ELIHU'S FOURTH SPEECH CONTINUED
Elihu continues his discourse, apparently in the midst of loud thunder-claps, suddenly issuing from the storm-cloud out of which the Almighty was about to speak, and which had already been seen gathering. The scene sublime and terrific. Elihu sensibly affected by it. (Job )—"At this (the thunder he had just spoken of, ch. 36, 33), and which was now heard) my heart trembleth (beats with awe) and is moved (or leaps) out of his place". Awe, a natural effect of loud reverberating thunder, even when its cause is better understood than it was in the days of Elihu. Pealing thunder intended as a display of God's solemn majesty as Ruler and Judge of mankind. Hence, accompanied the giving of the law on Mount Sinai (Exo 19:19). Only a consciousness of having the Almighty for our Father and friend through Jesus Christ, can or ought to give assurance and composure amid the cracking thunder and flashing of the storm.
I. Elihu calls Job's attention to the thunder-storm. Job .—"Hear attentively the noise of His voice (in the thunder), and the sound that goeth out of His mouth. He directeth it (the thunder, or the flash that precedes it) under the whole heaven (or, ‘under the whole heaven is its darting), and His lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it (i.e., the flash) a voice goeth; He thundereth with the voice of His excellency, and He will not stay (or delay) them (the lightning, or other accompaniments of the thunder) when his voice is heard (or, "one cannot track them, though His voice hath been heard"). God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth He which we cannot comprehend". The magnificence and terror of a thunder-storm similarly described by the Psalmist: "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters," &c. (Psa 29:3; Psa 29:10). Also, but with less sublimity, by the Poet of the Seasons:—
"'Tis listening fear, and dumb amazement all,
When to the startled eye, the sudden flame
Appears far South, eruptive through the cloud;
And following slower, in explosion vast,
The thunder raises his tremendous voice.
At first heard solemn, o'er the verge of Heaven,
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burden on the world,
The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds: till overhead a sheet
Of lurid flame discloses wide; then shuts
And opens wider; shuts, and opens still
Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.
Follows the loosened aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling; peal on peal
Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth."
1. The terrors of a thunder-storm to be viewed as manifestations of the Almighty. The thunder, however caused, truth and piety regard as "the noise of His voice." "God thundereth marvellously". The teaching of universal consciousness as well as of the Bible. No reason why the Almighty should not have witnesses, in His own universe, to His terribleness as well as to His tenderness. God no less in the thunder-storm, because we are allowed to understand a little of the way in which, and the laws by which, He is pleased, ordinarily, to produce it.
2. Those sublimities in nature to be attentively regarded by us. "Heat attentively the noise of His voice". The thunder-peal to be listened to as proclaiming—
(1) The presence of God in the Universe;
(2) His power and majesty;
(3) The terribleness of His displeasure;
(4) The vengeance awaiting the impenitent. Fitted and intended, among other things, to arouse the sinner to a sense of his guilt and danger. God's voice calling him to secure, in time, a place of refuge for his soul in Christ—"the covert from the tempest" (Isa ). "This voice came for your sakes" (Joh 12:30).
3. The elements of nature all under God's control. "He directeth it under the whole heaven".
4. The omnipresence of God suggested by the velocity and reach of the lightning-flash. "His lightning [is] to the ends of the earth". The passage of the electric fluid over thousands of miles instantaneous. Hence its wonderful and now extensive employment in telegraphy.
5. God's operations in the atmosphere, as elsewhere, marvellous, and even still full of mystery. "God thundereth marvellously: great things doeth He which we cannot comprehend". The thunder marvellous—
(1) In its production;
(2) In its terribleness;
(3) In its effects. The nature of that which produces the thunder, and to which we give the name "electricity," still a mystery. Philosophers uncertain as to whether it is a fluid or a force, matter or a mere affection in matter. The latter now regarded as the more probable opinion, though for convenience, electricity is still spoken of as a fluid. Like heat, it appears to pervade all material substances, existing in each in a certain ordinary proportion, then imperceptible to the senses. Bodies capable of being overcharged with it, or made to have more than their ordinary proportion, and then of discharging the excess into some neighbouring body, so as thus to regain their usual condition. Its discharge or passage from one body to another, accompanied with a shock and a spark, or flash of light. The shock produced by electricity, artificially collected, able to throw down the strongest ox; and the heat produced by the spark or flash, able to melt the hardest metals. Lightning, the flash accompanying the passage of the fluid from a surcharged cloud either to another cloud or to the ground, its general reservoir. The excess of electricity collected in a cloud during the heat of Summer, sometimes immense. Hence the terrible effects often attending its discharge. Thunder the sound produced by the explosion. Such explosions ordinarily made to serve a beneficent purpose, by restoring the air to a healthy condition. Capable, however, under the Divine direction, of serving other ends. All nature but the Almighty's instrument—
"A capacious reservoir of means,
Framed for His use and ready at His will."
Man acquainted, in some measure, with what are the forces operating in natural phenomenon, and what are the effects they produce; but the nature of the forces themselves a mystery. How they come to exist, and how they act and produce their effects, a greater mystery still.
II. Describes other Divine operations in nature. Job .—"For He saith to the snow, be (or fall) thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of His strength (Marg., ‘and to the shower of rain, and to the showers of rain of His strength;' or, ‘to the heavy shower of rain, and to the heavy shower of His violent rains'). He sealeth up (by these vehementrains or by the cold of winter about to be described) the hand of every man (stopping his labour in the field (Psa 20:4); or ‘He putteth His seal on the hand of every man,' as a door or bag is sealed so as not to be opened but by the authority of Him who sealed it); that all men may know His work (or agency; or, ‘that all men whom he hath made may know'—that is, the effect of His power as operating in nature, and their dependence upon Him). Then (at the time of these rains and cold of winter) the beasts go into dens and remain in their places. Out of the South cometh the whirlwind (from the sandy desert of Arabia, such as overthrew the house of Job's eldest son, ch. Job 1:19; Zec 9:14; Isa 21:1); and cold out of the north (or "from the scatterers;' Marg., ‘the scattering wind,' the north wind, which disperses the clouds and driveth away rain, Pro 25:23). By the breath of God is frost given (or, ‘ice congealeth'), and the breadth of the waters is straitened (or, ‘the expanded waters are made solid,' namely, by being congealed). Also by watering (or ‘in irrigating,' i.e., the earth), He wearieth the thick cloud (by causing it to move from place to place; or ‘He burdeneth' it, i.e., with moisture; or, ‘He presseth it,' in order to yield its contents, like a water-skin, which is pressed in order to empty it; otherwise, ‘the brightness dispelleth the thick cloud'): He scattereth His bright cloud (Marg. "the cloud of His light," the cloud on which He causes the light of His sun to shine; or, ‘His light [or sun] scattereth the cloud'—' cumulous or stack clouds being usually dispersed at noon; otherwise, ‘the cloud of His lightning'—that from which the lightning issues). And it is turned round about by His counsel (or, ‘it moves round in circuits by His guidance'—literally, ‘by His steerings'): that they may do whatsoever He commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth (over the whole habitable giobe). He causeth it (i.e., the cloud with its watery contents) to come (Heb., ‘to find,' i.e., its place or object), whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy" (or, "whether it be for a rod or tribe, or for His land or earth, viz., to fructify it,—verily [it is] for mercy;" or, "whether for correction to His land, or for mercy"). The last verse, as the text stands at present, obscure in the connection of its different clauses, while the general sense is sufficiently obvious. On the whole section, observe—
1. All nature, with its various operations and phenomena, under God's direction and subject to His will.
(1) Snow. "He saith to the snow, be thou, and snow and vapour as well as stormy wind fulfil His word (Psa ). "He giveth snow like wool" (Psa 147:16). Snow and hail reserved by Him against the time of trouble (ch. Job 28:22-23). The snow no less the Almighty's servant, because we happen to know that when the condensed moisture in the atmosphere is congealed by the temperature being reduced below the freezing point, its particles descend in the form of snow. Serves a beneficial purpose in regard to the earth, in contributing to its irrigation, and especially in keeping it at a moderate degree of cold, and so protecting the germs of vegetation from the effects of frost. Made to serve other purposes of a providential, and sometimes of a judicial nature. Snow remarkable for the beautiful and variously-shaped crystals of which it is composed.
(2) Rain—"Likewise to the small rain," &c. The rain-cloud parts with its contents only when God commands it, and as He commands, whether in the soft gentle shower or in the drenching down-pour that floods the fields and obstructs the labours of the husbandman. Every cloud does not necessarily descend in rain. If the cloud happens to be made warmer, either by the sun or by a current of dry warm air mixing with it, the watery particles are again dissolved into invisible vapour. Although we can explain the circumstances under which clouds are formed, ‘there is a difficulty in understanding how the minute particles of water, of which they are composed, are upheld so long in the air as we often see them, without any tendency, apparently, to descend. It is only, as would appear, when some unknown cause brings several of the particles together, so as to form drops of some size, that they begin to fall; and then, in their descent, they meet more and more particles, and thus become larger as they approach the ground.—Chambers' Introduction to the Sciences.
(3) Heat and Cold. "Out of the south cometh the whirlwind, and cold out of the North". The waters poetically said to be congealed by the breath of His mouth. Heat and cold continued to the earth according to His promise made after the flood. Their degree in any particular part of the earth's surface dependent on the situation of that part in relation to the sun, so as to receive its rays more or less directly or obliquely. The cold most intense and continued at the poles, as from the obliquity of the earth's axis they receive so little of the solar rays. The heat greatest about the equator, for the opposite reason. The air there, becoming rarefied by the heat, ascends, from its greater lightness, to occupy higher regions, while the cold air from about the poles rushes in to fill its place. Intermediate places rendered colder by the cold air thus passing over them. Frost and ice no less from God, that we know that when the heat of the atmospheric air falls below a certain point, hence called the freezing point, water begins to freeze and is changed into ice.
(4) Clouds.—Here said to be "turned round, or in circuits, by His counsels," or literally, His steerings.' God the almighty and omniscient pilot of the universe, whose hand is ever on the helm, and who steers those mighty vessels with their watery contents, according to His will. Every motion of the clouds directed by Him and made to serve the purpose which He designs. Each little speck of light fleecy cloud, as well as the huge heavy leaden stack, observed by His omniscient eye, and guided by His almighty hand. The clouds among the most important ministers of Divine providence in nature. No less so because we know that they are formed by a portion of air, saturated with vapour, having its temperature by any cause reduced, and so having its invisible changed into visible vapour.
2. The purposes for which God employs the agencies of nature such as to serve His moral government of the world. "Whether for correction," &c. These purposes always beneficent, or "for mercy," in the end, but sometimes in the way of correction, or a "rod." God's procedure towards mankind both judgment and mercy. Judgment His strange act; mercy His delight. "Mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (Jas ). Yet judgment and correction necessary in a world of sin. The clouds ordinarily discharge their contents for the irrigation of the earth; but occasionally also for the destruction of person and property, man and beast. The ancient deluge, and inundations not unfrequent in our own time, examples of what ordinarily serves a beneficent purpose being employed also in a way entailing serious suffering and loss. Such corrections necessary and important—
(1) As a testimony to Divine justice;
(2) As proofs of the power of God to punish transgression;
(3) As warnings against a course of sin. Punishment and its instruments no less necessary and proper in the Divine than in a human government. Yet, even in such cases, mercy remembered in wrath, and good to mankind educed. As in earthly governments, the inflicting; of punishment one means of promoting the general good. Yet, in the Divine administration such corrections not always indicative of special demerit on the part of the sufferer. Sent for the trial and purification of the good, as well as for the chastisement and punishment of the bad.
