What, then, is the

proper course of conduct to pursue in such circumstances?

 

  • IT IS WISE TO BE DILIGENT IN THE FULFILMENT OF DUTY.

Days lost cannot be recovered. The duty omitted cannot be afterwards

attended to without entrenching upon some other. A watchfulness over the

moments saves the hours. Diligence prevents waste, and the days are

numbered. Diligence is imperative if life’s large work is to be done in its

little time. He learns the value of time who diligently applies himself to his

work. And no one has any time to lose. Jesus said, “I must work the

works of Him that sent me, while it is day:  the night cometh when

no man can work.” ( John 9:4)

 

  • THE BREVITY OF LIFE IS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PATIENCE

UNDER TROUBLE, The way is not long. The strength is taxed, but not

for long. The life of “few days” is “full of trouble.” Happily it is but for a

few days.” Life is not stretched out beyond endurance. And the vision of

immortality may gild the horizon as the light of a setting sun. All the future

to the humble and obedient is bright, and the present weary march is not

longer than can be borne, even by feeble human strength.  Paul said,

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not

Worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed

In us.”  (Romans 8:18)

 

  • THE BREVITY OF LIFE MAY PROPERLY ACT AS A SALUTARY

CHECK AGAINST ENTERTAINING TOO HIGH AN ESTIMATE

OF EARTHLY THINGS. The things of time have their importance — their

very great and solemn importance. And he who has a just view of the

future will be the more likely to place a just estimate on the present. But he

will “sit loose” to things of time. He will remember he is but a sojourner

(as all his fathers were – I Chronicles 29:15).  That the goods and

possessions he now calls his own will soon be held by other hands

(Ecclesiastes 2:21).  He will therefore see that he must not put so high a

price upon the present as to barter away the future and more durable

possessions for it. Life opens to him like a flower in its beauty; it “cometh

forth like a flower’ in its promise, but it “is cut down.” It is vain to build too

confidently on such a hope. It is unwise to live wholly for so uncertain a

tenure, that fleeth as a shadow and continueth not.  (v. 2)

 

  • THE BREVITY OF HUMAN LIFE MAKES IT NEEDFUL THAT

MEN SHOULD LOSE NO OPPORTUNITY OF LAYING HOLD

ON THE LIFE IMMORTAL. The true preparation for the life to come —

the permanent and enduring life — is to occupy this present one with careful

and diligent fidelity. Great issues depend upon it. The condition of the

future; the attainment of character; the recorded history; the everlasting

approval or disapproval of the manner in which life has been held, which

GOD, THE ETERNAL JUDGE,  will pass upon it, and which will be

reflected in the solitudes of the individual conscience.

 

 

 

                                    The Flower and the Shadow (vs. 1-2)

 

·         WHERE IS A COMMON CHARACTER IN ALL HUMAN LIFE.

      Job seems to be suffering from exceptional troubles. Yet he regards his

condition as typical of that of mankind generally. He turns from himself to

man that is born of a woman.” We differ in external circumstances,

possessions, honors; in bodily, mental, and moral characteristics. But in

our fundamental constitution we are alike. The points of resemblance are

more numerous than the points of difference.

 

1. All born of women come in the common descent from the first parents.

2. All are frail and short-lived.

3. All suffer from the troubles of life.

4. All sin.

5. All have Christ for their brother, able and willing to be also their

    Saviour.

6. All may enter the eternal life and dwell for ever in the love of God, on

    the same conditions of repentance and faith.

 

·         MAN SHARES THE CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURE. Job sees

in nature types of human life. We are a part of nature, and the laws of

nature apply to us. This fact should save us from amazement when trouble

comes upon us. It is just in the course of nature. We have not been singled

out for a miracle of judgment. It is not that God is writing bitter things

against us in particular. Ours is part of the general experience of all nature.

Our greatest evil, however, is not that which befalls us in the course of

nature, but that which we bring upon ourselves unnaturally. There is

something monstrous about sin. We feel a gentle pathos in natural sorrow,

but we recognize a terrible tragedy, a dark and dreadful curse, in our self

made sorrow of sin. That is infinitely worse than the fading of flowers and

the fleeing of shadows.

 

·         NATURE SETS FORTH THE SAD SIDE OF LIFE.

 

Ø      Brevity. Man is “of few days.” The age of nature is maintained by

succession, not by continuance. The race goes on, the individual passes.

 

Ø      Trouble. “Full of trouble.” “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth

in pain together” (Romans 8:22). The advance of nature is through

conflict and struggle.

 

Ø      Frailty. Man is born of a woman, “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7).

The flower, which is the most beautiful thing in nature, is the most fragile.

Crushed by a careless step, or nipped by frost, or withered by the very sun

that drew out its life and painted its loveliness, it is yet the type of human

life. The most exquisite flowers may be the most delicate, and the finest

souls the most sensitive. The hot Southern sun quickly turns a garden into

a desert. The same fate is found among the most cultivated and valued

lives. The flowers are not saved by their beauty and fragrance. Some of

the most precious lives are cut down in their prime. The scythe that

mows the meadows cuts off the summer flowers in the height of their

short-lived beauty. The rough, common fate of man is indiscriminate,

laying low the best of men together with their less-valued companions.

 

Ø      Unreality. A mere shadow! and a moving shadow! What could be more

unsubstantial and transient? Yet the frailty and changefulness of life

make our human existence appear no more real.

 

·         CONCLUSION. Observe another side of the scene. The very melancholy

of the picture suggests that it does not cover the whole field. Nature is not

dissatisfied with her changefulness. The flowers do not bewail their

untimely end. Man alone looks with sorrow on his fate. The reason is that

he is made for something greater. The Divine instinct of immortality is in

him. He is more than a part of nature. A child of God, he is called to share a

larger life than that of the natural world. The Christian who is cut down as

a frail flower on earth will yet bloom as an immortal flower in Paradise.

 

4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” It is

scarcely true to say that the fact of original sin is thus distinctly recognized.

Original uncleanness and infirmity are recognized; but the uncleanness is

material, and removable by material expiation (Leviticus 12:2-8). It is rather

man’s weakness than his sinfulness that is here under discussion.  Man’s

 natural frailty is founded on his moral weakness.  And this poor, weak

being is made accountable, dragged before the tribunal of God. And yet, asks

Job, how is it possible that purity should be exacted of him? How can the

product be diverse from the cause; the stream be of purer quality than the source?

 

5 “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with

thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;”

Seeing his days are determined. Job here returns to the consideration of the

shortness of man’s life. “His days are determined;’’ i.e. they are a limited period,

known to and fixed beforehand by God. They are not like God’s days, which

endure throughout all generations” (Psalm 102:24). The number of his

months are with thee. “With thee” means here “known to thee,” “laid up in thy

counsels.” Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. “His bounds”

are “the limit of his lifetime.” The three clauses are pleonastic. One idea pervades

them all.

 

 

 

 

 

                                    The Day’s Work (v. 6)

 

Job prays that at least God will turn aside from vexing his short-lived

creature, and let him finish his day’s work. Then he will be no more. This is

a prayer of despair, and it springs from a one-sided view of life and

providence. Yet it has its significance for us.

 

·         MAN IS GOD’S SERVANT. He is more than the hireling, for whom a

hard master cares nothing so long as he can exact the full tale of work.

Still, he is the servant. We are not our own masters, and we are not put

into the world to do our own will. Our business is to serve.

 

Ø      To work. To live for a purpose. Idleness is sin. The man who needs not

work to earn his bread should still work to serve his Master.

 

Ø      To obey. Our business is just to do God’s will in God’s way. It is not for

us to choose; our duty is to follow the Master’s orders.

 

·         MAN HAS AN ALLOTTED TASK. Each man has his own life-work.

Some may be slow in discovering their peculiar vocation. With many this

may not be at all what they would have chosen for themselves. Still, if the

thought of duty is foremost, all may see that there is something that duty

calls them to do. It gives us a great sense of confidence to discover this,

and to fling all wild fancies aside in the single desire to accomplish our true

life-task. Often the only rule is “Do the next thing;” and if we will but do it,

that is just the one task God has called us to.

 

·         MAN HAS A DAY FOR HIS WORK.

 

Ø      A full day. There is the opportunity. God does not require what man is

unable to perform. He does not seek the work of eternity from the

creature of a day.

 

Ø      Only a day. There is no time to be lost. We have but one day for our

day’s work. If we waste the morning we shall have no second opportunity.

This short season should be well filled. If the work is hard it is not

ceaseless.  Diligence and patience are becoming in a man who has but

one short life for his work.

 

·         MAN IS EXPECTED TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK. His business

is not merely to sway his limbs and exercise his muscles, but to do

something effective, to produce. We should all aim at a definite end in our

life’s work. The village blacksmith can enjoy his rest because

 

“Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night’s repose.”

 

A busy life may be a fruitless one. But no life need fail of fruitfulness,

inasmuch as the work to which we are all called is designed to lead to

useful ends.  (All life is geared to bear fruit  CY - 2021)

 

·         MAN CANNOT ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK WITHOUT GOD’S

CO-OPERATION. Job prays that God will not hinder him. if, indeed, God

did oppose a man in his life’s work, that man would be certainly doomed to

failure, it is hard enough to succeed in any case; it is impossible to do so

when God is frustrating our efforts. No one can defeat Providence. But it

is not enough to be let alone. Job desires that God will look away from

him, for the look of anger blasts and withers. But we may pray that God

will look upon us in favor and helpfulness. The greatest success in the

world was accomplished by men who were fellow-workers with God”

            (II Corinthians 6.).

 

 

 

                                    Sad Views of Life (vs. 7-10)

 

If the tree be cut down, it springs again; but if man dieth, he wasteth away.

Certainly, then, man’s hope is not in this life. The dismal views given in

these few verses demand the full assurance of the resurrection. This is a

feature of the Book of Job. It presents a negative view of human life. There

is always a demand to be met. Only the fuller teachings of the New

Testament meet it. Consider this aspect of human life with its demand for

supplementary views in order to completeness and satisfaction. The

complementary character of subsequent revelations.

 

·         THE PRESENT LIFE OF MAN PRESENTS CHARACTERISTICS

OF IMPERFECTNESS WHICH INDICATE THAT THIS CANNOT BE

THE COMPLETE VIEW OF LIFE.

 

·         THE MORAL, SPIRITUAL, AND INTELLECTUAL

CAPABILITIES WHICH ARE OBVIOUSLY BUT PARTIALLY

CALLED INTO PLAY DEMAND OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES FOR

THEIR FULL DEVELOPMENT, AND INDICATE THE

INCOMPLETENESS OF THE VIEW OF LIFE WHEN. CONFINED TO

THE PRESENT ONLY.

 

·         THE ASPIRATIONS OF MEN TOWARDS CONDITIONS THAT

CANNOT BE ATTAINED IN THIS LIFE ARE A TESTIMONY TO ITS

INCOMPLETENESS.

 

·         THE IDEALS OF LIFE ARE SO FAR SUPERIOR TO THE

REALIZATIONS, THAT THEY BECOME A CONSTANT PROPHECY

OF SOMETHING BETTER AND HIGHER THAN THE PRESENT

LIFE.

 

·         THE HOPE OF HIGHER CONDITIONS THAN THE PRESENT IS

STRONGEST IN THE BEST AND PUREST SOULS.

 

·         THE PAINFULNESS OF THE PRESENT WITH THE

CONSCIOUSNESS OF CAPACITY FOR GREAT AND PURE

ENJOYMENT A FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE INCOMPLETENESS

OF LIFE IF THE VIEW BE RESTRICTED TO THE PRESENT.

 

·         ALL IS SATISFIED IN THE SUBSEQUENT REVELATIONS,

AND IN THE CALM ASSURANCE THEY GIVE OF THE

RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND THE LIFE OF THE WORLD

            TO COME.

 

 

 

12 “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more,

they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”

So man lieth down, and riseth not. This is not an absolute

denial of a final resurrection, since Job is speaking of the world as it lies

before him, not of eventualities.

.

Till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake. This order of things,

Job believes, rightly enough, will continue as long as the heavens and the

earth endure. What will happen afterwards he does not so much as inquire.

It is remarked, ingeniously, that Job’s words, though not intended in this

sense, exactly “coincide with the declarations of the New Testament, which

make THE RESURRECTION SIMULTANEOUS WITH THE

BREAKING UP OF THE VISIBLE UNIVERSE! Nor be raised out

of their sleep. If  a glimmer of a hope of the resurrection appears anywhere

in vs. 10-12, it is in the comparison of death to a sleep, which is

inseparably connected in our minds with AN AWAKENING!

 

13 “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep

me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a

set time, and remember me!” Job desires to have God’s

protection in that” land of darkness,” and to be “hidden” there by Him until

His wrath be past. It has been generally supposed that he means after his

death

 

That thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past. Job

assumes that, if he is being punished for his youthful sins (ch.13:26),

his punishment will not be for long — at any rate, not for ever; God’s

anger will at last be satisfied and cease. That thou wouldest appoint me a

set time, and remember me! How long he may have to suffer be does not

greatly care. Only let it be “a set time” — a fixed, definite period — and at

the end of it, let God “remember” him.

 

14 “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time

will I wait, till my change come.”

 

 

 

                                    Dawning of a New Hope (vs. 13-15)

 

The thoughts of the sufferer now carry him beyond the confines of the

present life. He has just been speaking of Sheol, or Hades, as his destined

end, and now the reflection occurs — What may happen then? It is the

nature of thought to travel on and on, to know no bounds that it will not

seek to overleap. It is perpetually asking, when one goal has been reached,

for the after, the beyond. And in some such way must human thought have

traveled towards the light of immortality, before the truth dawned by

revelation on the world. Job evidently sees a glimmer of the truth, though it

soon fades out’ for want of definite knowledge, into darkness.

 

 

18 “And surely the mountains falling cometh to naught, and the rock is

removed out of his place.”  And surely the mountain falling cometh to

naught.  Job here resumes the lament ‘over human infirmity, with which the

chapter opens (vs. 1-12); but he has, perhaps, in this passage, his own case

more distinctly presented to his consciousness. With the wealth of metaphor

which characterizes his utterances, he compares the ruin of a prosperous man:

 

  • to the sudden collapse of a mountain;
  • to the removal of a rock out of its place;
  • to the wearing away of stones by the constant flow of streams; and
  • to the destruction of alluvial tracts by floods.

 

Mountains collapse, either by volcanic agency, which is quite as much

shown in the subsidence as in the elevation of the soil, or by landslips,

which are most usually the results of heavy rains. And the rock is

removed out of his place. Rocks are sometimes split by frost, and topple

over when a thaw comes; at other times, heavy floods remove them from

their accustomed place; occasionally earthquakes overturn them, and cause

them to fall with a crash. There is also a removal of rocks to much greeter

distances, by means of glaciers and icebergs; but of these Job is not likely

to have known.

 

19 “The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which

grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of

man.”  The waters wear the stones. The power of the soft element

of water, by continual washing or dripping, to wear away the hardest

stone, has often been noticed, and is a frequent topic in poetry. Deep

ravines have been worn in course of time, through broad and lofty

mountain ranges by rivers, the stone yielding little by little to the action of

the water, until at last a broad chasm is made. So the continual wearing

action of calamity often lays low the prosperous. Thou washest away the

things which grow out of the dust of the earth; rather, as in the Revised

Version, the overflowings thereof wash away the dust of the earth; i.e.

overflows of water, inundations, floods, not only make a way through

rocks, but often carry off great tracts of rich soil, hurrying the alluvium

down to the sea, and leaving in its place a marsh or a waste.” And thou

destroyest the hope of man. Even thus from time to time does God ruin

and destroy the hopes of a prosperous man.

 

 

 

                                                Blighted Hopes (v. 19)

 

·         A COMMON EXPERIENCE. It is not more true that man hopes, than

it is that he sooner or later becomes acquainted with disappointment.

Young and old, rich and poor, wise and unwise, have their unrealized

expectations.

 

·         A DIVINE ARRANGEMENT. Blighted hopes are no more accidents

than are buds that never fulfill their promise, They form part of the great

world-plan which has been devised by Infinite Wisdom.

 

·         A SALUTARY DISCIPLINE. When God breaks a man’s earthly

ideas, it is that He may find nobler ones in heaven; that, turning away his

heart from mundane things, he may seek those things which are above.

 

·         LESSONS.

 

1. Thank God for earth’s disappointments.

2. Seek to be possessed of that hope which fadeth not away.

 

 

 

 

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