Then Job answered the LORD, and said,…
This passage sets before us the result of Jehovah's coming into communion with Job.
I. THE RESULT INWARDLY.
1. Job's new knowledge.
(1) He has a new knowledge of God — not new in its facts, exactly, but new in his appreciation of them. It was not so much a knowledge that God is, as that He is omnipotent, and wise in His providence. Every revelation of God to our hearts has for its contents, above the fact of God's existence, the facts of His character. God is never shown to us except with His attributes. This new knowledge came to Job because he suffered. When Job sees God, and learns of his attributes, the cue attribute which he has questioned, and which he would naturally want to know about — justice — remains in the background. When God shows Himself to us we are satisfied, even though He does not show that part of Himself which we have most wanted to see.
(2) A new knowledge of himself. He says frankly that he had been talking about which he was ignorant. All along Job had been discussing God with his friends upon two assumptions — that he was able to know all about Him, and that he did know all about Him. He now finds that he was mistaken in both. How difficult it is to know ourselves, even negatively. A sight of the Infinitely Holy convicts us of sin. We learn what we are by contrast with something else.
2. In connection with Job's new knowledge there came a new state of heart.
(1) He was willing to have his questions unanswered. All thought of the vexing problem of suffering seems to be forgotten. Faith has silenced doubt. We are not made to know some things. The question is, how to be satisfied while not knowing.
(2) The appearance of God brought to Job the rare virtue of humility. We cannot truthfully say that heretofore Job had shown any excess of this virtue. Now he sees that the attitude of mind out of which his bold words Godward had arisen was unbecoming one who was but a creature. It is no mark of greatness to fancy oneself infallible. To acknowledge mistake is a sign of progress.
(3) Job goes beyond humility to repentance. He says that dust and ashes are the best exponent of his state of mind. Repentance is open to any man who thinks. No one, not even righteous Job, needs to hunt long for reasons for repentance.
II. THE RESULT OUTWARDLY OF JOB'S COMING INTO CONNECTION WITH GOD.
1. His misfortunes were reversed. We cannot infer from this that God will always literally restore earthly prosperity for those who are afflicted by its loss. What we may reasonably infer is that God controls outer things for good ends to us. We are not to infer that the Lord's hand is shortened, but He chooses His own way.
2. God transforms Job's sorrow into joy. Some time or some where He will do the same for us if we are His. It may be largely in this life, as in the case of Job. The area of vision has been enlarged by our blessed Lord, who brought life and immortality to light.
3. Job was able to be of service to his friends. Jehovah was angry against the three friends. God's coming to Job was a means of his being a blessing to others. It is so with ourselves.
III. GENERAL LESSONS.
1. The conclusion of the Book of Job shows to us the mercy of God. God sometimes seems unmerciful, but it is only seeming.
2. Job's questions remain unanswered. The mystery of Providence is unsolved.
3. Yet Job was satisfied. It was better for him to have Jehovah reveal Himself and His glory to him, than to know all things he wanted to know. There is something better than knowledge, something for which knowledge would be no substitute, the peace of the soul in fellowship with God.
4. The supreme lesson of this sublime Book is that joy comes through submission to God. happiness for the human soul is not in conquest, but in being conquered; not in exaltation, but in humiliation.
(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Job answered the LORD, and said,