III. Elihu calls Job's special attention to the works of God as seen in creation and providence. Job .—"Hearken unto this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God." The object of this summons, Job's humiliation and the silencing of his murmurs against God's procedure, from the consideration both of his ignorance and impotence. Job 37:15-18.—"Dost thou know when God disposed them (or ‘put His hand to them;' or, ‘gave command concerning them,' in allusion to Gen 1:3, &c.; or, ‘imposed laws upon them,' in order to their preservation and the accomplishment of the end for which He created them), and caused the light of His cloud (the light that should illuminate His cloud, referring to the original command: ‘Let there be light;' or, ‘made the lightning of His cloud to shine,' as it was probably now flashing from the storm-cloud in their view). Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds (the manner in which they are poised and suspended in the air—probably another allusion to the creation, in reference to the waters above and below the firmament, Gen 1:7), the wondrous works of Him Who is perfect in knowledge? How thy garments are warm (felt to be too warm by the greatly increased temperature of summer), when He quieteth the earth by the south wind (tranquillizing the atmosphere, and causing the piercing north winds to cease)? Hast thou with Him (as His associate and companion in the work of creation—like the Divine Person designated Wisdom in Pro 8:22-31) spread out the sky (or firmament, Gen 1:7) which is strong (as supporting in it the heavenly bodies) and as a molten looking-glass" (or mirror—those in the East being usually of polished metal, either brass or steel—the sky at different times resembling the one or the other, as the yellow or blue predominates). Observe—
1. Serious attention to be given to the works of God around us. "Hearken unto this, O Job," &c. Those works in themselves marvellous displays of power and wisdom. Every department of creation teems with evidences of Divine skill and Almighty power. The works of God in nature, both on the earth and above it, a study as interesting as it is profitable. Such study, according to opportunities afforded, a duty we owe to God as well as to ourselves.
2. Much in the commonest phenomena of nature we are unable even still to understand. Among these is heal. "Knowest thou how thy garments are warm when He quieteth the earth by the south wind?" Heat both a sensation and the cause producing it. As a cause of the sensation, its exact nature not known. Like electricity, pervades all the material world; but whether a thin and subtle fluid, or only a property or affection of matter—motion of some kind among the component atoms of bodies, philosophers not agreed, though now generally inclining to the latter opinion. Mystery still connected with its operation as well as its nature. Sometimes a great deal of it enters a body and disappears, or produces no apparent effect, the body feeling no hotter to the touch, nor shown to be any hotter by the thermometer. Thus a great deal of heat required to melt a piece of ice, yet the water from the ice feels as cold as the ice itself and affects the thermometer in the same way, the heat not having warmed the ice, but only changed it into a liquid state. The alternation of heat and cold, summer and winter, now known to be occasioned by a remarkable provision on the part of the Creator—the obliquity of the earth's axis in its revolution round the sun, that axis being twenty-three and a half degrees out of the perpendicular.
3. Creation intended as a school for man's instruction. "Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God". Some of man's most useful lessons to be learned in the school of nature. These lessons both in reference to God and ourselves. God's greatness and our own littleness never more realized than in the intelligent contemplation of the arrangements in nature in relation to the earth, and of the mechanism of the heavens, of which the earth forms a part. Of God's work in creation we understand but little: still less of His secret purposes and providential procedure; least of all, of Himself. The origin of the universe, except as God reveals it, entirely hidden from our knowledge. Science, of itself, able to teach nothing as to the fact of creation, or of the first great cause, except that there is one—an intelligence infinite in power and wisdom. The distance of the time when God first "disposed," or put His Almighty hand to the work, far beyond man's conception, millions of years being revealed in the earth's strata as antecedent to man's existence.
IV. Elihu ironically reproves Job's presumption. Job .—"Teach us what we shall say unto Him (as you are so much wiser than we are, and are able to enter into controversy with the Almighty); for we [for our part] cannot order speech (so as to argue with Him) by reason of darkness (in ourselves generally, and in relation to God's purposes and procedure in particular). Shall it be told Him that I speak (—be declared as by a messenger sent to Him that I will speak and debate the matter with Him)? if a man speak (attempt so to debate with the Almighty), surely he shall be swallowed up (confounded and overwhelmed by the Divine Majesty). And now (at the very time Elihu was speaking—either the storm-cloud then hiding the sun from view, and obscuring the sky, or a rising wind having cleared away the clouds and revealed the sun in his effulgence; or speaking figuratively—now in this present life, or in this present time of trouble in which Job then was,) men sec not the bright light (or the sun shining brightly) which is in the clouds (or, men cannot look upon the light, or the sun, as it shines brightly in the sky); but the wind passeth and cleanseth them" (i.e., the clouds, thus revealing the sun which before had been hidden by them; or, "after the wind has passed and cleansed it," i.e., the sky). Observe—
1. Man's duty to cherish becoming views of his creature-unworthiness, and to cultivate reverence in speaking of and to the Almighty. "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few" (Ecc ). The Lord's Prayer an example of the mode in which to address the Almighty. Teaches us to go to God as our Father, yet with deep reverence and humility. Contains only seven petitions, the three first having relation to God Himself, and each of them, with one exception, expressed in about half a dozen words. In the New Testament, God especially revealed as our Father through Christ; while through Him, as our Advocate with and our way to the Father, we enjoy the privilege of a free access to and filial fellowship with God not generally known to the patriarchs and Old Testament saints (Eph 3:12; Heb 4:16; Heb 11:40).
