Nor is there a mediator between us, to lay his hand upon us both.
I. THE NECESSITY FOR THIS ARISES:
1. From Job's consciousness of sin. In his prayer (ver. 28) he confesses to God, "I know thou wilt not hold me innocent." "I am not innocent," is the first confession of guilt. "If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me."
2. From Job's inability to "answer" to God. Of this he has made both complaint and confession. "Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer" (ver. 15). Fear and just humility seize him. "How much less shall I answer him?" (ver. 14). Man cannot order his own cause before the eternal Judge. "He cannot answer him one of a thousand" (ver. 3).
3. From their utter inequality. "He is not a man, as I am" (ver. 32). They could not therefore "come together in judgment." How vain of poor, ignorant, feeble, sinful man to suppose that he can answer to God - that he can "appear before him!" How vain even to imagine himself justified and pure before him! Yet many "appear before" God in the presumptuous, self-excusing, self-justifying thoughts of their minds. All such self-justification condemned by Job's wise words and just views of things.
II. JOB'S CRY IS THE UNCONSCIOUS CRY OF THE UNIVERSAL HEART OF MAN FOR A MEDIATOR. Seen in all religious systems - the faith in the priest - the conscious ignorance of hidden spiritual verities. The uninterpreted apprehension of a spiritual world and government and future, and yet the inability to deal with these and to put one's self in a right attitude respecting them. This cry is heard in all lands, languages, and times. "Oh that there were a daysman!" This cry prepares for and anticipates the true Mediator.
III. THE RESPONSE TO THE UNIVERSAL NEED IN THE "ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN." Happily "himself Man." God "hath spoken unto us in his Son" - no longer in prophets, but in a Son, who is at the same time "the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance;" and yet "Man" - "bone of our bone." "God manifested in the flesh," and yet "in all things" "made like unto his brethren." Speaking with Divine authority to us in our language, and of heavenly things on our level And revealing within the compass of a human life, and by means of human acts and human sentiments, the thought and love and pitiful mercy of God. And representing us - doing what Job felt (and all have felt whose views were just) he could not do, "appear before the face of God for us." Now we "have our access through him in one Spirit unto the Father." If we cannot order our speech or our cause, he can. If we cannot answer one of a thousand, he can. For he is able, indeed, to "put his hand upon both." - R.G.
Neither is there any daysman.
(Marvin R. Vincent, D. D.)
I. HE IS LABOURING UNDER A SENSE OF HOPELESS SIN. This is not less true because it is not persistent through the Book of Job, but intermittent; sometimes lightly felt, at other times crushing. It is on that account only a truer exhibition of human character. Here the feverish sense of it is at its strongest.
1. He is "plunged in the ditch," in the mire, in the "sewer"; so that his "clothes abhor him." The mire is his covering: he is all sin!
2. In this state he is self-condemned. He cannot "answer God," he cannot come into judgment with Him! That is probably the true meaning of these words, and not the common explanation, that he is afraid to answer God. God is not a man; He is not to be answered. He is Himself the judge; He must be right. That was not always Job's spirit, it is true; but that is his spirit in the present passage.
3. Then again, he cannot put away his pollution. He cannot make himself pure. "If I wash myself in snow water, and make my hands never so clean ('cleanse them with lye'), yet shalt Thou plunge me in the ditch." Struggling to get free only shows one's utter helplessness.
4. And why does he feel so helpless? What is it that reveals his sin to him? It is the character of God! God's holiness! God's law! He had not known sin but for that law. God's requirement, God's inspection of the soul after it has done its best, seems to "plunge it into the ditch."
II. IT IS THIS SENSE OF HOPELESS SIN THAT HAS TAUGHT JOB THE NEED OF A MEDIATOR.
1. As yet he can find none. His words do not go the length of asserting that there is not a daysman between God and any man; they are confined to his own need at the present moment — "Betwixt us!" For him there is none, and that is his overwhelming trouble.
2. But there is a need. He longs (more than one of the Hebrew words bring out the longing) for an umpire who should mediate between him and God.
3. This mediator must be able to "lay his hand upon us both." Not surely in the poor and irreverent sense (for it is both), that by a restraining hand of power he might control the action of the Almighty. The meaning is surely the simple one, that the umpire must be one who can reach both parties.
4. On the one hand we must do justice to God's holiness. In the mediation that must be sacred. It must issue from the trial not less glorious than before.
5. And on the other hand, the mediator must confess and deal with the sin of man. He must neither conceal nor excuse it; but, admitting, and rightly measuring the fact, he must be able to deal with it so as to satisfy God and to save man.
III. THE RESULTS OF SUCH MEDIATION ARE INDICATED. Generally there is reconciliation, the removal of that state of enmity existing between the sinner and his God.
1. Specifically, there is pardon. "Let God take His rod away from me!" God's punishment, whatever form it may assume, shall pass wholly away. "Thy sins be forgiven thee!" That would come from such a "daysman."
2. Next there is peace "Let not His fear terrify me!" May I look up to God, the Omnipotent and the holy God, and say, I am not afraid; for I have been reconciled unto Him! The mediator has laid a hand upon both, has reached God's holiness, and has reached my sin.
3. Then fear passes, and trust comes. "Then would I speak, and not fear Him." There can be no communion with God till the daysman has cast out the fear which has torment. Till then I can neither speak to Him nor hear Him.
IV. WE HAVE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THE ANTITHESIS OF THIS LONGING CRY OF JOB. "The law (says Paul, Galatians 3:19, 20) was ordained in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one." And who is the other party? It is sinful man. And "Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant" (Hebrews 12:24), "laying a hand on both," mediating between two who have been long and sorely at variance; the "daysman betwixt us" and God, who "pleads as a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour" (Job 16:21). The need then of a mediator, as a spiritual necessity of the sinner who has come to look down into his own heart and to compare it with God's holiness, is one of the strange teachings of the Book of Job.
(J. Elder Cumming, D. D.)
(T. Chalmers, D. D.)-one-ment"; and that is its meaning. By reason of our sin, there are two parties opposed the one to the other; there is no clement of union, but every element of antagonism to part and keep us asunder. Christ is the atoning sacrifice, and His atonement is a complete satisfaction. This is because Christ, our daysman, is both God and man, both natures in one person. To be a mediator it is necessary to have power and influence with both parties. Christ, as our daysman, has power with God, for He Himself is God; and to obtain influence with man He became a man, and bare our sorrows and endured our griefs. He became as one of us, "sin only excepted." Behold the sympathy of Jesus! — a participator in our sufferings, a sharer in our sorrows, and acquainted with our grief. It is true the majesty of God was unapproachable; no man could approach unto it; the spotless glory of that Presence was too dazzling for mortal sight to behold; His holiness was too pure to come into any contact with sin; the height of that glory was beyond what man had any power to attain unto. Then God in Christ came down to us. Oh, what grace! And whereas the Majesty of the Godhead was too august, He left it there upon His Father's throne, and He wrapped Himself for a time in the familiar mantle of our humanity; He became a man as we are. Inasmuch as man could not approach unto God, Christ brought the Godhead to the level of our humanity, that He might raise the human race from death and sin to the enjoyment of the life of righteousness. This is the true dignity of man, that Christ has dignified him and elevated him to His Father's glory. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me upon My throne, even as I also have overcome, and am set down upon My Father's throne." This is the Daysman who lays His hand upon us both. Does not that span the gulf? You know a bridge, to be of use and service, must rest its springing arch upon one bank and upon the other. To stop midway spoils the bridge. The ladder that is lifted up must touch the place on which you stand and the place where you would be, So is Christ the daysman. He lays His hand upon both parties. With one hand He lays hold upon God, for He Himself is God, and with the other He stoops until He lays hold upon sinful man, for He Himself is man; and thus laying His hand upon both parties, He brings both to one — He effects an at-one-ment, and "God is in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." Oh, blessed meeting! happy reconciliation! where mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other! Again: a mediator for sin must suffer, and by his sufferings he
(Robert Maguire, M. A.)
I. THE SINNER NEEDS A "DAYSMAN." Nothing but a sense of sin will ever lead a man in reality to seek a Saviour.
1. Mark the situation in which the sinner stands before his God — a condemned criminal
2. The sinner cannot plead his own cause.
3. There are none around to befriend his cause.
II. A "DAYSMAN" IS PROVIDED. The Gospel is called the "ministry of reconciliation." It bears this name because it points to Jesus as the sinner's "daysman." He is fitted for the character He sustains, and He effectually discharges the office.
III. THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR SEEKING AN INTEREST IN THIS "DAYSMAN." He is not our "daysman" unless we have sought Him. We must come to Him, and it must be by faith. The interest in Him surely should be sought at once.
