Job 10

 

Having answered Bildad, Job proceeds to pour out the bitterness of his soul in a

pathetic  complaint, which he addresses directly to God. There is not much that

is novel in the long expostulation, which mainly goes over ground covered in

chps. 3, 6, and 7; but some new grounds are alleged as pleas for mercy, if not

for justice. These are:

 

·         that he is God’s creature, and in the past (at any rate) has been the

object of his care (vs. 3, 8-12);

·         that God must be above judging as man judges (vs. 4-5);

·         that God knows his innocence (v. 7); and

·         that he (Job) is entirely in God’s power (v. 7).

 

In conclusion, Job begs for a little respite, a little time of comfort (v. 20), before

He descends into the darkness of the grave (vs. 21-22).

 

1 “My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself;

I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” My soul is weary of my life.

This is better than the marginal rendering, and well expresses the original.

It strikes the key-note of the chapter. I will leave my complaint upon myself;

rather, I will give free course to my complaint over myself, or I will allow

myself in the expression of it (see the Revised Version). Job implies that

hitherto he has put some restraint upon himself, but now he will give full and free

expression to his feelings. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul (compare

ch.7:11).

 

 

Weariness of Life (v. 1)

 

We need not wonder that Job was weary of his life. Beggared, bereft of his

family, smitten with a painful and loathsome disease, tormented by the

cruel comfort of his friends, he could see nothing but misery around and

before him. Few, if any, have been in his sore plight. Yet others have felt

the same weariness of life that the patriarch so naturally experienced. Let

us look at the sorrowful condition and its Divine remedy.

 

  • THE SORROWFUL CONDITION.

 

Ø      The misery of it. Life is naturally sweet. It is a most merciful

arrangement of Providence that the hard lot which would seem to be

unbearable when regarded from the outside has many alleviations

 and consolations for those to whose portion it has fallen. There

are few lives on which no gleam of sunshine ever falls. But to be weary

of life is to have lost all the sunshine, and to be in dark despair. Like

“Mariana of the moated grange,” the desolate one cries:

 

I am aweary, aweary;

O God that I were dead!”

 

Ø      The dangers of it.

 

o       It tempts to suicide, and that is sin.  (I recommend

II Samuel 17 – Notes on Suicide – this web site –

CY – 2013)

 

o       It leads to the neglect of duty; for if a man has no hope

or heart in life, it is difficult for him to take up its tasks.

When life itself is no longer worth living, it is hard to summon

any energy for work.

 

o       It blinds us to remedies. Like Hagar in her despair, we do

not lift up our eyes to see the fountain. Despair justifies itself by

blinding us to hope.

 

Ø      The causes of it. This weariness of life may spring item a terrible

conjunction of external circumstances, as it did in part with Job. But

internal causes usually cooperate. Sometimes the despair is a result of

bodily or brain disease, and the sufferer must be pitied and treated

accordingly. But it may come from:

 

o       brooding too much over the dark side of life,

o       distrust of God,

o       a consciousness of sin, or

o       impenitent and rebellious thoughts.

 

Ennui or boredom  is the product of indolence.  Weariness of life is often

a result of idle sentimentality.

 

  • THE DIVINE REMEDY. This evil is not incurable. For the despair is a

delusion. No one would be weary of life if he knew all its future

possibilities. If the despair is a result of brain disorder, the remedy is in

medicine, not theology. Here is a harder-land where the two faculties

touch; therefore a man who practices either should not be a stranger to the

other. Despair may give way to a change of scene and a bracing regimen

without any arguments. But when the causes are deeper and more spiritual,

a corresponding remedy must be looked for. This will not be found in any

worldly philosophy of life. The wonder is not that some people are weary

of life, but that all who are “without God in the world” are not also

without hope” (Ephesians 2:12).  Pessimism is the natural goal of the

Epicurean.   Life is not worth living WITHOUT GOD!  The great

remedy for weariness of life is the discovery of the true worth of life

when it is REDEEMED BY CHRIST  and CONSECRATED TO

GOD! Then it is not dependent on pleasure for its motives,

nor driven to despair by pain. It has a higher blessedness than any earthly

possession can give, in doing God’s will on earth with the prospect of

enjoying Him for ever in heaven. But even the unselfish service of our

brother man will help to conquer weariness of life. If Mariana had been

well occupied she might have overcome her misery. There is a healing

grace in the discharge of duty, and more of it in losing ourselves

 while serving others.

 

2 “I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou

contendest with me.” I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; literally,

do not pronounce me wicked.   My friends, as they call themselves, have, one

and all, condemned me: Do not thou also condemn me. A touching appeal!

Show me wherefore thou contendest with me. One of Job’s principal

trials is the perplexity into which his unexampled sufferings have thrown

him. He cannot understand why he has been singled out for such

tremendous punishment, when he is not conscious to himself of any impiety

or other heinous sin against God. So now, when he has resolved to vent all

the bitterness of his soul, he ventures to ask the question — Why is he so

tried? What has he done to make God his enemy? Wherefore does God

fight against him continually?

 

3 “Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest

despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the

wicked?” Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress? Job

assumes that he is oppressed. He has no conception that his sufferings are a

purification (John 15:2), intended to lead to the elevation and improvement of

his moral character. He therefore asks — Is it worthy of God, is it good in Him,

is it compatible with His perfect excellence, to be an oppressor? It is a sort of

argumentum ad verecundiam’ well enough between man and man, but quite

out of place between a man and His Maker. That thou shouldest despise the

 work of thine hands (compare Psalm 138:8). This argument is more legitimate.

God may be expected, not to despise, but to care for, the work of His own hands

(compare Isaiah 19:25; 29:23; 44:21; 64:8; Ephesians 2:10). Every maker of a

thing, as Aristotle says, loves his work, and naturally guards it, cares for it, and

cherishes it. And shine upon the counsel of the wicked (compare ch. 9:24).

The prosperity of evil-doers must arise, Job thinks, from God allowing His

countenance to shine upon them.

 

4 “Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?”

Notwithstanding the anthropomorphism of their language, the sacred

writers are as fully aware as their modern critics of the immateriality of

God, and THE IMMENSE GAP THAT SEPARATES HIS NATURE

 from human nature. It is on this that Job now dwells. God, being so much

above man, having eyes that are not of flesh, and seeing not as man seeth,

ought not to judge as man judges, with partiality, or prejudice, or even with

extreme severity (v. 6).

 

 

God’s Vision of Man (v. 4)

 

How does God see us? Is He so far above us that He cannot quite see us as

we are? Is He so great that He cannot conceive of our littleness? Are His

ideas so different from our own that He cannot understand our life and

sympathize with it? Or is not God so supreme in His vision of man that He

cannot make the mistakes we make, and must see us truly just as we are? If

so, why does God seem to act as though He had man’s limited vision?

Questions of this sort seem to be perplexing Job. How can they be met?

 

  • GOD SEES US TRULY AS WE ARE. It is no attribute of infinity to be

above seeing what is small. Because God is infinite He can descend to the

infinitely little as well as comprehend the infinitely great. Moreover, He

does not treat us as insignificant beings unworthy of His notice, but He

regards us as His children. The very hairs of our head are numbered by

God (Luke 121:7).  His greatness is seen in the truth and thoroughness of His

vision. He does not look through distorting media, nor does He only see one

aspect of things, as is the case with us. He sees all round everything, and He

looks through all things. There is no secret hidden from God. He

understands what He sees, for His infinite vision is accompanied by an

 INFINITE COMPREHENSION!

 

  • GOD JUDGES US BY A HIGHER STANDARD THAN OURS. We

are hampered by narrow ideas; our judgment is warped and cramped by

prejudice and error. Our ignorance, folly, and sin even mar the very

standards by which we judge. God’s estimate is supremely fair, and it is

after the very highest and purest ideas of judgment.

 

  • GOD’S STANDARD OF JUDGMENT IS NOT ALIEN TO OURS.

We might be dismayed by the very elevation and perfection of God’s

method of judgment, thinking it totally different from our own. If this were

the case conscience would be a delusion. But God is the Creator of

conscience, and though this is limited, and in a measure perverted, still it

retains the essential character given to it by God. “God made man in

HIS OWN IMAGE.” (Genesis 1:26). Therefore man’s honest judgment

must be a reflection of God’s judgment. God sees as we see, so far as we

see truly.  His judgment is just the correction and perfection of our judgment.

 

  • GOD HAS ENTERED INTO OUR LIFE THAT HE MAY SEE US

WITH OUR OWN EYES. This seems to be part of the purpose of the

Incarnation. Christ is a brother-Man. He looks at us with human eyes. One

with us by nature, He can perfectly understand us. We cannot even

understand our favorite dog when he turns to us his dumb, pathetic gaze,

for he is of a different species. Christ became one with us, one of our

species. Thus we can understand Him, and He can perfectly sympathize with

us. (He was “in all points tempted like as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN!”

-          Hebrews 4:15).  Apart from Christ, God seems to be distant and altogether

different from ourselves. In Christ He is ONE WITH US, near to us, and

able to regard us with the eyes of a Brother.

