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THE BOOK OF JOB
‘A man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.’
The authorship and date of the book of Job are problems yet unsolved. This only is certain, that it presents a picture of a very early civilisation. It is not Jewish. Its teaching is unlocalised, and is of all time, because it seems to be of no special time.
I. Hence it is that portions of this ancient book sound to us so strangely modern: and the first verse of the book is one in point. It is a height of spirituality for which we are not prepared in a civilisation so remote. There is a ring of enthusiasm in the words, the spirit of a mind possessed with the reality of a Divine world above and beyond this.
II. The moral of the book of Job is that there are lessons in suffering or loss as true and precious as those which are learnt from regarding it as punishment, and this truth is one which we are still far from having mastered.—In the problem presented here to Job was the dawn of that light which burst in all its fulness upon mankind in the Son of God. We have here a true foreshadowing of the Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief, of Him Who was made perfect by sufferings, not because of the Father’s hate, but because of His great love.
III. The instinct of sonship which was so strong in Job we, blessed with the great heritage of Christianity, are often slow to attain to.—For, however much the reason is convinced that suffering and sacrifice are necessary ministers of the kingdom of heaven, we, each for himself, have to make it our own by another path.
‘Apart from all theories about its origin, “It is,” says Carlyle, “one of the grandest things ever written with pen. One feels, indeed, as if it were not Hebrew; such a noble universality, different from noble patriotism or sectarianism, reigns in it. A noble book—all men’s book.” For Tennyson it was “the greatest poem, whether of ancient or modern times,” and Luther deemed it “magnificent and sublime as no other book of Scripture.” “It,” says Froude, “hovers like a meteor over the old Hebrew literature.” It has been likened to Dante’s Divine Comedy. No doubt its scope is as great. It spans heaven and earth. Again, it has been compared with Goethe’s Faust. Faust has his Satan, his Mephistopheles, his temptation, his question, and his fall. But there is a difference. Faust has his problem, his greed of knowledge. And the tempter comes and weans him from the love of knowledge to the lust of flesh. But in Job Satan moves, as it were, on another plane. He does not corrupt man through lust; he threatens him through disaster and suffering. It is not for knowledge Job pants; it is for God Himself, Who only can give his restless soul rest.
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 1". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany