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 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.

 

 

·         THE PATRIARCH’S ESTATE.

 

Ø      Extensive. It comprised:

 

o       seven thousand sheep, bespeaking him an opulent flock master;

o       three thousand camels, implying that he acted as a princely

merchant;

o       five hundred yoke of oxen, pointing to a large farm; and

o       five hundred she-asses, which were highly prized for their milk;

 

while along with these it embraced “a very great household,” or a

multitude of servants, such as:

 

o       ploughmen,

o       shepherds,

o       camel-drivers, besides:

o       guards,

o       overseers,

o       traffickers, and

o       scribes;

 

from which it is certain that the patriarch could not have been an idler —

thus showing that piety is not incompatible with great business activity,

or the ordinary occupations of life necessarily detrimental to the culture

of the soul (Romans 12:11).

 

Ø      Valuable. The different items of the above catalogue clearly show that

Job was rich, material wealth being in his case allied with spiritual

treasure, thus proving that, though good men are not always rich, as

unfortunately rich men are not always good, it is yet by no means

impossible to be both; witness Abraham (Genesis 13:2), Isaac (ibid.

ch. 26:13-14), Jacob (ibid. ch. 32:10), Joseph of Arimathaea

(Matthew 27:57).

 

Ø      Removable. As the event showed, and as is the case with the estate of

every man, great or small, upon the earth (James 1:10-11; I John 2:17).

 

·         THE PATRIARCH’S FAMILY.

 

Ø      Numerous. Under the Old Testament economy a large family was

promised as a special recompense to the pious (Psalm 113:9; 127:4-5;

128:1-4), and though an abundant offspring is not now a sign of

grace or an evidence of religion (as witnessed by modern obsession

with over-population and the persistence of the abortion industry - CY -

2021),  yet children are among the most precious of Heaven’s gifts,

and happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.

 

Ø      Happy. Whether the entertainments they gave were birthday

commemorations, or periodically returning religious festivals, or weekly

banquets, they obviously formed a cheery and genial household. Innocent

festivity is neither unbecoming nor irreligious, since it is not true that

“man was made to mourn” (Burns), while it is true that God’s people are

commanded to rejoice evermore (Ecclesiastes 9:7; Psalm 100:1;

Philippians 4:4; I Thessalonians 5:16 - a favorite of my invalid

paternal grandmother, whom I have heard her quote!).

 

Ø      Loving. If Job’s family were mirthful, they were likewise harmonious

and united. Few spectacles on earth are more beautiful than families

whose members are endeared to one another by reciprocal affection

(Psalm 133:1); and yet good men have often seen their households torn

by unseemly strife; e.g. Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David.

 

 

·         FEATURES OF EXTERNAL PROSPERITY. These, too, are briefly

and suggestively sketched, and need not be dwelt upon at length. All the

elements of a high prosperity and great position in that simple state of life

are present.

 

Ø      His family. He had ten children, the sons more than twice as numerous

as the daughters. Men felt in those times that a large family was a great

blessing, one of the visible marks of Heaven’s favor. Sons especially were

a new source of wealth and importance to the household. Parents in our

day are perhaps seldom in the habit of thanking God for large families.

They are too ready to groan beneath the care, rather than to cheerfully

admit the reality of the blessing. Yet how constantly do we see proofs of

the happiness of large families, even in poverty! A rightly ordered

household is the Divinest of schools. Character is so variously developed

and in so many ways tried and educated in them. In the variety of this little

world there is a fine preparation going on for activity and for endurance in

the greater world. On the whole, there can be no question that large

families are a great source, not only of happiness, but of riches of every

kind. And the truth needs to be insisted on from time to time, when we

hear the matter spoken of in terms of disparagement or pity. The full quiver

is no object of pity in any time when men are obeying the laws of God in

their social life. It is the solitary, and those who are doomed to lead a too

self-centered existence, who need our pity.

 

 

 

·         THE PATRIARCH’S SOLICITUDE (care for others).

 

Ø      Reasonable. Gaiety and merry-making, while innocent in themselves and

sanctioned by religion, have a tendency to cause the heart to forget God.

Those who frequent social banquets and indulge in the world’s delicacies

are apt to become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God

(II Timothy 3:4); e.g. Solomon, Dives, Demas.

 

Ø      Becoming. As a pious man, Job could scarcely fail to be concerned

about the behaviour of so many young people, especially while attending

a feast. As a father, he was doubly constrained to have respect to their

spiritual and eternal welfare. Even more is it the duty of a parent to

train up his sons and daughters in the nurture and admonition of

the Lord than to provide for their education and settlement in life

(Ephesians 6:4).

 

Ø      Earnest. The father who could be at such pains and expense about the

religious education of his children as Job appears to have been was

clearly in earnest, and might profitably be taken as a pattern by Christian

parents.  Contrast the parental negligence of Eli (I Samuel 2:29).

 

Ø      Habitual. As Job’s zeal was prompt, so likewise was it constant. The

godly practice of Divine worship was maintained with unwearied

regularity, week after week, or at least upon the close of every festive

occasion. As a parent’s responsibility for his children does not

terminate with their childhood, so neither should his endeavors

to promote their welfare cease with their arriving at the stage of

manhood and womanhood.

 

·         Learn:

 

1. God may have children outside the pale of the Church visible.

2. Prosperity and piety, though not commonly conjoined, are by no means

    incompatible.

3. God’s people should aim at the possession of a piety which is “perfect

    and entire, wanting nothing.”  (James 1:4)

4. Good men’s families should themselves be good.

5. Pious parents should train their children in the fear of God and in the

    observance of His precepts.

 

 

 

                                           Family Worship (v. 5)

 

Ø      SHOULD PRECEDE THE BUSINESS OF THE DAY. Job rose up

early in the morning.

 

Ø      SHOULD BE PERFORMED IN THE ASSEMBLED HOUSEHOLD.

Job gathered all his sons to his devotions.

 

Ø      SHOULD BE CELEBRATED AFTER DUE PREPARATION. Job

sanctified his sons by the customary ablutions.

 

Ø      SHOULD BE INSPIRED BY FAITH IN THE ATONING

SACRIFICE. Job offered up burnt offerings.

 

Ø      SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY LIBERAL OBLATIONS.

Job presented victims to the number of them all.

 

Ø      SHOULD BE MARKED BY CONFESSION AND

INTERCESSION. Job interceded for his children.

 

Ø      SHOULD BE MAINTAINED WITH UNBROKEN

REGULARITY. Job did so continually.

 

Learn:

 

(1) The duty,

(2) the propriety,

(3) the need, and

(4) the value, of family worship.

 

 

 

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

having a time of devotion.  Our practice was to 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, son and 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)

 

 

 

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 SPIRIT OF ACCUSATION CONCERNED WITH GOOD

MEN’S LIVES, This is the great characteristic of the evil spirit spoken of

in various parts of Scripture. He is “Satan,” that is, “the Adversary,” one

whose delight is in laying snares for men, seducing them from rectitude,

and then slandering and accusing them before God. “The accuser of our

brethren, who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation

12:10). Here, in the court of heaven, the radiant scene of Divine glory

which is brought before our view, while the rest of the retinue of angels,

“sons of God,” are present to discharge their functions of praise and of

service, the evil genius of men comes to enjoy the dark pleasure of

detraction and spite. While those bright spirits habitually look on the bright

side of things, upon the creation lit up by the smile of God, reflecting

everywhere His wisdom and His power, Satan dwells upon the dark side of

things — upon that frailty and corruptibility of man, which appears to be

the only blemish in the fine picture of God’s world. Note the restlessness of

this spirit of accusation. To and fro he roams in the earth, seeking rest, but

finding none. How true a picture is this of every human heart which has

given way to evil, and has thus become a mirror of the dark spirit! How

restless are all men who are ill at ease in themselves, because devoid of

peace with their God! The hunger for mischief is the counterpart of the

hunger for righteousness. They roam about, discontented, mad. dened at

the sight of goodness and purity which they have lost; barking, snapping,

biting, devouring, like beasts of prey — fastening upon noble reputations

and dragging them to the ground, as the panther springs upon the noble

stag of the forest. What need have we to be warned against the misery of

allowing ourselves to become the servants of so dark a spirit, the agents of

such malice! Whenever we find the rust of slander and backbiting gathering

too easily on our tongues, whenever we find that the sight of good men’s

failures affords us more pleasure than that of their success and honor, we

have need to look closely into the heart. We must be ill before we can

enjoy these diseased pleasures. A soul in health towards God delights to

see the reflection of that health in the faces and the lives of others. It is the

misery of conscious sin which seeks relief in the sin of others. Whether in

good or in evil, we cannot endure to be alone. The fullness of the heart’s

joy must have expression, and so must the burden of its unpardoned guilt

— the one in words of charity to men and praise to God; the other in those

of bitterness and blasphemy. But this scene sets before us a man who is to

become the object, rather than the subject, of this malignant influence. Job

is the victim, not the agent, of Satanic slanders. And it is well to consider

here what there is in the constitution of our nature which lays us open to

these diabolical attempts.

 

 

PUT THIS IN PROPER PLACE

 

·         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.

 

 

 

 

 

                        Job’s Unparalleled Calamities (vs. 13-19)

 

Everything is done to heighten and intensify the impression of Job’s

calamities. Let us note their most noticeable features.

 

·         THEY OCCUR AT A SEASON OF FESTIVITY. It was a feast-day,

and Job’s whole family was gathered together in his eldest son’s house.

Then of all times the affectionate father would be least prepared for

ominous rumors of calamity. The thunderbolt fell from the cloudless blue

sky. Without a note of warning, the fearful storm burnt in an overwhelming

deluge. This is a lesson against trusting to prosperity, as though it

contained a promise of its own certain continuance. But it is no unmerciful

arrangement of Providence that the dark future is hidden from us. We are

made sad because:

 

                                    “We look before and after.”

 

If we saw all the future, we could not endure the present.

 

·         THEY OCCUR IN RAPID SUCCESSION. So closely do these

calamities follow one upon another that, before the first messenger has told

his tale, a second herald arrives with more evil news, followed as speedily

by a third, and he after no more delay by the last, with his most dreadful

message. It has often been noticed how troubles come in batches. In Job’s

case we can see the reason. One fearful power of malignity is behind the

whole series.

 

·         THEY COME FROM VARIOUS QUARTERS. Though Satan is the

ultimate cause of all the calamities, he does not inflict any of them with his

own hand. He keeps that hidden, and finds means to send emissaries from

all quarters — Arabs from the south fall on the home farm; lightning from

heaven smites the sheep on the downs; three robber-bands of roving

Chaldees from the north swoop down on the caravan of camels that carries

Job’s wealth of merchandise; and, worse than all else, a hurricane from the

desert smites and fells the house where Job’s sons and daughters are

feasting. Who can dwell in security when trouble may come in so many

directions? It is impossible for the strongest man to fortify himself against

it. None of us can do more than make reasonable preparations, which may

all prove useless. But all may trust the providence of him who rules wind

and storm and heart of man, and WITHOUT WHOSE PERMISSION

 not a hair of our head can be touched.

 

·         THEY ARE AGGRAVATED AS THEY PROCEED. The worst

comes last. It is terrible for a rich man to see his wealth melting before his

eyes in a few moments. This was Antonio’s trouble when his fleet of

merchandise was destroyed (‘Merchant of Venice’), but it was not so

fearful as Malcolm’s, when all his children were murdered at once

(‘Macbeth’), or the late Archbishop Tait’s, when one after another his

children died of an epidemic of fever. Let the impoverished man be

thankful if his family is spared to him. Note:

 

Ø      Possibly trouble is softened by coming with successive shocks. Each

may drown the effect of its predecessor.

 

Ø      Job’s trouble was only once surpassed IN GETHSEMANE!

 

 

 

·         THE ABSENCE OF SIN CAN ONLY BE PROVED BY TRIALS. It

is easy to hide sin from view in times of quiet. Then the base metal may

shine as brightly as the pure gold. The fiery test reveals its worthlessness.

The important question is as to whether we have a character that will stand

            fire.

 

 

·         THE MOST DIFFICULT THING IS NOT TO SIN WHEN ONE IS

MOST TEMPTED. There were many sins, doubtless, to which Job was

not at all liable. It was little to his credit that he was not guilty of them. The

point of interest was that “in all this,” i.e. in this specially trying series of

calamities, Job did not commit the particular sin to which they pointed, i.e.

charging God with wrong. People pride themselves on their goodness in

various directions; but this is of small importance if they fail when they are

really tempted.

 

·         THE SECRET OF STANDING FIRM IS IN THE STRENGTH OF

GOD. Now Job has the reward of his long devotion to God. v. 5 shows

him a man of prayer in the days of prosperity; it shows him praying for his

children in their need; thus Job was being prepared unconsciously for the

evil day. When it came it found him ready, though it was quite unexpected,

because it found him living near to God. When the whirlwind is about us it

is too late to think of strengthening the tent-stakes. We need THE INWARD

STRENGTH OF GOD which comes by the slow growth of Christian

experience (“...knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience,

experience, and experience, hope; - Romans 5:3-4), if we are to stand like

the sturdy oak in the sudden swirl of calamities.

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________

 

 

 

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 today face.  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

                        bark sinks, ‘tis to another sea.”

 

 

o        It admits 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! If

we 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.”

 

We cannot choose our own course in the world wisely, much less can we decide how

God should act.

 

 

·         SYMPATHY MAY BE SHOWN IN SILENCE. Those seven days

sad seven nights of silence are a sublime spectacle. Job’s comforters began

well. It would have been good for their reputation if they had gone home at

the end of the week. Then they would have been known as model

comforters instead of becoming bywords for tormentors. We often make a

mistake in thinking we ought “to say something.” Great distress should

hush hasty words. There are times when the gentlest words sound harsh on

pained ears. What is wanted in trouble is not advice, but sympathy; and this

is best shown by:

 

Ø      the unbidden tear,

Ø      the silent pressure of the hand, and

Ø      the look of love.

 

We feel a sad separation from one who is in great sorrow, for sorrow is

naturally lonely. ONLY CHRIST can perfectly enter into it. He needs

no words.

 

                                                            3:7

o        Neither of his mother’s joy in his birth, who doubtless rejoiced over his

advent into life, as Sarah did over Isaac’s, as Elisabeth did over John’s,

and as every mother worthy of the name does over her babe’s

(no true mother would ever abort a child as the millions who have

done in the United States and the rest of the world!  CY - 2021);

who probably, in the exultation of the moment, named him Job

(“Joyous’), and experienced a fresh thrill of gladness every time

she paused to note his opening manhood and his ripening piety;

 of all which she would have been bereft had Job not been born.