 

5 “Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man’s days,”

Are thy days as man’s days? In short-lived man, shortsightedness and prejudice

are excusable, but not in one whose days are unlike man’s days — whose

years endure throughout all generations” (Psalm 102:24). Such a one ought

to be above all human infirmity. Or thy years as man’s days? We should have

expected “as man’s years.” But it marks the disparity more strongly to say, “Are

thy years not greater in number even than man’s [literally, ‘a strong man’s’] days?

 

6 “That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?”

 It seems to Job that God must have been “extreme to mark what he has done

amiss” (Psalm 130:3), must have searched into every corner of his life, and

hunted out all his sins and shortcomings, to have been able to bring together

against him a total commensurate or even approximately commensurate, with

the punishment wherewith He has visited him.

 

7 “Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can

deliver out of thine hand.” Thou knowest that I am not wicked; rather,

although thou knowest (see the Revised Version). Conscious of his own

integrity and faithfulness, Job feels that God too must know them; wherefore

it seems to him all the harder that he should be made to suffer as if he were a

chief sinner.” And there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.

 

“‘Tis excellent to have a giant’s strength;

But tyrannous to use it like a giant.”

 

Job’s last ground of appeal is, that he is wholly at God s mercy, can look

for no other deliverer, no other support or stay. Will not God, then, have

pity, and “spare him a little, that he may recover his strength before he goes

hence, and is no more seen “? (see Psalm 39:13; and compare below, v. 20).

 

 

 

The Pathetic Wail of a Crushed Heart (vs. 1-7)

 

·         SOBBING IN THE EAR OF GOD.

 

Ø      The moan of a desponding heart. “My soul is weary of

[literally, ‘loathes’] my life” (v. 1). That which had rendered

existence a disgust to Job was partly his intense bodily affliction,

but chiefly the overwhelming strangeness of the Divine conduct

towards him. If only he had been able to realize that,

notwithstanding all contrary appearances, he was still

an object of God’s compassionate regard, he would have

doubtless been able to endure with continued patience and

exemplary submission the appalling calamities which had

overtaken him. But the heavenward outlook of Job’s

spirit was obscured by gloomy clouds of doubt and fear.

The conviction was beginning to force itself inward upon his

soul that God was indeed turned to be his Adversary; and if that

were really so, Job felt that life would not be worth living.

So David estimated God’s favor as life, and God’s loving-

kindness as better than life (Psalm 30:5; 63:3; compare

homiletics on ch.6:1-13).  (The idea of GOD’S LOVING-

KINDNESS being better than LIFE is one of the

                        most profound thoughts in the Bible to me!  - CY – 2013)

 

Ø      The utterance of a fainting spirit. “I will leave my complaint

upon myself” (v. 1); i.e. I will give it free scope, yield myself up

to it, and permit it to take full possession of me. Job’s complaint

was that God was treating him as guilty while he was inwardly

conscious of being innocent.  Had this been really so, Job would have

had reason on his side. But as yet the Divine antagonism to which he

alluded was only an inference from his great sufferings. Hence the

attitude assumed by Job was indefensible.  Much more was it

inexcusable to give way to a spirit of railing against God. If angry

feelings rose within him, it was his paramount duty to repress

 them.  The absence of gospel light, however, may serve in part to

extenuate Job’s offence. The Divine philosophy of affliction, as

expounded by Christianity, was not understood by him. If, then,

fainting under tribulation was wrong in the old Arabian

 patriarch, much more is it INDEFENSIBLE IN  a New

Testament believer.

 

Ø      The resolve of an embittered soul. “I will speak in the

bitterness of my soul” (v. 1). Job was at this time intensely

miserable. Life was a burden. God was (or seemed to be) against

him. His own spirit was stung with a keen sense of injustice. The result

was that wild indignation against the Almighty was beginning to

steal like A POISON THROUGH HIS VEINS!  His soul

was FAST GETTING SET ON FIRE BY HELL!   In

circumstances such as these, it was extremely unwise in Job to

resolve to speak. Safety would have been better secured by silence.

The only favorable feature in the case was that Job meant not to fling

abroad his impassioned outcries on the wild winds, but to breathe

them INTO THE EAR OF GOD!   If a saint or sinner should feel

aggrieved with God, IT IS INFINITELY WISER TO GO

DIRECT TO GOD HIMSELF  than to either BROOD OVER

IT IN SECRET OR TELL IT TO THE WORLD????

 

·         PLEADING BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD.

 

Ø      Deprecating condemnation. I will say unto God, Do not condemn

me (literally, ‘do not fasten guilt upon me)” (v. 2). The words may be

regarded either as the cry of a saint who is conscious of his own inward

moral and spiritual integrity, but who, through bodily affliction or Satanic

temptation, or both combined, has become suddenly apprehensive of

having forfeited or lost the Divine favor; or as the prayer of a sinful soul

awakened for the first time to a conviction of its guiltiness before God,

which, in an agony of fear, it implores God not to fasten on it, but to

cancel and forgive. In the first of these two senses it was used by Job,

and by saints similarly situated it may still be employed. No greater

consternation can seize upon the mind of a child of God than that

produced by the fear that God intends to condemn him. But such a fear

is groundless.  Whom God justifies, them He also glorifies (Romans

8:30). “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Ibid.

11:29). There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus

(Ibid. 8:1). God may sometimes hide His face from a saint (Isaiah 54:8),

but He never finally turns His back upon him (Hebrews 13:5). In the

second sense it is a prayer appropriate to all awakened sinners. And,

thanks to Divine  mercy, God never fastens guilt upon a soul that

 fastens it upon itself, never condemns those who sincerely condemn

themselves (Isaiah 1:16; 43:25; I John 1:9).

 

Ø      Desiring illumination. “Show me wherefore thou contendest with

me.”  God contends with men when in His providence He afflicts, and

by His Spirit convicts, them. He contends with sinners on account of their

unbelief (John 16:8-9) and wickedness generally; He may contend with

His people on account of their backsliding (Micah 6:2; Revelation 2:4-5),

their formality (Ibid.3:1), their spiritual indifference (Ibid. vs.15-16), or

simply to advance their individual improvement (Genesis 32:24). Yet

when God does so contend with a saint the reason is not always patent

(ch.37:21).  Hence the prayer to be divinely instructed as to the

grounds of God’s controversy with the soul is not only not sinful,

 but HIGHLY PROPER AND ADVANTAGEOUS!   Only it

should be presented with reverence, with humility, with docility.

 

·         APPEALING TO THE HEART OF GOD. Job remonstrates with

God against the treatment accorded to him on two main grounds.

 

Ø      It is derogatory to the Divine character. “Is it good unto thee

(literally, ‘is it becoming’) that thou shouldest oppress, that thou

shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the

counsel of the wicked?” (v.3). Three considerations, according to

Job, ought to have prevented God from inflicting upon him such

tremendous calamities.

 

o       His personal greatness. It was not becoming in a Being so

transcendently glorious and powerful as He was to be guilty of

oppression.

 

o       His personal interest. What proprietor ever destroyed his own

property? What potter ever dashed to the ground the exquisite

vessel which his hands had just fashioned? But Job was God’s

handiwork, and yet God despised him, and treated him as of

no value!

 

o       His personal integrity. If God was a Being of absolute

holiness and incorruptible justice, then it was clearly impossible

that He could shine upon the counsel of the wicked, or favor bad

men. But this, as it appeared to Job, was what God was doing

in afflicting him. The threefold argument was good if Job’s premise

was correct. But Job’s description of the Divine conduct

towards him was in all its particular, fallacious. THE

ALMIGHTY never oppresses any of his creatures, least

of all man. The Creator never despises anything He has made,

least of all His own children. The Governor of the universe cannot

wrong the just, least of all can He favor the ungodly. Job’s argument

therefore should have led him to seek another solution for the dark

problem that perplexed him. It could not be that God was treating

him as above depicted: God’s character forbade that. Neither

could it be that he, Job, was guilty: the testimony of his own

conscience protested against that. (It is not certain that a Christian

would have been as tenacious of his own personal innocence as

Job was.) Might it not, therefore, be that Job was putting a

 wrong construction on his sufferings?

 

o       It is inconsistent with the Divine perfections.

 

§         With His omniscience. “Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest

thou as man seeth?” (v. 4). If God were like man, a being

of limited capacity in respect of knowledge, if He could only

judge by appearance, then He might be acting in the present

instance under a mistaken idea of the patriarch’s guilt. But

against that rose the transcendent objection that God’s eyes

were not “eyes of flesh” at all, but eyes “like a flame of fire”

(Revelation 1:14), from which no thought can be withholden

(ch. 42:2), and which seeth every precious thing (Ibid. 28:10).

(Also, God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and

canst not look on iniquity” – Habakkuk 1:13 – CY –

2013). 

 

§         With his eternity. “Are thy days as the days of man?

are thy years as man’s days, that thou inquirest after

mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?” (vs. 5-6).

