If He takes away, who can stop Him? Who dares to ask Him, 'What are You doing?'
Job was afflicted not more for his own benefit than for the benefit of others. His discourses with his friends gave him a good opportunity of justifying the sovereignty of God, in the dispensations of His providence. The friends insisted that God treated every man according to his real character, in His providential conduct towards him; but Job maintained that God acted as a sovereign, without any design of distinguishing His friends from His enemies, by outward mercies and afflictions. In the preceding verses, he gives a striking description of Divine sovereignty.
I. THE HELPLESSNESS OF MAN IN PRESENCE OF HIS OMNIPOTENCE. (Vers, 1-3.) What avails right on one's side against him who has all heaven's artillery at his command? "It is idle to argue with the Master of thirty legions." Out of a thousand questions with which the Almighty might overwhelm my mind, there is not one which I could answer with the chance of a fair hearing. Indeed, this in a sense is true, as the thirty-eighth chapter will presently show. It is idle to argue with God concerning the constitution of things. But it is never idle to plead the right. This, God, by the very nature of his Being, by his promises, is bound to attend to. Job thinks of God as the Almighty and the All-wise (ver. 4), and he finds in this combination of attributes only reason for despair. He leaves out his justice; his faith in his love is suspended for a time. Hence he sees him only through the distorted dream of suffering, and his dark inferences are wrong.
II. DESCRIPTIONS OF THE ABSOLUTE POWER OF GOD.
1. In nature's destructive forces. Here he would rival and outvie Eliphaz in the sublimity of his pictures. The more terrible phenomena of nature are produced as evidences of a blind, tyrannic might: the earthquake (ver. 5), which topples over the giant mountains like a child's plaything, and rocks the solid foundations of the earth (ver. 6); the eclipse of sun and stars the universal darkness of the heavens (ver. 7), Here is the origin, according to some philosophers, of religion - man's terror in the presence of the vast destructive forces of nature. But it is the origin only of a part of religious feeling - of awe and reverence. And when man learns more of nature as a whole, and more of his own heart, he rises into loftier and happier moods than that of slavish fear.
2. In nature's splendour and general effect. The vastness of the "immeasurable heavens," and the great sea of clouds (ver. 8), the splendid constellations of the northern and the southern sky (ver. 9), lead the mind out in wonder, stretch the imagination to its limits, fill the soul with the sense of the unutterable, the innumerable, the infinite (ver. 10). This mood is happier than the former. It is one of elevation, wonder, delighted joy in the communion of the mind with Mind. It is stamped upon the glowing lines of the nineteenth psalm. But Job draws from these sublime spectacles at present only the inference of God's dread and irresistible power.
III. MANKIND ITSELF IN RELATION TO THIS ABSOLUTE POWER.
1. It is invisible and swift in its errand of terror (ver. 11). Sudden death by lightning, or by a hasty malady, naturally produces an appalling effect. Hence the prayer of the Litany.
2. It is irresistible. (Vers. 12. 13.) No human hand can stay, no human prayer avert, its overpowering onset. The monsters, or Titans ("helpers of Rahab"), were overcome, according to some well-known legend; how much less, then, can I resist with success (ver. 14)?
3. The consciousness of innocence is therefore of no avail. Supplication alone is in place before a Disputant who knows no law but his will (ver. 15). I cannot believe that he, from his height, would give attention to my cry (ver. 16). He is Force, crushing Force alone, guided only by causeless caprice (ver. 17); stifling the cry of the pleader in his mouth, and filling him with bitterness (ver. 18).
4. The human dilemma. Man in presence of an absolute Tyrant must always be in the wrong. If he stands on might, he is a fool; if he appeals to right, he has no court of all appeal - for who can challenge the Judge of heaven and earth? Right will be set down as wrong, innocence will be pronounced guilt (vers. 19, 20). We see, from this picture of Job's state of mind, that there is no extremity of doubt so dim as when man is tempted to disbelieve in the principle of justice as the law of the universe, which cannot be broken. The thought of God turns then only into one of unmitigated horror and despair. - J.