 

3:13-19

 

·         THE GRAVE BRINGS NO REST TO THE UNFAITHFUL. He

owns rest who does a day’s work. To him that rest is sleep. To the idler

death will bring no rest. It will change the conditions and surroundings of

life. But it is a dire delusion to suppose that the spirit, in putting off the

garment of the flesh, will escape from all toil. Its burdens are within itself,

not in the fleshy tent. All sensation is in the mind during the bodily life, and

all the sad weariness of the spirit, springing from consciousness of

disobedience, that spirit carries with it. The sting of punishment for the

wicked pierces the spirit; often through the flesh, it is true. But the sting is

not left in the flesh, to be cast off when the body is laid down. The

weapons of the spiritual foe penetrate beyond the clothes. The wicked

deluded in life is deluded by death. Some long so eagerly for death that

they rush through the thin veil that separates them from the regions of the

dead. But it is rushing from darkness to light. It is rushing into the presence

of the All-seeing One whose apprehended judgment upon life is the

severest of all punishments.

 

pyramids - v. 14

 

·         THEIR DESOLATION. These pyramids were “desolate places” from

the first. They were never beautiful. The dismal use to which they were put

must always have given to them an atmosphere of gloom. They were and

are the most enduring structures in the world; yet their polished surface has

been stripped off, and on near approach they appear like massive ruins.

They were designed to preserve the mummied remains of their masters in

safety; but their secret chambers are emptied, robbed by unknown hands of

their carefully concealed contents. We cannot disguise the fact that death is

desolation. We may build a splendid tomb, but it will only cover loathsome

corruption. We cannot cheat death and decay by any earthly device. TRUE

IMMORTALITY cannot be found on earth. But the Christian looks forward

to a more solid and enduring home than any pyramid — to “a house not made

with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (II Corinthians 5:1)

 

v. 17

 

·         THE CHRISTIAN HOPE RESTS ON MORE THAN THE

EXPERIENCE OF DEATH. To die was all that Job hoped for; to die as

an embryo dies who has never known life seems to him far better than to

drag out such a weary existence as he now sees before him. Thus the mere

dying and ceasing to be are enough. But for the larger Christian hope more

is needed. Death is not the door to heaven; CHRIST IS THAT DOOR!

There is no certain road to peace through death; for death may lead

to DARKER DISTRESS  in a future of banishment from God. There is no

peace in the “outer darkness” (Matthew 22:13), but “weeping and gnashing

of teeth.” For future rest even, and for the life eternal which is better than rest,

we have to be born from above (John 3:7), and to be walking on earth in the

footsteps of Christ. If we are doing this, it is not for us to long for death,

but to “work while it is day; for the night cometh, wherein no man

can work.”  (John 9:4)

 

 

 

Ø      Human circumstances are limited. A man has great powers; but he is

hedged in. How hard this seems! If only he were at liberty what grand feats

would he perform! So the poor man thinks he would do wonders if he

were but a millionaire. But we have all to learn that “He shall choose our

inheritance for us” (Psalm 47:4), because He knows us better than we

know ourselves.  Meanwhile the very hedge has its good effect. Satan had

complained that God had set a hedge about Job (ch. 1:10) for protection.

Job apparently sees another hedge, and thinks it a hindrance. But may

not the hindrance be a protection? The river runs the swifter when its

channel is narrowed. There is a gathering of strength from the concentration

of effort that limited circumstances require. There is an inspiration in difficulty.

If we all had perfect liberty and power, we should lose the bracing discipline

which now helps to train us. Finally, observe, no hedge set up by God can

keep us from our true mission or our rightful heritage. Job did not fail, but,

on the contrary, did his great life’s work the better through the mysterious

cramping of his circumstances.

 

 

12-21

 

o        whose failure is conspicuous, man commonly dying as he was born,

“without wisdom’” i.e. without having attained to more than the

alphabet of knowledge. Yet, affecting as this picture of man is, it is

only half true. It exhibits only one aspect of man’s nature and

condition. If a dweller in a house of clay, man is yet of Divine origin,

being the breath of God’s Spirit, and an immortal whose existence

shall not be counted by years, and of such importance in the universe

that God parted with his Son in order to effect his redemption, and

whose true glory (Isaiah 60:19) shall never fade, and whose ultimate

attainment to wisdom shall be made good in a brighter and

better world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ch. 3  Out of order

 

 

·         MELACHOLY EXULTATION. Job’s vehement longing for death

bespoke:

 

Ø      An intense pressure of misery. Seeing that life is essentially joyous

(Ecclesiastes 11:7), that men naturally cling to life above every earthly

possession (ch. 2:4), and that the intrinsic worth and happiness of life

are a thousandfold increased by the addition of Heaven’s favour, it

indicates an amount and degree of wretchedness transcending ordinary

experience when a man yearns for life’s extinction, exults in the prospect

of dissolution, would be blithe to find a grave, however humble or obscure:

 

“Mad from life’s history,

Glad to death’s mystery,

Swift to be hurl’d,

Anywhere, anywhere out of the world.”

(Hood, ‘Bridge of Sighs.’)

 

They who find life’s calamities in any measure tolerable have reason to

bless God for laying on them no heavier burden than they are able to bear,

and for imparting to them strength to bear the burden which he does

impose. God’s grace alone keeps men from sinking beneath the weight

and pressure of life’s ills. Contrast with Job’s present state of mind that

of St. Paul in the Roman prison (Philippians 1:23).

 

 

Ø      An utter extinction of hope. “The miserable hath no other medicine, but

only hope” — hope that things will eventually improve; that the clouds

of adversity will yet give place to the fair sunshine of prosperity; but

even this the patriarch appears to have abandoned. (Tears came to

my eyes as I thought of this.  CY - 2021)  It would be incorrect to affirm

that Job had absolutely lost his hold on God; but of hope in a return to

health and happiness he had none. Yet in this Job erred — erred

two ways:

 

o       in thinking himself at the worst, which he was not; and

o       in despairing of recovery, which he should not.

 

It is seldom so sad with any one that it could not be sadder; and it is

seldom so bad that it cannot be improved. All things are possible

with God, and God reigneth; therefore nil desperandum (do not

despair; never despair) either in nature or in grace.

 

Ø      A sad want of faith. Had Job been able calmly to trust himself and his

future to God, it is certain he would not have so inordinately longed for

death. He would have reasoned that neither the miseries of life nor the

perplexities of providence were a sufficient reason for God’s canceling

the grant of life, or for a saint seeking the relief of death; since:

 

o       God has an absolute right to dispose of His creatures as He may.

o       No man has a claim on God for complete exemption from trouble.

o       Affliction in some shape or another is every man’s desert in

      this world.

o       The higher purposes of life may be secured better through

      adversity than through prosperity. ***************

o       It is not certain that escape from misery would in every

      instance be attained by escape from life. **********

o       And it is possible for bodily calamity and mental trouble and

      soul anguish to pass away before the end of life, while life

once withdrawn can never be restored.

 

·         LEARN:

 

1. Men are apt to think there is no reason for that for which they can see

    no reason.

2. The best gifts of God may become burdensome to their possessors.

3. Some look for death, but cannot find it; death ever finds those for whom

    it looks.

4. Afflictions are commonly accompanied by much darkness, which faith

    only can illumine.

5. Though a man’s way is sometimes hid from himself, it never is concealed

    from God.

 

 

ch. 5:3

·         IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE FOOLISH TO TAKE ROOT. “The

foolish,” in biblical phraseology, are worse than people of weak intellect;

they are always regarded as morally degenerate. Their folly is the opposite

to the wisdom of which the beginning is “the fear of the Lord.” Though

lacking in moral fiber as well as in mental stamina, such people still often

contrive to achieve an astonishing amount of success in life.

 

Ø      No good fruit will follow. The foolish stock can only bring forth fruit of

folly; and if it grows luxuriantly, it will not bear any better products. Its

size will only multiply and coarsen its natural issue. Let bad and foolish

men advance unimpeded as far as possible in their earthly prosperity, yet of

real soul-prosperity they will have none, for they have not in them the life

from which this springs.

 

 

5:23-27

 

Ø      He is favoured with outward good. (vs. 23-27.) The stones that

afflict the fields with barrenness, the devouring beasts, seem to be in secret

pact with him and refuse to do him harm. This is poetry wrapping up truth.

We are reminded of the beautiful ode of the Roman poet (Horace, 1:22),

where, dwelling on the theme that innocence is its own protection, its own

arms, he tells as of the wolf that fled from him all unarmed in the Sabine

wood. The whole picture is that of the quiet pastoral life which we love to

associate with innocence and the protection of Heaven. There is comfort in

his tent; when he visits his pastures, no head of cattle is missing (for this is

perhaps the true meaning of the latter clause of v. 24). Children and

children’s children spring up around him; till he comes to his end crowned

with silver hair, like the ripe sheaf carried home to the garner. With this

description compare the noble ninety-first psalm. Eliphaz emphatically

declares (v. 27) this to have been his experience. It was a picture drawn

from life. We cannot doubt that it was realized in numberless instances in

those early conditions of life; nay, IT IS SO STILL!  It hardly comes

within the scope of such poetry to recognize the actual or seeming

exceptions. And if we do not see the universal truth of the description

of the good man’s career, we must recollect that life is a far more

complicated and many sided affair with us. It is far more difficult to trace

the connection of cause and effect in the various courses of men. And we

have this immense advantage over this early teacher — that we have a

clearer view, a firmer belief of THE EXPANSION OF MAN’S CAREER

INTO ETERNITY!  All that appears exceptional and opposed to the laws

of life laid down by Eliphaz, we doubt not, will be compensated and

redressed IN A FUTURE STATE!

 

 

 

5:17

 

 

17 “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise

not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”  Behold, happy is the man

whom God correcteth! This opens a new view of the subject.” Hitherto

Eliphaz has regarded afflictions as simply punitive. Now it occurs to him

that they are sometimes chastisements. The difference is that punishment

has regard only to the past, to the breach of the moral law committed, and

the retribution which has to follow it. Chastisement looks to the future. It

aims at producing an effect in the mind of the person chastised, at

benefiting him, and raising him in the scale of moral being. In this point

of view afflictions are blessings (see Hebrews 12:5-11). Recognizing this,

Eliphaz suddenly bursts out with the acknowledgment, “Happy is the man

[or, ‘blessings on the man’] whom God correcteth!” (Compare Proverbs

3:11-12; Psalm 94:12; I Corinthians 11:32). He suggests to Job the

idea that his sufferings are not punishments, but chastisements — that they

may be but for a time. Let him receive them in a proper spirit; let him

humble himself under them, and they may work altogether for his good, his

latter end may surpass his early promise. Therefore despise not thou the

chastening of the Almighty. Words quoted by the authors of Proverbs

(Proverb 3:11), and of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:5),

and well deserving to be laid up in the recollection of all faithful souls.

They remind us that God’s chastenings are blessings or the contrary, as we

make them. Accepted humbly, they improve men, exalt the moral

character, purge it of its dross, and bring it nearer to the perfection at

which God would have us aim (Matthew 5:48). Rejected, chafed

against, received with discontent and murmurings, they injure us, cause our

characters to deteriorate, sink us instead of raising us in the moral scale.

Job was now undergoing the ordeal — with what result remained to be

determined.

 

 

 

 

                                    The Happiness of Chastisement (v. 17)

 

·         THERE IS A HAPPINESS IN CHASTISEMENT. The sentence looks

paradoxical. No chastisement can be pleasant while it is being endured, or

it would cease to be chastisement. Where, then, does its happiness reside?

 

Ø      Chastisement is a proof of Gods care. “Whom the Lord loveth He

chasteneth” (Hebrews 12:6). Therefore to be chastised is to receive a

token of God’s love. Now, surely we ought to be willing to bear a good

deal of suffering if we can only obtain so valuable a token as this. If God

did not chastise us He would not be treating us as true sons (ibid. v. 8).

Our very immunity would thus be a proof of God’s desertion of us

a most miserable and hopeless condition.

 

Ø      Chastisement is designed to effect purification. It may not lead to this

end, and it will not do so unless we co-operate submissively and penitently.

Eliphaz saw as much, and therefore, although he was applying these truths

in an irritatingly, mistaken way, he, rightly enough from his standpoint,

urged Job to seek God’s mercy in penitence that he might thus benefit by

His chastisement. To be purged from sin is better than to be made rich,

comfortable, externally happy. It is true blessedness, though at first

experienced amid tears of sorrow.

 

Ø      Chastisement leads to joy. Afterwards it brings forth the “peaceable fruit

of righteousness.” We count a man happy who is on the road to a great

good. He may enjoy it already by anticipation. At all events, he is to be

congratulated on his destiny, as one congratulates the heir of great estates.

The Christian may be congratulated if he can say with St. Paul, “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).

 

·         IT IS THEREFORE BOTH WRONG AND FOOLISH TO DESPISE

CHASTISEMENT. It is wrong, because we ought to submit with humility

to whatever comes from the hand of God; and it is foolish, because

contempt will destroy the efficacy of chastisement, which needs to be felt if

it is to be effective, and which blesses us through our humility and

contrition. A proud and haughty bearing under chastisement defeats the

ends of the gracious ordinance.

 

 

                                    In League with Nature (v. 23)

 

Eliphaz argues that, if Job will but submit himself to the ordinances of God,

nature itself will be his ally, and the very stones that obstruct his plough,

and even the beasts that ravage his flocks, will become his auxiliaries. Here

the seer of visions has touched on a great truth. To be in harmony with the

Lord of nature is to be in league with nature.

 

·         WE ARE NOT NATURALLY IN LEAGUE WITH NATURE. This is

a paradox in form, yet it is a transcript of experience. The experience is

peculiar to man. All other things find their habitat congenial to them. Man

alone discovers himself to be as an alien among foes — stones, weeds,

vermin, beasts of prey, cruel winds, tempests, earthquakes, frustrating his

designs. Two very different causes may account for this discord.

 

Ø      Our natural greatness. We are a part of nature, yet we are above nature.

In our higher self we cannot be content to take our share with the beasts

that perish. Our aspirations lift us out of agreement with the life that is

lived by plants and animals.

 

Ø      Our sinful fall. We are meant to be above nature, ruling over it. By sin

we have fallen below nature, and it has trampled on us. The master has

become the slave and victim of his servant.

 

·         IT IS GOOD TO BE IN LEAGUE WITH NATURE. So Eliphaz

implies by his promise to Job of this condition as a reward for contrite

submission. The Bible nowhere teaches a Manichaean horror of nature. All

God’s works are good and deserve to be appreciated by us. Neither do we

learn from Scripture to entertain a monkish horror of nature. The inherent

innocence of every natural power and action is suggested by the biblical

description of creation. Therefore we shall make a great mistake if we

think we are to escape from the tyranny of nature either by flight or by

warfare. We cannot escape from nature if we would. Though we crushed

our nature, it would arise and reassert itself. But, supposing our flight or

our warfare were successful, that we could absolutely leave or completely

root out nature, we should only find our lives maimed and impoverished;

for nature is part of us, and is intended to be our useful servant.