Job professes he could have understood the Almighty’s

hot pursuit of him had the Almighty been a short-lived

being like himself, and afraid that His creature might die

before He had it out with him. But, then, God was not like

man. (“thou thoughtest that I was altogether such

an one as thyself:  but I will reprove thee, and set

them in order before thine eyes.” – Psalm 50:21)

There was no fear of God dying. Hence Job

could not see the need for such a hasty and terrible

inquisition as he had been subjected to. If to find out his

sin was God’s object, why all this hurry? had not God an

eternity to do it in?

 

§         With His justice. “Thou knowest (rather, ‘although thou

knowest’) that I am not guilty; and there is none that

(rather, ‘and although none’) can deliver out of thy hand”

(v. 7). The Divine conduct would have been perfectly

intelligible to Job on the hypothesis that God, like some

petty tyrant, had resorted to the thumbscrews of affliction

to extort confession from a prisoner whom he knew to be

innocent, simply because he had the power so to do. But

such a supposition was, of course, untenable.

Therefore Job felt hemmed in on every side by

inextricable difficulty, and was obliged to cry,

“Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”

 

Note:  The best thing for burdened souls to do is to cast themselves and their

burdens into God’s lap; not angrily, but humbly; not complainingly, but

 confidingly.  There is a wide difference between God’s contending with His people,

and God’s condemning them; this He never, that He often, does. When God’s character

and God’s conduct appear in conflict, it becomes us to question our interpretations

of the situation rather than RENOUNCE OUR TRUST IN GOD!

 

 

 

                        The Supplicatory Cry of Deep Sorrow (vs. 1-7)

 

This is the cry of one who declares, “My soul is weary of my life.” He

opens his lips that the stream of his “complaint” may flow forth unchecked.

Yet is he humble and subdued, though he adopts almost the tone of

expostulation. He has confessed himself to be unequal to the contention.

He cannot give answer to God; he has acknowledged his guilt and

impotence. Now he would know “wherefore” God contends with him. This

is the desire of even the most resigned sufferer. Certainly the cry which

comes oft from the lips of the deeply afflicted is, “Why am I thus made to

suffer?” If Christian principle and calm faith keep back the demand, “Show

me wherefore,” yet it is heard in the undertones of amazement and surprise

at the unexplained and even severe dealings of a loving God — “Ah, it is

mysterious!” The confession of the mysteriousness of human suffering is a

suppressed cry for the mystery to be cleared up. Job’s cry takes the form of:

 

·         A DESIRE TO RE FREED FROM CONDEMNATION. “I will say

unto God, Do not condemn me.” This the first desire of the resigned

sufferer. Let it not be as a punishment for my transgression. “Condemn me

not” is another form of urging, “Pardon my offence which I confess.” It is a

prayer for forgiveness. Up to this, the previous confession of unworthiness

and even of sin has properly led. It is the first rest of the soul. While the

unconfessed condemnations of guilt are upon it THERE CAN BE NO

PEACE!   Happy he who in the depth of his suffering makes his confession;

happier still he who hears the word of gracious forgiveness. This is

followed by:

 

·         THE UNSUPPRESSED LONGING TO KNOW THE REASON FOR

THE DIVINE AFFLICTIONS. “Show me wherefore thou contendest with

me.” How natural to desire this! But the Divine ways are “past finding

out.” (Romans 11:33)  “He giveth none account of His ways” (ch. 33:13)

Certainly to Job came no sufficient answer. It remained for later days to

learn, “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth (Hebrews 12:6)  To all

Job’s suggestions a negative reply may be given.

 

Ø      It is not “good” (i.e. pleasing) to God “to oppress,” to (appear to)

despise” His creatures; or, as it would seem, “to shine upon the

counsel of the wicked”

 

Ø      He has not “eyes of flesh” He does not see “as man seeth — looking

only on the outward appearance, and judging by that alone. God looketh

on the heart, and estimates the human act by the motive which impels

it.  He makes allowance for human frailty more than even frail, erring

man makes for his own brother. He is just in His view, and not warped

as is the judgment of feeble flesh.

 

Ø      His days are not “as the days of man.” His are the days of eternity, He

can wait until the future for a justification of Job’s conduct. He has not to

make haste to bring about a crisis in Job’s history. He needs not to hurry

to put Job to the proof. Our reflections on the Divine dealings may be

justly corrected by duly pondering this history. In our assured integrity

we may wait. In our conscious sinfulness we are safest in the Lord’s

hands; from which, indeed, we cannot escape. “There is none that

can deliver out of thine hand.”

 

In vs. 8-12, we have an expansion of the plea in v. 3, “Is it good unto thee that

thou shouldest despise the work of thine own hands?” Job appeals to God, not

only as his Greater, but as, up to a certain time, his Supporter and Sustainer.

 

8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet

thou dost destroy me.” Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together

round about (compare Psalm 139:12-16, “My reins are thine; thou hast

covered me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks unto thee, for I am

fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works, and that my soul

knoweth right well.  My bones are not hid from thee, though I be made

secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth. Thine eyes did see my

substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book were all my members

written, which day by day were fashioned, when as yet there was none of

them). The processes in nature are always attributed in Scripture to THE

IMMEDIATE ACTION OF GOD!  The formation of every individual  stands,

in the language of the Holy Ghost, precisely on the same footing as that of

the first man!   (Compare Thine hands have made me and fashioned me.”

Psalm 119:73:  An interesting but unsubstantial note here:  Thine hands. Hilary and

Ambrose think that by the plural "hands" is intimated  that there is a more exact and

perfect workmanship in man, and as if it were with  greater labor and skill he had been

formed by God [as if God had made the worlds with one hand tied behind His

back – CY – 2013], because after the image and  likeness to God: and that it is not

written that any other thing but man was made by God with both hands, for he saith

in Isaiah, "Mine hand also hath laid the  foundation of the earth": Isaiah 48:13.

 John Lorinus, 1569-1634. This, however, is an error, as Augustine notes; for it

is written, "The heavens are the work of thine hands" (Psalm 102:25. —

Charles Haddon Spurgeon).  Yet thou dost destroy me; literally, devour me

(compare ch.9:17,22).

 

 

 

                                    Creation and Its Consequences (v. 8)

 

Job appeals to God as his Maker. He remonstrates with the Creator for

apparently destroying His own work. If God had first made man, why

should God turn on His creature to “swallow him up”? This is not so much

an appeal to pity or justice, as one to reason and consistency.

 

·         GOD IS THE CREATOR OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL MAN.

Theologians were once divided between two theories of the origin of

human souls, called respectively “Creationist” and “Traducianist.” The

Creationists held that each soul was created by God; the Traducianists that

souls were derived by descent, were transmitted by birth from ancestral

souls, and originally from Adam and Eve, just like the bodies they inhabit.

Was it not unfair to confine the name “Creationist” to the former school?

The idea of descent from parents does not exclude Divine action. The

parent is not the creator. The original great Cause must be the Source of all

that follows. If God only created once for all at the beginning of the world,

still He created each individual, because each individual simply comes from

that original creation. If it could be shown that man was not separately

created, but that he derived his origin from lower creatures by evolution,

he would be not the less created by God; for how could the marvelous

process of evolution originate or progress, unless the Almighty and All-Wise

had started it? Nay, it is only reasonable to believe that God is ever

creating. Not once for all, but in every stage of evolution, the Divine hand

is working out the eternal plan. So also each individual life is molded by

that same Creative hand. God is working eternally, for the laws of nature

are but the ways of God. He was as truly the Creator of Job as of Adam;

and he makes each man now by means of birth as really as He made the first

life out of inorganic matter.

 

·         THE FACT THAT GOD IS THE CREATOR OF EVERY MAN

MUST AFFECT HIS TREATMENT OF ALL HIS CREATURES.

 

Ø      He cannot have predestined them to ruin. To affirm that He could do so

is to say that the Creator is not God, but the devil, A god who was merely

indifferent to his creatures would not from the first plan their destruction.

If it is suggested that God might do this to display His own glory, the reply

is that such an action could display no glory, but the reverse. To say that

God may do as He will with His own is irrelevant. His absolute rights over

His creatures do not exclude moral considerations. Further, the holy,

righteous, and loving character of God makes it absolutely certain that

He could not planned have their ruin.

 

Ø      He can never consent that they should be ruined. “He hateth nothing

that he hath made.” The very fact of creation gives God an interest in His

creatures. The artist cannot be indifferent to the fate of his works. But God

is more than an artist; He is a Father, and a father cannot be indifferent to

the fate of his children. It may be necessary for the parent to chastise, but

no true and worthy parent will ever really wish to hurt his offspring. Can

we think that God is less strong in parental love than we are? It is

necessary for God to be angry with the wicked — and there is a terror in

God’s anger which men can only despise at their peril — but behind that

auger there can be no vindictive temper, much less can there be a spiteful

malignity. God only desires the welfare of His children.

 

9 “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and

wilt thou bring me into dust again?” Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast

made me as the clay; rather, that thou hast fashioned me as day; i.e. “Thou hast

formed me, as a potter fashions a pot out of clay.” This is scarcely a reference to

Genesis 3:19, but rather an early use of what became a stock metaphor

(compare Isaiah 29:16; 30:14:; 45:9; 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 9:21-23).

And wilt thou bring us into dust again? After having fashioned me out of clay

into a human form, wilt thou undo thine own work, crumble me into powder,

and make me mere dust once more?

 

10 “Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like

cheese?”  “Didst not thou” i.e., “form me as an embryo in the womb,

gradually solidifying my substance, and changing soft juices into a firm

though tender mass?”

 

11 “Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with

bones and sinews.”  Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh. “To thee,” that

is, “I owe the delicate skin, which encloses my frame, and keeps it

compact; to thee I owe the flesh whereof my frame chiefly consists.” And

hast fenced me with bones and sinews; rather, and hast woven me’ or knit

me together (see the Revised Version, and compare Psalm 139:13, where

the same verb is used in the same sense). The idea is that the body

altogether is woven and compacted of skin, bone, flesh, sinews, etc., into a

delicate and elaborate garment (compare II Corinthians 5:2-4).

 

12 “Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath

preserved my spirit.” Thou hast granted me life and favor. God, besides

providing Job with a body so delicately and marvelously constructed, had

added the gift of “life” (Genesis 2:7), and also that of “favor,” or

loving providential care, whereby his life was preserved from infancy to

manhood, and from manhood to a ripe age, in peace and prosperity. Job

has not forgotten his former state of temporal happiness (ch.1:2-5),

nor ceased to feel gratitude to God for it (Ibid. 2:10). And thy visitation

hath preserved my spirit; or, thy providence — “thy continual care.”

 

 

                                    Man the Creature of God (vs. 8-12)

 

Job now seeks consolation in other courses of reflection, although arising

out of the foregoing. He would fain draw what comfort he can from the

knowledge of the fact that he is the creature of God. “Thy hands have

made me and fashioned me together round about.” Thy skill and patience,

thy thought and attention, have been bestowed on me. Wilt thou forsake

the work of thine hands? Is it solely for this time of trouble thou hast

brought me forth? A calm meditation on the truth, “I am the creature of

God, created by the Divine hands, the product of His activity,” is calculated

to bring consolation, for:

 

·         IT IS A PLEDGE OF BLESSING. Even erring man is thoughtful of his

own work. God’s work is perfect. But it is so because He momentarily

guards it. He carries forward all the processes which we moderns call

laws of nature.” Job saw the “hand” of God in all the changes of the earth

and heavens and of human life, Therefore to know I am a creature of God

is to know my life is in His hands. I serve His purpose. He is Lord of all.

Every act of His hand is pure blessing. He can do no evil. My creatureship

is a sufficient pledge to me of certain blessing. He worketh for the good of

all the creatures of His hands — sheep and oxen, birds of air and fish of sea.

So His work in my limb is the truest warrant of good to me.

 

·         IT IS A SOURCE OF COMFORT. No one can calmly reflect on the

fact of his creatureship without finding cause for comfort. Each may leave

himself in the hands of his Owner. It is the basis of the truest consolation.

“I am thine must warrant the prayer, “Save me.” The human life may be

left in the Divine hands. The poor, frail, helpless one may commit himself

unto God. There is rich comfort in the knowledge of the fact that the Lord

of the whole earth is my Creator. That He should “destroy,” or appear to

destroy, the poor sufferer is at once acknowledged to be matter of surprise.

Under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty Creator every creature

may find refuge.

 

·         IT IS AN ASSURANCE OF DIVINE CARE. “Wilt thou then bring

me into dust again?” This is the inevitable thought in the heart of him who

recognizes himself as the creature of God — who says, “Thou hast made

me as the clay.” It is the instinct of frail man to care for his own. How

much more is it the Divine method! Already Job has declared his faith

when saying, “Dost thou despise the work of thine own hands?” Thou hast

raised me from the dust; wilt thou bring me into dust again? Will thou

frustrate thine own purpose? Thus Job reasons, and wisely. It is the

assurance of calm wisdom, the faith which has firm foundation. He who

has brought me into life, will care for me, will sustain me, will defend me.

 

·         SUCH AN ASSURANCE IS A SUFFICIENT GROUND OF

CONFIDENT AND CALM REPOSE. Restful is the spirit of faith; and the

more simple faith is in its reasoning, the more assured is its peace.

Consciousness of sin would lead to distress of mind and to fear when it is

remembered, Thine hands have fashioned me;” but to the heart assured of

its integrity, this truth is the ground of calm repose. Prayer may be based

upon this. Faith here may find its support; love, its inspiration.

 

 

 

 

Life and Favor from God (v. 12)

 

·         GOD THE ORIGINAL SOURCE. Job appeals to his Creator, and

recognizes the Divine Source of all he is and all he has. The prologue

shows that Job had always been a devout man, not forgetful of God. But

his frightful losses and troubles brought home to him the thought of his

relations to God with a vividness never before experienced. Job is now face

to face with God. Huge calamities have swept away all intermediate

interests, and over the wreck of his wasted life he looks straight to

GOD HIS MAKER!   Terrible hours of distress reveal the deeper facts of

life, as the earthquake exposes the granite foundations of the hills. Tragedy

destroys superficiality. Those who have been through the raging waters of

trouble are best able to perceive the Divine Source of all things.

 

·         GOD’S PRIMAL GIFTS.

 

Ø      Life.

 

o       This can only come from God. The chemist may analyze the

component elements of our bodily frame, but the subtle life-

principle can never be caught in his crucible. The engineer

may construct a most delicate machine, but he can never

breathe life into it. God is the one Source of life!

 

o       This is essential to all else. Here we are at the first and most

fundamental gift. Men may bury treasures with the dead, but the

silent sleepers in the tomb can never touch one of the gifts that

rust and molder by their side. We must live if we are to own or

use anything. We must have the spiritual life in order to

enjoy the gospel blessings.

 

Ø      Favor. Life is itself a favor. It is never deserved; yet it is good to live.

But with life God gives other favors. Even Job in his desolation did

not forget this fact, as some seem to forget it when they murmur against

Providence, and complain of the world as though everything were

working for the misery of man. Greater than all earthly favor is

THE GRACE OF CHRIST, the favor shown to fallen man

 in THE REDEMPTION OF THE RACE BY THE

SACRIFICE OF GOD’S ONLY SON!

 

·         GOD’S CONTINUED GOODNESS. Job acknowledges that his very

breath is continued by God’s care. God does not merely create once for all;

He preserves His creatures. If He were to withdraw His hand for one

moment, THEY WOULD CEASE TO BE!   That we are alive now is a

sign that God is now good to us. Present existence is a proof of PRESENT

PROVIDENCE.  Therefore our thanksgivings should be fresh; not the

withered flowers of yesterday, but the new blossoms of to-day, with the

dew still upon them.  Daily renewed mercies call for daily renewed praises.

(“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His

compassions fail not, They are new every morning:  great is thy

faithfulness.”  - Lamentations 3:22-23).  We have not to look

far for God, searching the annals of antiquity, inquiring of the deeds of

old world history, or scraping together the geologic records of the rocks.

God is with us in the new sunrise, in each day’s life and blessing.

 

·         GOD’S ASSURED CARE.  It cannot be as Job supposes. His

remonstrance is natural to him, but it is needless. If God has made and

preserved us, it is impossible that He should be turned against us.

(“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,

How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”  -

Romans 8:32).  His past and present favors are proofs of His unchanging love.

Though He smites, He cannot hate. Though He withdraws His smiling

countenance, He does not remove His supporting hand. Creation and

preservation are prophecies of REDEMPTION and SALVATION!

 

13 “And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is

with thee.” And these things hast thou hid in thine heart; rather, yet

these things didst thou hide in thine heart; i.e. “Yet all the while,

notwithstanding thy protecting care and gracious favor, thou wert hiding

in thy heart the intention to bring all these evils upon me; thou couldst not

but have known what thou wert about to do, though thou didst conceal thy

intention, and allow no sign of it to escape thee.” I know that this is with

thee; rather, I know that this was with thee; i.e. this intention to destroy my

happiness was “with thee” — present to thy thought — even while thou

wert loading me with favor. Job’s statement cannot be gainsaid; but it

involves no real charge against God, who assigns men prosperity or

suffering as is best for them at the time.

 

 

 

 

                  The Things that are Hidden in God’s Heart (v. 13)

 

Job is possessed by a fearful thought. His tremendous troubles, and the

cruel accusations of his friends, have driven him to the conclusion that God

must have conceived the idea of thus tormenting him long before Job knew

anything of it; that God must have hidden the dreadful purpose in His heart;

that all the while Job was complacently enjoying his prosperity, God was

nursing the secret design of scattering it to the winds, and plunging His

servant into the depths of misery.

 

·         GOD’S PURPOSES ARE HIDDEN FROM MAN. They are more

hidden than Job supposed. He thought that the Divine plan had just

appeared. But it was deeper than he imagined. Not only was it hidden in

the sunny days of prosperity; it was also hidden in the dark and dreadful

days of misery. Had Job known the Divine purpose, his suspicions would

have been dissipated, and he would have seen how unjust his arraignment

of Providence was. We cannot yet see the Divine thought. If it were

revealed to us, the discipline of trial would be frustrated. Moreover, it is

too deep and wide for us to grasp it. Therefore we must walk by faith

(II Corinthians 5:7).