2. External nature to be viewed as a symbol of spiritual and Divine things.
(1) In reference to God Himself. The brightness of the unclouded sun apparently intended by Elihu to be viewed as a symbol of the majesty and glory of God. God's dwelling in that light which no man can approach to (1Ti ). If men are unable to contemplate the material sun without being blinded by its dazzling effulgence, how much less the glory of the Almighty Himself! Yet our happiness to see God—in a manner even here, and more fully hereafter. For this end God reveals Himself in Christ. The splendour of the Divine glory softened in the Son of God by the veil of humanity. Christ's name, "Emmanuel—God with us." In Christ, who is also our Brother, we see the Father (Joh 14:9). His glory beheld even here, as that of the only begotten of the Father (Joh 1:14). Purity of heart, given us in Christ, necessary in order to see God (Mat 5:8; 1Co 1:2).
(2) In reference to our own experience. Elihn's language in Job suggestive of the
Life of Faith
1. The believer's experience on earth often resembling a clouded sky. "Now men see not the bright light." The face of the sun often hidden by a thick cloud. Times when even believers cannot see the light of God's countenance, and when His dealings with them are dark and mysterious. At best, while here, we know but in part, and see through a glass darkly. God's face often apparently hidden from believers in time of trouble. "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment" (Isa ). David's complaint: "Why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble (Psa 10:1). Job's case at present. A dark and cloudy day with Abraham on his way to Mount Moriah; with Jacob, on the apparent loss of his three sons; with Joseph in the prison; with Moses in Midian; with David at Ziklag; with Jeremiah in the dungeon; with Jesus on the cross. Believers, as well as men in general, find themselves while on earth hedged in by mystery on every side. Clouds and darkness contingent to us as creatures—still more as sinful ones. "What I do thou knowest not now."
2. To the believer there is bright light behind the clouds. "Now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds." The bright light there, though men see it not. The sun still in the heavens, though a cloud hide him from our view. Whatever clouds hide God from his sight or rest upon his path, a threefold light still shining to the believer.
(1) God's unchanging love in Christ (Jer ; Joh 13:1; Rom 8:38-39);
(2) God's everlasting covenant made with him in Christ, ordered in all things and sure (2Sa ; Isa 54:10; Isa 55:3);
(3) God's gracious purpose in Christ, to save him, and to make all things work together for his good (Rom ; Eph 1:3-14). The wheels of Divine Providence ever going straightforward to a believer's full salvation, however things may at times appear to himself. "Behind a frowning Providence He hides a smiling face,"—one of the truths intended to be taught by this very book.
3. The time comes when the clouds are chased away. "The wind passeth and cleanseth them." The light of God's countenance not always to be hidden to the believer. Cloud and mystery not always to rest upon his path. David's comfort in a time of darkness: "I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance;" "the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime" (Psa ; Psa 42:8). Micah's confidence: "When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me" (Mic 7:8). He will not always chide. "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee" (Isa 54:7). "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice." "What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter" (Joh 13:7; Joh 16:22). The cloud passed away from Abraham on Mount Moriah, and he rejoiced in the renewed assurance of God's gracious purposes concerning his seed; from Joseph, and he saw himself next to Pharaoh on the throne of Egypt, preserving much people, and among them his own father and brothers, alive; from Moses, and he found himself at the head of all Israel, leading them out of Egypt, and worshipping with them at the mount where God had appeared to him; from David, and he saw himself occupying the throne of Saul and made a blessing to the people. So the cloud ultimately passed away from Job, and he saw himself richer than ever, not only in possessions, but in the affection of his friends and esteem of all his neighbours. A day coming which shall clear away all obscurity, and solve every enigma both in the Book of Revelation and Providence. Hence the lesson—
(1) of humility and modesty in judging both of God's word and works;
(2) of patience and resignation to the Divine will:
(3) of faith, so as to walk in comfort and hope even in the darkest dispensations.