I. First of all, let me describe what are THE ESSENTIALS OF AN UMPIRE, AN ARBITRATOR, OR A DAYSMAN.
1. The first essential is, that both parties should be agreed to accept him. Let me come to thee, thou sinner, against whom God has laid His suit, and put the matter to thee. God has accepted Christ Jesus to be His umpire in His dispute. He appointed Him to the office, and chose Him for it before He laid the foundations of the world. He is God's fellow, equal with the Most High, and can put His hand upon the Eternal Father without fear because He is dearly beloved of that Father's heart. But He is also a man like thyself, sinner. He once suffered, hungered, thirsted, and knew the meaning of poverty and pain. Now, what thinkest thou? God has accepted Him; canst thou agree with God in this matter, and agree to take Christ to be thy daysman too? Art thou willing that He should take this case into His hands and arbitrate between thee and God? for if God accepteth Him, and thou accept Him too, then He has one of the first qualifications for being a daysman.
2. But, in the next place, both parties must be fully agreed to leave the case entirely in the arbitrator's hands. If the arbitrator does not possess the power of settling the case, then pleading before him is only making an opportunity for wrangling, without any chance of coming to a peaceful settlement. Now God has committed "all power" into the hands of His Son. Jesus Christ is the plenipotentiary of God, and has been invested with full ambassadorial powers. If the case be settled by Him, the Father is agreed. Now, sinner, does grace move thy heart to do the same? Wilt thou agree to put thy case into the hands of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man? Wilt thou abide by His decision?
3. Further, let us say, that to make a good arbitrator or umpire, it is essential that he be a fit person. If the case were between a king and a beggar, it would not seem exactly right that another king should be the arbitrator, nor another beggar; but if there could be found a person who combined the two, who was both prince and beggar, then such a man could be selected by both. Our Lord Jesus Christ precisely meets the case. There is a very great disparity between the plaintiff and the defendant, for how great is the gulf which exists between the eternal God and poor fallen man? How is this to be bridged? Why, by none except by one who is God and who at the same time can become man. Now the only being who can do this is Jesus Christ. He can put His hand on thee, stooping down to all thine infirmity and thy sorrow, and He can put His other hand upon the Eternal Majesty, and claim to be co-equal with God and co-eternal with the Father. Dost thou not see, then, His fitness? There cannot surely be a better skilled or more judicious daysman than our blessed Redeemer.
4. Yet there is one more essential of an umpire, and that is, that he should be a person desirous to bring the case to a happy settlement. In the great case which is pending between God and the sinner, the Lord Jesus Christ has a sincere anxiety both for His Father's glory and for the sinner's welfare, and that there should be peace between the two contending parties. It is the life and aim of Jesus Christ to make peace. He delighteth not in the death of sinners, and He knows no joy greater than that of receiving prodigals to His bosom, and of bringing lost sheep back again to the fold. Thou seest then, sinner, how the case is. God has evidently chosen the most fitting arbitrator. That arbitrator is willing to undertake the case, and thou mayest well repose all confidence in Him: but if thou shalt live and die without accepting Him as thine arbitrator, then, the ease going against thee, thou wilt have none to blame but thyself.
II. And now I shall want, by your leave, to TAKE YOU INTO THE COURT WHERE THE TRIAL IS GOING ON AND SHOW YOU THE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE GREAT DAYSMAN. "The man, Christ Jesus," who is "God over all, blessed forever," opens His court by laying down the principles upon which He intends to deliver judgment, and those principles I will now try to explain and expound. They are two fold — first, strict justice; and secondly, fervent love. The arbitrator has determined that let the case go as it may there shall be full justice done, justice to the very extreme, whether it be for or against the defendant. He intends to take the law in its sternest and severest aspect, and to judge according to its strictest letter. He will not be guilty of partiality on either side. But the arbitrator also says that He will judge according to the second rule, that of fervent love. He loves His Father, and therefore He will decide on nothing that may attain His honour or disgrace His crown. He so loves God, the Eternal One, that He will suffer heaven and earth to pass away sooner than there shall be one blot upon the character of the Most High. On the other hand, He so loves the poor defendant, man, that He will be willing to do anything rather than inflict penalty upon him unless justice shall absolutely require it. He loves man with so large a love that nothing will delight Him more than to decide in his favour, and He will be but too glad if He can be the means of happily establishing peace between the two. Let justice and love unite if they can. Having thus laid down the principles of judgment, the arbitrator next calls upon the plaintiff to state His case. Let us listen While the great Creator speaks. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children." The Eternal God charges us, and let me confess at once most justly and most truly charges us, with having broken all His commandments — some of them in act, some of them in word, all of them in heart, and thought, and imagination. He charges upon us, that against light and knowledge we have chosen the evil and forsaken the good. All this, calmly and dispassionately, according to the great Book of the law, is laid to our charge before the Daysman. No exaggeration of sin is brought against us. The plaintiff's case having thus been stated, the defendant is called upon by the Daysman for his; and I think I hear Him as He begins. First of all, the trembling defendant sinner pleads — "I confess to the indictment, but I say I could not help it. I have sinned, it is true, but my nature was such that I could not well do otherwise; I must lay all the blame of it to my own heart; my heart was deceitful and my nature was evil." The Daysman at once rules that this is no excuse whatever, but an aggravation, for inasmuch as it is conceded that the man's heart itself is enmity against God, this is an admission of yet greater malice and blacker rebellion. Then the defendant pleads in the next place that albeit he acknowledges the facts alleged against him, yet he is no worse than other offenders, and that there are many in the world who have sinned more grievously than he has done. The sinner urges further, that though he has offended, and offended very greatly and grievously, yet he has done a great many good things. It is true he did not love God, but he always went to chapel. The defendant has no end of pleas, for the sinner has a thousand excuses; and finding that nothing else will do, he begins to appeal to the mercy of the plaintiff, and says that for the future he will do better. He confesses that he is in debt, but he will run up no more bills at that shop. What is the poor defendant to do now? He is fairly beaten this time. He falls down on his knees, and with many tears and lamentations he cries, "I see how the case stands; I have nothing to plead, but I appeal to the mercy of the plaintiff; I confess that I have broken His commandments; I acknowledge that I deserve His wrath; but I have heard that He is merciful, and I plead for free and full forgiveness." And now comes another scene. The plaintiff seeing the sinner on his knees, with his eyes full of tears, makes this reply, "I am willing at all times to deal kindly and according to loving kindness with all My creatures; but will the arbitrator for a moment suggest that I should damage and ruin My own perfections of truth and holiness; that I should belie My own word; that I should imperil My own throne; that I should make the purity of immaculate justice to be suspected, and should bring down the glory of My unsullied holiness, because this creature has offended Me, and now craves for mercy? I cannot, I will not spare the guilty; he has offended, and he must die! 'As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live.' Still, this 'would rather' must not be supreme. I am gracious and would spare the sinner, but I am just, and must not unsay My own words. I swore with an oath, 'The soul that sinneth shall die.' I have laid it down as a matter of firm decree, 'Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.' This sinner is righteously cursed, and he must inevitably die; and yet I love him." The arbitrator bows and says, "Even so; justice demands that the offender should die, and I would not have Thee unjust." The arbitrator, therefore, after pausing awhile, puts it thus: "I am anxious that these two should be brought together; I love them both: I Cannot, on the one hand, recommend that My Father should stain His honour; I cannot, on the other hand, endure that this sinner should be cast eternally into hell; I will decide the case, and it shall be thus: I will pay My Father's justice all it craves; I pledge Myself that in the fulness of time I will suffer in My own proper person all that the weeping, trembling sinner ought to have suffered. My Father, wilt Thou stand to this?" The Eternal God accepts the awful sacrifice! Yes, sinner, and He did more than say it, for when the fulness of time came — you know the story. Here, then, is the arbitration. Christ Himself suffers; and now I have to put the query, "Hast thou accepted Christ?"
III. Let us now look at THE DAYSMAN'S SUCCESS.
1. For every soul who has received Christ, Christ has made a full atonement which God the Father has accepted; and His success in this matter is to be rejoiced in, first of all, because the suit, has been settled conclusively. We have known cases go to arbitration, and yet the parties have quarrelled afterwards; they have said that the arbitrator did not rule justly, or something of the kind, and so the whole point has been raised again. But, O beloved, the case between a saved soul and God is settled once and forever. There is no more conscience of sin left in the believer.
2. Again, the case has been settled on the best principles, because, you see, neither party can possibly quarrel with the decision. The sinner cannot, for it is all mercy to him: even eternal justice cannot, for it has had its due.
3. Again, the case has been so settled, that both parties are well content. You never hear a saved soul murmur at the substitution of the Lord Jesus.
4. And through this Daysman both parties have come to be united in the strongest, closest, dearest, and fondest bond of union. This lawsuit has ended in such a way that the plaintiff and the defendant are friends for life, nay, friends through death, and friends in eternity. What a wonderful thing is that union between God and the sinner! We have all been thinking a great deal lately about the Atlantic cable. It is a very interesting attempt to join two worlds together. That poor cable, you know, has had to be sunk into the depths of the sea, in the hope of establishing a union between the two worlds, and now we are disappointed again. But oh! what an infinitely greater wonder has been accomplished. Christ Jesus saw the two worlds divided, and the great Atlantic of human guilt rolled between. He sank down deep into the woes of man till all God's waves and billows had gone over Him, that He might be, as it were, the great telegraphic communication between God and the apostate race, between the Most Holy One and poor sinners. Let me say to you, sinner, there was no failure in the laying down of that blessed cable.
( C. H. Spurgeon.).
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