 

·         GOD APPEARS TO HIDE DARK DESIGNS. So Job thought, and so

the events of his life seemed to show. As the curtain slowly lifted, dreadful

things were discovered behind. God was always in the future, preparing it

for its advent; yet when it came it appeared in thunder and ruin. Was God

secretly planning all this misery in the quiet, old peaceful days when Job

suspected no danger? The unrolling of many a life-story has seemed to tell

the same tale of God’s secret thoughts made manifest in calamity.

 

·         GOD REALLY HIDES PURPOSES OF LOVE IN HIS HEART.

He must do so because He is love. We cannot understand His plans, but we

can understand His nature as far as it is revealed to us. Now the revelation

of God is wholly of goodness. This includes wrath against sin, but no

injustice, no harshness, no delight in inflicting misery. Therefore, though

we do not see the Divine intention, we may be sure that it is gracious.

 

Ø      He is seen to do so as far as His purposes are revealed.

 

o       In Scripture. Ancient prophecy and the New Testament

      gospel concur in setting forth the Divine plan, and although

this includes judgment and the punishment of sin, its main

design is the redemption of man.

 

o       In experience. Some of God’s purposes are ripened and

      fulfilled during our earthly life. These are seen to be good

and gracious. It is only the unaccomplished purpose that

wears a threatening aspect.

 

·         THE HIDDEN PURPOSES OF GOD’S HEART WILL BE

ULTIMATELY REVEALED. God does not delight in secrecy, much less

does He designedly tantalize His creatures by perplexing them with needless

mysteries and alarming them with bogus fears. What we know not now we

shall know hereafter (John 13:7). The great apocalypse of futurity will

answer many a dark riddle of providence in the light of ETERNAL LOVE!

We have but to possess our souls in patience, and all will be clear. Job’s

life-problem was solved at last. When ours is made clear it will only enlarge

our wondering gratitude for the depth of the love which God had hidden in

his heart.

 

14 “If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from

mine iniquity.” If I sin, then thou markest me; rather, if I sinnedthen thou

didst observe me. Thou tookest note of all my sins as I committed them,

and laidest them up in thy memory. And thou wilt not acquit me from

mine iniquity. This record of my offences thou still hast against me, and I

cannot expect that thou wilt acquit me of them. Without some one to atone

for them, men cannot be acquitted of their offenses.  (This plight of

man is why God sent us Jesus Christ!  See How to be Saved - # 5this

web site – CY – 2013)

 

15 “If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift

up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;”

If I be wicked, woe unto me! If, on the whole, this record of

my sins be such that I am pronounced guilty before God, then I accept my

doom. Woe unto me! I must submit to suffer. And if I be righteous, yet

 will I not lift up my head. If, on the contrary, it be admitted that I have not

sinned so grievously as to be pronounced unrighteous, even then I will not

boast; I will not exalt myself; I will not hold up my head as if I were sinless.

I am full of confusion. This clause should not be separated from the last.

The sense runs on: “I will not lift up my head (being, as I am), full of

confusion,” or “of shame,” through consciousness of my own

imperfections (see the Revised Version). Therefore see thou mine

affliction; rather, and seeing my afflictions.   Job still views his afflictions as

signs of God’s disfavor, and therefore proofs of his sinfulness.

 

16 “For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou

shewest thyself marvelous upon me.” For it increaseth. Thou huntest me.

This passage is very obscure, and has been taken in several quite different senses.

On the whole, it is not clear that any better meaning can be assigned to it than that

of the Authorized Version, “For my affliction increaseth,” or “is ever increasing.

Thou huntest me;” i.e. thou art continually pursuing me with thy plagues,

thy “arrows” (ch.6:4), thy “wounds” (Ibid. 9:17), thy poisoned shafts (Ibid. 6:4).

Thou givest me no rest, therefore I am ever conscious of my afflictions.

As a fierce lion.  Most commentators take the view that the lion is

God (compare Isaiah 31:4; 38:13 [similar thinking by Hezekiah]; Jeremiah 25:38;

Lamentations 3:10;  Hosea 5:14; 13:7-8). And again thou showest thyself

 Marvelous upon me; or, thou dealest marvellously with me; i.e. inflictest

on me strange and marvelous sufferings.’’

 

17 “Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine

indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.”

Thou renewest thy witnesses against me. Each fresh calamity that Job

suffers is a new witness that God is displeased with him, both in his own eyes,

and in those of his “comforters.” His disease was no doubt continually progressing,

and going from bad to worse, so that every day a new calamity seemed to befall him.

And increasest thine indignation upon me; i.e. makest it more and more

evidently to appear, that thou art angry with me.” Changes and war are against me;

 rather, changes and a host; i.e. attacks that are continually changing — a whole

host of them, or “host after host” (Revised Version margin), come against me.

 

 

 

                                    An Inexplicable Contradiction (vs. 8-17)

 

·         GOD’S FORMER LOVING CARE.

 

Ø      Minutely detailed.

 

o        In Job’s creation. This is first stated generally, the patriarch describing

himself as having been made directly, by God’s hand: Thine hands

have made me and fashioned me;” perhaps in allusion to Genesis 1:26

(compare here, ch.12:10; 34:19; Deuteronomy 4:32; Psalm 33:15; Isaiah

45:12); completely, in all his parts: “together [‘literally,’ all of me ‘]

round about” (compare ch.  27:3; Psalm 139:15-16; 94:9 Exodus 4:11);

carefully, with exquisite skill: “Thou hast made me as the clay,”

possibly an echo of Genesis 2:7, though most probably the image is

that of a potter molding an exquisite vessel And certainly man is God’s

noblest handiwork, whether we have regard to his physical structure

or to his mental and moral organization, and much more if we include

both in our contemplation (compare ‘Hamlet,’ act 2. sc. 2). The process

of man’s formation is then sketched in four particulars, showing a

remarkable acquaintance with the physiological phenomena connected

with this mysterious subject: the generation of the child; the production

of the embryo; the gradual development of the fetus; and the actual

birth of the child (vs. 10-12); for further information on which points

the Exposition may be consulted.

 

o        In Job’s preservation. “Thy visitation [literally, ‘thy providence’] hath

preserved my spirit’ (v. 12). Man s continued existence on earth is as

much a miracle of Divine power as his first introduction into life.

Only Divine care constantly exercised could keep a delicate organism

like the human body, and much more a complicated instrument like

the human mind, from falling into disrepair, and eventually into

dissolution. Man, too, has so many wants, that unless Divine goodness

waited on him daily, he would speedily succumb beneath the stroke

of death. Hence Scripture assigns our sustenance no less than our

formation to God (Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 36:6; Acts 17:28).

 

Ø      Skillfully employed. As Job recalls the time when he was thus an object

of God’s paternal solicitude, he cannot help lingering over the sweet

memories with which it floods his soul. Setting up, too, these tender

reminiscences against the dark background of his present sorrow, he feels

melted and softened. The thought of that Divine love which had fashioned

him and favored him enkindles in his soul a strange yearning for its return,

which makes him try, as it were, by recalling old times to God, to excite a

touch of pity in the Divine heart. Thine hands have made me; and yet

thou destroyest me!” “Thou hast made me as clay; and yet thou

reducest me to dust again!” There are few arguments that touch the

heart of God so powerfully as the remembrance of former mercies.

(Of which I have been greatly blessed these seventy-seven years.

CY - 2021) “Put me in remembrance,” says God (Isaiah 43:26).

“Forget not all His benefits,” says David (Psalm 103:2; compare

ch. 42:6; 77:10; 143:5).

 

·         GOD’S PRESENT CRUEL TREATMENT.

 

Ø      The Divine plot. “And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know

that this is with thee” (v. 13). Job conceived that his terrible afflictions

were the outcome of a dark and deep design which God had formed

concerning him before he was born; that, in fact, God had summoned him

into existence precisely in order to persecute him in the way about to be

described. That God worketh all things on earth according to the counsel

of His will, that every event in history, as well as every incident in

individual experience, has its place in an eternally existing and universe-

embracing plan, is a truth of natural religion no less than of Divine

revelation (Acts 15:18; Ephesians 1:11). But that God created any soul

expressly for the purpose of rendering it miserable, either in time or

eternity, is s simple perversion of truth, inconsistent alike with man’s

fundamental notions of the Deity and Scripture’s explicit teachings as

to the import of predestination. God never plots against either saint or

sinner; but He never fails to plan for both — in which there should be

comfort for the one (Romans 8:28), and a caution for the other

(Proverbs 15:3, 11; Psalm 33:15).

 

Ø      The fourfold net. Job unfolds the nature of that plot which he conceives

God to have devised against him.

 

o        On the supposition of his sinning, God had determined to mark it

against him: “If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit

me from mine iniquity” (v. 14). The hypothesis was natural, since

there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not”

(Psalm 14:3; I Kings 8:46; Romans 3:12). The inference was also

correct in the sense that God observeth all men’s sins (Psalm 33:13-15;

69:5; Proverbs 15:3; Hebrews 4:13), and can by no means acquit the

guilty (Nahum 1:3; Exodus 20:5; Romans 6:23); but as insinuating

that God lay in wait to catch men in transgression, or that He

was swift to note and punish sin, it was decidedly incorrect (Psalm

130:3; Nehemiah 9:17; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 78:38). It is God’s

highest glory that, though He sees, He is now able not to mark,

iniquity; that He can both remit the trespass and acquit the sinner

in consequence of Christ’s propitiation (Romans 3:25-26).