V. Winding up of Elihu's speech. Job .—"Fair weather (Marg.: ‘gold;' i.e. golden splendour or effulgence—a bright or golden sky) cometh out of the north (or from the north wind which disperses the clouds, Pro 25:23); with God is terrible majesty (of which that visible splendour is bat a shadow). Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out (neither in His being nor His procedure); He is excellent in power and in judgment, and in plenty of justice (whatever men may at any time think of His dealings): He will not afflict (or ‘oppress,' though Job was ready at times to think so in reference to himself, or ‘He will not answer' or ‘give account' of His procedure to any of His creatures). Men do therefore fear Him (or ‘let men therefore fear Him'—the conclusion of the whole matter, Ecc 12:13); he respecteth (or ‘feareth') not any that are wise of heart" (as Job thinks himself to be; or "let each," or "shall not each" of the wise-hearted fear Him; otherwise,—"none of the wise-hearted seeth or comprehendeth Him"). Observe—
1. The end of all true teaching, at of all revelation, that men may fear God. Elihu concludes his speeches as the Royal Preacher his discourses: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter,—Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecc ). All consideration of God and His works, whether of creation or Providence, to conduct to the same conclusion. Everything in God and His works fitted to lead men to fear Him. That fear a holy reverence,—the fear of a loving child in reference to a worthy father; not that of a trembling slave in reference to a severe master. God's being and perfections,—His wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth,—such as to render Him the object at once of fear and love. A loving fear required by God from His intelligent creatures. The rational creature's whole duty summed up in such fear. Forgiving mercy intended to produce it (Psa 130:4). Such fear not the growth of fallen nature, but the production of Divine grace (Jer 32:39-40). The object of Christ's redemption to deliver us from slavish fear and implant the filial (Luk 1:74; Rom 8:15; 1Jn 4:18; 1Pe 1:17-20).
2. God too glorious to be contemplated by fallen, and too great to be comprehended by finite, man. A terrible majesty with God, only pictured by the dazzling brightness of the unclouded sun. Seraphims veil their faces with their wings as they stand before Him. Fallen men conscious of being unable to look on Him and live (Gen ); Jud 13:22). Declared by God Himself (Exo 33:20). Hence Peter's exclamation on beholding the traces of Christ's divinity (Luk 5:8). In Christ, however, God contemplated even by sinful men. Heaven in beholding the glory of God. Stephen's vision. Christ's prayer for His people. The glorified see God's face (Rev 22:4). God not more to be comprehended than contemplated. His thoughts a great deep. Only the smallest portion of His works at all understood by men. The greatest among scientific men compared himself to a child gathering bubbles on the seashore, while the ocean of knowledge lay unexplored before him. The attempt to comprehend God compared by Augustine to that of a child scooping a hole in the sand, and attempting with its tiny shell to empty the sea into it. God to be apprehended for our own comfort and His glory by the humblest peasant that sits at the feet of Jesus, who reveals the Father; not to be comprehended by the highest seraph that folds his wings before the throne. Heaven filled with adoring wonder (Rev 15:3-4).
3. The interests of His creatures safe in the hands of the Almighty. "He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice". In God is power to execute all His will, and defend all who trust in Him; judgment and justice, to make only a right use of that power. Justice His nature, and judgment His administration. "He will not afflict". In another sense He afflicts, but even then not willingly (Lam ). He afflicts as a chastening; does not afflict as an oppression. "To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth, the Lord approveth not" (Lam 3:34). God may punish but not oppress. Has no pleasure in the sinner's death. Judgment His strange act, mercy His delight. Binds up the bruised reed instead of breaking it (Isa 42:3).
4. Comfort to Job and every tried believer in Elihu's last words: "He will not afflict," or oppress. How much less any of His own children! "Fair weather cometh out of the north." The tempest may howl, and the clouds lower, and the thunders roll; but after the storm comes a calm and serene sky. The wind shall chase away the clouds—albeit a north wind with its piercing cold. Troubles are to a believer but a passing storm. Weeping may endure for a night; joy cometh in the morning. We sow in tears; but in a little while we shall reap with joy.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Job 37". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany