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This is a most beautiful and highly interesting chapter. Job here enters again upon his defense: in which we find nothing of reproach concerning the unkindness of his friends; but delightful testimony of God's wisdom, power, and justice; and humbling views of himself.
(1) ¶ Then Job answered and said, (2) I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? (3) If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. (4) He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
What a blessed evidence is here, that Job takes shame to himself, in the consciousness of man's sin, and GOD'S righteousness. How very strong and conclusive is the question, How should man be just with GOD? There are a thousand sins, and ten thousand transgressions, which pass away over our unthinking minds, into the gulph of forgetfulness, everyone of which, if GOD were to bring forward, would be enough to prove guilt. And though we forget them, yet GOD doth not; our secret sins are in the light of his countenance. Psalms 90:8 . What a thought is this to convince the soul of sin! What a motive is it, or ought it to be, to seek redemption in the blood of JESUS?
(5) Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. (6) Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. (7) Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. (8) Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. (9) Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. (10) Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (11) Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. (12) Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
Now let the Reader follow the footsteps of the HOLY GHOST, and mark, as he goeth on through Job's history, how Satan is baffled, and the poor sufferer is helped forward by grace. Satan was confident that Job would curse GOD, but behold how he blesseth him: how highly doth he talk of GOD'S perfections. The poor afflicted mourner seems to forget, for the moment, his own sorrows, while discoursing of GOD'S glory. Observe how Job follows GOD in the world of nature; removing mountains, shaking the earth, controlling the heavenly bodies and governing the sea. Then he prosecutes the subject into the world of providence; going by unperceived, taking away and none can hinder him, or say unto him, what doest thou? And had Job lived under the gospel of JESUS, how would his soul have expatiated on JESUS works in the world of grace? Reader! think what blessed privileges you are called to, before whom light and immortality is so fully brought to light in the gospel.
(13) If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. (14) ¶ How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? (15) Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge. (16) If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice. (17) For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause. (18) He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness. (19) If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? (20) If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. (21) Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
How very striking is this reasoning of Job, and what a spirit of the gospel it breathes. If the proud helpers stoop, what could Job do? GOD will make good every charge. Nay, saith Job, though I were righteous, that is, if my own heart did not reproach me, and I was led thereby to fancy myself righteous, yet would I not venture to trust it were so. Nay, more than this; if I had called, and GOD had answered me, yet even then I would not presumptuously think that this grace was on account of my deserts: oh! no, I would conclude, saith Job, that it was his mercy, not my merit, his free love and grace, not my deservings. Reader! I beseech you, pause over this passage. Is it not pure gospel from beginning to end? Where could Job learn this, but from Him who teacheth not as man teacheth? Was it not the same Almighty Teacher, indeed, that thus teaching and convincing Job of sin, taught and led him also to believe in his kinsman-Redeemer See chap. 19:25. I must not dismiss our view of this precious passage, until I have further begged the Reader to remark with me, one or two beauties more contained in it. Job, though justifying himself with respect to his conduct among men, makes a mighty distinction between this, and his justification before GOD. And in this, he is followed by other holy men of old. David, when unjustly charged by men, carries his cause to GOD: Judge me, O Lord, (said he) according to my righteousness, and according to the integrity that is in me. Psalms 7:8 . And the apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that he was not to be judged of men, or of man's judgment. 1 Corinthians 4:3 . But when GOD takes up the cause, as it concerns the sinner before GOD, David cries out, Enter not into judgment, with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psalms 143:2 . And Paul saith, All the world is become guilty before GOD . Romans 3:19 . And Job declares that he would not know his soul: and elsewhere he saith, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes: Job 42:6 .
(22) ¶ This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. (23) If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent. (24) The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he? (25) ¶ Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good. (26) They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey. (27) If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:
Job, in those verses, makes an inference from what he had before laid down as a doctrine: This one thing therefore I said; meaning, what he had insisted upon before, that by outward providences, no man should draw conclusions of GOD'S favor or disapprobation. To speak of it in gospel terms, the LORD causeth his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good, and sendeth the blessings of rain upon the just and upon the unjust. Matthew 5:45 .
(28) I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent. (29) If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain? (30) If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; (31) Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. (32) For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. (33) Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. (34) Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me: (35) Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.
Here Job not only dwells upon the same humbling subject, of man's uncleanness as he must appear before GOD, but he again, as in a former instance, sends out the fervent wish of his soul, for a mediator, a days-man. No doubt the spirit of CHRIST, which was in the early prophets, and taught them to speak by faith of the sufferings of CHRIST, and the glory that should follow, (1 Peter 1:11 .) taught also holy men of old to be looking for the same LORD JESUS as this precious Mediator, this Almighty Daysman, who alone was found competent to lay his hand upon both parties, GOD and man, and make up the deadly breach which sin had made. Oh! lovely evidence this of the faith of Job in a coming Mediator! Reader! do not overlook it and remember that Job's complaint that there was none, was in effect a prayer that one might be found. Hence, when JESUS came, the cry of those that knew him was, We have found him of whom Moses and the prophets did write. John 1:45 .
PERHAPS no part of the Old Testament writings is more calculated, under the blessed SPIRIT's teaching, to impress upon the soul a deep sense of sin, and to lay the soul lower in the dust in the view of it, than Job's humbling language of his spirit in this chapter. Reader! let us pause and consider. Surely, however light and unthinking minds may pass over the consideration, yet it is a solemn question, How should man be just with God? Never was there a soul, really and truly brought nigh by the blood of JESUS, who thought lightly of this question. Abraham, the friend of GOD, felt his soul strongly exercised when he cried out, under a deep sense of GOD'S holiness, and his uncleanness; Behold, now (said he) I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes. And all the saints of GOD, in all ages, have thought the same. My soul! I charge it upon thee; is it not indeed a very solemn thing? Even now in ordinances aid means of grace, surely thou durst not draw nigh with lightness and indifference: and though thou art looking forward, as here in ordinances, so then in death, to come before GOD in JESUS' blood and righteousness, that this, and this alone is thine only plea; yet when thou callest to mind, that in that solemn, awful hour, in the final event of which thine everlasting all depends, thou art to come before GOD as thy Judge, to receive a full absolution for the whole of life, is not thine whole nature struck with solemnity and awe, though thine eye is all the while upon JESUS?
And if such be the very awful process to every true believer in CHRIST; if David's flesh trembled, as he tells us it did, when contemplating GOD in judgment, though he was directing the eye of faith to JESUS as his blessed Surety; what horror will seize the soul of that man who comes before that tremendous judgment-seat void of an interest in CHRIST, and without the Mediator to plead his cause, or the Mediator's righteousness to justify his person. Oh! Reader! think, I beseech you while reading Job's confession, that snow-water cannot impart cleanness to the sinner, and nothing but the fountain of JESUS' blood can take away guilt; think of the blessedness of those who are looking to JESUS, and have a CHRIST, a Mediator to plead for them in his blood and righteousness, while law and conscience both accuse. Oh! precious, precious JESUS? how increasingly precious is thy salvation every moment. Oh! give us to see that we have redemption in thy blood, and are justified from all things, from which none of the sons of Adam could ever be justified by the law of Moses.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27