 

o        On the assumption of his perpetrating heinous wickedness, then his

punishment would simply be unspeakable: “If I be wicked, woe unto

me!” It is still true that obstinate and impenitent transgressors will not

escape the just judgment of Almighty God (ch. 31:3; Isaiah 3:11; 45:9;

Proverbs 11:21; Matthew 21:41; 24:51; Romans 1:18; 2:8), but it is

likewise a blessed truth that the most notorious offender may be forgiven

(Isaiah 1:18; Jeremiah 33:8; I John 1:7, 9; I Timothy 1:15).

 

o        If he should prove to be forensically guiltless, he must still demean

himself as if he were a criminal: “If I be righteous, yet will I not lift

up my head.” Job’s language here suggests two important truths —

that no man, however conscious of innocence, can really lift up his

head before God as if he were spotless; and that even those who

can lift up their heads, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ,

have no room for self-exaltation (Romans 3:27).

 

o        Should he venture to indulge in such a feeling, then God would

redouble His attempts to abase him; hunting him like a wild beast, —

“Thou huntest [literally, ‘wouldst hunt’] me as a fierce lion: and

again thou showest thyself marvelous upon me [or, ‘thou wouldst

repeat thy miracles upon me’] “ — prosecuting him like a culprit, —

“Thou renewest thy witnesses against me;” besieging him like a fortress,

 “Thou increasest [or, ‘wouldst increase’] thine indignation against

me, with host succeeding host against me.” The imagery may set forth

the intensity and variety of Job’s sufferings; but it is likewise fitted to

suggest the vehement, relentless, and unceasing opposition which

God offers to all attempts on man’s part to vindicate his own

righteousness. It is God’s paramount aim, in providence

and grace, to reduce man to a position of self-abasement and

self-condemnation; and for this end He employs all the supernatural

power of His Word and Spirit, all the evidence and testimony of the

sinner’s own heart and life, all the vicissitudes and trials of his

ordinary providence. God’s object in doing so is that He may be

able to lift up the sinner’s head.

 

·         LEARN:

 

1. That if God uses rigor towards man, He doth it not of any cruelty, since

     man is God’s handiwork.

2. That man, being God’s handiwork, should never cease to praise his

     Maker.

3. That man’s lowly origin should both keep him humble and remind him of

     his latter end.

4. That God’s power and grace should be recognized in man’s preservation

    as much as in man’s formation.

5. That “all things are naked and manifest to the eyes of him with whom

     we have to do.”  (Hebrews 4:13)

6. That God, if swift to note, is still swifter to forgive, iniquity.

7. That the royal road to Heaven’s favor and forgiveness is through

     humility and self-abasement.

8. That the end of all Divine discipline on earth is to humble man in

     preparation for eternal exaltation.

 

 

 

 

The Relation between the Creator and the Creature (vs. 8-17)

 

·         Comparison of the Creator and the creature the potter and his work.

   (v. 8.) The potter’s artistic work is a work on which care, thought,

elaboration, have been spent; it is a “thing of beauty,” and he designs it to

be a “joy for ever.” He will not wantonly destroy it, will not bear to see it

so destroyed. Can we believe otherwise of God and His work? A most

true and telling analogy, and on which may be founded an argument for the

immortality of the soul. Had that idea come within the horizon of Job’s

vision, his analogy would have afforded him profound comfort.

 

Ø      Contrast between the careful production and preservationand the

seeming reckless destruction of the creature. (vs. 10-17.) On the one

hand we see (vs. 10-11) the marvelous production and development of

the bodily life from the embryo to the distinct and fully developed form,

arranged with all the apparatus and mechanism of nutrition and of

movement. (If this was the only sentence in the world which addressed the

sin of abortion, it would be enough to pass eternal judgment on those

associated with abortion FOR EVER!  - CY – 2013).  What dazzling

evidences of the thought which God has lavished upon his chief work do all

the discoveries of physiology unfold!  (I recommend typing in your

browser spina bifida Michael Clancy – to see a photograph of a 21 week

old fetus holding on to a doctor’s finger – the photograph was in the

newspapers and was taken at Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville, TN - CY –

2013) We may read side by side with this passage Psalm 139., and

Addison’s noble hymn, “When all thy mercies, O my God.” Then there is the

endowment of this marvelous framework with the great gift of life, and

manifold rich enjoyments, and its preservation through all the dangers

of youth to the present moment (v. 12). But how dread the other side of the

contrast! Behind this elaborate design there was concealed from the first,

as it seems to Job’s gloomy reflection, A DELIBERATE PURPOSE OF

DESTRUCTION - the reckless annihilation of THIS  SPLENDID

WORK OF DIVINE ART (v. 13).  Rather, if we do but rectify these

perverted reasonings of a morbid and distressed mood, what noble and

irresistible arguments do we derive from experience and from the science

of our physical life for God’s eternal interest in that which is here contained

in it — the soul which partakes of Him, and cannot perish! Then

follows a terrible picture of the relation in which the patriarch, in his misery,

supposes himself to stand to God. He is in a “tetralemma,” or net, from which

he can see no escape.

 

Ø      If he commits the smallest error (v. 14), those all. searching eyes

follow him with their ceaseless watch, and will exact the penalty of

every fault.

Ø      If he should commit iniquity (v. 5) — that he has done so, however,

before these sufferings, he must most solemnly deny — then he will be

justly chastened.

Ø      But even if he were in the right, he must appear as a guilty one; cannot

dare, freely and proudly, to raise his head — because full of ignominy,

and with his own eyes beholding his humiliation (v. 15).

Ø      And should this innocent and insulted head, unable longer to endure the

ignominy, rise in freedom and in pride — as Job is now doing, in fact, by.

the tone of his speech — then God, wroth with his resistance, will send

afresh the severest sufferings upon him; will hunt him like a lion; will reveal

himself in fresh marvels of woe and judgment (v. 16); will produce fresh

witnesses, in the shape of new pains, as accusers against him. Like hosts

pouring one after another against one beleaguered city, so will these

troubles thickly come on (v. 17).

 

 

 

 

The Hidden Purposes of Affliction (vs. 13-17)

 

Job has reasoned much, and he has asked for an explanation of the Divine

purpose. “Wherefore contendest thou with me?”  (v. 2).   Doubtless he judges,

as do his friends, that suffering is the natural consequence and certain punishment

of wrong-doing. But he is conscientious in affirming his innocence of

transgression, and the Divine testimony to his goodness agrees with this

(ch.2:3). What, then, is the explanation of the whole? Can we ever

hope to know in this world what are the deep purposes of God in the

afflictions of which the human life is capable, and especially in the

sufferings of the godly? No. The purposes, though partially revealed, are

still to a great extent “hidden” — hidden in the “heart” of God. Job feels

himself hedged in. He is “full of confusion.” We must remember Job had

not the clear light in which we view the Divine work. Yet even from us His

ways are hidden. We must say, “Clouds and darkness are round about Him.”

(Psalm 97:2)

 

·         WE MUST SEE IT TO BE PERFECTLY NATURAL THAT THE

DIVINE WAYS SHOULD BE HIDDEN FROM MEN. How should

Man be able to trace the Divine purpose? It is high; he cannot attain unto it

(Psalm 139:6).  Hidden in the Divine mind — not always revealed by the

incidents of affliction. “These things hast thou hid in thine heart.” (v.13).

 

·         THE HIDING OF THE DIVINE PURPOSES IS A SALUTARY

TEST TO FAITH. Faith in God is needful in order to a right relation of the

human soul towards God. It is the basis of peace; encouragement to

obedience; ground of holy fear; help to holy love. But the testing of faith

leads to a more spiritual dependence upon God, to a more frequent

reference of the heart to him. Walking by faith honors God. Faith is

needed by the very conditions of human life. Its exercise promotes

 its growth.

 

·         THE HIDING OF THE DIVINE PURPOSE IS A GRACIOUS

DESIGN ON THE PART OF GOD MORE EFFECTUALLY TO

WORK OUT HIS WILL CONCERNING MAN. The rebellious, not

knowing it, cannot frustrate it. Secretly the Divine will is wrought out in

the experience and history of the sufferer. The entire dependence of the soul

on God is encouraged. This must lead to submission, and submission in faith.

The reliance of the soul must be on the character of God, and not on

circumstances and incidents.

 

·         THE HIDING OF THE DIVINE PURPOSES ISSUES IN THE

PERFECTING OF THE SUPREME EXCELLENCE OF THE

HUMAN CHARACTER — PATIENCE. Thus it has its “perfect work”

(James 1:4), and the soul is left “entire, lacking nothing.” He who can

patiently and trustfully wait upon God, bearing up under pressure of afflictive

circumstances, gains a vigor and beauty of character. If patience be

wanting, all other qualities of the character are impaired. Man’s wisdom

is to be satisfied with COMMITING HIMSELF TO THE HIDDEN

PURPOSES OF GOD!   In faith to confide in them as wise and good.

In patience to await their exposition when it shall please God to reveal them

to him.

 

18 “Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh

that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!”  Wherefore then

 hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? A recurrence to his original

complaint (ch.3:3-10); as if, after full consideration, he returned to the conviction

that the root of the whole matter — the real thing of which he might justly complain —

was that he had ever been born into the world alive? Oh that I had given up the

ghost! Before birth, or in the act of birth (Ibid. v.11). And no eye

had seen me! “No eye,” i.e., “had looked upon my living face.” For then:

 

19 “I should have been as though I had not been; I should

have been carried from the womb to the grave.”  So short an existence

would have been the next thing to no existence at all, and would have

equally satisfied my wishes.

 

20 “Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I

may take comfort a little.”  Job here returns from vague longings and idle

aspirations to actual realities — the facts of the case — and asks, “Is not

the time that I now have to live short? Must not my disease make an end of

me in a very brief space? If so, then may I not make a request? My petition

is that God will ‘cease’ from me, grant me a respite, ‘let me alone’ for a

short time, remove His heavy hand, and allow me to ‘take comfort a little,’

recover my strength, and obtain a breathing-space, before my actual end,

before the time comes for my descent to Sheol,” which is then (vs. 21-22)

described. The parallel with Psalm 39:13 is striking.

 

21 “Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness

and the shadow of death.   Before I go whence I shall not return.” (compare

ch.7:9; and see II Samuel 12:23). Even to the land of darkness and the

shadow of death. Job’s idea of the receptacle of the dead, while it has

some analogies with the Egyptian under-world, and even more with the

Greek and Roman conceptions of Hades or Orcus, was probably derived

from Babylonia, or Chaldea, on which the land that he inhabited bordered

(ch.1:17). It was within the earth, consequently dark and sunless

(compare the Umbrae of the Romans, and Euripides’s ne>krwn keuqmw~na

kai< sko>tou pu>lav), deep (ch.11:8), dreary, fastened with belts and

bars (ch.17:16). The Babylonians spoke of it as “the abode of

darkness and famine, where earth was men’s food, and their nourishment

clay; where light was not seen, but in darkness they dwelt; where ghosts,

like birds, fluttered their wings; and where, on the doors and on the

doorposts, the dust lay undisturbed” (Transactions of the Society of Biblical

Archaeology, vol. 1. p. 118).

 

22 “A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death,

without any order, and where the light is as darkness.”  A land of darkness,

 as darkness itself; or, a land of thick darkness (see the Revised Version).

And of the shadow of death, without any order. THE ABSENCE OF

ORDER  is a  new and peculiar feature.  We do not find it in the other accounts

of Hades. But it lends additional horror and weirdness to the scene. And

where the light is as darkness. Not, therefore, absolutely without light, but

with such a light as Milton calls “darkness visible.”

 

 

 

 

 

                        Appeal to the Justice, Knowledge, and Goodness of God

                                                            (vs. 1-22)

 

In his extremity of maddening pain and in his contempt of life, Job resolves to give

full way once more to words (v. 1). And as they pour forth in full flood from the

bottom of his heart, we perceive that he has in reality truer and juster thoughts

about God than those expressed in the preceding chapter. He proceeds to appeal one

by one to the highest perfection which can be associated with the Divine Name.

 

·         APPEAL TO THE GOODNESS AND GREATNESS OF GOD (vs. 2-7.)

 

Ø      To His reasonableness and justice. (v, 2.) “Condemn me not unheard,

without cause assigned; make clear to my mind, which cannot deny its

convictions, my guilt and its nature.” Taking the analogy of our Lord’s

reasoning in the sermon on the mount, if to condemn a man without cause

is felt to be an odious injustice — if it is a cardinal point in a just earthly

constitution (e.g. as expressed in our Habeas Corpus Act) that no man be

seized and kept in prison without speedy opportunity of being confronted

with his accusers — how can we ascribe such conduct to Him who sits on

the eternal throne?

 

Ø      To His equity. (v. 3.) Can it be right that God should, on the one hand,

cast down the weak and innocent, and, on the other, exalt and favor the

unprincipled and the wicked? This would not be to hold even the scales,

the eternal emblem of justice. The true solution to the question is given

by Christ. God is good to all alike. The great gifts of nature — sunshine

and rain — are common to good and evil, just and unjust. And as to

spiritual blessings, which are of their nature conditional on human will

and seeking, God is as good to all as their own state and disposition

will suffer Him to be. Are, then, the sufferings of the good contrary to

His justice? Not so; but they come under that higher law which Job

and his friends have yet to learn, that suffering is one of the forms and

manifestations of Divine goodness in the education of human beings.

 

Ø      Appeal to His omniscience. (v. 4.) God sees all things, from all

beginnings, to all ends. He is not a short-sighted tyrant who is tempted to

force by torture a confession of guilt from an unhappy prisoner against

whom He has only a suspicion but no evidence. God knows that Job is

innocent. But this fact should put an end to his murmurs, could he be

wholly true to his higher faith in God. The right which God knows he will

in the end declare, and will be seen to have throughout defended and

protected.

 

Ø      Appeal to His eternal duration. (vs. 5-6.) The calm and ever-abiding

existence of God must surely free Him from those temptations to which

short-lived man is subject. Hurry, impatience, haste, impetuosity, are

characteristics of humanity, because men know they have much to do,

and but a short time in which to do it. Therefore the tyrant will snatch

quickly at revenge for any affront or injury he may have suffered.

But who can escape the power and the penalties of the Eternal?

Once more: God knows he is innocent (v. 7)!

 

·         RENEWED BURST OF DESPONDENCY, IMPRECATIONS ON

LIFE, CRAVING FOR REST. (vs. 18-22.) Once more he wishes that he

had never been (vs. 18-19, repeated from ch. 3:11, etc.). Once more

he urges his strong petition that he may enjoy one brief respite during these

few short days that remain, free from the unceasing torment (v. 20),

before he sinks for ever into the lower world.

 

·         PICTURE OF HADES, OR THE LOWER WORLD.

 

Ø      It is the “land of darkness and of gloom, like to midnight” (vs. 21-22).

 

Ø      Therefore it is the land of disorder and of confusion, where none who is

accustomed to light and order can feel himself at home.

 

Ø      Though there be even there a slight change of day and night, yet even if

it be bright there, it is as gloomy as midnight upon earth. We may

compare those impressive pictures of the lower world and the state

of the departed which we find in the ‘Odyssey’ (11.) —

 

“Never the sun, that giveth light to man,

Looks down upon them with his golden eye,

Or when he climbs the starry arch, or when

Slope toward the earth, he wheels adown the sky;

But sad night weighs upon them wearily.”

 

“In bondage through fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:15) The knowledge

of another and a better life — denied to Job — is evidently the one

thing needed to satisfy an honest mind, cast down in extreme suffering,

overwhelmed in mystery, yet unable to renounce its faith in the justice

and goodness of God. Christ, by bringing life and immortality

to light (II Timothy 1:10). spreads a great radiance over the world.

It is the firm grasp  of this Divine idea which enables man to support

suffering with calmness and patience. Let this idea be taken away, and

as we see from the painful tone of those in our day who seriously

put the question, “Is life worth living?” — even ordinary

suffering may be resented as intolerable.

 

·         LESSONS.

 

1. Confidence founded on our relation to God as a “faithful Creator.” He

    cannot desert the work of His own hands.

2. His goodness in the past is an argument for trust for the time to come.

3. Insoluble perplexities are due to our own ignorance of the complete

    conditions of life. God is the most misunderstood of beings.

4. Every revelation is to be eagerly received, every habit of mind

    encouraged, which induces us to look on life as a good, death as a gain,

    and the scene beyond as one of eternal brightness for all faithful souls.

 

 

 

                                    An Old Complaint Renewed (vs. 18-22)

 

·         A GREAT MERCY DESPISED. Life. “Wherefore then hast thou

brought me forth out of the womb?” (v. 18). Job here announces an

important truth, that the extraction of an infant from the womb is

practically God’s work (Psalm 22:9; 71:6), but likewise commits a sin

in regarding as an evil fortune what, rightly pondered, should have been

esteemed a valuable blessing. Life, as God bestows it, is a precious gift;

though frequently, as man makes it, it proves a dreadful curse. Job’s

ingratitude was all the more reprehensible that in his case life had been

crowned with mercies — with great material wealth, with true domestic

enjoyment, with immense social influence, with rich spiritual grace, with

palpable Divine favor.

 

·         A SINFUL REGRET INDULGED. That he had not been carried from

the womb to the grave. “Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had

seen me!” (v. 18). Job’s regret was:

 

Ø      Sinful; inasmuch as it undervalued a Divine gift.

 

Ø      Unnatural; since it contradicted the instinct of love of life which the

      Creator has implanted in all His creatures.

 

Ø      Foolish; for though Job might have thereby escaped bodily pain, he

would also have missed much happiness and many opportunities of

glorifying God by doing good and enduring affliction.

 

Ø      Mistaken; as though Job had been carried from the womb to the grave,

his expectation, “I should have been as though I had not been,” would

not have proved correct. The child who opens its eyes on earth simply

to shut them again does not return to the wide womb of nothingness

when its tiny form is deposited in the dust. The fact of its being Born

into Adam’s race constitutes it AN IMMORTAL!   The doctrine of

annihilation, if not absolutely unphilosophical, is certainly unnatural

and unscriptural.

 

·         A PASSIONATE ENTREATY OFFERED. For a brief respite in the

midst of his sufferings. “Are not my days few? cease then, and let me

alone, that I may take comfort a little.”

 

Ø      The prayer. “Let me alone.” Job craved a momentary alleviation in his

troubles. Few sufferers are without such interludes of ease. God mercifully

mitigates human sorrow by granting brief periods of relief; otherwise men

would be crushed, and the end of affliction defeated.

 

Ø      The purpose. “That I may be cheerful a little.” Job could not brighten up

while tormented by incessant pain and haunted by continual fear

(ch. 9:27).  Only the lifting of God’s hand would remove the load from

his heart and the cloud from his brow. And this he felt was desirable

before he went to the under world. Most men will sympathize with Job

in desiring a brief period of freedom from pain before passing into the

eternal world, to enable them to calm their spirits, to collect their

thoughts, to prepare their souls for the last conflict and the great hereafter.

 

Ø      The plea. “Are not my days few?” Job thought himself upon the brink of

the grave. In this, however, he was mistaken. Most men deem themselves

further from the unseen world than they really are (I Samuel 20:3), but

occasionally sufferers judge themselves nearer the close of life than they

eventually prove to be. If the first is a sin of presumption, the second is an

error caused by feeble faith. If the first is peculiar to youth and health, the

second is not infrequent to suffering and age.

 

·         A DISMAL FUTURE DEPICTED. Hades. The melancholy region,

into which Job anticipated almost instantaneous departure, was not the

grave, which was, properly speaking, only the receptacle of the dead body;

but Sheol, the abode of departed spirits. As conceived by Job and other

Old Testament saints, this was not a place where the disembodied spirit

either found annihilation or sank into unconsciousness, but a realm in

which the spirit, existing apart from the body, retained its selfconsciousness.

Yet the gloom which overhung this silent and impenetrable land was such as

to render it unattractive in the extreme. It was a land of:

 

Ø      Perpetual exile. Before I go whence I shall not return” (v. 21); “the

undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns” (‘Hamlet,’

act 3. sc. 1).

 

Ø      Thick darkness. “A land of darkness, as darkness itself” (v. 22). Four

different terms are employed to depict the gloom of this dismal world;

 

o       the first (used in Genesis 1:2) probably depicting a condition of

      things upon which light has not yet arisen;

o       the second representing this lightless region as death’s shade,

      i.e. the veil which death draws around the eyes of men;

o       the third setting forth this darkness as that which covers up

      or encircles all things; and

o       the fourth pointing to the complete shutting off of light, the

            deepest and thickest gloom.

 

This horrible picture the poet finishes by adding, and the light is as

the thick darkness,” meaning that in that doleful region the daylight

or the noontide is like the midnight gloom of earth: “not light, but

darkness visible” (Milton, ‘Paradise Lost,’ bk. 1.).

 

Ø      Complete disorder. A land “without any order” (v. 22); meaning either

without form or outline, every object being so wrapped in gloom that it

appears devoid of shape, or without regular succession, as of day and

night; a realm without light, without beauty, without form, without

order; a dark subterranean chaos filled with pale ghosts, waiting in

comparative inactivity during that “night in which no man can work”

(John 9:4), for the dawning of the resurrection morn. Contrast with all

this the Christian Paradise, where the spirits of just men made

perfect are now for ever with the Lord; not a land of exile from

which one shall no more return, but a better country (for which

Abraham looked -  Hebrews 11:8-16), even an heavenly, from

which one shall go no more out (Revelation 3:12); not a region of

darkness, but a bright realm of light (Revelation 21:23); not a

chaos of confusion, but a glorious cosmos of life, order, and

beauty (ibid. v. 1).

 

 

·         LEARN:

 

1. The danger of unsanctified affliction.

2. The power of Satan over the human heart.

3. The short-sightedness of sense and reason.

4. The propriety of ever being ready for our departure into the unseen

    world.

5. The value of the gospel, which has brought life and immortality to light.

6. The advantage possessed by those who live under the gospel dispensation.

7. The greater responsibility of those who enjoy greater light than Job did.

 

 

 

The Land of Darkness (vs. 21-22)

 

·         DEATH APPEARS TO LEAD TO A LAND OF DARKNESS.

 

Ø      We cannot see what lies beyond. Science cannot penetrate this

mystery of mysteries (thus revealing her impotence – CY – 2013).

At best she can but dimly surmise the existence of an “unseen

universe.” Philosophy may reason of the soul’s immortality, but

can throw NO LIGHT INTO THE TOMB!  . The mind dashes

itself in vain against the awful wall that separates it from the world

beyond.  One by one our most intimate friends leave us, and the dark

doors open to receive them, but never a ray of light comes out, and

the rest is silence.”  (As Philip Henry used to pray, “Lord help us to

be ready to leave this world, or to be left.”  - great advice for us

all! -CY – 2013)

 

Ø      We shrink by natural instinct from death. Reason as we may,

the grave is a horror to us. We people the land of the dead with terrors

of the imagination. La Rochefoucauld says, “Neither the sun nor death

can be looked at steadily,”

 

            “Death is a fearful thing.

To die, and go we know not where

To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;

This sensible warm motion to become

A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit

To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside

In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed lee;

To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,

And blown with restless violence round about

The pendent world, or to be worse than worst

Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts

Imagine howling! — ‘tis too horrible!

The weariest and most loathed worldly life

That ago, ache, penury, and imprisonment

Can lay on nature, is a paradise

To what we fear of death.” (Shakespeare.)

 

·         WHETHER DEATH WILL LEAD TO A LAND OF DARKNESS

DEPENDS ON OUR USE OF LIFE. Nature, science, philosophy, all

leave the future obscure. But God has lifted the veil in the gospel enough

to  give us:

 

Ø      guidance,

Ø      warning, and

Ø      consolation.

 

We learn from the revelation of Christ that the unseen land need be no place

of terror and darkness. (Christ has brought life and immortality to light

through the gospel!” – II Timothy 1:10 -CY – 2013)  What it will be

depends on our PRESENT CONDUCT!.

 

Ø      Death leads the impenitent sinner into a land of darkness. For him

The horrors of imagination cannot be too black. No one can conceive the

chill desolation of the “OUTER DARKNESS” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13;

25:30),  the dread despair of seeing the “DOOR SHUT” (Ibid.

v.10-12) on A REJECTED SOUL!  The darkness will consist in

 SEPARATION FROM GOD,  from blessed companionship

FROM JOY, FROM LIFE — for the future existence

of the lost IS NEVER CALLED A FUTURE LIFE!   The

dolorous words of Job are not too strong for THE FATE

OF LOST SOULS!

 

Ø      Death leads the people of God into A LAND OF LIGHT!

 The old-world gloom of the grave is dissipated by Christ, who

hasbrought life and immortality to light through the gospel”

(As mentioned above – II Timothy 1:10). Here we have a great advance

from the Old Testament standpoint, “The resurrection of Christ has

thrown A FLOOD OF LIGHT INTO THE REGIONS BEYOND!

It has shown us a “land of the leal,” where the blessed dwell in

LIGHT ETERNAL!  Paul could even desire to depart and be with

Christ, counting it gain to die (Philippians 1:21-23). All who have

turned FROM SIN  TO CHRIST may despise the darkness of death,

for this is but the portal to the home of eternal life.  (Matthew 5:24;

I John 3:14)

 

Note:  Confidence founded on our relation to God as a “faithful Creator.” He

cannot and will not,  desert the work of His own hands.  His goodness in

 the past is an argument for trust for the time to come.

INSOLUBLE PERPLEXITIES  are due to OUR OWN IGNORANCE

 of the complete conditions of life. God is the most misunderstood of beings.

(Is it not because that Satan, the god of this world [II Corinthians 4:3-4],

deceives us like he did Job?  - CY – 2013)  There is a danger in unsanctified

affliction.  Often, there is a short-sightedness of sense and reason.  Every

revelation from God is to be eagerly received, every habit of mind encouraged,

which induces us to look on life as a  good, death as a gain, and the scene beyond

as one of ETERNAL BRIGHTNESS  for ALL FAITHFUL SOULS!

 

Beware:  There is a danger of unsanctified affliction.  Beware of the power of

Satan over the human heart.  SENSE and REASON are short-sighted.

Consider:  The propriety of ever being ready for our departure into the unseen

world.   Prize the value of the gospel, which has brought life and immortality

 to light.  Appreciate the advantage we  possess by the privilege of  living

 UNDER THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION!  We enjoy greater light than

Job did.  THEREFORE, WE ALSO HAVE A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY!

 

 

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