This is a most beautiful chapter. Here we find Job entering again upon his defense; but in his words, we find nothing of reproach concerning the unkindness of his friends. Rather, he presented a delightful testimony of God’s wisdom, power, and justice; as well as humbling views of himself. He declared that he did not doubt the justice of God when he denied himself to be a hypocrite; for how, he asked, should man be just before the Lord? How very strong and conclusive is that question! We are guilty of thousands and thousands of transgressions, which pass away out of our unthinking minds and into the gulf of forgetfulness. But our secret sins are not hidden from the Lord’s eyes. How this thought ought to convince our souls of sin! And what a motive it is – or ought to be – to seek redemption in the blood of Jesus!
Job knew himself and his sinfulness so well that he understood he did not have a chance to stand a trial before God. If we say that we have no sin, we not only deceive ourselves, but we also affront God; for we sin in even saying such a thing, and assert thereby that the Bible is a liar. But how striking are some of Job’s thoughts here, and how full they are with a spirit of the Gospel! If even the proud must stoop before the Lord (verse 13), what could Job do? God will make good every charge. “In fact,” said Job, “even if I were righteous – that is, if my own heart did not reproach me, and I was led thereby to imagine myself righteous – yet I would not venture to trust that it was truly so. Furthermore, even 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 own merits. I would conclude,” said he, “that it was His mercy, and not my merits; His free love and grace, and not my deservings.” Is not this passage full of pure Gospel, from beginning to end? Where else could Job have learned this, except from the Almighty Teacher Who first taught and convinced him of his sin, and then taught and led him also to believe in his Kinsman-Redeemer? (See chapter 19:25.)
In verses 22-24, Job touched briefly upon the main point which he and his companions were disputing. His friends declared that those who are righteous always prosper in this world, and that none except the wicked are in misery and distress. But Job asserted, on the contrary, that it is a common thing for the wicked to prosper, and for the righteous to be greatly afflicted. And in these verses, he made an inference from what he had laid down before as a doctrine. He had insisted that by outward Providences, no person should draw conclusions of God’s favor or displeasure. As Jesus Himself said, the Lord causes His sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good, and He sends the blessings of rain upon both the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45).
Beginning at verse 25, Job began to speak again of his sorrows and of the shortness of his life, which was passing away swifter than a post-rider, and faster than a flying eagle. What little need do we have of what we call “pastimes,” and what great need we have to redeem our time, when we plainly see that it runs on so fast toward eternity! How vain are the enjoyments of time, which we may indeed lose even while time continues! The remembrance of having done our duty will be pleasing and comforting afterwards; but this will not be the case with the remembrance of having gotten worldly wealth, when it is all lost and gone.
But Job did not merely dwell upon the same humbling subject of man’s uncleanness in the sight of God. Again, as in a former instance, he sent out the fervent wish of his soul for a Mediator – or what was sometimes called a “Daysman” (verse 33). What a lovely evidence of the faith of Job in the coming Redeemer! We must not overlook this. Job’s complaint that there was no Mediator was, in essence, a prayer that One might be found! And there is a Mediator for us – namely, God’s own dearly beloved Son, Who has purchased peace for us with the blood of His cross! Through Jesus, the banished race of Adam was brought back into the favor of the Father. He was promised as the Seed of the Woman in Eden’s Garden; and He came into this world, in the fullness of time, to save sinners. By His meritorious life, He fulfilled all righteousness; and by His voluntary sufferings and death, He paid the penalty of sin. And now He forever lives at the right hand of God, to make intercession for us. He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God through Him. If we trust in His name, our sins shall be buried forever in the depths of the sea. We shall be washed from all our filthiness, and made whiter than snow, so that no one can lay anything to our charge! We shall be clothed with the robes of righteousness and salvation, adorned with the graces of the Holy Spirit, and presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceedingly great joy! Let us not delay to come to Him Who invites the weary and heavy laden to approach Him, and Who promises to never cast them out for any reason.
Lord, we confess that we can never be justified in Your sight, unless we approach You clothed in the blood and righteousness of our perfect Redeemer. We give thanks for the blessedness which He brings to us as our Mediator! Amen.
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