My face is red with weeping, and deep shadows ring my eyes;
This was Job's awful fate. All was calm when the thunderbolt fell and dashed him to the ground.
I. GOD GIVES TIMES OF EASE. This should be acknowledged even in the hours of suffering. Take life as a whole, and the intervals of ease are with most people much longer than the periods of trouble. Yet we are tempted to neglect them when giving the story of our life, and, like Jacob, to describe our days as "few and evil" (Genesis 47:9). Quiet times come from God quite as much as troublous times. It is an unjust view of providence to suppose that our ease comes from ourselves and the world, and only our trouble from God.
II. TIMES OF EASE WILL NOT ENDURE FOR EVER. It is needless to be anticipating future trouble. Christ bids us not be anxious for the morrow. But we should be prepared for trouble. The man who has insured his house against a fire need not be always dreaming that it is in flames. Having made a proper provision, he can set aside all thoughts of danger. We require to have just so much perception of the uncertainty of life as to lead us to make the requisite provision for a reverse of fortune. The storm may come. Where shall we be when it is upon us?
III. TIMES OF EASE ARE NOT IN THEMSELVES SECURITIES AGAINST TIMES OF TROUBLE. As they may give place to very different times, they cannot ward off the unacceptable succession. The great temptation of the rich man is to trust in his wealth for what it can never purchase. Seeing that its range is wide, he is in danger of missing its limits. So the prosperous man is tempted to trust to his good fortune, as though the mere occurrence of what is agreeable were a cause of the same in the future. But trouble comes from outside a man's circumstances, or from his own heart, which may be bankrupt while his estate is perfectly sound.
IV. TIMES OF EASE SHOULD HELP US TO PREPARE FOR TIMES OF TROUBLE. Joseph laid up stores during the seven years of plenty in preparation for the coming seven years of famine. The prudent man will always try to put something by for a rainy day. Old age must be provided for by the forethought of earlier years. Thrift is a duty a man owes to his family whom he ought to support, and to his neighbours to whom he ought not to become a burden. Higher considerations require the same method of conduct. These present calm days afford us good opportunities for spiritual preparation. It is rare indeed that a man has power and disposition to enter into the deeper religious experiences on his death-bed if he has not made himself acquainted with them during the days of health and strength. Then death may surprise us at any time, and the only safety is in being always ready. A good use of the long, quiet, prosperous summer-time of life should leave us prepared to meet whatever wintry storms it may please God to send us. If we have the peace of God in our hearts, the most shattering blows will not destroy it, and that peace even in trouble will be far more precious to us than the times of ease of the lotus-eaters, with whom it was "always afternoon," but who knew not the deeper blessedness of peace in sorrow. - W.F.A.
God hath delivered me to the ungodly.
But Job gets some notion of the reality of things when he traces all to God, saving, "God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked." I begin to feel that even the devil is but a black servant in God's house. There is a sense, perhaps hardly open to a definition in words, in which the devil belongs to God as certainly as does the first archangel. There is no separate province of God's universe: hell burns at the very footstool of His throne. We must not allow ourselves to believe that there are rival powers and competing dynasties in any sense which diminishes the almightiness of God. If you say, as some distinguished philosophers have lately said, God cannot be almighty because there is evil in the world, you are limiting the discussion within too narrow a boundary. We must await the explanation. Give God time. Let Him work in His eternity. We are not called upon now to answer questions. Oh! could we hold our peace, and say, We do not know; do not press us for answers; let patience have her perfect work: this is the time for labour, for education, for study, for prayer, for sacrifice: this poor. twilight scene is neither fair enough nor large enough to admit the whole of God's explanation: we must carry forward our study to the place which is as lofty as heaven, to the time which is as endless as eternity. We all have suffering. Every man is struck at some point. Let not him who is capable of using some strength speak contemptuously of his weak brother. It is easy for a man who has no temptation in a certain direction to lecture another upon going in that direction. What we want is a juster comprehension of one another. We should say, This, my brother, cannot stand such and such a fire; therefore we try to come between him and the flame: this other brother can stand that fire perfectly well, but there is another fire which he dare not approach; therefore we should interpose ourselves between him and the dread furnace, knowing that we all have some weakness, some point of failure, some signature of the dust. Blessed are they who have great, generous, royal, Divine hearts! The more a man can forgive, the more does he resemble God.
TopicsBecoming, Dark, Darkness, Death, Death-shade, Deep, Eyelids, Face, Flushed, Foul, Red, Reddened, Ring, Shades, Shadow, Shadows, Weeping
Outline1. Job reproves his friends for unmercifulness17. He maintains his innocence
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJob 16:16
LibraryEpistle Xlv. To Theoctista, Patrician .
To Theoctista, Patrician  . Gregory to Theoctista, &c. We ought to give great thanks to Almighty God, that our most pious and most benignant Emperors have near them kinsfolk of their race, whose life and conversation is such as to give us all great joy. Hence too we should continually pray for these our lords, that their life, with that of all who belong to them, may by the protection of heavenly grace be preserved through long and tranquil times. I have to inform you, however, that I have …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
The Case of the Christian under the Hiding of God's Face.
1. The phrase scriptural.--2. It signifies the withdrawing the tokens of the divine favor.--3 chiefly as to spiritual considerations.--4. This may become the case of any Christian.--5. and will be found a very sorrowful one.--6. The following directions, therefore, are given to those who suppose it to be their own: To inquire whether it be indeed a case of spiritual distress, or whether a disconsolate frame may not proceed from indisposition of body,--7. or difficulties as to worldly circumstances.--8, …
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul
The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished; …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
The Birth of Jesus Proclaimed by Angels to the Shepherds.
(Near Bethlehem, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke II. 8-20. ^c 8 And there were shepherds in the same country [they were in the same fields from which David had been called to tend God's Israel, or flock] abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. [When the flock is too far from the village to lead it to the fold at night, these shepherds still so abide with it in the field, even in the dead of winter.] 9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them [He stood upon the earth at their side, and did …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
Mr. Bunyan's Last Sermon:
Preached August 19TH, 1688 [ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR] This sermon, although very short, is peculiarly interesting: how it was preserved we are not told; but it bears strong marks of having been published from notes taken by one of the hearers. There is no proof that any memorandum or notes of this sermon was found in the autograph of the preacher. In the list of Bunyan's works published by Chas. Doe, at the end of the 'Heavenly Footman,' March 1690, it stands No. 44. He professes to give the title-page, …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
The book of Job is one of the great masterpieces of the world's literature, if not indeed the greatest. The author was a man of superb literary genius, and of rich, daring, and original mind. The problem with which he deals is one of inexhaustible interest, and his treatment of it is everywhere characterized by a psychological insight, an intellectual courage, and a fertility and brilliance of resource which are nothing less than astonishing. Opinion has been divided as to how the book should be …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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