 

·         WE CANNOT FORM A SUCCESSFUL LEAGUE WITH NATURE

BY DESCENDING TO THE LIFE OF NATURE. The sophistry of

so-called naturalism tells us that we can. But it is deceptive, christening

bestiality with the name of nature. The nature to be imitated is

Wordsworth’s nature, not Zola’s. But Wordsworth’s nature is the type and

prophecy of the spiritual that is higher than nature. Merely to follow

natural impulses is to become swinish, not human, partly because the lower

impulses of nature are the most violent, and partly because we have

aggravated those impulses by sin.  (Read II Peter ch. 2 to analyze that

nature - CY - 2021)

 

·         SUBMISSION TO GOD MAKES NATURE IN LEAGUE WITH

US. God is the Master of nature, and as we learn to do God’s will, nature,

which also ultimately does His will, turns to aid us. Physically, the forces of

nature work for those who obey the laws of God in nature, and it is to be

noted that to obey those laws is a very different thing from being a slave to

natural impulses; e.g. the laws of health do not agree with the indulgence

of appetite. Spiritually, our obedient submission to God compels the

adverse forces of nature to work for our good as instruments of discipline.

This was not sufficiently clear to Eliphaz, who made too much of temporal

prosperity, and thought that to be the invariable lot of the good man. But

the Book of Job reveals it. THUS NATURE MINISTERS  TO MAN

WHEN MAN SERVES GOD!

 

6:2

 

·         IT IS NOT EASY TO FIND SCALES IN WHICH SUFFERING CAN

BE WEIGHED. Where shall we look for a standard of measurement? We

cannot judge by outside tokens of grief; for some are reserved and self-

restrained, while others are demonstrative in their abandonment to grief.

We cannot judge by the measure of the events that have caused the

suffering; for some feel the same calamity much more keenly than it would

be felt by others. Each sufferer is tempted to think that his troubles surpass

all others. We can only understand a man in so far as we can succeed in

putting ourselves in his place. But ONLY CHRIST CAN DO THIS

PERFECTLY!   His incarnation is a guarantee of His complete

comprehension of human sin and sorrow; so that the sufferer who is

misapprehended by his most intimate earthly friends may be assured of

the perfect sympathy of his Saviour. Moreover, with his own thoughts

the sufferer might measure his grief in a way which would help him to

apprize it more justly than by wild conjectures.

 

Ø      Suppose he measured it  against his blessings: is it so vastly greater?

Ø      Or suppose he weighed it with his deserts: is it so immensely heavier?

Ø      Or suppose he compared it with what Christ suffered for him: is

            there really any comparison between the Christian’s roughest cross

            and the awful cross of his Saviour?

 

 

                                    Satisfaction and Discontent (6: 5-6)  **************

 

Job proceeds to show the reasonableness of his grief, and with it the

unreasonableness of his censor’s accusations. Eliphaz had been wasting his

eloquence on the assumption that Job’s outburst of despairing grief was

uncalled for; or, at all events, he had not appreciated the tremendous

distress of which it was the result. He regarded the effect as preposterous,

because he had not seen the greatness of the cause.

 

·         THE SATISFIED ARE NOT DISCONTENTED. We have illustrations

of this fact in nature. Among the wild animals (“the wild ass”), and also

among the domesticated (“the ox”), we see that sufficiency produces

content. If the wild ass brays, or if the ox lows, something is amiss. Supply

them with all they need, and they will be quiet and contented. If, therefore,

Job is not at rest, something must be amiss with him.

 

Ø      The discontent of society makes it evident that some want is unsupplied.

Men do not rebel for the sake of rebellion. Political and social upheavals

have their sources in some disorganized condition of the body politic.

If all were satisfied, quiet would reign universally.

 

Ø      The discontent of the soul proves that the soul is not satisfied. Man has

deeper needs than the animals. The wild ass and the tame ox can be

satisfied, while man is still possessed by a “Divine discontent.” This

very restlessness is a sign of his higher nature. His thirst reveals the

depths from which it springs. Man is:

 

“Poor in abundance, famish’d at a feast,

                                                                (Young.)

 

because “man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).

 

·         THE UNSATISFIED MUST BE DISCONTENTED. This is more

than the reverse side of the previous statement. It carries with it the idea

that the dissatisfaction cannot be stifled, must be met, if it is to be set at

rest. The truth is illustrated from natural things. Unsavoury food cannot be

made savoury without the salt, the needed condiment. That which is

naturally tasteless, like the white of an egg, cannot be made to have

delicious flavors by any conjuring process, unless the thing itself is

changed or receives additions. So no jugglery will remove the

dissatisfaction of society or of the soul. We cannot make the world at rest

by wishing it to be peaceful, or by declaring it to be quiet. A theory of

order is not order, nor is a doctrine of optimism a quietus for the world’s

distresses. The bitter cry of the outcast will not be allayed because some

philosophers believe themselves to be living in “the best of possible

worlds.” We do not make peace by calling, “Peace, peace! when there is

no peace.  (Jeremiah 6:14)  To preach to souls of rest and satisfaction is

not to bestow those desired blessings. It is as much a mockery to tell miserable

men to be contented without supplying their wants, as to tell the hungry and

naked to be fed and clothed while we do nothing to furnish them with what

they lack. Any lulling of discontent without curing its cause is false and

unhealthy. It is like putting a weight on the safety-valve. It is no better than

the morphine that allays the symptoms of the disease it cannot cure. The

discontent should go on till it finds its remedy in a true satisfaction.

 

Ø      Christ gives this for society in the kingdom of heaven; if we followed

      out His teaching in the world the wants of society would be satisfied.

 

Ø      He gives it for the soul in His body and blood, and the life eternal that

comes from fellowship with Him.

 

 

           

                                    The Force of Right Words (6:25) **************

 

 

·         IT IS FOOLISH TO DISREGARD THE FORCE OF RIGHT

WORDS.

 

Ø      In the speaker. This was the Temanite’s mistake. He was not sufficiently

considerate of the rightness of what he said. He meant well, but he spoilt

all by this grievous error. We need to weigh our words. They may have

many excellent qualities — clearness, grace, apparent vigor — yet if

they are not right words they will fail. The Christian teacher needs to

test and correct his words by standing close to the fountain of truth

and right in the Holy Scriptures, and by keeping his heart pure and

sympathetic. Otherwise all his eloquence will be barren, or even

poisonous as mephitic (foul smelling; toxic) vapors.

 

Ø      In the hearer. It is excessively foolish to disregard words as though they

were merely “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” They are the chariots

in which thoughts ride; and if we would but open our gates to receive

them, we might find those thoughts most welcome guests. Even if the

words are unpopular or painful, we should be foolish to disregard them

when we know them to be right. For truth does not cease to be truth

by  being rejected. Many unpalatable ideas are most medicinal. And

many words, rejected at first, when once they are received, prove to

be as the very bread of life. The words of the everlasting gospel

are right words, which we may reject at our peril; which we may

receive for our salvation.

 

 

 

6:30

 

The capacity to distinguish between right and wrong is the highest

function of intelligence, and is as certainly capable of perversion and

obscuration through willful ignorance and sin as susceptible of

education and refinement through Christian instruction and practical

holiness.

 

 

ch. 7:17-18  *********************************

 

·         GOD IS WRONGLY CHARGED WITH WHAT HE DOES NOT DO.

We know from the prologue that it is not God, but Satan, who is the

“watcher of men,” in the sense of the spy who delights to pounce on a fault

and to worry the miserable in their helplessness. Most of the sufferings of

life do not come directly from the Divine will, but proceed from the

injustice of other men, from our own faults and mistakes, and from

“spiritual wickedness in high places.”  (Ephesians 6:14)  We must beware of

the dualism which would give this evil an independent power over against God.

Satan can only go as far as God permits him. Still, the evil is from Satan, not

from God. It is sin, not providence, that brings the greatest trouble of life,

and yet providence overrules that trouble for ultimate good.

 

 

cancel culture below

 

                        The Justice of God (8:3)

 

Bildad asks if it can be right for Job to complain as he does. Such conduct

is an arraignment of the Divine justice. Human judges have been known to

twist justice to suit their own purposes; this conduct was and is only too

common in the East. (Unfortunately, it seems to be the case in the West

also as the last fifty years of the American Judicial System exemplifies.

(CY - 2021)But is it to be thought that God would act in this

way? Surely the Judge of all the earth must do right (Genesis 18:25).

 

·         GOD’S JUSTICE IS GOOD AND DESIRABLE. It is the mistake of

narrow, one-sided views to confine the idea of God’s justice to His

relations with sin and punishment, and to regard it solely as that which

provokes His wrath. This mistake leads people to have a horror of the very

notion of God’s justice. They would be profoundly thankful if it could be

blotted out of the list of His attributes. They regard it as solely inimical to

them. Their supreme desire is to escape from its clutches. It is to them a

most dreadful thing. How contrary is all this to the scriptural idea of the

justice of God! In the Bible God’s justice is welcomed with delight in

contrast to the terrible injustice of man. It is God’s righteousness, God’s

fairness, God’s equal dealing. This must be good and desirable.

 

 

 

                        A Small Beginning a Great Increase (v. 7)

 

                        A Small Beginning a Great Increase (v. 7)

 

With irritating admonitions — most galling in the cruel insinuation that

Job’s children had died on account of their sins — Bildad presumes to

assure Job that if only he is pure God will be just, and will awake to deliver

him, so that, though he has a small beginning, his end shall be very great.

This was all based on a very false and unjust idea of Job, his past conduct,

and his present duty. Nevertheless in itself it opened up a true view of the

course of one who is restored to right relations with God.

 

·         THE CHRISTIAN MUST HAVE A SMALL BEGINNING.

 

Ø      In penitence. He must first humble himself in the very dust. No boasting

can be admitted into the kingdom of heaven.

 

Ø      In childlikeness. We have to turn and become as little children if we are

to enter God’s kingdom. This implies humility, simplicity of heart, and the

utter self abandonment to faith.

 

Ø      In spiritual experience. We can but begin the Christian life as babes in

Christ. Our knowledge is small, our strength slight, our spiritual attainment

most imperfect.

 

Ø      In enjoyment of blessings. We may begin in temporal adversity. There is

no promise that the Christian shall be a rich and prosperous man in the

world. But whatever the external condition may be, the enjoyment of the

real fruits of Divine grace will be but small until the soul has grown into

the capacity to receive more of the blessings they bring.

 

·         THE CHRISTIAN WILL HAVE A GREAT INCREASE.

 

·         THE CHRISTIAN WILL HAVE A GREAT INCREASE.

 

Ø      On earth. The Christian life should be one of progress, and it will be if it

is healthy. Growth is a law of life, and it is a law that applies to the Divine

life in the soul. The healthy Christian will grow in grace; his knowledge will

expand; his spirituality will deepen; his capacity for service will widen; his

enjoyment of the blessedness of the vision of God will become richer and

more intense.

 

Ø      In heaven. The best comes last. The great increase is in the “latter end.”

This is different from the experience of natural life, which reaches a climax

in middle life, and then turns towards the decrepitude of senile decay. But

there is no such decline for the spiritual life so long as it is healthy. That

life knows no old age; it partakes of the unfading glory of the Eternal. For

the aged Christian there shall be “light at eventide;” and when his sun has set

on earth, it shall rise in heaven in the larger glory of GOD’S ETERNAL DAY!

 

·         GOD LEADS THE RACE FROM A SMALL BEGINNING TO A

INCREASE. This is the case naturally in the population which has sprung

from one pair of parents, until it has filled the earth with more than a

thousand million souls, and which continues to increase at an

unprecedented rate. The same is true of civilization and human progress.

The law of human life on earth is one of advance and enlargement. Thus

we are encouraged to look forward to the golden age. God is educating the

race by the process of the centuries, and preparing it for great increase at

the latter end. There was a grand advance beyond these Old Testament

times when Christ brought in His gospel; the triumphs of the gospel speak

of an enlarged increase. But the best is in store in the full coming of the

kingdom of Christ. Therefore let us press forward in hope and an eager

desire to do our part towards hastening the happy advent of the promised

future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    The Hypocrite’s Hope (vs. 8-19)

 

Back to the testimony of the ages (vs. 8-10) Bildad refers his suffering

friend, to find there evidences of the security of the perfect man and the

worthlessness of the expectation of the hypocrite. With beautiful

figurativeness he illustrates these truths, and only errs in the covert

implication that in hypocrisy is to be found the cause of Job’s present

sufferings. The hypocrite’s hope is vain and deceitful.

 

·         IT IS TEMPORARY. Passing away as the “rush without mire, or the

reed without water.” Quickly it grows up, but as quickly withers. The

promise of it is vain. “While it is yet in its greenness, and not cut down, it

withereth before any other herb.”

 

·         IT IS UNSUBSTANTIAL AND UNTRUSTWORTHY. As “the

spider’s web.” It is weak, unworthy of any confidence. As the gossamer

(cob web) thread is broken by a touch or even a breath of wind, so his

expectation is cut off by the most trivial incident. It has no firmness, no

endurance, no permanence.

 

·         IT IS IMMATURE AND NEVER COMES TO PERFECTION. “It is

green before the sun” With rapid haste it strides forth, but only with equal

haste to fail. In its own judgment it is firm and enduring as a stone

structure. With proud self-confidence so he prides himself. But it is that all

may fall to ruin. The destroyer is at hand, even he who casts away.

 

·         IT IS FORGOTTEN AND DISAPPOINTING, AND PASSES OUT

OF MIND. Its very place denies it. “I have not seen thee.” No greater joy

or reward can the hypocrite’s hope afford him. Disappointment is his lot.

He sows the seeds of vanity; vanity he reaps. He leans upon a thread which

a breath may break. Deceitful himself, his hopes are as the heart which

gave them birth. They return to their own. He created them; they are as

their maker. From this rude disappointment men may guard

 

 

 

                        Bildad to Job: Wisdom from the Ancients (8:8-22)

 

·         THE TEACHERS. The world’s gray fathers, not the immediate

predecessors of Job, Bildad, and their contemporaries, but the progenitors

of these — their remote ancestors, who are here described as:

 

Ø      Early born. In contrast to the men of Job’s time, who are characterized

as being late born, literally, “yesterday;” i.e. of yesterday, as if ascending

the stream of time meant the same thing as approaching the primal

fountains of truth — a popular fallacy which the royal Preacher corrects

(Ecclesiastes 7:10). Antiquity is no sure test of truth; novelty is no sure

mark of error. Rather error has a tendency to array itself in a quasi-

sanctity derived from age. Many respectable fallacies and popular

delusions have descended from remote times. Yet truth that bears the

stamp of successive generations is all the more valuable on that

account.

