Tradition and Experience
Job 42:5-6
I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.

The theme of this book is the old, yet ever new problem which meets each thoughtful man, the problem of this strange chequered life of ours, and of God's relation to it.

I. THE REAL ROOT OF JOB'S PERPLEXITIES. They sprung from the traditional but inadequate conception of God's moral government accepted in his day. The Book represents a transition period in Jewish religious thought, and one of much interest and importance. Men's minds were passing from an older and simpler faith to the fuller recognition of the facts of the Divine government. The old creed was this — the outward lot is an index to the inward character. This is true in its essence, but rudimentary in its form. But, according to the ways of human nature, the form became stereotyped, as though the letter rather than the spirit of the law were the abiding and essential element. Presently the question arose, How is this creed to be reconciled with facts? What about the prosperity of the wicked? What as to the sore troubles and afflictions of the righteous? Men of honest purpose could not shut their eyes to the seeming contradiction. Must they then yield up their trust in Jehovah as the supreme and righteous Ruler? It was the emerging out of. comparative childhood, an advance to a theology at once more spiritual, more true to the facts of life, and charged, moreover, with new sympathies for human sorrow and need; an advance, indeed, of no insignificant character towards that highest point of prophetic thought — the conception of the ideal servant of Jehovah, as "marred in His visage more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." In this poem we have the lasting record of this immense transition — this passing of the old faith into the new. As to the three friends and their characteristic talk, at every period of advance in men's conceptions of Divine truth these same good men have reappeared — with the same appeal to traditional beliefs, the same confidence that their hoary formulae express the whole of truth, the same inability to conceive it possible that they may be mistaken, the same dark suspicion of those who question their conclusions, and the same disposition to wax bitter, and to use hard words against the apostles of advance. On the other side we have Job. He had accepted the traditional view, but he sees plainly that in his case the belief does not square with the facts. And he is too honest and too fearless to shut his eyes to the contradiction. He will neither be untrue to his own consciousness of integrity, nor yet will he "speak unrighteously for God." Like many a man after him, Job found himself adrift on the surging waves of doubt. He asks, Can it be that the God I have trusted is simply force, resistless force, indifferent to moral distinctions? Or can it be that He has pleasure in the misery of His creatures? Or can it be that He sees as man sees, is capable of mistake, of confounding innocence with guilt?

II. How was THE DELIVERANCE OBTAINED? "Now mine eye seeth Thee." He clings to God even when most keenly sensible that His ways were harsh and repelling. He is resolved to hold on to God. From the traditional conception he presses upward to the thought that, somehow and somewhere, the righteous God will ultimately vindicate and honour righteousness. The answers of God did not deal directly with his problem, but they gave him such a vision of the glory of God, that his whole being was stilled into reverent trust. "Now mine eye seeth Thee"; — there is faith's foundation.

(Walter Ross Taylor.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

WEB: I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.

The Soul's Experience of God
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