Behold, He taketh away.
Job was a sufferer. Of his property he was deprived; of his children he was bereaved; in his own person he was sorely afflicted. It would not have been strange had Job given way to murmuring and repining. Unsupported and uncomforted from above, what else can be expected from man when in deep distress, but the expression of uneasiness and fretful discontent? Some, indeed, attempt to bear up under adversity by hard-hearted callousness, and others by a prideful aversion to complain. Job felt what he endured, and he acknowledged what he endured, but his feeling and acknowledgment indicated calm submission.
I. THE DOCTRINE TAUGHT — THE AGENCY OF GOD. His agency in providence. Not to be classed with chance or accident. It would be a mistake to represent God as exercising no providential superintendence, no control, no management, no rule. Some hold that God's agency is general, not particular, not concerned with details. But great and little are not to God what they are to us. What it was no degradation to God to create, it can be no degradation to God to superintend. A particular agency on His part is the only intelligible notion of God's agency in providence. The manner in which God's agency, in the various dispensations of providence, is regarded respectively by the believer and by the unbeliever, constitutes one of the most marked distinctions between the characters of these two classes of person.
II. THE LESSONS WHICH THIS DOCTRINE TEACHES.
1. Privation and loss are the doing of Him who neither does nor can do us any wrong. God is never arbitrary, never capricious, never unjust. He is essentially righteous. In no sense can He do that which is unrighteous. He cannot do it from ignorance, or from design.
2. Privation and loss are the doing of Him, all whose doings in reference to us are in accordance with what He Himself is — wise and gracious. Not only is He wise, but all-wise; actually, absolutely, yea, necessarily all-wise. His understanding is infinite. He is gracious. His nature is love. What a proof of this did He afford in devising a plan by which sinners might be rescued from the penal consequences of sin.
3. Privation and loss are the doing of Him who is able, and as willing as He is able, to educe, in our experience, good from evil. Out of the strait in which we are involved there may be no seeming way of escape. But is it irremediable by Him whose arm is full of might, who is equal to our support and deliverance, whatever be our condition? This subject calls for thankfulness; it should produce resignation; it should lead us to prepare for changes.
Who will say unto Him, What doest Thou? —
In the cup of life there are many bitter ingredients. From the day we are born, till the day we die, there is an invariable mixture of joy and sorrow. The world is full of uncertainties. Its best satisfactions are neither substantial nor permanent Religion is not satisfied with directing our attention to second causes. It leads us above them to the First Cause of all things. It conducts us to God; and presents Him to us under the mild aspect of a Father, always mindful of our happiness; and who has given us so many proofs of this in nature, providence, and grace, as to merit our entire confidence and unreserved submission. There is much in the present state of things to perplex the understanding, as well as to wound the heart. I find in the revelation which religion has made to me another and better world, where my perplexities will be resolved, and my troubles cease. In 'dines of sorrow, philosophy has no effectual help for us. Various and contradictory maxims may be urged upon us, and to all we must reply, with the ancient sufferer, "Miserable comforters are ye all." But it is not in vain to direct our thoughts to God; to make an oblation of our wills to Him. There is too much disposition in mankind to disregard the providence of God; to overlook His agency in the occurrences of life. What would become of us if our life were an unmingled portion of good; if our day were never darkened with the clouds of adversity? Afflictions are intended as the instruments of good to us. Afflictions, rightly improved, are real blessings.
I. IT IS THE NATURAL TENDENCY OF AFFLICTIONS TO MAKE THE FRIENDS OF GOD REALISE AND SUBMIT TO HIS SOVEREIGNTY. Afflictions always display the sovereignty of God. Whenever God afflicts His children, He gives a practical and sensible evidence that He has a right to dispose of them contrary to their views, their desires, and most tender feelings. Of all afflictions, those which are called bereavements, give the clearest display of Divine sovereignty.