 

Ø      Long-lived. In comparison with their successors, who are here depicted

as a short-lived generation: “Our days upon earth are a shadow” (v. 9);

the probability being that Bildad alluded to the remarkable longevity of

antediluvian times, and of the patriarchal era immediately succeeding,

as affording greater opportunity for making and collecting the results of

observations than the brief span of human life at the period when Job

and he flourished. Yet the long leisure enjoyed by the Macrobii is now

more than counterbalanced by the appliances of modern civilization.

So that the results gathered in an ephemeral and shadowy life may

rest upon a broader basis of experience than those collected by

primeval sages in the course of centuries. Still, were each age

dependent on the amount of knowledge it could accumulate for

itself, the world’s advancement would be tedious, if not practically

at a standstill. Hence the duty of recognizing our obligations to the

past (Something that Progressives (in evil) and the Cancel Culture

is ignorant!  CY - 2021), and of transmitting to posterity, not

diminished, but if possible augmented, the gathered stores of

 matured wisdom inherited from bygone generations.

 

Ø      Deep-thinking. As men who with powers fully exercised employed the

leisure of centuries in observing the phenomena of Divine providence,

in comparing their a priori theories with life’s facts; in investigating the

profound problems of religion, and, after carefully elaborating the

results, crystallized them in brief, sententious maxims, apothegms,

parables, “bearing the impress of deep thought, and often deeply trying

experience” (Davidson), which were passed along from age to age for

the instruction of succeeding generations, in contrast with whom the

contemporaries of Bildad and Job, and indeed the short-lived sages

of modern times “know nothing.” Bildad’s estimate of the relative

values of ancient and modern thought is subject to correction on the

grounds above indicated.

 

********************************************************

 

Ø      The proverb of the spiders web. (vs. 14-15) Changing the simile, the

wisdom of the ancients likens the hypocrite to a spider, and his hope to

a spider’s web, In respect of:

 

o        its construction, being deftly and dexterously, with much care and

infinite elaboration, built up and fashioned;

 

o        its intention, being designed, like the spider’s web, for a habitation, a

house for the soul in the day of trial and the day of death;

 

o        its attenuation (weakening), being as unsubstantial as a thin cobweb

spun from the insect’s bowels, and like that fabricated mostly from

the hypocrite’s own imagination;

 

o        its destruction, being easily cut asunder or detached from its main

support, as the cobweb is by the lightest touch of broom or breath of wind;

and:

 

o        its deception, as miserably disappointing the sinner who trusts in it,

leans upon it, expects to find support from it, as the cobweb does the

spider who clings to it in vain, finding no safety in the threads of his

gossamer palace, but along with them being precipitated into dark and

dreary overthrow.

 

 

Ø      The proverb of the climbing plant. (vs. 16-19.) Disentangling the

moral from the fable, we have here presented, under the similitude of

a creeping plant, the fortunes of an ungodly man in five stages.

 

o        Luxuriant prosperity; like the succulent plant swelling with sap in the

sunshine, shooting forth leaves and branches over all the garden (v. 16),

twining its roots about the heap of stone, “seeing the inside of stones

(Carey), i.e. penetrating into the smallest interstices thereof, “living in the

midst of flints” (Septuagint), clasping and embracing the stony structure,

a striking image of exuberant and seemingly stable prosperity.

 

o        Complacent satisfaction; looking down proudly upon his material

fortune, as the plant upon its house of stones, regarding it as a solid

structure which he has reared and in which he anticipates finding repose.

 

o        Sudden destruction; being unexpectedly swallowed up, i.e, violently

stricken down either by God (Delitzsch) or by it, the house of stones

(Davidson); in the one case a monument of Divine retribution, in the other

an example of the serf-destroying character of worldly prosperity — as

the plant is, in an evil moment, torn up from its place among the stones.

 

o        Public contempt; the former boon companions of the hypocrite in his

prosperous days ignoring him, feeling ashamed of him, denying all

acquaintance with him, as if the very ground where, the uprooted plant

grew were to disown it. (compare “.....chased out of this world.”

ch. 18:18; “The heaven shall reveal his iniquity, and the earth

shall rise up against him.” 20:27). Behold, thus

endeth his blissful course — a grimly ironical expression.

 

o        Utter oblivion; the place left vacant by him in society being

immediately filled, and himself completely forgotten; “others

in succession springing up from the dust.” What a sermon on THE

VANITY OF HUMAN GREATNESS!  The disappearance from

the stage of time of one who has lived in affluence, grandeur,

fame, a momentary wonder, like the dropping of a stone into

the calm bosom of a lake:

 

§         a noise,

§         a ripple, and

§         then the stillness resumes its sway.

 

“Or like the snowfall in the river,

A moment white — then melts for ever.”

 

 

·         THE MORAL.

 

Ø      A general principle. God will neither reject a righteous nor assist a

wicked man (v. 20). A good man may be cast down, but he cannot be

cast off (ch. 23:13; Psalm 94:14; II Corinthians 4:9).

 

o       The character (I Samuel 12:22; 15:29; Malachi 2:16; 3:6),

o       the covenant (Deuteronomy 4:31; I Kings 8:23; II Kings 13:23;

Psalm 111:5),

o       the promise (Leviticus 26:44; Isaiah 54:9; Hosea 2:19;

Romans 11:29; II Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 10:23),

o       the people (Genesis 24:27; Joshua 23:14; I Samuel 12:22;

II Samuel 23. 5; Romans 11:2),

 

of God, all combine to testify the impossibility of God’s turning

his back upon a truly pious man, — a thought full of comfort for

the Christian (John 10:28). Equally do they proclaim the doctrine that

God cannot really, however appearances may declare the contrary,

take a bad man by the hand. Otherwise His Word would be falsified

(Psalm 34:16), His purity tarnished (Habakkuk 1:13), His Godhead

forfeited (I John 1:5), — an idea fraught with warning for the wicked.

 

Ø      A particular application. This being so, on the hypothesis of Job’s

integrity, Job might with certitude reckon that God would not cast him

off, hut interpose in his behalf, till prosperity once more dawned upon

him, and his mouth was filled with laughing, and his tongue with

rejoicing (v. 21); while the contrary portion would be allotted to all

Job’s enemies and God’s, viz. shame and everlasting destruction

(v. 22). What Bildad here affirms of the respective fortunes of the

righteous and the wicked is only true when we take into reckoning

the eternal futures of both, the everlasting happiness (Psalm 73:24;

Isaiah 35:10; Daniel 12:3; Luke 10:20; 12:32; Romans 2:7, 10; 8:18)

of the saint, and the everlasting perdition of the ungodly (Matthew

25:46; II Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 21:8).

 

cancel culture

 

                        Lessons from History (v. 8)

 

Bildad invites Job to consult antiquity and to attend to that which the

fathers have searched out. Even this pedant may remind us that wholesome

lessons are to be culled from the gardens of the past.

 

·         HISTORY TEACHES BY EXAMPLE. Here we can see truth in the

concrete. The ideas which we discuss in the abstract are embodied and at

work in the living facts of history. We can study republicanism in ancient

Greece, and monarchy in the Roman empire; the consequences of

heathenism in the pagan world, and the fruits of Christianity in the story of

the gospel and its triumphs; the power of the gospel in the romance of

missions, and the weakness of man in the failure and ruin of ancient

Churches. Here we see not lifeless arguments, but living men. Therefore

much of the Bible is history; God’s Word comes to us through man’s life.

We should pay more attention to men and facts.

 

·         HISTORY REVEALS THE ORIGIN OF INSTITUTIONS AND

MOVEMENTS. Most of those which we have to do with took their rise in

a more or less remote past. If we can trace them back to their source, we

can better judge of their whole characters. Much attention is given to the

childhood and youth of a great man by his biographer, for therein lies the

secret of his after-life. It is well to trace back the Christian story, and see

how God has been shaping His Church through the ages. Our religion is

emphatically historical. It springs from facts, things done in the past. In this

respect it is unique among the religions of the world. All the doctrines of

Christianity are lessons of history; they all take their rise in the story of

Christ and His cross. Yet we are not bound by pedantic rules and frivolous

precedents. We find the origin of our faith in certain facts. The

interpretation of those facts must grow with our advancing knowledge, and

the application of their lessons must vary with changing circumstances.

 

·         HISTORY HELPS TO MATURITY OF JUDGMENT. If we are

weak and lack independence of mind, it may weigh us down with the

incubus of its precedents. This is how it affected Bildad with his veneration

for the fathers, and this is how it affects those good Christian people who

make the Church Fathers absolute authorities, when they should dare to

trust a careful and devout interpretation of Scripture and the ultimate

judgments of the Christian consciousness. Yet, on the other hand, there is a

good use of the Fathers. The very variety of explanations of Christian

doctrines in the past should teach us caution and a large wisdom in treating

difficult subjects. The student of history will often know that some

pretentious notion, flashed out on the world as a magnificent discovery, is

but a thrice-slain error of ancient controversies. Old truth will endure the

test of time. But standing on the experience of the ages, we should be able

to reach forth to higher truth in the future, the more readily because we

thus use the past.

 

      “Those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it!”

                                                                        (George Santayana)

 

“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: 

            and they are written for our admonition,

UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE WORLD ARE COME!

                                                (I Corinthians 10:11)

 

 

note to John Calapari about the damage done by Progressivism and cancel

culte in the reduction of things with meaning to vanity or nothingness

and use example of early American education  being replaced in the

holes left void with the uprooting of trees with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

 

 

9:33

 

Ø      The work of such a daysman. Described as twofold:

 

o        To act authoritatively for both parties in the contest. “There is not a

daysman,” or arbiter between us, “that might lay his hand upon us

both” (v. 33); i.e. that might impose conditions upon both by the

imposition of hands. This Christ is able to do in virtue of His twofold

nature, being the Fellow of the Most High as well as the Son of man.

Thus representing both parties, He can lay His hands on both. He can

speak and act with authority for both.

 

 

9:20

 

                        Self-Justification (v. 20) ********************************

 

THE NEED TO BE JUSTIFIED.

We cannot endure to be out of right relations with God.

 

.

·         WE ARE TEMPTED TO JUSTIFY OURSELVES. The very need

causes the temptation. Moreover, a self-flattering vanity urges us in the

same direction. It is most painful and humiliating to have to own that we

are sinners, deserving nothing but wrath and condemnation. When we feel

ourself in danger, we are at once urged by very instinct to put ourselves in

an attitude of self-defense.

           

·         WE MAY BE DELUDED INTO A MISTAKEN BELIEF THAT WE

ARE JUSTIFIED. No delusions are so powerful as those which flatter us.

It is so easy to put things in a favorable light to ourselves. While we are

our own judges, every motive of self-esteem urges us to a favorable

judgment. Then there comes in the terrible mistake of determining

according to our feelings rather than according to objective reality, so that

when we have argued or soothed ourselves into a comfortable assurance

that all is well, that very assurance is regarded as a proof of the fact on

which it is supposed to be grounded. But this may be a pure hallucination.

It is possible to be justified before God and yet to be tormented with

needless fears of condemnation, and it is equally possible to be still under

condemnation while we fancy ourselves in a state of justification.

 

·         SELF-JUSTIFICATION MUST FAIL. We cannot get outside

ourselves or transcend our own experience. No lever by which a man can

lift himself has ever been invented. We may make a fair show in the flesh,

but we cannot change our own hearts. We have sinned against God; it is

useless for us merely to forgive ourselves; we need God’s pardon. If sin

were not real, we might find a defense which would clear our reputation.

But it is real, most terribly and unquestionably real. This fact makes self-

justification impossible.

 

·         OUR OWN CONDUCT DEMONSTRATES THE DELUSION OF

SELF-JUSTIFICATION, Job seems to think he is so hardly dealt with, and

God so much greater than he is, that whatever he says in self-justification

will be turned against him. That is a mistake, for GOD IS JUST AND

MERCIFUL!  But in a deeper sense God’s words are true. We may say

we are just, but our deeds belie our words. Nay, our very mouth, that

proclaims our justice, denies it; for our words arc often sinful, ungenerous

when they are not untrue.

 

·         THE FAILURE OF SELF-JUSTIFICATION SHOULD DRIVE US

TO GOD’S JUSTIFICATION IN CHRIST. We need not despair like Job,

for we have a gospel to the unrighteous. Christ has brought a perfect

justification, in pardon and renewal, FOR ALL WHO OWN THEIR

            SIN AND TRUST HIS GRACE! 

 

 

 

            The Swift Days (9:25-26)  **************************************

 

Job compares his days to what is swiftest-on earth, the running messenger;

in the sea, the boat of reeds; in the air, the eagle darting down on its prey.

We must not look for a difference in the suggestiveness of these several

illustrations. Gathered from every region of existence, they give great

emphasis to the one significant fact of THE BREVITY OF LIFE!

 

·         OUR DAYS ARE SWIFT IN COMPARISON WITH NATURE. The

course of nature moves on slowly. Geology tells of innumerable vast ages

of antiquity. Evolution presupposes an even longer stretch of time. By the

side of the gradual movements of nature, our little days are swift and brief.

Each man’s life registers but a moment on the great dial of time. The old

world rolls on, while we children of a day come and go in a rapid march of

succeeding generations.

 

·         OUR DAYS ARE SWIFT IN RELATION TO OUR DESIRES. We

crave for long experience. Extinction of being is a horror to us. There are

within us great instincts of immortality. Thus, while we live our little

earthly day, we are reaching forward to God’s great eternity. We cannot be

satisfied with an ephemeral existence.  (“.....He hath set the world in

their heart...”  Ecclesiastes 3:11 - see below - CY 2021)

 

Also He hath set the world in their heart. The world;” eth-haolam, placed

(as haeol above) before the verb, with eth, to emphasize the relation. There is

some uncertainty in the translation of this word. The Septuagint has

Σύμπαντα τὸν αἰῶνα – sunpanta  ton aiona – eternity -  Vulgate, Mundum

tradidit disputationi eorum. The original meaning is “the hidden,” and it is

used generally in the Old Testament of the remote past, and sometimes of the

future, so that the idea conveyed is of unknown duration, whether the glance

looks backward or forward, which is equivalent to our word “eternity.” It

is only in later Hebrew that the word obtained the signification of “age”

(αἰών – aion - age), or “world” in its relation to time. Commentators who have

adopted the latter sense here explain the expression as if it meant that man

in himself is a microcosm, a little world, or that the love of the world, the

love of life, is naturally implanted in him. But taking the term in the

signification found throughout the Bible, we are justified in translating it

“eternity.” The pronoun in “their heart” refers to “the sons of men” in the

previous verse. God has put into men’s minds a notion of infinity

INFINITY OF DURATION,  the beginning and the end of things are

 alike beyond his grasp; the time to be born and the time to die are equally

unknown and uncontrollable. Koheleth is not thinking of that hope of immortality

which his words unfold to us with our better knowledge; he is speculating on the

innate faculty of looking backward and forward which man possesses, but

which is insufficient to solve the problems which present themselves every

day. This conception of eternity may be the foundation of great hopes and

expectations, but as an explanation of the ways of Providence it fails. So

that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the

beginning to the end; or, without man being able to penetrateyet so that

he cannot, etc. Man sees only minute parts of the great whole; he cannot

comprehend all at one view, cannot understand the law that regulates the

time and season of every circumstance in the history of man and the world.

He feels that, as there has been an infinite past, there will be an infinite

future, which may solve anomalies and demonstrate the harmonious unity

of God’s design, and he must be content to wait and hope. Comparison of

the past with the present may help to adumbrate the future, but is

inadequate to unravel the complicated thread of the world’s history (compare

ch. 8:16-17, and 9:1, where a similar thought is expressed).

 

 

“Also he hath set eternity” (marginal reading, Revised Version) “in their heart.”

We are made to look far beyond the boundary of the visible and the present. The

idea of “the eternal” may help us in two ways.

 

      That we are created for the unseen and the eternal accounts for the fact

that nothing which is earthly and sensible WILL SATISFY OUR

SOULS!  Nothing of that order ought to do so; and it would put the seal

upon our degradation if it did so. Our unsatisfiable spirit is the signature of

our manhood and the prophecy of our immortality.

 

      The inclusion of the future in our reasoning makes all the difference to

our thought. Admit only the passing time, this brief and uncertain life, and

much that happens is inexplicable and distressing indeed (“If in this life

only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

I Corinthians 15:19); but include the future, add “eternity” to the account,

and the “crooked is made straight,” the perplexity is gone.

 

 

 

·         OUR DAYS ARE SWIFT IN REGARD TO OUR POWERS. It takes

us long to train those powers. Half a lifetime is not enough to perfect them.

But before they are perfected, the shadows begin to lengthen and the

melancholy afternoon is upon us. Surely, if God has given us faculties that

take so long to develop, and that seem capable of great achievements if

only they had full scope, it is sad that they should begin to wither as soon

as they have reached maturity.  (The problem here as I see it is that

God made man with capacities to live much longer [witness Methuselah

and the antediluvians] but sin has thrown a monkey-wrench into God’s

purpose.  Remember that it did not take Him by surprise as Jesus Christ

stood as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth - Revelation 13:8.

CY - 2021)

 

·         OUR DAYS ARE SWIFT IN CONNECTION WITH OUR DUTIES.

There is so much to be done and so little time to do it in. Our tasks grow

upon us, and our opportunities are cramped and cut short. Do we not all

plan out more work than we can ever accomplish? Thus we labor with a

sad consciousness that we can never overtake our intentions.

 

·         OUR DAYS ARE SWIFT BY THE, SIDE OF OUR

EXPECTATIONS. A child sees eternity before him. In his estimation, one

year — a whole year — is a vast epoch. Even in later youth time seems to

be an abundant commodity. There is little need to economize it, for have

we not enough and to spare? Presently we are surprised to see how quickly

its unheeded moments are slipping away from us. Every year it goes faster,

till the silent stream has become a headlong torrent, and days fly past us

with terrible speed.

 

·         OUR DAYS ARE SWIFT IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY. Here is

the explanation of the whole mystery. We are not creatures of a day,

although our earthly life is so short. God has given us a spark of HIS

OWN IMMORTALITY!  In view of that the largest earthly life is a

fleeting shadow. Yet the ample leisure of eternity must not make us careless

of the work of the day, FOR THIS DAY SHALL NEVER RETURN!  

How valuable is time in the outer world! 

 

Ø      The messenger runs with swiftest paces,

Ø      the little skiff darts about on the waters,

Ø      the fierce eagle drops on its prey like a thunderbolt.

 

Though eternity is long, let us hasten to use our glorious prospects as an

inspiration for a like eagerness in making the most of our brief earthly days.

 

ch. 10:20  ***********************************************************

 

 

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).

 

 

      Therefore it is the land of disorder and of confusion, where none who is

accustomed to light and order can feel himself at home.

 

 

“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.

 

V.4

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.

 

 

 

CH. 11:1-6

Zophar, the Man of the World (v. 1)   worthy of lengthy emphasis and following

FOUR homilies

 

After the seer and the pedant comes Zophar, who poses as the man of the

world. He can pretend to no supernatural illumination, neither has he any

claims to put forth on the score of learning; but he thinks he knows men,

he prides himself on his common sense, the ways of the world are familiar

to him. Even from his low standpoint he thinks he can detect enough to

condemn Job. We may see in Zophar the characteristics of a man of the

world in his treatment of moral and religious questions, when he presents

himself as a devout man and friendly adviser.

 

·         HE IS ORTHODOX. Zophar entirely agrees with the main position of

Eliphaz and Bildad. He accepts the doctrines of the visionary when they

have been endorsed by conventional society, and he echoes the traditions

of antiquity after he has ascertained that they are not regarded as obsolete

in his time. He has not the spiritual individuality to be singular. He will

always side with the majority. The fear of Mrs. Grundy is ever before his

eyes. It is bad form to be a heretic. Conventionality is orthodoxy with this

man, and conventionality is the rule of his life.

 

·         HE IS A MAN OF THE TIMES. He would rather despise the dreams

of the visionary and the sayings of the pedant. He thinks himself a modern

man. But he is no power in his day, for he is but the creature of his age. It

is the duty of Christians not to follow the age, but to rule it. When the

worldly Christian follows it, he enslaves himself, and does his best to

subject the kingdom of heaven to the prince of this world. We ought to

understand our times, sympathize with their need, use their advantages,

work for their progress, but never be their creatures and drudges (slaves).

 

·         HE IS BLIND TO THE GREATEST TRUTH. The whole spiritual

world is a nonentity to this man. Being religious and orthodox, he talks the

language of Divine things; but his words are meaningless counters. The

reality of those things is quite beyond his grasp. He thinks he knows men,

but he only sees one side of the world. A whole hemisphere of human

experience is turned away from his gaze. He is like a person on this world

looking at the moon, seeing one side in varying phases, but never able to

catch a glimpse of the other side of it. The truly spiritual, the generous, the

mystical, are all obscure to him. We cannot know the best truth till we are

liberated from the shackles of conventionality.

 

·         HE IS CENSORIOUS. Zophar joins his two friends in their

condemnation of Job. The man of the world thinks himself broad-minded.

Very often he is not over-scrupulous on moral questions that touch his

own interest. But no one can be harder in condemning those who

transgress the customs of the circle in which he moves. His religion has no

softening, sweetening influence on him. It only seems to make him sour

and disagreeable. So-called Christians of this stamp are the greatest

possible hindrances to the progress of the gospel. It is their conduct that

            makes so many people hate the Christian religion.

 

 

                                    The Provocation of a Reply (v. 2)

 

Zophar will not take the trouble to be courteous. He rudely addresses Job

as a “man full of talk.” He has been irritated by the “multitude of words”

that Job has poured forth. The very volume of the patriarch’s discourse

provokes the man of the world to make a reply.

 

·         THE OVERFLOW OF FEELING FINDS VENT IN A MULTITUDE

OF WORDS. Speech is not all calculated and purposeful. Sometimes it is

aimless and reckless. It is not always directed to the end of telling some

fact or influencing some person. It may be just the irrepressible outcome of

emotion. The most taciturn become eloquent when in a passion.

Excitement needs a safety-valve. The swollen river must have a vent or it

will overflow its banks. The hottest words do not always lead to the most

violent actions; but the fire that burns under unnatural restraints is likely to

burst forth at length in the most fearful conflagration. Let us be patient

with the hasty, passionate words of souls that are deeply moved, not

weighing them nicely, nor treasuring them up for future accusation.

 

·         PASSIONATE WORDS CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE

UNSYMPATHETIC. Zophar is vexed at Job’s eloquence. One reason is

that he cannot understand it. The man of the world is always angry with

what he cannot comprehend. It annoys him to think that there may be more

things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in his philosophy. The

highest poetry is to him but a multitude of words. He is wearied with ‘The

Faery Queene;’ ‘Paradise Lost’ is tedious to him. Browning he regards as a

juggler with language. Even in Scripture the deepest utterances of psalmist

and prophet are but empty words. Christ spoke in brief pious

utterances, graphic if enigmatic; yet even Christ’s discourses are but dead

words to those who will not lend a sympathetic ear. (I surmise that that is

why Christ often says “He that hath ears, let him hear.”  CY - 2021) We always

misjudge our fellow-men when we do not sympathize with them; then the deepest

utterances of their hearts are but “sound and fury signifying nothing.” A

Pilate could never understand the prayers of Gethsemane.

 

·         A MULTITUDE OF WORDS PROVOKES REPLY. Zophar is

roused to answer Job with more sarcasm than he would have shown if the

patriarch had maintained the dignified silence with which he had received

his friends. This is unreasonable, unkind, wrong; still it is only what must

be expected under the circumstances. The world will not be reasonable or

kind in its treatment of us. Therefore it may be well for us to be on our

guard against noisy opposition beyond what is inevitable. Self-restraint is a

grace which brings its own reward. The abandon of passion is certain to

lead to vexation of spirit.

 

·         THE PATIENCE OF GOD ENDURES A MULTITUDE OF

WORDS. He does not hear us for our much speaking. There is no virtue in

long prayers (Matthew 6:7). But deep feeling will find expression in

unceasing prayer. Then our Father listens with more patience than our

friends, show to us. Job had good reason to be thankful that he could make

his complaints to Heaven. God was more patient than Zophar. He is ever

ready to listen to the cries of his children.

 

 

 

                         “Oh that God would speak!” (v. 5)

 

Zophar’s wish is most ungenerous. Feeling his own inability to give a

complete reply to the complaints of Job, he expresses a desire that God

may interpose and give the requisite answer. He really wants God to come

as his advocate and speak on the side of conventional orthodoxy. But

though he is now moved by an uncharitable thought, the desire that he is

led to express is significant of a common need of mankind. Both Job and

his accusers look for a Divine interposition, and long for a clear utterance

of God’s mind.

 

·         IT IS NATURAL TO DESIRE A DIVINE VOICE. This desire springs

out of our spiritual instincts. We cannot shake it off. It is almost universally

felt among all races of men, and it becomes only deeper and more urgent

with the progress of spiritual culture. The animals betray no signs of any

such wish. We alone feel as orphans, as exiles from home; we alone crave a

voice from heaven. This is but natural. The child longs to hear from his

father. The perplexed looks for a guide, the sorrowful for a comforter, the

wronged for an advocate. Will God come and solve the great riddle of

existence?

 

·         IT IS UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE

WITH THE OUTWARD EAR. By our materialism we pervert the natural

instinct that cries out for God. We live so much in the body that we come

to overvalue the experience of our senses. It seems to us that we should be

better satisfied if we could hear God’s voice sounding like the voice of our

human friend. We forget that the senses may be subject to illusion. If we

heard a voice as from heaven we could not be sure that it came from God.

Moreover, it is not well that God should cut the knot and explain every

mystery at once. We are not yet ready to receive ALL TRUTH! It is good

for our discipline that our patience should be tried, and that we should

walk by faith.  (In a pseudo-progressive cancel culture like in which we live,

discipline is not in their vocabulary, and therein lies the problem which is

bring judgment upon the world by those ‘which destroy the earth.” 

Revelation 11:18 - CY - 2021)

 

·         GOD HAS SPOKEN. We listen for the thunder and ignore the still,

small voice. But God is ever speaking to us in His Spirit through our

consciences. He has given more explicit revelations of His truth through the

inspiration of prophets and apostles. The circulation of the Bible is the

going forth of God’s voice CHRIST IS THE INCARNATE WORD OF GOD!

What Zophar wished for has in a measure appeared in Christ. The old craving

for a Divine oracle is met in the best way by the advent of our Lord as “the

truth” (John 14:6).

 

·         GOD WILL SPEAK MORE FULLY AT THE END OF THE DAYS.

God appeared at the end of Job’s trials. A grand theophany in final

judgment is promised us (Zechariah 14:4). Even in the light of the

gospel many problems are still obscure. Christ did not bring the answer to

every question when He appeared on earth. He brought sufficient light for

saving knowledge, but He left us to walk by faith. Thus we may still crave

the complete revelation, when God shall speak once more, vindicating the

right and clearing the mystery of providence. Meanwhile. the nearer we

walk to Christ the more of his voice can we hear, and the less perplexed

shall we be; for he who follows Christ WILL NOT walk in darkness

            (John 12:35).

 

 

The Security of Hope (v. 18)

 

·         IT IS OF THE NATURE OF HOPE TO GIVE A SENSE OF

SECURITY. If a man thinks himself safe, he will go forward confidently; if

he expects he can win, he will throw his energy into what he is doing; if he

is sure of victory, he will not shrink from the foe. When hope has faded out

of a man’s life, he may still pursue his course with the doggedness of

despair; but his step has lost its elasticity and his eye its fire.

 

·         HOPE TENDS TO CREATE REAL SECURITY. The loss of

confidence is itself a weakness. When we expect to fail, we prepare failure

for ourselves. On the other hand, a calm, fearless progress makes for

success. There is a foolish optimism which only dreams of the joys that

are to drop into one’s lap unsought and unearned. But a true and sensible

hope will not be thus blind and indolent. It will be the inspiration of effort.

If we have hopes of victory over sin and of a useful Christian life, we are

spurred on to attempt to realize them. Hope is necessary in Christian work.

A hopeless missionary is not likely to be very fruitful.

 

·         A BASELESS HOPE LEADS TO A FALSE SECURITY, Hope may

be a mere snare. Possibly the sanguine man is living in a fool’s paradise.

His hope may be altogether without foundation, and if so, in trusting to it

he will only sink down to ruin. We need to have a reason for the hope that

is in us (1 Peter 3:15). Safety is not proportionate to confidence.

Although, as we have just seen, hope simply as a subjective feeling does

tend to victory, yet if it is quite groundless, its tendency will not be strong

enough to overcome tangible obstacles.

 

·         CHRIST HAS GIVEN TO US A TRUE AND INSPIRING HOPE.

 

Ø      It is true. Christ does not content Himself with soothing our fears and

instilling a sense of restfulness and confidence. That would be a fatal

course, like drugging a patient with morphine instead of curing his

disease.  But when Christ instills the feeling of hope, le does so by

setting before us good reasons for hope. The Christian hope is based

on:

 

o       the revelation of God’s love,

o       the atoning work of our Lord,

o       His resurrection and triumph.

 

HE IS OUR HOPE (Colossians 1:27), and all that gives worth to

Him and His work gives weight to the Christian hope.

 

Ø      It is inspiring. The great hope of Christ is that sin shall be conquered

and the kingdom of heaven come in power.

 

o        This is inspiring to the individual. No one of us need be satisfied

      with a low tone of Christian life. It is open to all to rise to great

      heights of holiness and fruitful living. The hope is IN CHRIST,

      not in ourselves; and His resources are unlimited, His riches

      unsearchable (Ephesians 3:8).

 

o        This is also inspiring for the Church. The weary battle of the ages is

destined to ultimate victory. CHRIST, not the devil, must triumph

at last. Difficulties press upon us and discouragements grow thick

around us, yet THE CAUSE OF GOD CANNOT AND WILL NOT

FAIL!   The promise of victory should inspire the hope which helps

                                    forward the accomplishment.

 

 

 

 

·         ZOPHAR’S OPINIONS CONCERNING GOD. Zophar suggests that,

if God appeared to Job, He would be found:

 

Ø      Irresistible in teaching. Oh that God would speak, and open His lips

against [or, ‘with thee’] (v. 5). Thy complaints would then be silenced

by the convincing light of God’s revelations! What Zophar here

desired  for his friend has been practically granted to all. “God manifest

in the flesh,” “the Man Christ Jesus,” who appeared in the fullness of

the times, is GOD’S ANSWER to all preceding and subsequent centuries

perplexed with the dark problem of existence. No solution of life’s

enigma but God’s ever satisfies a soul. God can accomplish what no

human teacher can (ch. 36:22); He can exhibit to the soul truth in

its naked purity, causing it to commend itself to every man’s conscience,

and, whether accepted or rejected, putting to silence all doubts and

questionings as to its import (I Corinthians 2:4-14; II Corinthians 4:2;

I Thessalonians 1:5).

 

Ø      Unsearchable in wisdom. And that He would show thee the secrets of

wisdom, that they are double to that which is [or perhaps, that it is fold

upon fold’].” True wisdom lies deep. Its secrets are seldom patent to

superficial observation. Hidden fold over fold, their discovery is:

 

o       a work of labor,

o       the fruit of profound reflection,

o       the result of Heaven’s revelation.

 

Even that wisdom which is purely mundane requires patient, painful,

persevering study (Proverbs 2:3-5); much more “that wisdom which

cometh from above” (James 3:17). Most of all the wisdom of the

Divine mind lies fold upon fold, deep, intricate, unfathomable,

unsearchable, and therefore undiscoverable by man except through

Divine revelation (see homiletics on next paragraph).

 

 

************************************************

o        (11:13.) The “direction,” or “preparation,” or setting straight, of

      the heart. This is the first thing. Crooked feelings, perverted principles,

must be rectified. There must be sincere penitence. Happiness does

not begin with the outward life to pass into the inward; the process is

the reverse. And the restoration must be in the same order. If the

inward life be purified, the outward will flow into peace.

 

11:18

·         THE REWARD OF REPENTANCE. The encouragements to

repentance are in themselves part of its reward, though that reward will be

only truly, because only perfectly, found in the subsequent days of the life.

Beautifully and cheeringly does this friend paint the rich prosperity of later

days even to the overwhelmed sufferer. Although an error lurks beneath it

all, which the teaching of the entire book is designed to correct; yet out of

the bright encouragements, as out of an early morning, the full promise of

blessing to the repentant arises. “Thou shalt be secure.” The sense of

security will take possession of the breast from which condemnation is

removed. The assurance of the Divine forgiveness is a pledge of the Divine

love, and the forgiven one hides in the God against whom in his folly he

had sinned. Hope illumines the future, and his spirit, braced with holy

courage, takes its rest in safety. He can lie down in peace and sleep, for he

has gained a new trust in God. He defies his foes. Prosperity returns;

“many make suit unto him: Such is the rich reward promised to Job by his

friend, should he repent of his sin. True, as a great principle for human

conduct it, however, lacks a correctness of application, for Job is not

suffering for his sins. But every smitten one may learn the wisdom, the

comfort, and the happy consequence of true repentance

 

 

 

CH 12

The Providence of God Described (vs. 13-25)

 

  • AS INFINITELY WISE AND POWERFUL. “With God is wisdom

and strength, He hath counsel and understanding”  (v. 13) — a

sentiment repeated in v. 16. Of the two attributes here mentioned, the first is

involved in His supreme Divinity; though in the connection Job seems to

base it on His eternal existence, as if he meant to say, “You affirm that in

length of days is understanding, and I grant it; but what then must be the

wisdom of Him who is eternal in his years?” The second, which is equally

involved in the conception of  the Godhead, may here be said to rest upon the

already stated fact that “in His hand is the soul of every living thing, and

the breath of all mankind” (v. 10). The Creator of the universe must be

strong, and the Eternal Intelligence must be wise. Being, then,

INFINITELY WISE AND POWERFUL, wise and powerful,

 the like qualities must appear in His handiwork. As the artist puts his conceptions

into the painting which he executes, and the artificer directs attention to the work

he has fashioned as a proof of his ability; so, reasons Job, will the providential

government of God be seen, when thoroughly examined, to reflect the matchless

wisdom of HIS OMNISCIENT MIND and attest the measureless force

of HIS ALMIGHTY HAND.

 

  • AS ABSOLUTELY SOVEREIGN AND RESISTLESS. “Behold, He

breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: He shutteth up a man, and

there can be no opening” (v. 14). The first may allude to the destruction

of the Tower of Babel, and the second to the confusion of tongues; though

the reference may be more general, to such acts of destruction (and, by

implication, of restoration) and of restraint (and again, by implication, of

liberation) as attest His Almighty Power. Illustrations of the former may be

found in the burning of Sodom by fire (for a first hand look, I recommend

arkdiscovery.com and look up the section on the Destruction of Sodom –

CY – 2013); the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus; the overthrow

of Babylon and Nineveh; the engulfment of Herculaneum and Pompeii by

volcanic agency; while the shutting up of men in prisons may be regarded as

having been exemplified in Joseph (Genesis 37:24), Jeremiah (Lamentations

3:53; compare Jeremiah 38:6), Jonah 1:17.

 

  • AS EXTENDING TO NATURE AND MAN.

 

Ø      To nature. “Behold, He withholdeth the waters, and they dry up:

also He sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth” (v. 15).

Perhaps exemplified in the first formation of the dry land (Genesis 1:9),

and in the Deluge (Ibid. 7:11); though more probably pointing to the

Divine agency as the true cause of drought (I Kings 17:1), and of

floods or destructive inundations.

 

Ø      To man. The deceived and the deceiver are His” (v. 16). Possibly

alluding to himself and his companions, though it is better to

give the language a wider reference. Exemplified in:

 

o       Satan and man (ch. 1:12; Revelation 20:3),

o       the lying spirit and Ahab (I Kings 22:22),

o       antichrist and unbelievers (II Thessalonians 2:11).

 

The language forcibly expresses God’s complete control over

ALL CLASSES OF MEN!

 

  • AS CONTROLLING INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES.

 

Ø      Individuals.

 

o       Civic rulers. He leadeth counselors away spoiled

[literally, ‘naked,’ i.e. ‘stripped of their official robes,

and of their clothes and shoes as captives ‘], and maketh

judges fools,” destroying their power and degrading

their position (compare Isaiah 3:2, 4; 40:23; 44:25).

“He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their

loins with a girdle” or cord; meaning either He unbinds

their prisoners, and makes them prisoners instead, or He

unlooses the jeweled girdle of kings, the insignia of royalty,

and ties their loins with the cords of servitude. Illustrations:

Zedekiah, Napoleon, etc.

 

o       Ecclesiastical officers. “He leadeth princes [literally,

‘priests’] away spoiled [literal]y, ‘stripped of their robes ‘],

and overthroweth the mighty [or, ‘the long established’ —

those of great and high repute for sanctity and wisdom,

probably such priest-princes as Melchizedek and Jethro].’

 

o       Eloquent senators.He removeth away the speech

[literally, ‘the lip’] of the trusty, and taketh away the

 understanding of the aged” (v. 20). So He turned the

counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness (II Samuel 15:31).

 

o       Haughty nobles. “He poureth contempt upon princes,

 and weakeneth the strength of the mighty;” literally,

“looseth the girdle of the strong” (v. 21). The girdle

being the belt by which the garments were fastened prior to

undertaking any violent exertion, the language expresses the

idea that it is God’s province either to impart or to

 withhold the strength requisite for any undertaking

in which man may engage.

 

o       Intriguing politicians. “He discovereth deep things

 out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow

 of death” (v. 22). While the language may with perfect

propriety be applied to the power possessed by God of

disclosing truths which lie beyond the reach of the human

intellect, as e.g. those of revelation, or of bringing to light

recondite discoveries in science and philosophy, which are

ever wrapped in impenetrable darkness till He is

pleased to unfold them, the connection seems to rather

point to God’s ability to read the secret thoughts and

intentions of the human heart (Psalm 139:1-13; Hebrews

4:12-13), and in particular to detect and expose “the deep

and desperate designs of traitors, conspirators, and

other STATE VILLAINS, as those, e.g. of Absalom

against David (II Samuel 15:6), and Haman against the Jews

(Esther 3:9), of Herod against Christ (Matthew 2:8), and of

the Jews against Paul (Acts 23:21), as the Catiline conspiracy

in Rome, and the Gunpowder Plot in England (And,

hopefully, what is going on in the Supreme Court, Justice

Department, the Oval Office, and halls of the US Senate

 and House of Representatives – CY – 2013)

 

Ø      Communities.

 

o       National tendencies. The deep things out of darkness and

The discovered death-shade may also allude to “the hidden

bents and currents which slowly give shape to the character

and functions of a nation or ever it is aware, or ever even its

rulers are aware, of them; that stream of tendency running

partly underground for a while, which silently carries us

we know not whither, we know not how, and lands us in

 enterprises and modes of national activity alien and

opposed to those towards which our subtlest politicians

supposed they were guiding us.

 

o       National movements. “He increaseth the nations, and

destroyeth them:  He enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth

them again” (v. 23). The original distribution of mankind into

nations, and their dispersion over the face of earth, although

effected in accordance with natural law, WAS DIRECTLY

THE WORK OF GOD!  (Genesis 10 and 11.). So national

increase and national diminution, national prosperity and national

adversity, however these may seem to be the result of well-known

and invariably operating causes, are traceable in the last

 analysis to THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD!   (Psalm

22:28; 24:1; 47:2-3; Isaiah 40:22-23; Daniel 4:17; Acts 17:26).

He increased Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1:12), and diminished it in

the wilderness (Numbers 14:29), advanced it to prosperity under

David (II Samuel 8:6, 11, 14), and gave it up to decay from the

time of Rehoboam forward (I Kings 12:24). He enlarged in turn

Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome, and in turn

straitened them. He has exalted Britain, America, Germany,

but He has not deprived Himself of power to bring them to the

dust again.

 

o       National leaders. “He taketh away the heart of the chief

of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in

 a wilderness where there is no way,” leaving them to their

own foolish and distracted counsels (Romans 1:24, 26, 28),

 so that “they grope in the dark without light,” and causing

them “to wander in a wilderness where there is no way”

(vs. 24-25). It is not in man that walketh, whether he be a

statesman or a ploughman, to direct his steps aright

(Jeremiah 10:23).  They that guide either themselves or others

by the light of their own understanding are like travelers who

follow an ignis fatuus  (A will-o'-the-wisp - atmospheric ghost

lights seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or

marshes) to their destruction. HENCE NO POLITICIAN

CAN SAFELY GUIDE A STATE, (UNLESS GOD

FIRST GUIDES HIM).  A gigantic intellect, splendid

eloquence, prolonged experience, the subtlest craft,

the most careful deliberation, the rarest sobriety of

judgment, will not suffice for political success

(America Beware! – CY – 2013) without the help of

DIVINE WISDOM AND STRENGTH, a Solomon, if

deserted by God, WILL BEGIN TO PLAY THE

FOOL  and a Samson TO BE WEAK AS OTHER

MEN!  (Delilah said, “The Philsitines be upon thee,

Samson.  And he awoke out of his sleep, and said,

I will go out as at other times before and shake

myself.  And he wist not that THE LORD WAS

DEPARTED FROM HIM.” Judges 16:20)

 

  • Notes.  We are not to look for an exact distribution of rewards and punishments

on earth. It is not included in the Divine program that the justice of God’s

procedure here shall always be perceptible by those to whom it relates.

Rest assured notwithstanding that God doeth all things well “Shall not

the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)  We can carry the

thought of God’s overruling providence with us into all the relations and

duties of life. It is a great help to piety to recollect that GOD IS NEAR!

 

 

 

 

            The Dogma of the Friends Demolished (12:5-13)

 

·         BY THE FACTS OF EXPERIENCE.

 

Ø      The prosperous fortunes of the bad. Apt illustrations were at hand in

      the seemingly unchanging success which waited on the footsteps of those

marauding caterans (bands of fighting men) with which Arabia Deserta

was overrun.  The adverse fortunes of the good. Exemplified in Job’s

own case, which showed

 

o        that a man might be upright and yet fall into misfortune;

 

o        that a person enjoying confidential relations with Heaven, calling upon

God and receiving answers, might sink so low in the mire of adversity

as to become a scorn and a byword, and be regarded as a sort of infidel

and outcast; and

 

o        that the largest and heaviest portion of a good man’s affliction might

even come from the good themselves, from those who enjoyed the

reputation at least of being religious, from his neighbors and friends,

who were themselves sitting in the sunshine of prosperity. And the

entire veracity of these deductions is abundantly confirmed by the

concurrent testimony of all past ages, by the histories, e.g.

 

§         of Abel,

§         of Joseph,

§         of David,

§         of Christ;

 

while it is sustained by the voice of all contemporary

observation.

 

Ø      The prosperous fortunes of the bad. Apt illustrations were at hand in the

seemingly unchanging success which waited on the footsteps of those

marauding caterans (bands of fighting men) with which Arabia Deserta

was overrun.

 

o       As to character, they were notoriously wicked, in fact, flagrantly

immoral, outrageously ungodly.

