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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Job 3

 

 

Verse 17

THE BETTER WORLD

‘There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.’

Job 3:17

This text speaks to us over nearly four thousand years. Job lived in days when the light of truth was dim; the Sun of righteousness had not yet risen above the horizon; Jesus had not yet brought life and immortality to light; and thus it is possible that we are able to understand Job’s words more fully and better than he understood them himself. The text may be read first as of the grave, but in its best meaning it speaks of a better world, to which the grave is but the portal.

I. Think of these words as spoken of the grave.—(1) In the grave, Job says, for one pleasant thing, ‘the wicked cease from troubling.’ Cross the line that parts life from death, and the strongest human hand cannot reach to vex or harm any more. There is nothing more striking about the state of those who have gone into the unseen world than the completeness of their escape from all worldly enemies, however malignant and however powerful. (2) But there is something beyond the mere escape from worldly evil. Now the busy heart is quiet at last, and the weary head lies still. ‘There the weary are at rest.’ It is sometimes comforting, and we cannot say it is not sometimes fit and right, to think of a place where we shall find rest and quiet, where ‘the weary are at rest.’ But though a deep sleep falls on the body, it is only for a while, and indeed there is a certain delusion in thinking of the grave as a place of quiet rest. The soul lives still, and is awake and conscious, though the body sleeps; and it is our souls that are ourselves. Even that in us which does sleep—even the body—sleeps to wake again.

II. Though these are Old Testament words, we read them in a New Testament light, as those who know that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life to all His people. These words speak of a better world. They point us onward to heaven. The two great things of which they assure us and remind us are safety and peace. (1) There is to be safety, and the sense of safety. ‘There the wicked cease from troubling.’ Not wicked men only, but everything wicked: evil spirits, evil thoughts, evil influences, and our own sinful hearts. When the wicked cease from troubling, there will be no trouble at all. (2) ‘The weary are at rest.’ We know the meaning of all the vague and endless aspirations of our human hearts. It is that ‘this is not our rest.’ Our rest is beyond the grave. There is something of life’s fitful fever about all the bliss of this life; but in that world the bliss will be restful, calm, satisfied, self-possessed, sublime. It will be ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.’

Illustration

‘The speech of Job (chap. 3) is full of profound mistakes, and the mistakes are only excusable because they were perpetrated by an unbalanced mind. The eloquent tirade proceeds upon the greatest misapprehensions. Yet we must be merciful in our judgment, for we ourselves have been unbalanced, and we have not spared the eloquence of folly in the time of loss, bereavement, and great suffering. We may not have made the same speech in one set deliverance, going through it paragraph by paragraph, but if we could gather up all the reproaches, murmurings, complainings which we have uttered, and set them down in order, Job’s short chapter would be but a preface to the black volume indited by our atheistic hearts.’

 


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 3:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/job-3.html. 1876.

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