II. SUCH A REALISING SENSE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN AFFLICTIONS, HAS A NATURAL TENDENCY TO EXCITE TRUE SUBMISSION IN EVERY PIOUS HEART.
1. While they realise the nature of His sovereignty, they cannot help seeing the true ground or reason of submission.
2. God designs thus to bring His children to submission.
3. It has so often produced this desirable effect in their hearts. Apply the subject.(1) If all afflictions are designed and adapted to bring men to a cordial submission to Divine sovereignty, then all true submission must be in its own nature absolute and unreserved.(2) We may assume that we shall have to submit to the Divine sovereignty in the world to come.(3) The doctrine of unconditional submission to God ought to be plainly taught and inculcated.(4) If afflictions are designed and suited to make men realise Divine sovereignty, then they always try their hearts, whether they are friendly or unfriendly to God.(5) The afflictions that bring men to submission must do them good.
()These words speak of three solemn and weighty truths.
I. THE LORD'S SOVEREIGN AGENCY. We see this in families, we see it in provinces, we see it in whole nations. We perceive prosperity or adversity — peace or discord — joy or misery — coming both to individuals and to communities without their knowledge, and often without their concurrence. The human race are subject to other influences besides their own. From the Bible we learn that the smallest, as well as the weightiest affairs, are under Christ's supervision and control. Nothing arises in this our world by chance or by accident. The same sovereign agency is seen in the issues of life. The keys of the invisible world are committed to Christ's sole custody. All second causes work out the sovereign will of the Great First Cause. It is He who fixes the precise moment for the removal of men by death from their busy occupations.
II. HIS IRRESISTIBLE MIGHT. This is the groundwork of the patriarch's argument in the passage before us. Who can hinder Him? Shall the man of wisdom? Shall a parent's love avert the threatening blow? Shall the tears of a wife? Shall the regrets of an admiring nation?
III. HIS UNSEARCHABLE WISDOM. The Almighty doeth all things well. From all eternity the Lord has had certain purposes to be accomplished. In some matters the wisdom of the Lord's dealing is so palpable that we are compelled to acquiesce. At other seasons we are all in the dark. Then it is our privilege to exercise faith in the fatherly care and unfailing love of our Almighty Redeemer.
TopicsBehold, Bringeth, Doest, Hinder, Prey, Puts, Restrain, Seizeth, Snatch, Snatches, Snatcheth, Stop, Taketh
Outline1. Job acknowledges God's justice
22. Man's innocence is not to be condemned by afflictions
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJob 9:12
1105 God, power of
1115 God, purpose of
1130 God, sovereignty
5216 authority, nature of
LibraryMarch 16 Morning
What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.--JAS. 4:14. My days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good. They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.--Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep . . . in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up: in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.--Man that is born of a woman …
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path
The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes
"O come hither, and behold the works of the Lord; what destruction he hath brought upon the earth!" Ps. 46:8. Of all the judgments which the righteous God inflicts on sinners here, the most dreadful and destructive is an earthquake. This he has lately brought on our part of the earth, and thereby alarmed our fears, and bid us "prepare to meet our God!" The shocks which have been felt in divers places, since that which made this city tremble, may convince us that the danger is not over, and ought …
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions
Washed to Greater Foulness
Turning to my text, let me say, that as one is startled by a shriek, or saddened by a groan, so these sharp utterances of Job astonish us at first, and then awake our pity. How much are we troubled with brotherly compassion as we read the words,--"If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me!" The sense of misery couched in this passage baffles description. Yet this is but one of a series, in which sentence …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886
A Blow at Self-Righteousness
The sermon of this morning is intended to be another blow against our self-righteousness. If it will not die, at least let us spare no arrows against it; let us draw the bow, and if the shaft cannot penetrate its heart, it may at least stick in its flesh and help to worry it to its grave. I. Endeavouring to keep close to my text, I shall start with this first point--that THE PLEA OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS CONTRADICTS ITSELF. "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me." Come, friend, thou who …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 7: 1861
