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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary

Job 38

 

 

Verses 1-41

God Speaks to Job

Job 38:1-41 to Job 42:1-17

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

God's words to Job do not carry much by way of the explanation of redemption. Job was a child of God, and well-instructed on those lines. When, however, God refers to Job's three friends, who had not spoken of God, as they should have spoken, then the Lord commands, at once, that a burnt offering of seven bullocks, and of seven rams should be made. In the first chapter of job we learn how Job, continually, offered up burnt offerings.

As we see it, God is teaching Job to think less of himself, and more of his Lord. God wants Job to know Jehovah's greatness and power, so he may learn to trust Him implicitly, and without misgivings and fault-findings.

It is delightful to see the immediate effect of God's speech upon Job. In this Job's true greatness and faith shines out in a wonderful way. The forty-second chapter of Job gives us Job's reaction to God's words.

1. Job acknowledged God's power and supremacy. In verse two Job said, "I know that Thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee."

2. Job acknowledged his own nothingness and shame. Job said (Job 42:5-6 ): "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

Thank God for the ready response which Job gave to God's correction. The man who, in the first part of the Book of Job, was acclaimed by God as "perfect and upright"; and who, in the second chapter is acclaimed as, "none like him in all the earth," is made even purer and better by reason of his sore testings and trials. The result of all this is plainly seen in this statement, "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning" (Job 42:12 ).

Let the result of our study of this wonderful Book of Job be the obtaining of a better knowledge of God in His own all-glorious Person; as well as a deeper trust in God in His personal care for His people.

Christians need an unwavering trust in the Eternal and Great I Am. He who watches over the sparrow will surely watch over us. He who clothes the grass of the field will surely clothe us.

Christians likewise need that quality of faith which will trust in Jehovah, even when there is no light in their sky. They need to know that God cares for them when they cannot see His face, the same as when He graciously manifests to them the glory and grace of His countenance.

I. A QUESTION AS TO GOD'S ETERNITY (Job 38:4 )

Sometimes we have wished that those men and women who deny God's creative acts, and seek to undo the Genesis account of creation, could sit for a moment in Job's place as God thunders out question upon question to Job, in order to bring him to a realization of his own utter ignorance.

Great men are not always wise. After all, how little do any of us mortals know of the works of the eternal God!

What we would do, is to drive us all back to God as the One who existed before anything that is made, was made. There, in the might and power and love of His Eternity, God, the Solitary One, stood. He stood "glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders."

Where was man? He was uncreated; he had not yet appeared on the scene of human activities. "In the beginning God" these are the words to which we all must bend the knee, as we worship Jehovah. He it is who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.

II. A QUESTION AS TO INTELLIGENCE (Job 38:16 ; Job 38:18 )

God proceeds to ask Job questions that quickly reveal unto Job the utter incapacity of his intellectual vision.

Through countless labyrinths of mystic suppositions, through innumerable contradictions of scientific deductions, they have made shipwreck concerning the faith. A "thus saith investigation" (not inspiration, not revelation) may be final to the philosopher, but, let a "thus saith the Lord" remain final to a child of God. The Word of God must ever surpass man's investigation simply because it is the Word of God. With humble, worshipful mien, let us cry, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them?"

III. A QUESTION OF AUTHORITY (Job 38:31-35 )

Job in chapter twenty-nine had said, "When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! The young men saw me, and hid themselves: the aged arose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. The nobles held their peace." "Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. Alter my words they spake not again."

We do not wonder that Job, after God had spoken, said, "I will lay mine hand upon my mouth." At Job's presence others had done this very thing; now the sage among men confesses his utter folly of words, and he is ready to cease speaking.

Ah, Job, thou art not the only one who speaketh words without knowledge, darkening counsel thereby. One of the signs of our own day is the prating of men, who go about speaking evil of those things which they know not; they speak great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration. God will come upon them one of these days, and convince them of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

Let us all stand before God, acknowledging our ignorance and weakness. One man may say to another, "Come, and he cometh"; and he may say to another man, "Go, and he goeth"; but God can say, "Let there be light," and "there is light." He can say, "Lazarus, come forth"; and, "he that was dead came forth."

There is a place where the authority of God alone can speak. Let vain man, then, like Job, put his hand on his mouth, and be still.

IV. A QUESTION OR PROVISION (Job 38:39 )

God now comes to Job with another matter for his thought. Job had spoken of having provided for the widow and the orphan. In this Job did well.

God, in speaking to Job, did not discount his philanthropic spirit; but God asked Job some questions which showed him how his beneficence was circumscribed.

Thus did God show to Job His care for the animals that rove the earth, or nest in the clefts of the mountains. Job had cared for the poor who were at his steps; God had cared for the innumerable hosts of otherwise helpless beasts and birds upon which no man had ever looked.

Did not our Lord speak of this very thing, when He said? "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet * * Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field." "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them."

We are reminded of that verse in Jonah wherein God said, "And should not I spare Ninevah, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle."

Let us acknowledge that the God of creation, the One who holds the planets in His hand, is also the One who cares for the least of His creatures.

V. A QUESTION OF POWER (Job 40:9-10 )

Job had boasted his power in the gates. He had told with glowing colors of how he had been robed. Now Job sat in the dust, and wore sackcloth. He who knew so much of the plaudits of men, had become their byword, and their scorn.

God stands before the downcast, undone man who was bemoaning the days of his former glory, and the helplessness of his present condition. God said to Job: "Wilt thou condemn Me, that thou mayest be righteous?" "Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like Him?"

Then, in order to show Job his utter dependence upon Him, God said to Job, "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty."

We wonder if God did not permit Satan to seek Job's undoing, because God saw, in spite of Job's integrity and greatness that he was self-righteous. Of one thing we know, God taught Job his helplessness when shut off from the good hand of God. How could Job deck himself with majesty and excellency, and array himself with glory and beauty, when his body was foul with disease? God continued to ask Job to consider the power of the beasts before which men cowled in fear. God said: "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee." "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?"

God's description of these massive creatures and their mighty power was given to cause Job to sense his own weakness; and to show him that his own hand could not save him.

VI. JOB'S CONFESSION (Job 40:4-5 ; Job 42:2-6 )

1. Job said, "Behold I am vile." He who had, under the maledictions of his false friends, steadfastly upheld his righteousness, now quailed before God, realizing his own overwhelming vileness and sin.

When men compare themselves among themselves, and measure themselves by themselves they may boast their goodness. When the same men come into the presence of the holy God, they immediately abhor themselves.

2. Job said, "I will lay mine hand upon my mouth." He also said, "I uttered that I understood not." It is so easy for men to make their boast of knowledge; but when God comes to them and opens up to them their ignorance, they can do no more than abhor themselves.

The men of this world, who have not retained God in their knowledge, have been given over to reprobate minds. Here is the Divine picture of such men: "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption" (2 Peter 2:12 ). Consider these words: "To convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

3. Job said, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." What a confession was this from the man of whom God said, "There is none like him in the earth." Surely none of us will ever again desire to go around parading our own goodness or greatness. Let us walk in all lowliness of mind.

Some there are who delight to speak of their own prowess. Let us own no righteousness but His, and claim no comeliness excepting that which He has placed upon us.

Remember that Paul said, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing."

VII. THE END OF THE LORD (James 5:11 )

We now come to the closing scenes of the Book of Job. We are about to behold the "end of the Lord." Why all the suffering, all the pain which befell Job? Was it to establish Job's faith and faithfulness, pursuant to Satan's challenge? No doubt. Was it to correct certain things in Job's character which demanded just such an experience as befell Job? No doubt.

There is, however, another side to all of this. God was preparing the way for Job's enrichment and enlargement. Satan's purpose was the undoing of Job; God's purpose was the uplifting of Job. Mark "the end of the Lord."

1. Job was restored to the place of an intercessor. The Book opens with Job making a sacrifice, and praying for his children. The Book closes with Job making a sacrifice, and praying for his three friends.

2. Job was given twice as much as he had before. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

3. Job's friends and kindred were restored to him, and he feasted with them in joy and gladness, while they brought to him gifts of gold and silver.

4. Job was given seven sons and three daughters; and in all the land there were no daughters as fair as Job's.

5. Job was given a long and useful life. So Job died, "Being old and full of years."

Beloved, we should never judge the artist's picture while it is yet unfinished, on the easel. Sometimes we may feel deserted and forgotten of God. Sometimes the task may be heavy, and disappointments may be severe. Let us wait on the Lord and renew our hope. God will surely lead us out and lead us in out of our poverty, and into His wealth; out of our travail, and into His rest.

AN ILLUSTRATION

"Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?" (Job 38:22 ).

When the soft, pure flakes fall noiselessly, we instinctively shiver; they are associated in our minds only with hard frosts, leafless trees, and long wintry days; but what about the underground work, hidden roots, and bulbs covered up and kept warm till spring welcomes them? Does life look like a snowcovered plain? Do you feel icebound? Wait there are treasures there, hidden under the chilliest circumstances and surroundings; and the great Gardener will reveal them in time. Treasures of snow and hail! Not by chance do the "chills" touch our life and work. It may be that God allows them, to drive us nearer to Himself the ever-warming center of love; and also, doubtless, that, having gone through the trials ourselves, we may be able to help others afterwards by an enriched experience and sympathy. Let the rays of the Sun of Righteousness so warm your heart that He can reach and thaw other ice-bound souls through you. Laura Barter Snow.

 


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Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Job 38:4". "Living Water". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/job-38.html.

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