Then Job answered and said,…
Job looks round for God, as a man might look round for an old acquaintance, an old but long-gone friend. Memory has a great ministry to discharge in life; old times come back, and whisper to us, correct us or bless us, as the ease may be. After listening to all new doctors the heart says, "Where is your old friend? where the quarter whence light first dawned? recall yourself; think out the whole case." So Job would seem now to say, Oh that I knew where I might find Him! I would go round the earth to discover Him; I would fly through all the stars if I could have but one brief interview with Him; I would count no labour hard if I might see Him as I once did. We are not always benefited by a literally correct experience, a literally correct interpretation, even. Sometimes God has used other means for our illumination and release, and upbuilding in holy mysteries. So Job might have strange ideas of God, and yet those ideas might do him good. It is not our place to laugh even at idolatry. There is no easier method of provoking an unchristian laugh, or evoking an unchristian plaudit, than by railing against the gods of the heathen. Job's ideas of God were not ours, but they were his; and to be a man's very own religion is the beginning of the right life. Only let a man with his heart hand seize some truth, hold on by some conviction, and support the same by an obedient spirit, a beneficent life, a most charitable temper, a high and prayerful desire to know all God's will, and how grey and dim soever the dawn, the noontide shall be without a cloud, and the afternoon shall be one long quiet glory. Hold on by what you do know, and do not be laughed out of initial and incipient convictions by men who are so wise that they have become fools. Job says, Now I bethink me, God is considerate and forbearing. "Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He would put strength in me" (ver. 6). It is something to know so much. Job says, Bad as I am, I might be worse; after all I am alive; poor, desolated, impoverished, dispossessed of nearly everything I could once handle and claim as my own, yet still I live, and life is greater than anything life can ever have. So I am not engaged in a battle against Omnipotence; were I to fight Almightiness, why I should be crushed in one moment. The very fact that I am spared shows that although it may be God who is against me, He is not rude in His almightiness, He is not thundering upon me with His great strength; He has atmosphered Himself, and is looking in upon me by a gracious accommodation of Himself to my littleness. Let this stand as a great and gracious lesson in human training, that however great the affliction it is evident that God does not plead against us with His whole strength; if He did so, He who touches the mountains and they smoke has but to lay one finger upon us — nay, the shadow of a finger — and we should wither away. So, then, I will bless God; I will begin to reckon thus, that after all that has gone the most has been left me; I can still inquire for God, I can still even dumbly pray; I can grope, though I cannot see; I can put out my hands in the great darkness, and feel something; I am not utterly cast away. Despisest thou the riches of His goodness? Shall not the riches of His goodness lead thee to repentance? Hast thou forgotten all the instances of forbearance? Is not His very stroke of affliction dealt reluctantly? Does He not let the lifted thunder drop? Here is a side of the Divine manifestation which may be considered by the simplest minds; here is a process of spiritual reckoning which the very youngest understandings may conduct. Say to yourself, Yes, there is a good deal left; the sun still warms the earth, the earth is still willing to bring forth fruit, the air is full of life; I know there are a dozen graves dug all round me, but see how the flowers grow upon them everyone; did some angel plant them? Whence came they? Life is greater than death. The life that was in Christ abolished death, covered it with ineffable contempt, and utterly set it aside, and its place is taken up by life and immortality, on which are shining forever the whole glory of heaven. Job will yet recover. He will certainly pray; perhaps he will sing; who can tell? He begins well; he says he is not fighting Omnipotence, Omnipotence is not fighting him, and the very fact of forbearance involves the fact of mercy.
(Joseph Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Job answered and said,
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