"Wash You, Make You Clean, Put Away the Evil of Your Doings from Before Mine Eyes; Cease to do Evil,"
Isaiah i. 16.--"Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil," &c. If we would have a sum of pure and undefiled religion, here it is set down in opposition to this people's shadow of religion, that consisted in external ordinances and rites. We think that God should be as well-pleased with our service as we ourselves, therefore we choose his commands which our humour hath no particular antipathy against and refuse others. But the Lord will not …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
The Power of God
The next attribute is God's power. Job 9:19. If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong.' In this chapter is a magnificent description of God's power. Lo, he is strong.' The Hebrew word for strong signifies a conquering, prevailing strength. He is strong.' The superlative degree is intended here; viz., He is most strong. He is called El-shaddai, God almighty. Gen 17:7. His almightiness lies in this, that he can do whatever is feasible. Divines distinguish between authority and power. God has both. …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Wisdom of God
The next attribute is God's wisdom, which is one of the brightest beams of the Godhead. He is wise in heart.' Job 9:9. The heart is the seat of wisdom. Cor in Hebraeo sumitur pro judicio. Pineda. Among the Hebrews, the heart is put for wisdom.' Let men of understanding tell me:' Job 34:44: in the Hebrew, Let men of heart tell me.' God is wise in heart, that is, he is most wise. God only is wise; he solely and wholly possesses all wisdom; therefore he is called, the only wise God.' I Tim 1:17. All …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
That the Self-Existent Being must be All-Powerful.
The self-existent being, the supreme cause of all things, must of necessity have infinite power.--This proposition is evident, and undeniable. For since nothing (as has been already proved,) can possibly be self-existent, besides himself; and consequently all things in the universe were made by him, and are entirely dependent upon him; and all the powers of all things are derived from him, and must therefore be perfectly subject and subordinate to him; it is manifest that nothing can make any difficulty …
Samuel Clarke—A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God
"We have no Might. " 2 Chron. xx. 12
YET WE NEED IT VERY MUCH. We are in great weakness, and we need power, for there is a great multitude come against us. It is not the wisest policy to ignore the strength of our enemy. Jehoshaphat did not. It is well for us to know the strength of our foes, but let it not lead us to despair. Who shall number the host of the foes against whom we must fight? They come to rob us of our inheritance, and if we submit, we shall be enslaved. WE have no might, but WE KNOW WHO HAS. The pious king said …
Thomas Champness—Broken Bread
Whether it is Lawful for a Man to Confess a Sin which He Has not Committed?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is lawful for a man to confess a sin which he has not committed. For, as Gregory says (Regist. xii), "it is the mark of a good conscience to acknowledge a fault where there is none." Therefore it is the mark of a good conscience to accuse oneself of those sins which one has not committed. Objection 2: Further, by humility a man deems himself worse than another, who is known to be a sinner, and in this he is to be praised. But it is lawful for a man to confess himself …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Whether Negligence Can be a Mortal Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that negligence cannot be a mortal sin. For a gloss of Gregory [*Moral. ix. 34] on Job 9:28, "I feared all my works," etc. says that "too little love of God aggravates the former," viz. negligence. But wherever there is mortal sin, the love of God is done away with altogether. Therefore negligence is not a mortal sin. Objection 2: Further, a gloss on Ecclus. 7:34, "For thy negligences purify thyself with a few," says: "Though the offering be small it cleanses the negligences …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Whether Doubts Should be Interpreted for the Best?
Objection 1: It would seem that doubts should not be interpreted for the best. Because we should judge from what happens for the most part. But it happens for the most part that evil is done, since "the number of fools is infinite" (Eccles. 1:15), "for the imagination and thought of man's heart are prone to evil from his youth" (Gn. 8:21). Therefore doubts should be interpreted for the worst rather than for the best. Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 27) that "he leads a …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
God Holy, Just, and Sovereign. Job 9:2-10.
God holy, just, and sovereign. Job 9:2-10. How should the sons of Adam's race Be pure before their God? If he contend in righteousness, We fall beneath his rod. To vindicate my words and thoughts I'll make no more pretence; Not one of all my thousand faults Can bear a just defence. Strong is his arm, his heart is wise; What vain presumers dare Against their Maker's hand to rise, Or tempt th' unequal war? [Mountains, by his almighty wrath, From their old seats are torn; He shakes the earth from …
Isaac Watts—The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts
The King's Highway
'And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26. And when the disciples saw Him walking …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Whether Man Can Know that He Has Grace?
Objection 1: It would seem that man can know that he has grace. For grace by its physical reality is in the soul. Now the soul has most certain knowledge of those things that are in it by their physical reality, as appears from Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 31). Hence grace may be known most certainly by one who has grace. Objection 2: Further, as knowledge is a gift of God, so is grace. But whoever receives knowledge from God, knows that he has knowledge, according to Wis. 7:17: The Lord "hath given …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Opposition to Messiah in Vain
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. T he extent and efficacy [effects] of the depravity of mankind cannot be fully estimated by the conduct of heathens destitute of divine revelation. We may say of the Gospel, in one sense, what the Apostle says of the Law, It entered that sin might abound (Romans 5:20) . It afforded occasion for displaying the alienation of the heart of man from the blessed God, in the strongest light. The sensuality, oppression and …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2
Christ's First and Last Subject
IT SEEMS from these two texts that repentance was the first subject upon which the Redeemer dwelt, and that it was the last, which, with his departing breath, he commended to the earnestness of his disciples. He begins his mission crying, "Repent," he ends it by saying to his successors the apostles, "Preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." This seems to me to be a very interesting fact, and not simply interesting, but instructive. Jesus Christ opens his …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860
The Preface to the Commandments
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God,' &c. Exod 20: 1, 2. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments? The preface to the Ten Commandments is, I am the Lord thy God.' The preface to the preface is, God spake all these words, saying,' &c. This is like the sounding of a trumpet before a solemn proclamation. Other parts of the Bible are said to be uttered by the mouth of the holy prophets (Luke 1: 70), but here God spake in his own person. How are we to understand that, God spake, …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
Christian Standing and Christian Progress
PHILIPPIANS iii. 12-16 Christian exultation--Christian confidence--"Not in the flesh"--"In Jesus Christ"--The prize in view--No finality in the progress--"Not already perfect"--The recompense of reward--What the prize will be In a certain sense we have completed our study of the first section of the third chapter of the Epistle. But the treatment has been so extremely imperfect, in view of the importance of that section, that a few further remarks must be made. Let us ponder one weighty verse, …
Handley C. G. Moule—Philippian Studies
The Value of this Doctrine
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). "Doctrine" means "teaching," …
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God
Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and …
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification
Necessity of Contemplating the Judgment-Seat of God, in Order to be Seriously Convinced of the Doctrine of Gratuitous Justification.
1. Source of error on the subject of Justification. Sophists speak as if the question were to be discussed before some human tribunal. It relates to the majesty and justice of God. Hence nothing accepted without absolute perfection. Passages confirming this doctrine. If we descend to the righteousness of the Law, the curse immediately appears. 2. Source of hypocritical confidence. Illustrated by a simile. Exhortation. Testimony of Job, David, and Paul. 3. Confession of Augustine and Bernard. 4. Another …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
The Sinner Arraigned and Convicted.
1. Conviction of guilt necessary.--2. A charge of rebellion against God advanced.--3. Where it is shown--that all men are born under God's law.--4. That no man hath perfectly kept it.--5. An appeal to the reader's conscience on this head, that he hath not.--6. That to have broken it, is an evil inexpressibly great.--7. Illustrated by a more particular view of the aggravations of this guilt, arising--from knowledge.--8. From divine favors received.--9. From convictions of conscience overborne.--10. …
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul
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