The Bright Light in the Cloud
Job 37:21
And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passes, and cleans them.

God appears, the last of the dramatis personae. He comes in the whirlwind, and out of the cloud, sweeping through the heavens: He proclaims His majesty: "Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me." The cloud is God's pavilion. It is the appropriate medium through which the Infinite reveals Himself to man. In the nature of the case it is not possible to have a revelation without a corresponding adumbration of Him. He is like the sun, which cannot be seen without a dimness intervening between it and the naked eye. This is God's way of revealing Himself: He must needs obscure His glory in manifesting it. The complaint of Elihu is that men behold the cloud, but not the bright light within it.

I. AS TO GOD'S PERSONALITY. To know Him is the summit of human aspiration. This is life eternal, to know God, and Jesus Christ who is the manifestation of God. It is an easy thing to utter His name; but who can apprehend the tremendous truth suggested in that little word of three letters! Infinitude is embraced in it. When Simonides was entrusted by King Hiero with the duty of defining God, he returned at the close of the day to ask for further time. A week, a month, a year passed by, and then he reported, "The more I think of Him, the more He is unknown to me." There have been campaigns of controversy, centuries of research, libraries of theology, and still here we are asking, What is God? The cloud bewilders us. But one thing we know, God is Love. This is the bright light. Whatever else we fail to grasp, this we may fully apprehend. If Jesus Christ had done no more, as Madame de Gasparin said, than to reveal the Divine Fatherhood, that would have compensated for His incarnation.

II. AS TO GOD'S CHARACTER. His attributes of truth, justice, and holiness, are the habitation of His throne. The thought of the Divine holiness appalls us, for we are defiled, and by our sins infinitely separated from Him. But again, love is the bright light. The cross stands in the midst of the Divine holiness. The cross is preeminently the manifestation of the Divine love. At the moment when Jesus died, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, and a new and living way was opened up for sinners into the Holiest of all.

III. AS TO THE DIVINE DECREES. Or, God's dealings with us from the eternal ages. The very suggestion offends us. Yet we must be aware that God would not be God if He had not foreknown and foreordained whatsoever cometh to pass. It is vain, however, to undertake to simplify the doctrine. But here, again, love is the bright light. God's decrees are founded in His mercy. Election has never kept one out of heaven, but it has brought an innumerable multitude into it.

IV. AS TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Here, surely clouds and darkness are round about Him. Pain, sorrow, disappointment, are our common portion. We are all burden bearers. Why must we be? Here, again, love is the bright light. All God's dealings with us are illumined by the thought that He does not willingly afflict us. He is making all things work together for our good. Not long ago, in the Chinese quarter at San Francisco, under one of the theatres, I saw a child of six years with her mother in a narrow room, with joss gods all round them. For a coin, the little one sang to us. It was a strange place for a gush of heaven's melody. This is what she sang: —

"Jesus loves me, this I know,

For the Bible tells me so."Oh, that we might all carry away with us the assurance of our Father's love! Whatever darkness may gather, this is the bright light.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.

WEB: Now men don't see the light which is bright in the skies, but the wind passes, and clears them.

Light on the Cloud
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