Job continued to speak in this chapter; and, being weary of his life, he resolved to complain. But he would not charge God with unrighteousness. When the Lord afflicts us, He contends with us; and in such a case, it is good to examine ourselves and see if there is a sin which He is drawing our attention to, which we ought to repent of and forsake. And if that is indeed the case, then that affliction will have served a good purpose for our souls. But when (like Job) we speak in the bitterness of our souls, we often increase our guilt. Let us pray for grace to harbor no hard thoughts of the Lord, for we shall hereafter see that there was no just cause for them.
Job was sure that God does not discover or judge things as men do; therefore, he thought it strange that He kept him under his afflictions for such a long time – as if He needed to take time to inquire into his sins. These verses contain many seemingly impatient words; yet when the mourner cried out, “Do not condemn me” – was there not, in the same voice, a cry for mercy and favor from the Lord? O how sweet is the fact that in the afflictions of God’s redeemed children – even in a thousand afflictions – there is no curse! Jesus has taken out the whole curse, when He was made a curse for His people. What a soul-reviving, soul-comforting thought! Our Savior drank the cup of trembling, so that His people might drink the cup of salvation!
In verses 8-13, Job comforted himself with the knowledge of God being His Maker. He viewed the Lord as making him, feeding him, sustaining him, protecting him, fencing him, and granting him continued instances of life and favor. “Now then,” he reasoned, “did my God thus bestow such tokens of wisdom and love upon me, and will He not hear the cries of His poor afflicted creature?” There is a great sweetness and strength of persuasion in this reasoning. But how greatly does this pleading rise to a higher note when it is paraphrased in the melodious accents of the Gospel! Every poor believer in Jesus may bring forth those same arguments and say, “You have made me, O Lord; and You have made me anew in Christ Jesus, Your dear Son! You have not only given me a body; but You have also made me a new creation that is united with Jesus. You have fed me with His body, and caused me to drink of His blood. You have clothed me with His righteousness, and put the garment of salvation upon me. You have fenced me from all the accusations of sin and Satan, and of law and justice; You have visited me day by day with Your grace, and granted me life and favor. Jesus Himself has preserved my spirit! And shall I now despond? Shall I now be afraid? Surely if the Lord was pleased to kill me, would He have sent Jesus to be my Redeemer, or would He have showed me all these mercies?”
But in verse 14, Job began to speak of the severity of the Lord’s judgments against him. He did not deny that, as a sinner, he deserved his sufferings; but he thought that God’s justice was executed upon him with peculiar rigor. Job’s gloom, unbelief, and hard thoughts of the Lord were as much to be ascribed to Satan’s inward temptations, as to his outward trials. He said that his mind was full of confusion; and that may account, in some measure, for the many hasty complaints which he threw out. It is one of the most interesting beauties of the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit has not only recorded the faith of the eminent servants of the Lord, but also their frailties. Surely this was intended to comfort the Lord’s people under their own infirmities! Our Savior will not destroy the work of His hands in any humble believer, although they have many failures and shortcomings. Rather, He will renew them in holiness, so that they may enjoy eternal life.
This chapter presents Job to us in various perspectives. In one part, we behold him in the exercise of grace; and in another, he is under the frettings of nature. Alas! What is any person in his highest attainments, when he loses sight of Jesus for even a single moment? If we know anything of our own hearts, we will not forget that even though the Lord has quickened us to a new and spiritual life, yet we are still in a body of sin and death, which drags down our soul. Even though we have the spirit of Christ, we still have a body of flesh as well. Therefore, if the Lord did not keep our souls alive amidst the rubbish of our natural corruption, what believer would be able to withstand the many powerful foes of his salvation, which he must encounter? It is Jesus alone Who keeps His people from falling in the hour of powerful temptation. How necessary it is for us to pray for grace to keep our eyes steadfastly fixed upon him, to depend upon His truthful Word, and to rely upon His unchangeable faithfulness when all outward circumstances are turned upside down! O for grace to live to His glory – in dark seasons as well as light – and to make Christ our all in all!
Lord, we repent of times when we have murmured and complained under our afflictions, and when we have forgotten that You send these trials to us in order that You may thereby bring out more of Your graces which are working within us. Amen.
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