Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain my own ways before him.
The measure of our being is the measure of our strength. He only is really strong who is strong in the Lord. He only who is strong in the Lord rises superior to circumstances. He whose soul is in his circumstances is weak in exact proportion as his heart is set upon surroundings. He who gives himself to the world gets nothing to self — to soul — in return. He who gives himself to God, though he may receive no objective blessing, gets God in return — finds a nobler self — saves by losing. Neither worldly splendour, nor state of our bodily health, affords any criterion to the state of our soul. We are prone to think adverse things are necessarily punitive. But the trials of Christians are disciplinary.
I. JOB'S WORDS ARE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. They afford insight into the state of Job's heart, and they tell us what he had been. Trials not only show character; they reveal history. When we see a man standing morally erect in circumstances the most dire that ever fell to the lot of mortal, we cannot doubt that we have insight into his history. Job had trusted in God, had lived near to Him in the past, and so he is strong, and rises above circumstances in the adverse present. Character is not formed by one effort of will, no, nor by ten, fifty, or five hundred.
II. THESE WORDS ARE EDUCATIONAL. They teach us that the child of God lives by faith. There are people who assume, perhaps they really experience a species of trust in God so long as all goes well with them. When the possessions of the self-complacent man are lost, we look in vain for evidences of contentment, thankfulness, philosophic bearing. The child of God does not regard his relationship to God as simply commercial. The professor only may calculate upon the advantage which, in a worldly sense, his religion is likely to bring. The child of God has no such thoughts. Christianity is commercial in the sense that to get we must give; yet it is not commercial, as we understand the word, for he who gives most of self to Christ, thinks least about what he receives in return. The child of God bases his trust upon the last contingency. Like a crane, a waggon, or a barge, some men can bear only a certain strain. The truth is that the pruning knife is never welcome, and we always think its edge would have been less keen had that been taken which is left, and that left which is taken. But Job could base his trust upon the very last contingency.
III. THESE WORDS ARE PROPHETICAL.
1. With respect to this life. What a man is at any time is an index to what he will be. Our daily procedure goes upon the supposition that our present character indicates our future. The present indicates the future if we continue in the same track.
2. With respect to a future life. There is a slaying which is not slaying. The child of God shall never die.
(J. S. Swan.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.