the Second Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“I am the Lord, I change not.”
Our space will not allow us to give much of this wonderful book of Job, but the following is an instance of the patriarch’s expressions of distress.
Most men cry before they are hurt, or more than they are hurt; but such was not Job’s case: he had good reason for every groan, and when he groaned most he fell short of expressing what he felt within.
Even at his worst estate the good man knows his true refuge. When sinners turn from God in anger the saints fly to him with hope. Yet sometimes the Lord is a God that hideth himself. In this he has wise ends to answer, and he will continue it no longer than is absolutely needful.
Job wished to have the question, which his three friends had raised, fairly tried in the highest court. He felt that he could with freedom plead with so righteous a judge. It is only the pure heart which can court such an investigation. He who knows that he is clear through Jesus blood is not afraid to appear in the courts of heaven.
Innocence fears not power, but like Una rides on the lion. The Lord never crushes a man because he is down, but rather he delight’s to lift up the prostrate.
He comforts himself with the assurance that if he could not find the Lord, and speak in his own defence, yet the case was already known to him, and would in due time be decided in his favour. How blessedly his faith held its anchorage though the storm raged terribly.
Again in answer to the accusations of his three unfriendly friends, he protests his innocence of their charges, and scouts the idea that he is suffering for some secret apostacy.
He accounts for his trials by considering the immutable and inscrutable decrees of God, and suggests that many more troubles might yet befall him, for which he might be unable to find a reason.
Great suffering could not kill his faith, but it damped his joy. He had also come to think of an absolute God doing as he willed, and it is no wonder that he trembled at the contemplation. Only when we see Jesus do we see that God is love.
He wished that by an early death he had escaped suffering, but all such wishes are vain. We cannot go back: let us therefore by faith press onward.
God is a King of power unknown;
Firm are the orders of his throne;
If he resolves, who dare oppose,
Or ask him why, or what he does?
He wounds the heart, and he makes whole;
He calms the tempest of the soul;
He rescues souls from long despair,
And snaps in twain the iron bar.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Let us read Job’s famous passage upon the search after wisdom, and in order that we may see its beauties we will read it in an accurate translation; arranged as it should be in parallel lines.
The following verses describe the operations of mining, and the hazards of the miner.
That is to say, having no use for their feet in descending the shaft, they swing in mid air.
The solid rock is broken, and the kills are undermined by those who search for precious metals. Their tunnels pierce the centre of the Alps, and tear out the bowels of the hills.
Miners take great care to prevent the water from breaking in upon them so as to flood the mines, and by such care they are able to penetrate into earth’s deep places, and reveal her secrets.
Glass in ancient times was a costly article, used only for splendour and luxury, but however precious it might be, wisdom far excels it.
Job comes to the same conclusion as Solomon, who said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” True religion is priceless beyond all the treasures of earth. Seek it first, ye children and young men; for then shall you be truly rich. Jesus is the Captain of the mine of wisdom, and he will show you the lodes of precious knowledge.
In vain we search; in vain we try;
Till Jesus brings his gospel nigh;
‘Tis there such power and glory dwell
As save rebellious souls from hell.
Let men or angels dig the mines,
Where nature’s golden treasure shines;
Brought near the doctrine of the cross,
All nature’s gold appears but dross.