 

§         They were Robbers of men, violent and rapacious

plunderers, who put might for right, “men of the arm”

(ch. 22:8), acting on

 

“The good old rule, the simple plan,

That they should take who have the power,

And they should keep who can;”

 

like the Nephilim and Gibborim of Noah’s day, who deluged the

world with immorality and violence (Genesis 6:4)

 

o       Defiers of God, impudent and audacious sinners who openly and

presumptuously trampled on Heaven’s laws in order to obtain

their unhallowed will, like:

 

§         the tower-builders of Babel (Genesis 11:4),

§         Pharaoh (Exodus 5:2),

§         Sennacherib (II Kings 18:19-35), and

§         like wicked men generally, whose foolish tongues

 

talk loftily,” and “set themselves against the heavens,” and

“walk through the earth” (Psalm 73:8-9), and whose carnal

minds, inflamed with enmity against God (Romans 8:7),

conspire against the Lord and His Anointed (Psalm 2:2).

 

o       Worshippers of the sword, who had no deity but the dagger

which they carried in their hands, as the glutton has no god

but his belly (Philippians 3:19); who:

 

§         like Lamech, made  ballads to their rapiers (Genesis 4:23);

§         like Laban, regarded brute force as the supreme power

of the world (Genesis 31:29); and

§         like the ancient Chaldeans, took military strength for

their god (Habakkuk 1:11).

 

Ø      As to fortune it was as widely removed from that of the virtuous and

pious as it could well be.

 

o       Their tents were peaceful. That is, their habitations were tranquil,

      their families were united and numerous; their domestic felicity

was deep (compare ch. 21:8-11; Psalm 17:14; 49:11).

 

o       Their persons were secure. Calamity seldom, almost never,

      overtook them. Winds and hurricanes that desolated the

righteous left them untouched (Psalm 73:4).

 

o       Their baskets were full. Retaining the Authorized Version

      (Carey and others), we understand Job to have said that God

brought to them abundantly with His own hand, as if He had

taken them under His especial protection.

 

THOUGHTS FROM JOB

 

CH 27 17    INCLUDE WITH BELATED LESSON ON

USE OF TALENTS IN LESSSON IN LUKE  IN APRIL “?    NEVER GOT TO IT

o       Personal fitness. We can only receive real good in proportion

to our capacity for it. There are men who cannot take God’s

blessings, simply because they have no susceptibility for them.

Now, the real good even of property is not in the thing itself,

but in the right use of it. God will make things a blessing to

those who are in the condition to use them well.

 

 

The Dogma of the Friends Demolished (12:5-13)

 

·         BY THE FACTS OF EXPERIENCE.

 

Ø      The prosperous fortunes of the bad. Apt illustrations were at hand in

      the seemingly unchanging success which waited on the footsteps of those

marauding caterans (bands of fighting men) with which Arabia Deserta

was overrun.  The adverse fortunes of the good. Exemplified in Job’s

own case, which showed

 

o        that a man might be upright and yet fall into misfortune;

 

o        that a person enjoying confidential relations with Heaven, calling upon

God and receiving answers, might sink so low in the mire of adversity

as to become a scorn and a byword, and be regarded as a sort of infidel

and outcast; and

 

o        that the largest and heaviest portion of a good man’s affliction might

even come from the good themselves, from those who enjoyed the

reputation at least of being religious, from his neighbors and friends,

who were themselves sitting in the sunshine of prosperity. And the

entire veracity of these deductions is abundantly confirmed by the

concurrent testimony of all past ages, by the histories, e.g.

 

§         of Abel,

§         of Joseph,

§         of David,

§         of Christ;

 

while it is sustained by the voice of all contemporary

observation.

 

Ø      The prosperous fortunes of the bad. Apt illustrations were at hand in the

seemingly unchanging success which waited on the footsteps of those

marauding caterans (bands of fighting men) with which Arabia Deserta

was overrun.

 

o       As to character, they were notoriously wicked, in fact, flagrantly

immoral, outrageously ungodly.

 

§         They were Robbers of men, violent and rapacious

plunderers, who put might for right, “men of the arm”

(ch. 22:8), acting on

 

“The good old rule, the simple plan,

That they should take who have the power,

And they should keep who can;”

 

like the Nephilim and Gibborim of Noah’s day, who deluged the

world with immorality and violence (Genesis 6:4)

 

o       Defiers of God, impudent and audacious sinners who openly and

presumptuously trampled on Heaven’s laws in order to obtain

their unhallowed will, like:

 

§         the tower-builders of Babel (Genesis 11:4),

§         Pharaoh (Exodus 5:2),

§         Sennacherib (II Kings 18:19-35), and

§         like wicked men generally, whose foolish tongues

 

talk loftily,” and “set themselves against the heavens,” and

“walk through the earth” (Psalm 73:8-9), and whose carnal

minds, inflamed with enmity against God (Romans 8:7),

conspire against the Lord and His Anointed (Psalm 2:2).

 

o       Worshippers of the sword, who had no deity but the dagger

which they carried in their hands, as the glutton has no god

but his belly (Philippians 3:19); who:

 

§         like Lamech, made  ballads to their rapiers (Genesis 4:23);

§         like Laban, regarded brute force as the supreme power

of the world (Genesis 31:29); and

§         like the ancient Chaldeans, took military strength for

their god (Habakkuk 1:11).

 

Ø      As to fortune it was as widely removed from that of the virtuous and

pious as it could well be.

 

o       Their tents were peaceful. That is, their habitations were tranquil,

      their families were united and numerous; their domestic felicity

was deep (compare ch. 21:8-11; Psalm 17:14; 49:11).

 

o       Their persons were secure. Calamity seldom, almost never,

      overtook them. Winds and hurricanes that desolated the

righteous left them untouched (Psalm 73:4).

 

o       Their baskets were full. Retaining the Authorized Version

      (Carey and others), we understand Job to have said that God

brought to them abundantly with His own hand, as if He had

taken them under His especial protection.

 

·         BY THE TEACHINGS OF THE CREATURES.

     

ü                              The teachers. The entire circle of animate and inanimate creation —

everything on the earth, in the air, and in the sea. The natural and the

supernatural, the visible and the invisible, the material and the spiritual,

the mundane and the heavenly, are in God’s universe so indissolubly

linked together, and so wisely adjusted to each other, that the one is

a picture or reflection of the other, the earthly and material an

emblem of the heavenlyand spiritual. Hence all nature is full of

subtle analogies to things and thoughts existing in the realms

above it — the intellectual, the moral, the spiritual, the human,

the celestial. Hence the wise student of nature may find

 

“Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

(‘As You Like It,’ act 2. sc. 1.)

 

Hence man is frequently counseled by Scripture writers to learn wisdom

from the creatures.

 

o       “Solomon sends us to the ant;

o       Agur to the coney, the locust, the spider;

o       Isaiah to the ox and the ass;

o       Jeremiah to the stork, the turtle-dove, the crane, the swallow;

and

o       the heavenly Teacher Himself to the fowls of the air”

 

Of all teachers Christ stood indisputably first in interpreting the hidden

thoughts of nature.

 

Ø      The teaching. While the creatures say much to man concerning God, His

almighty power, unerring wisdom, unwearied goodness, and ever-watchful

care; and concerning duty, reminding man that He, like them, should act

in harmony with the laws of his nature, and in obedience to the will of his

Creator (Psalm 148:7-13), they are here introduced as instructors on

the subject of Divine providence. Among the lower creatures phenomena

exist analogous to those above described as occurring in the higher world

of men. How often is the harmless lamb devoured by the wolf, the kid by

the panther, the gazelle by the tiger, the patient ass by the ferocious lion!

Are not the eagle, the vulture, and the hawk but as rapacious robbers

swooping down upon the dove the sparrow, and the robin? Can greater

plunderers be found than the vast aquatic monsters, the whale, the shark,

and the crocodile, which roam through the deep, striking terror among the

lesser tribes that haunt the seas? And yet “who knoweth not in all these

that the hand of Jehovah hath wrought this, in whose hand is the soul of

every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”  (V. 9) Well, if these

things occur under God’s government among the lower creatures, why,

asks Job, might similar occurrences not transpire under the same

government among men?

 

·         BY THE SAYINGS OF THE FATHERS.

 

1. The ground of their authority. The weight attached by Zophar, and

indeed allowed by Job himself, to the maxims of antiquity, was derived

from the fact that they were the concentrated wisdom of antecedent ages,

which had been carefully elaborated by long-lived sages as the result of

their individual and collective experience (see homiletics on Job 8:8-

22).  This is what a deceived, misguided and wicked Cancel Culture

is consumed with trying to exterminate.  Unfortunately, Revelation 11:18

describes their fate:  “O Lord God Almighty..............shouldest destroy

them which destroy the earth.”  CY - 2021)

 

2. The limit of their authority. Granting that these sagacious apothegms

and profound parables were fairly entitled to be heard, Job contended that

they were not possessed of absolute authority. They were not to be

accepted with unquestioning submission, but with wise and intelligent

discrimination, the ear, and of course “the judgment which sits behind the

ear,” having been given to try words as the palate does food. And even at

the best they were only human judgments, the thoughts of long-lived

patriarchs, of much-observing as well as deep-reflecting sages, but not at

all to be compared with the thoughts of Him with whom is “wisdom and

strength, counsel and understanding” (v. 13). They were, therefore, not

to be accepted as final interpretations of the facts of providence, which

were the concrete expressions of eternal Wisdom, as much as these

traditional maxims were the abstract utterances of patriarchal wisdom.

Man’s thoughts never can be more than a finite projection, or contracted

image, of God’s. Hence the danger of setting man’s thoughts in place

of God’s, investing confessions, catechisms, and symbolical books

generally with the authority which belongs only to the supreme

revelation  of God’s mind. Hence also the folly of attempting to

crush THE BOUNDLESS REALM OF GOD’S TRUTH into the

narrow dimensions of any formula, however beautiful or

well-arranged, however strictly scientific or profoundly philosophic.

(Contemporary Progressivism attempts to replace God with science

which is promoted by the modern Media - CY - 2021) The fundamental

principles of  all intelligent Protestantism may be summed up in

two thoughts: man’s formulas are not the exact measure of God’s

revelations; “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.”

(I Thessalonians 5:21)

 

3. The verdict of their authority. If rightly discriminated, the voice of

patriarchal wisdom will be found to be on Job’s side; in support of which

assertion he proceeds, in the next section, to recite other sayings of

antiquity, which certainly give countenance rather to his than to their

view of God’s providential government of the world and mankind.

So perhaps it will be generally found that the best thoughts of men

in all ages harmonize with the thoughts of God as expressed both

in the Bible and in providence.

 

·         LEARN:

 

1. “He that is first in his own cause seemeth right; but his neighbor

      cometh and searcheth him.”  (Proverbs 18:17)

2. “A half-truth is sometimes as dangerous as a whole lie.”

3. “In contemplation of created things, by steps we may ascend to God.”

4. It is not true that “man is the measure of the universe.”

5. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in

      man’s philosophy.”  (For proof, enter Fantastic Voyage - You

      Tube - in your browser and see what happens.  CY - 2021)

6. “That alone is true antiquity which embraces the antiquity of the

      world (this Cancel Culture refuses to do - CY - 2021,

      and not that which would refer us back to a period when the

      world was young.”

 

ch. 12

 

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The Testimony of the Creature to the Divine Government

                                                            (vs. 7-10)

 

Job again vindicates himself in presence of his accusing friends. He

professes his knowledge to be as theirs, and he even points them to the

lower animals to find wisdom from them. The very beasts of the earth, the

fowls of the air, the fruitful field, the fishes in the deep, all tell the great

truth — JEHOVAH REIGNS SUPREME!  “In His hand is the soul of every

living thing, and the breath of all mankind;” all proclaim the Almighty, all speak

of the Ever-living One in whom all live. This testimony is witnessed:

 

·         IN THE CONSCIOUS LIFE OF EVERY CREATURE. Even man, at

the head of all, is conscious of the dependence of his life upon some power

higher than himself. There is one LORD OF LIFE, AUTHOR OF ALL

LIFE, SUPPORTER OF ALL!  Every individual life declares “the hand

 of the Lord hath wrought this.” In His hand alone is “the soul “ — the life

“of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” He is the Creator

and Preserver of every life.

 

·         IN THE INFINITE VARIETY OF LIFE. What an unlimited variety do

we behold! The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea,

abound in a wide diversity of life. ALL SPEAK OF THE INFINITE

CREATOR in whom are the possibilities of infinite life; who, of His

own infinite resources, has created and made the whole. That the species

vary according to the encircling conditions of their life does not detract from

their testimony to the infinite and supreme Power. For the very existence of

every life speaks of THAT POWER!  How great is He whose creative skill

reveals itself in this unlimited variety!

 

·         NOT LESS TESTIMONY IS BORNE BY THE CONTINUOUS

REPRODUCTION OF THE VAST VARIETIES. That age after age this

power continues to bring forth, each after its own kind, is another

testimony to the greatness of Him “in whose hand is the soul of every living

thing.” The creation and preservation of the many species age after age

speaks to the thoughtful mind of Him who is the one Lord of all life, who

by his omnipotent overruling preserves all in their order and in their

continuance.

 

·         BUT IN THE MARVELOUS STRUCTURE OF THEIR BODIES

ANOTHER TESTIMONY IS BORNE. How delicate are the organs of the

body — the powers of sight, of hearing, of activity; the strength of one, the

delicacy of the structure of another! How wonderful are the nerves of the

body, conveying the impression from the outer world to the brain! Equally

so the blood-vessels, and the hidden powers by which the bones are built

up, and again the powers of nutrition gathering food from without and

assimilating it to the body in all its parts. This is done without the

knowledge and consent of the creature; for the creature, even man, knows

not how it is done. it is above him; it speaks definitely and distinctly and

loudly of God, “in whose hand is the breath of all mankind.”  (v. 10;

compare Psalm 139)

 

·         YET A FURTHER TESTIMONY IS TO BE SEEN IN THE

ABUNDANT PROVISION MADE FOR THE SUSTENANCE OF ALL.

Notwithstanding the vastness of the realm in which creature-life is found,

and the variety of the forms of life, each having its own peculiar needs, yet

He “satisfieth the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16).  Food is

abundant  for man and beast, and of the fowls of the air it is truly said,

“He feedeth them.” So the Divine work is seen on every side; and from all

the varieties of conscious life one testimony arises to the great truth,

“The Lord reigneth.”  (Psalms 93 and 97)  On every work the truth lies

            clearly stamped, “The hand of Jehovah made this.”

 

 

·         AN ELOQUENT DESCRIPTION OF THE POWER AND WISDOM OF

GOD. (vs. 13-25.) Here Job rivals and surpasses his friends. With

repeated blows, as of the hammer on the anvil, he impresses the truth that

the might and intelligence of the Supreme are irresistible, and before Him

all human craft and power must be reduced to impotence. The power and the

wisdom of God alternately occupy His thought, appear and reappear in a

variety of images.

 

 

 

 

·         THE INCREASE AND DESTRUCTION OF NATIONS. (v. 23.)

The rise and fall of empires and peoples is determined by constant laws.

Obedience to law means increase and prosperity; violation of law, decay

and ruin.

 

·         CONFUSION AND BEWILDERMENT are evidences of the

practical power of God (vs. 24-25). Chaos, wandering, darkness,

helpless vacillation, fall upon men and nations from time to time, because

they have been unfaithful to the true light and the Divine leading.

 

 

 

*********************************  ENOUGH FOR MAJOR LESSON

 

The Divine Supremacy Illustrated (vs. 11-25)

 

Bildad appeals to “the ancients.” Job replies, “I also know their teaching.”

But there is a wisdom higher than that of the ancients. Wisdom — unfailing

wisdom — is A DIVINE ATTRIBUTE!  From the earthly to the heavenly wisdom

Job turns. He speaks of a higher and a mightier One — One “with whom is

strength and wisdom,” by which He rules. The supremacy of that Divine

rule he illustrates from a very wide field of survey. He points to the

evidences of the DIVINE ALMIGHTYNESS!

 

·         IN THE CONTRASTED POWERLESSNESS OF THE HUMAN

OPPOSITION TO THE DIVINE WILL. (v. 14.)

 

·         IN THE CONTROL OF THE MIGHTY ELEMENTS OF NATURE.

The very “waters” obey His behest (v. 15).

 

·         IN COMPELLING EVEN THOSE THAT ERR AND THOSE

THAT DECEIVE TO BE SUBSERVIENT TO HIS WILL AND

PURPOSE. (v. 16.)

 

·         IN CONFOUNDING THE WISDOM OF THE WISE. Leading

“counselors away spoiled,” and bringing down the judge to the level

of the fool (v. 17).  (I wonder how the Judges on the Supreme Court of

the United States of America would react to being told that their liberal rulings

in the last sixty years - [1960-2020] in the undermining of biblical

and religious foundations, were of God?  CY - 2021)

 

·         IN HUMBLING KINGS AND PRIESTS AND MIGHTY MEN.

(vs. 18-19.)

 

·         IN RESTRAINING THE SPEECH OF THE ELOQUENT AND

ROBBING THE AGED OF THEIR UNDERSTANDING. (v. 20.)

 

·         IN CASTING CONTEMPT UPON THE HONORABLE, AND

MAKING THE STRONG TO TOTTER WITH WEAKNESS. (v. 21.)

He giveth or taketh away wisdom and might as it pleaseth Him, proving

that He is wise and mighty above all; for these are His gifts to the children of

men that have them.

 

·         HE FURTHER SHOWS THAT THE HIDDEN THINGS OF

DARKNESS ARE OPEN TO HIS VIEW. He discovereth the secret

works of evil. Even the thick shadow of death cannot hide from Him

(v. 22; compare Psalm 139:12 - no doubt God sees in some superior

form of infra-red - CY - 2021). 

 

·         NATIONAL HISTORY IS EQUALLY UNDER HIS CONTROL.

His power is over the nations; He enlarges or straitens as He pleases. He

scatters or gathers as He will (v. 23).

 

·         THE VERY CHIEFEST AMONG ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE

EARTH ABE SUBJECT TO HIS SOVEREIGN SWAY. It is a little thing

for Him to remove the light of reason from them, confounding and

confusing them, and casting them into darkness and gloom. Elsewhere we

learn why and when the Almighty deals thus with men. Job’s purpose is to

show that man is as nothing before Him. In his highest honor, in his

utmost wisdom, in his greatest strength, He cannot contend with JEHOVAH!

Over the individual life in all its various conditions, over the combined

lives of men in their national or political combinations, HE IS STILL

SUPREME!   And over the heavens and the earth He is Lord — even

over all. This is Job’s faith and his declaration. He can proclaim THE

SUPREME AND ABSOLUTE MAJESTY OF JEHOVAH as truly,

and even more strikingly than his friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*****************************************************************

Good for a mini-lesson - coming out of  homiletics on ch. 13:1-16

 

o       Inattention, or want of observation,

o       inconsideration, or want of reflection,

o       insincerity, or want of a genuine love for the truth,

 

      are three formidable barriers in the way of man’s

advancement in knowledge.

 

§         The first is the fault of the careless,

§         the second of the foolish,

§         the third of the ungodly.

.

Eye and ear, being the soul’s best gateways for knowledge, should be kept

continually open. But the testimonies and reports which enter by these

gateways should be subjected to diligent inspection and careful

comparison. The truth once found should never fail to secure

admission into the inner chamber of the heart.

 

 

Ø      Forging of lies. Instead of patiently collecting and assembling facts from

the opened page of human history, and deducing therefrom conclusions as

to the principle or principles of the Divine government, Job’s friends first

invented a theory, and then looked about for musty proverbs to support it.

They were not philosophers or theologians at all, but simply theorists,

inventors of sophisms, stitchers together of falsehoods, and fabricators of

vanities (v. 4), who had endeavored to construct a theodicy (the

vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence

of evil) by mingling together a little bit of fact and a large amount of

fancy, or by patching together a handful of ancient platitudes. Much

of modern science, philosophy, and even theology, proceeds upon the

principle here so severely castigated. The true Baconian method of

induction, first to ascertain with minute accuracy, not a few, but, as far

as possible, all the facts of the case before pronouncing judgment as to

the formula which shall explain them, is the only safe guide to be

followed in philosophical discussion, scientific research, or theological

investigation. A formula that does not embrace every known fact, much

more that is contradicted by any known fact, cannot be correct.

 

 

 

 

13:26 “For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess

the iniquities of my youth.”  For thou writest bitter things against me. The allusion

seems to be to the ordinary practice in ancient law-courts of formulating

a written acte daccusation against supposed criminals. Keeping up the

imagery of a court and pleadings, Job represents God as engaged in

drawing up such a document against him. The “bitter things” are the

charges which the acts contains. And makest me to possess the iniquities

of my youth. Job, like David, has to acknowledge “sins and offenses”

committed in his youth (Psalm 25:7). Below is an excerpt from Spurgeon’s

Treasury of David on Psalm 25:7 – CY – 2013)

 

“Remember not the sins of my youth,” -  Sin is the stumbling block.

This is the thing to be removed. Lord, pass an act of oblivion for all my

sins, and especially for the hot blooded wanton follies of my younger years.

Those offences which we remember with repentance God forgets, but if we

forget them, justice will bring them forth to punishment. The world winks

at the sins of younger men, and yet they are none so little after all; the

bones of our youthful feastings at Satan's table will stick painfully in our

throats when we are old men. He who presumes upon his youth is

poisoning his old age. How large a tear may wet this page as some of us

reflect upon the past! – “nor my transgressions:” -  Another word for the same

evils. Sincere penitents cannot get through their confessions at a gallop;

they are constrained to use many bemoanings, for their swarming sins smite

them with so innumerable griefs. A painful sense of any one sin provokes

the believer to repentance for the whole mass of his iniquities. Nothing but

the fullest and clearest pardon will satisfy a thoroughly awakened

conscience. David would have his sins not only forgiven, but forgotten -

 

In considering what the indictment against him can be, he can only suppose

that these old and long forsaken sins are being remembered and brought up

against him, and that he is being punished for them. He does not exclaim against

this as injustice; he feels probably that there is no statute of limitations respecting

sins and their punishment; but it can scarcely have seemed to him consistent

with God’s goodness and mercifulness that the offenses of his immature age

should be visited upon him so bitterly.

 

 

Suffering for the Sins of One’s Youth (v. 26)

 

Job is perplexed. He cannot see what he has done to merit such terrible

troubles as he is now experiencing. It certainly seems to him that no recent

conduct of his can be deserving the punishment from which, according to

his friends, he is suffering. Can it be that long-forgotten sins of his youth

are brought up against him, and that he is suffering from those old

offences?

 

  • THE SINS OF YOUTH ARE NOT TO BE LIGHTLY IGNORED.

 

Ø      Because they were done in haste. Youth is thoughtless; still it has

moral responsibility.

Ø      Because youth is inexperienced. Youth will not be judged by the

standard of more enlightened years, but by its own light, which is

sufficient to WARN FROM SIN.

Ø      Because of their distant past. Though they were committed long ago,

if they have never been repented of, they stand in the record

against us still. Time does not condone guilt.

Ø      Because of subsequent amendment. This is the strongest plea.

Yet it will not stand. For the subsequent conduct was no better than

it ought to have been. There were no “works of supererogation” in it

that could serve as an atonement for past offences.

 

  • THE SINS OF YOUTH BEAR FRUIT IN AFTER-YEARS. They do

so in this life. Disease and early decrepitude are the bitter fruits of youthful

dissipation. If the golden opportunities of youth are wasted, the after-life

must suffer. If opportunities of educational improvement are neglected in

youth, it is impossible to make up for them in manhood. The young man

who spends the best years of his life in idle pleasure-seeking instead of

laying the foundation of his future work, is sure to come to a day when he

will bitterly repent his folly. There is a unity in life. We cannot slice it into

detached periods, having no connection with one another. The present is a

product of the past, and the ultimate future will be a result of our whole

life, not of the last moments of it. Future judgment deals with the deeds of

the life, not with the mood of the death-bed.

 

  • SINS OF YOUTH MAY BE FORGIVEN. They cannot be undone.

Some of their consequences are inevitable. Therefore the hope of pardon is

no encouragement for folly and wickedness. Still, when a man repents

and seeks the grace of God, his case is never treated in Scripture as

HOPELESS.  Though a certain loss and suffering may remain, God forgives

and heals the repentant soul. Therefore it is foolish to forget or to defend a

misspent youth. The only hopeful thing is to own it before God, and to show

ourselves HEARTILY ASHAMED OF IT.   It is far better to give to God

every hour of life; but if the early hours have been misspent — miserable as is

the thought of them — it is possible to mend our ways, and enter the

vineyard even at the eleventh hour  (Matthew 20:6-9).  The right use of

 reflection on the sins of youth is to make a man humble, and to help him to

sympathize with young men, and to try to warn them, lest they make

the sad mistake WHICH HAS THROWN A SHADOW OVER ALL

HIS SUBSEQUENT LIFE!   For who that is converted in later age

would not GIVE ALL HE HAS TO GO BACK AND BEGIN AGAIN,

 and so avoid THE UGLY, UNCHANGEABLE PAST!

 

 

ch. 13

 

 

Ø      Perfect readiness expressed. Job asserts (v. 18) that he had carefully

arranged the several pleas he should urge in vindication of his outraged

integrity. And in this Job’s example may be followed with advantage.

Neither saint nor sinner should irreverently and presumptuously intrude

into God’s presence without having first composed his heart and, as far as

possible, arranged his thoughts (Ecclesiastes 5:2). No man is ready for

reasoning with God in prayer until he knows both what he wants and

how to plead for it.

 

Ø      Hopeful confidence entertained. “I know that I shall be justified”

(v. 18). This was no presumption on the part of Job, who probably based

his justification before God, in the strictly forensic sense of absolution

and acceptance, not upon his own righteousness, but upon the free favor

of God, through the merit of his Redeemer (ch. 19:25); but merely that

inward consciousness of personal integrity which a good man may justly

rely on as evidence of a gracious state, and by which he may encourage

his fainting spirit when about to appear before God, like:

 

o       Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:3),

o       David (Psalm 26:1),

o       Peter (John 21:17),

o       Paul (Romans 9:1), and

o       John (<620321>1 John 3:21).

 

Of course, it would be presumption were a sinful man, standing on

his own righteousness, to expect that he would be justified before

God (Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:20). But, trusting in the great propitiatory

sacrifice of Him who is “the Lord our Righteousness,” the guiltiest and

most unworthy sinner may draw near to God with holy boldness

(Hebrews 4:16; 10:22), and with absolute assurance of acceptance and

 salvation ( ibid. 7:25; Romans 8:1), saying, “I know that I shall be

justified.”

 

 

Yet, not unfrequently, one of the first effects of bodily affliction

upon a good man, especially if it be severe, is to discompose his

mind, disturb his heart, and generally unfit him for converse with God. ¯

Notwithstanding the spiritual benefits folded up in tribulation, there

can be no greater blessing, even with a view to the exercises of religion,

than  mens sans in sano corpore (a healthy mind in a healthy body).

Much of the spiritual depression experienced by Christians is

traceable to extreme bodily infirmity, though sometimes happy invalids

can say with Paul, “When I am weak, then am I strong;” “Most gladly

will I glory in infirmities, that the power of God may rest upon me.”

(One such example of which I am familiar is my paternal grandmother,

Clara Moreland Simpson Yahnig, who was an invalid with rheumatoid

arthritis for sixteen years.  “Mamer” was very influential in my life

for which I  thank God!  CY - 2021) Then, if pious souls, groaning

beneath the pressure of physical maladies and mental

 

 

anxieties, find it hard to concentrate their thoughts upon Divine things,

what must be the madness of those who delay the work of repenting and

pleading with God for forgiveness and salvation till they are lying on a

sick-bed, racked with pain, and perhaps trembling in the grasp of death?

 

 

 

Ø      An inexplicable problem. (13:24.) Here is

 

o        a painful experience, the sense of having lost the Divine favor, to a

gracious soul the highest blessing attainable or even conceivable

on earth (Psalm 30:5; 63:3);

 

o        a common experience, realized by David (Psalm 13:1; 22:1), by

Heman (ibid.ch. 88:14), and by Christ (Matthew 27:46), as well as

by many of Christ’s followers since;

 

o        a mysterious experience, not that God should hide His face and seem to

withdraw His favor from a sinful soul, but that, having once admitted a

repenting and believing sinner to His love, He should to all appearance

cast him off — a course of conduct for which Job was perfectly at a

loss to account; yet

 

o        a needful experience, in the case of Christ to make him perfect as a

Saviour, in that of Job, David, Heman, and others to make them

perfect as saints.

 

 

o        The seeming injustice of God’s conduct in afflicting Job. Conscious of

innocence in his riper years, Job could only offer, as the solution of that

perplexing enigma by which he was confronted, that God was going

back upon the sins of his youthful days, although these had long

since been repented of and forgiven (v. 26). But sin once forgiven

is for ever forgotten (Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:18-19). God never

reproduces for punishment the transgression He has freely

pardoned. Yet the iniquities of youth which have not been cancelled

by Divine mercy have a strange power of self-resuscitation in riper

years; and God often makes wicked men (e.g. the drunkard, the

profligate), in accordance with the established and righteous laws

of retribution, to inherit, or possess, or reap the bitter fruits in

old age of the excesses and indulgences of youth. Hence the

necessity of cultivating moral purity in youth, and the propriety

in after years of praying, “Remember not the sins of my youth”