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A TORTURED HEART
‘But Job answered and said,’ etc.
I. Job tries to justify the strong expressions he had made use of by describing the sharpness and bitterness of his pain.—As the animals only cry aloud when they are ill at ease from hunger, so his cryings were justified by his anguish. There is no prohibition in the Word of God against strong cryings and tears. Sometimes nature, rent to breaking, must utter itself. Jesus wept. But, Ah! how great is the difference between the expressions of bitter but resigned sorrow, and those of murmuring and rebellion. The one is the godly sorrow that needs not to be repented of; the other worketh death.
II. Have you ever wished, like Job, to die, that the long entail of suffering might be broken, and that the bitter heart-ache might no longer gnaw?—Others have felt this; but they have lived to see the day when joy came back on them, as the tide returns up the beach, and they reaped in joy where they had sown in tears. God does not prolong your life because He takes pleasure in your pain, but because He desires that the affliction, which is but for a moment, may work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The dentist submits you to pain because a few moments of it will relieve you from hours of agonising and sleepless suffering, and restore you the powers of digestion and health. Only dare to believe in the personal care of God and that He is keenly interested. He will not suffer one moment of pain beyond what is absolutely needful. He will, in the meanwhile, give strength as the strength of stones, and make thy flesh as brass.
III. More bitter than physical suffering is our suffering when we are misunderstood or misrepresented by our friends, when they become as streams which are abundant in the winter, but dried up in the heat of summer, so that there is least water when it is most wanted. We expect our friends to make allowances for our wild words, spoken in the extremity of agony and grief; to bear with our petulance; to be patient with us. It is a bitter disillusionment when we find we have counted on them in vain. Job found it so. But there is a love that never fails!
‘In Job’s vivid eager expostulation there is at least much of human nature. It abounds in natural touches common to all time, and in shrewd ironic perception. The sarcasms of Job bear not only upon his friends, but also upon our lives. The words of men who are sorely tossed with trouble, aye, even their deeds, are to be judged with full allowance for circumstances. A man driven back inch by inch, in a fight with the world, irritated by defeat, thwarted in his plans, missing his calculations, how easy it is to criticise him from the standpoint of a successful career, high repute, a good balance at the banker’s! The hasty words of one who is in sore distress, due possibly to his own ignorance and carelessness, how easy to reckon them against him, find in them abundant proof that he is an unbeliever and a knave, and so pass on to offer in the temple the Pharisee’s prayer!’
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 6". Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent