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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Job 25

 

 

Verses 1-6

THIRD SPEECH OF BILDAD THE SHUHITE

His speech either a very abortive one, or it includes, as some think, the following chapter from the fifth verse to the end, the first four verses of that chapter probably belonging to the next one, but, by the mistake of transcribers, placed at the beginning of this.

The object of the speech to show Job's presumption in thinking himself righteous before God, and in wishing to debate his cause with Him as an innocent sufferer.

With this view he sets forth the character and attributes of God. Appears to charge Job, though only by implication, with rebellion against the Divine Majesty, and to wish to overwhelm him with a view of the Divine power and holiness.

The speech true in its statements, just in its sentiments, sublime in its poetry. The argument employed in it solid, and similar to that ultimately used by Jehovah Himself to silence Job. The speech wanting in appropriateness to the case in hand, and in sympathy with the party addressed.

I. Bildad briefly descants on the attributes of God

1. His sovereignty (Job ). "Dominion and fear are with him." God not named. With Him whom thou challengest. Him emphatic. With Him and no other. God "the great and only Potentate." The Supreme Ruler in heaven, earth, and hell. Therefore not to be resisted with impunity. As the supreme universal Ruler, God must be' righteous in all His works. Therefore wicked, as well as ruinous, to oppose Him. God's attribute of sovereignty frequently insisted on in the Scriptures. Examples: Psa 103:19; Isa 45:9; Dan 4:25; Dan 4:34-35. Fitted—

(1) To silence murmurings under affliction and trial.—

(2) To pacify and rest the soul under dark dispensations and mysterious providences. "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?"—

(3) To comfort the heart depressed by a view of abounding sin and misery, and of the apparent triumph of iniquity in the world. God, as Sovereign Ruler, able to make the wrath of man to praise Him, and to restrain the remainder of that wrath. Suffering only the discipline employed, or the punishment inflicted, by the Supreme Governor. Hell his prison-house for rebellious and impenitent subjects. His sovereignty consistent with the permission of rebellion and evil in His dominions. Will one day bring all things into full subjection.

2. Terrible majesty. "Dominion and fear are with him." "With God is terrible majesty" (ch. Job ). God's majesty fitted to awaken fear. All the earth to stand in awe of Him. "Who shall not fear Thee?"—the song in heaven (Rev 15:4). "God greatly to be feared even in the assembly of his saints" (Psa 89:7). Seraphim cover their faces with their wings before Him (Isa 6:2). The posts of the temple-doors and the granite mass of Sinai shook at His presence (Isa 6:4; Psa 68:8). John, in Patmos, from fear fell at His feet as dead (Rev 1:17). Sin especially makes men afraid of God. "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luk 5:8).—As a consequence of God's sovereignty and Divine majesty, He preserves harmony among the highest classes of His creatures. "He maketh peace in His high places."—

(1) Among the angels, His higher intelligent creatures (Psa ). God's will done perfectly in heaven. No rebellious thought, word, or action found there. All loving, reverential submission to, and acquiescence in, the Divine will. Rebellion once permitted to enter, but immediately subdued and expelled for ever. Heaven a place of peace and harmony, order and tranquillity, safety and felicity. No hostile attempts suffered to be made upon its inhabitants from without; no disturbance or disquiet to arise within.—

(2) Among the heavenly bodies. These preserved by the Supreme Ruler in their respective orbits. No collision or injurious disturbance permitted from each other. "Music of the spheres," an idea as true as it is beautiful.—Inferences:

(1) If peace prevails in His high places, it should also do so in His lower ones—the earth and its inhabitants. Monstrous for man to be in rebellion against His Creator.—

(2) If God makes peace in His high places, He will also make it in His lower ones. God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. To make peace on earth, the object of His Son's mission into the world. "On earth peace" (Luk ).—

(3) God the great peacemaker. His nature peace. True peace the peace of God. All true peace from Him. The God of peace. The author not of confusion, but of peace, order, and concord (1Co ).—

(4) No rebellion which God is not able to quell. The continuance of rebellion on earth not the result of God's weakness or indifference, but of His patience, compassion, and wisdom. The long-suffering of God is salvation. Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Pe ; 2Pe 3:15). He who makes peace in His places, is able to make it also in His lower ones.—

(5) God's rule an efficient one. He not only wishes, but makes peace. Our great comfort. Man's efforts to make peace in the world, in a country, in a family, in himself, ineffectual. God able to subdue all things to Himself, and so to make peace. He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth (Psa ). Shall sepak peace to the heathen (Zec 9:10). Commands peace to raging winds and threatening waves. Speaks peace to the troubled soul: "Be of good comfort; thy sins are forgiven thee: go in peace."

3. His power and greatness (Job ). "Is there any number of his armies?" These armies are—

(1) Angels (Psa ]). These innumerable (Psa 68:17; Rev 5:11; Dan 7:10). Angels of light doubtless much more numerous than those of darkness. Yet of these a legion, or some thousands, found in one single person (Mar 5:9; Mar 5:13). Milton rightly sings—

"Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth

Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep."

The inhabitants of this earth probably only as a drop in the ocean compared with the "innumerable company of angels."—

(2) Heavenly bodies (Isa ). These to us literally innumerable. Vastly more numerous than could be dreamt of by Bildad at that time. Only a very few of these visible to the naked eye. An immense multitude of dense clusters of stars apparently scattered throughout all space. These clusters like so many vast armies. The whole aggregate of these starry worlds a mighty host drawn up in endless battalions, probably only visible at once to the eye of the Almighty. Our Galaxy, or Milky Way, one of those immense clusters of stars or suns, with nearly thirty times as many towards the centre as near the extremities,—being rather a succession of irregular masses, more or less connected by isthmuses or bridges of orbs, stretching from the one to the other, in any one of which the number of stars is past reckoning. Yet this immense cluster, or combination of clusters, with its stars scattered by millions like glittering dust, is only one of these numerous "armies" that compose the celestial host. Upwards of two thousand of these nebulous clusters discovered in the northern, and more than one thousand in the southern heavens, which, by powerful telescopes, have been resolved into innumerable stars.—

(3) All creatures employed in serving God and ministering to His will. So locusts, &c., spoken of as Jehovah's "great army" (Joe ). The army of the Medes and Persians His weapons against Babylon (Isa 13:5; Jer 50:14). "Fire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind fulfilling his word," included among his armies (Psa 148:8; Job 38:22-23). All nature His servants when "the Lord of hosts mustereth his host of the battle" (Isa 13:4).

"What is creation less

Than a capacious reservoir of means

Formed for His use, and ready at His will?"

4. His goodness and beneficence. "On whom doth not his light arise." His light is:

(1) Literally and physically the light of the sun in the heavens. "His going forth is from the end of the earth, and his circuit unto the ends of it: nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Psa ). "He maketh his sun to shine on the evil and on the good." All lands, classes, characters, individuals, partakers of the precious benefit. Its preciousness only fully realized by those who have long felt its want—surrounded by "clouds instead, and ever-during dark."—

(2) Figuratively, His favour and providential goodness. This universal. "The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works." "He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luk ). "The Lord loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment" (Deu 10:18). He sendeth rain both on the just and on the unjust. "Giveth rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness" (Act 16:17). God the Father of lights, from whom cometh down every good gift and every perfect gift (Jas 1:17).—

(3). "The light of truth and saving knowledge" (2Co ). That light designed for all men. Christ the Light and the Saviour of the world. The true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (Joh 1:9). A light to lighten the Gentiles. His birth glad tidings of great joy, which should be to all people. His commission to His disciples, Go ye unto all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. In Paul's time that Gospel had already come into all the known world (Col 1:6). Christ lifted up to draw all men unto Him. The duty of the Church everywhere to hold forth this light (Php 2:15-16). Though the light may arise on all, men may wilfully shut it out, or not care to come forth and enjoy it. Unbelief closes the shutters against the light of life. Men may love darkness rather than light, their deeds being evil. No argument against the unversality of light that some men are blind, or shut up in prison, or refuse to enjoy its beams. The condemnation of many that light is come into the world (Joh 3:19).

5. His purity and holiness.—Job . "Behold, even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight." The moon and stars probably visible at the time, the dialogue being held in the soft moonlight of a tranquil evening in Arabia. Moon and stars apparently the fairest and purest objects in the visible creation. Yet even these impure in the view of and in comparison with God. The moon loses its brightness when seen beside Him, as the stars pale before the rising sun. All, even the purest creatures, impure in comparison with God. Seraphim cover their faces and their feet with their wings while standing before Him. Their adoring exclamation one to another: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts" (Isa 6:3. The song of glorified Saints: "Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord? for thou only are holy" (Rev 15:4). Isaiah, in the view of Jehovah's glory in the temple, exclaims: "Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and dwell among a people of unclean lips" (Isa 6:5). Imperfection and varia bleness inherent in every creature. Spots on the sun and dark shadows on the surface of the moon. Absolute purity and perfection alone in God. The slightest shade of evil or imperfection infinitely removed from His spotlessly holy nature. All sin His perfect and unchangeable abhorrence. The lustre of stars and the holiness of angels only a faint reflection from His own.

II. Bildad's inference (Job ).

1. From God's perfections in themselves. Job .—"How then can man (Hebrew, ‘weak, miserable man,'—enosh) be justified (Heb., ‘just' or righteous) with God? Or How can he be clean that is born of a woman?" If God be such, how can man be righteous "with Him?"

(1) In comparison with Him;

(2) In His sight;

(3) In controversy with Him as a party;

(4) Before His tribunal as a judge.

Bildad's inference intended to have pecial reference to Job. Founded on man's character as a creature,—poor, weak, miserable, liable to suffering, disease, and, death. The reference rather to his physical than to his moral character. The latter however bound up with the former. Both the result of the Fall in Eden. Bildad infers man's impurity from his physical infirmity as a creature. Man in his best estate necessarily impure in comparison with God. His moral impurity, however, not from his being a creature, but a fallen creature. "God made man upright." Adam created in God's image and after God's likeness. As he left His Creator's hands, pronounced by Himself "very good." A suffering and a sinful state the twin effect of the first disobedience. "By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin." "By one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (Rom ; Rom 5:19). Only by the grace of God and the obedience of a second Adam can man now be righteous. The righteousness in which a man can now stand that of one who is both God and man,—one "born of a woman" like other men, and yet, unlike other men, begotten by the Father, and conceived in a virgin's womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. The man Christ Jesus the specimen of a righteous man without sin. All believers viewed as righteous in Him. Made also partakers of His holy nature and character. The Gospel of the Grace of God gives the only answer to Bildad's question, How can man be just with God? The answer, By union with the God-man Christ Jesus, effected through faith in him by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A man is now righteous with God, legally, through the imputation of Christ's righteousness to him; pure in God's sight, morally, through the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost in him. Viewed in Christ, God sees "no iniquity in Jacob." Washed by faith in the blood of the Lamb we are made "whiter than the snow." "Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee (Son 4:7). Man, as "born of a woman," is unclean; as born again of God, is or shall be pure as God is pure (1Jn 3:2-3).

2. From the impurity in God's sight belonging to the purest creatures. Job —"How much less [pure in his sight is] man that is a worm (or maggot, the product of putridity), and the son of man who is a [crawling] worm (kindred terms used to denote the lowest state of degradation as well as weakness and defilement)." If the purest creatures are not clean in God's sight, how then can man be so? Man made lower than the angels (Psa 8:5). A worm—

(1) In his place as a creature.

(2) In his character as a sinner.

Bildad's second question also answered by the Gospel. Man, though a worm, can be clean in God's sight. Christ, the Holy One of God, a worm, as a partaker of our weak humanity. Believers made one with Him are partakers of His pure and holy nature. The Son of God became a worm with man, to make worms sons of God with Himself. Every believer now possessed of a higher and holier nature than that of angels—the nature of the Son of God (Gal ; Eph 5:30; 2Pe 1:4). The word of Christ, received by faith, the instrument in producing this purity (Joh 15:3; Joh 17:17; Eph 5:26; 1Pe 1:22).

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Job 25:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/job-25.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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