Job continued to make his defense in this chapter. Here he did not make a direct reply to Eliphaz; but rather, he now appealed to God. He opened his mouth in an earnest cry to the Lord for permission to approach Him. And he still insisted upon the thought that the outcome of this sharp trial would result in joy.
Job appealed from the thoughts and opinions of his friends to the just judgment of the righteous and unerring God. He wanted to have his cause tried quickly, but he spoke of the Lord as if He were inaccessible to him. Blessed be the name of the Lord that we know where we may always find Him! He sits upon His heavenly mercy-seat, waiting to be gracious to us! Before this throne, the guilty sinner may go; and there the believer may present his cause before Him, with arguments taken from His promises, His covenant, and His glory. Surely Job’s words contain the sweet and gracious breathings of a pious soul that is longing for fellowship with God in Christ.
What beautiful words concerning our Lord Jesus are found in verse 7! In His strength, and in His righteousness – as the Redeemer of His people – the poor believer may even plead with God on the score of righteousness! For in Jesus, the sinner’s Substitute, the law of God has received full payment for all its righteous demands; and the Lord’s perfect acknowledgment of it is recorded in Scripture! (Isa. 40:1-2)
Job knew that the Lord is present everywhere; but his mind was in such confusion that he could get no fixed view of God’s merciful presence, so as to find comfort by spreading his case before Him. His views were all gloomy. The Lord seemed to stand at a distance from him, and to frown upon him. Yet Job expressed his assurance that he would be brought forth as gold after his trial. How delightful it is to observe both the Old Testament and the New confirming this blessed truth – that the outcome of the trials of God’s children is never doubtful! It will most assuredly work for good; and therefore, it is more precious than gold which perishes! (1 Pet. 1:7)
What Job here complained of, all God’s people now know fully! Have you ever known what it is like to be searching for Jesus? Have you ever been like the Bride in the Song of Solomon – sending forth this question often, but without obtaining a satisfying answer: “Saw you him whom my soul loveth?” Precious seeking souls are in pursuit of Jesus – in private prayer, in reading and meditation on the Scriptures, in hearing the Gospel preached, and in sitting under the means of grace. And yet they often remain unrefreshed, and without the enjoyment of the Redeemer’s presence! Nevertheless, upon these occasions, it should always be remembered that Jesus is present. He is looking on, and He is stirring the desire in the heart; and by-and-by, He will be found by the poor seeker! (Isa. 45:19; Ps. 27:8-14)
Job did not question that his trials were from the hand of God, and he knew that there is no such thing as chance; so how did he account for them? The principle upon which he viewed them was that the hope and reward of the faithful servants of God are only laid up in another life, and that the wicked are not always treated according to their deservings in this life. But even though the obtaining of mercy and the firstfruits of the Spirit of grace are a pledge that God will certainly finish the work which He has begun; yet the afflicted believer is not to conclude that all prayer and entreaties will be in vain, and that he should sink into despair and faintness when he endures troubles and trials. May we learn to obey and trust the Lord, even in tribulation, and to live or die as He pleases; for we do not know the good purposes which our lives may be shortened or prolonged for.
Job spoke of how he had obeyed the precepts of God, and relished and delighted in His truth and commandments. What a lovely account he gave of himself – that the Word of God was so precious to him! Is it not enough to make us blush as we hear Job speak thus? Did Jeremiah declare that he had found God’s words and eaten them, and they were the very joy and rejoicing of his heart? (Jer. 15:16) Did David assert that the words of God’s mouth were sweeter to him than honey and the honeycomb? (Ps. 19:10) And do we think less of those precious, gracious words of Jesus, which contain salvation? May the blessed Lord make His Word our great delight, so that it may be our meditation all day long – and all night too!
In the concluding verses of this passage, Job fell back again into somewhat of his former frame of mind. Perhaps some new physical pain goaded him at the moment. But we may at least consider grace to be less active than when he expressed himself so sweetly in the former part of this chapter. Alas! What is man – even the best of men – if they are left without the influence of the Holy Spirit, even for one moment! From this, let us learn the vast importance of David’s prayer: “Lord, take not thine holy Spirit from me!” (Ps. 51:11)
Thank the Lord that through Christ’s complete righteousness, our souls find strength to plead for salvation on the grounds of justice! Give thanks that in our Savior’s strength and holiness, we may come before the Father’s seat and plead for acceptance in the Beloved.
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