The Resuscitation and its Time Appointed
Job 14:14
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

We are informed of Columbus, that visions of the mighty continent he was afterwards to reveal rose upon his mind long before he set out on the voyage which conducted him thither. He was convinced that such a continent existed, and he burned with an ardent desire to explore its hidden wonders. We are told that he wandered often by the shores of the mighty ocean, or climbed aloft some rocky steep, that he might gaze over the world of waters. There must be a western continent; and who would not brave the dangers of the deep, if, haply, the enterprise would terminate in so wonderful a discovery? The discoveries of Columbus, however wondrous the exhibition there made of human sagacity and perseverance, did, after all, relate but to a portion of this fallen world; a world in which the great discoverer himself could be permitted to go to the grave neglected, impoverished, persecuted. But every man who has his station on the shores of the ocean of eternity, must ere long embark on its heaving waters, prosecute for himself the dangerous navigation, and occupy a place in the mysterious world beyond. In that region of mystery there are employments, sufferings, joys. Tremendous are the results which ensue from crossing that ocean of eternity. Oh, well, therefore, may we stand on our Atlantic cliff, straining our eyeballs over the deep, as the shades of evening are coming on; listening to the roar of the waters, if haply we may gather thence some intelligence regarding the distant world. What shall be my destiny yonder?

I. JOB EVIDENTLY LIVED IN THE HOPE OF A COMING RESURRECTION. He speaks of a tree cut down, yet, under the influence of heat and moisture, sprouting again; and expresses his wonder that man, when "he dieth and giveth up the ghost," should be utterly "wasted away" and become a nonentity. He speaks of rivers and pools of water drying up by the heats of summer; but he leaves the impression that he did not forget that the returning rains would restore them to their former state. He prays that God would "hide him in the grave," and there "keep him in secret" until His wrath was past, when, at a time appointed, he would be remembered and restored. "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." Is this, as if he had said, the destiny of man, the order of God's providence in dealing with him, first to die and then to revive? Must the seeds of death be purged out of his body in the grave? if so, then I need not fear death; I may rather welcome it with joy, looking forward into the future with confidence, waiting with patience for the resurrection day, and "knowing that my Redeemer liveth." It becomes us, in these latter times, to dwell with special interest on the doctrine of a resurrection. It is a fact that we have been born; it is a fact that we shall die; and it is another fact, just as certain, that we shall rise again from our graves. God is able to do it, and has issued the promise. Oh, wonderful exhibition to be thereby afforded of Jehovah's might! So have I seen one of our Scottish mountains invested with its wintry mantle of snow, and incrusted on all sides with thick-ribbed ice. Not a green leaf or tiniest flower broke the uniformity of the snowy waste. What desolation, dreariness, and death! Who would suppose that underneath that icy covering, life, and warmth, and beauty, were lying entombed, awaiting their glorious resurrection! Yet so it is. The months of winter passed away, the snow and ice disappeared, the streamlets flowed and sparkled again in the sunshine, and the whole landscape, once so chill and dreary, was lighted up with a thousand sights of loveliness and joy. The winter too of the grave has its returning spring, and while faith points the finger to the glorious epoch, hope fills the soul with an earnest of future gladness. "If a man die, shall he live again?" Thus saith the Lord, "Rejoice"; "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

II. JOB WAS EVIDENTLY CONVINCED THAT THE YEARS OF HIS LIFE WERE FIXED AND NUMBERED. He speaks, you perceive, of a "time appointed." And this idea is repeatedly suggested elsewhere, when we find him declaring that the Almighty has "numbered his steps," "determined his days and the number of his months," and caused him to "fulfil his days like a hireling." These expressions not only imply, but in distinct terms affirm, the sovereignty of God in fixing the duration of human life. Every individual man lives his "appointed time," and not one moment longer. There are many other utterances of Scripture which make the same affirmation. The Royal Preacher tells us that there is "a time to be born, and a time to die," as if the two grand limits, at least, of human existence, were positively fixed by Divine decree. The Psalmist speaks of the "measure of his days," and compares it to "an handbreadth"; expressions which are not only indicative of the shortness of human life, but also of its precise and actual amount. The Apostle Paul speaks of "finishing his course," and of a "race being set before us"; terms borrowed from the measured racecourse in the gymnastic games of the ancient Greeks, which, as fully as language can express it, affirm the doctrine we have just announced. And, indeed, the same doctrine flows, as a necessary consequence, from all we know of the perfections of God. If it be a truth that Almighty God determines in every case the duration of human life, and fixes the hour and circumstances of our dissolution, we ought to give Him credit for the exercise of supreme wisdom in this part of His procedure. No life is either prolonged or shortened without good cause. We ought to reflect that permanent or even lengthened existence in this world is not the end for which we were created. This world is the great seed bed or nursery for those souls who are destined to occupy diverse places and perform different functions hereafter. Our residence, accordingly, in this world, is not an end, but a means; and as the Almighty has ordained that this shall be the case, we may rest assured that not a single removal occurs, from the visible into the spiritual, but in the exercise of supreme wisdom. The time during which the spirit of every man must be submitted to the influences of this world, and the special influences to which it is submitted, are things of Divine appointment; and not merely the glory of God, but the welfare of all creation, is contemplated in every such appointment. It is incumbent on us, accordingly, habitually to feel and to act upon the truth of the Patriarch's saying: There is a time appointed for us all. We may not know the hour of our departure from this sublunary scene; the season, the place, and the circumstances of our dissolution may not be revealed to any created intelligence. But all is known to God, and is matter of previous arrangement and ordination. Moreover, the eternal interests of the whole universe are therein consulted. The Judge of all the earth is doing what is wise, and good, and right. Let us, accordingly, cherish the spirit of contentment and submission; filling the place assigned us with meekness, humility, and faith; prosecuting the duties before us with perseverance and godly zeal; holding ourselves in readiness, whensoever the summons reaches us, to arise and go hence.

III. JOB FORMED A RESOLUTION TO WAIT WITH PATIENCE THE EVOLUTION OF THE DIVINE PURPOSES. "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." He might have to endure for a season; but the vindication of his character, and the eternal re-establishment of his happiness, were future events, as certain of occurring as the rise of tomorrow's sun, or the budding of the flowers of the ensuing spring. What he felt called upon to do was to exercise patience in waiting for them. The trial, though severe and of long duration, would some time or other come to an end; the distress, though protracted, would not last forever; the eternal weight of glory which was approaching would far more than counterbalance the sufferings by which it was preceded. Oh, how different this from the faith and hope of the world! History has recorded the deathbed incidents and sayings of one of the infidel leaders of the great French Revolution. "Sprinkle me," said Mirabeau, as he was dying — "sprinkle me with odours, crown me with flowers; for I am sinking into eternal sleep." Oh, what a contrast! — the dying infidel on the one hand, the agonised patriarch on the other! The former had no God in whom he could trust; no Saviour to whom to resort when heart and flesh were fainting; no hope but the eternal sleep of annihilation. Peace he had none, nor the hope of it. And yet he was a dying man, and felt it. The roar of the dark waters was in his ears, and all he hoped for and desired was to be swallowed up in them, and be no more. And is this all that Reason, the boasted deity of French Atheism, can suggest to encounter the King of Terrors, the destiny of the grave? — a few drops of perfume, that speedily will exhale, and leave this poor clay tabernacle putrifying and noisome! — a chaplet of flowers, which ere tomorrow will be withering, and mock the brow it has been gathered to adorn! Poor preparation this for the soul's entrance into the presence chamber of Almighty God! — miserable comfort, when the heart-strings are bursting! See, however, yonder sorely distressed patriarch. Accumulated sorrows are wringing his spirit with anguish. He has lost all that the world values, — wealth, children, health, and even the good opinion and sympathy of his friends. He is a predestined heir of glory; his name is in the book of life. He is a saint amid all his sorrows; and God loves him, though bodily and mental anguish are making of him a prey. Oh, for the faith and hope of the servant of God!

(J. Cochrane, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

WEB: If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my warfare would I wait, until my release should come.

The Resurrection
Top of Page
Top of Page