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Bible Commentaries
Job 23

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


Job is again, in this chapter, described, as making still further his defense. From the decision of Man, he appeals to God; and opens his mouth in an earnest cry to God, for permission to approach him. He still insists upon it, the issue of this sharp trial shall be to his joy.

Verses 1-6

(1) ¶ Then Job answered and said, (2) Even today is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. (3) Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! (4) I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. (5) I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. (6) Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

If we read these words of Job with an eye to the gospel, (and after what we have reviewed of Job's strong faith, in his kinsman Redeemer, chap. 19:25-27. we surely may safely do it;) they contain the sweet and gracious breathings of a pious soul, after fellowship with GOD in CHRIST. And I beg the Reader to observe yet further with me, how ardent that faith in CHRIST was, when the suffering Believer took confidence, that GOD would put strength in him, and not put forth that strength against him. For, Reader! what is GOD'S strength, as it concerns a poor awakened sinner, but JESUS, and his salvation? That beautiful passage, in the Prophet, fully confirms it: Let him take hold of my strength (saith JEHOVAH) to make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me. Isaiah 27:5 .-What is the strength of JEHOVAH but CHRIST? Hence GOD commands Zion to put it on, Isaiah 2:1 . And, in reference to former manifestations of it, GOD himself, by the Prophet, calls upon his strength, to awake, as the arm of the LORD. Isaiah 51:9 .

Verse 7

(7) There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered forever from my judge.

How beautiful is this, with an eye to JESUS? There indeed, in JESUS'S strength, and JESUS'S righteousness, as the Redeemer and Surety of his people, the poor believer might even plead with GOD, on the score of righteousness; for in JESUS, as the sinner's surety, the law of GOD hath received, and GOD'S perfect acknowledgment of it is recorded in Scripture, full, nay double equivalent, for all its righteous demands. Isaiah 40:1-2 .

Verses 8-9

(8) ¶ Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: (9) On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

What Job here complains of, how fully do all GOD'S people know! Reader, have you not known what it is to be searching for JESUS, and , like the church of old, sending forth often the question, without obtaining a satisfying answer, Saw you him whom my soul loveth? Precious seeking souls are in pursuit of JESUS, in private prayer, in meditation, in reading, and in public ordinances; hearing his gospel preached; sitting under the means; and yet often remain unrefreshed, and without the enjoyment of the Redeemer's presence. Nevertheless, it should always be recollected, upon these occasions, that JESUS is present; he is looking on, he is exciting the desire in the heart, and by and by will be found of the poor seeker. Isaiah 45:19 ; Psalms 27:8-14 .

Verses 10-11

(10) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (11) My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

How delightful it is to observe, both the Old and the New Testament confirming this blessed truth, that the issue of the trial of GOD'S children, was never doubtful. It must work for good, and therefore it is more precious than gold that perisheth. 1 Peter 1:7 .

Verse 12

(12) Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

What a lovely account doth Job give of himself here, that the word of GOD was so precious to him. Reader! is it not enough to make us blush? Did Job so speak; did Jeremiah so declare, that he found GOD'S words, and did eat them, and they were the very joy and rejoicing of his heart? Did David assert, that the words of GOD'S mouth were sweeter to him than honey, and the honey-comb: and do you and I think less of those precious gracious words of JESUS, which contain salvation? Oh! blessed LORD! make thy word so greatly my delight, that it may be my meditation all the day, and let mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I may be occupied in it! Jeremiah 15:16 ; Psalms 19:10 ; Psalms 119:72

Verses 13-17

(13) ¶ But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. (14) For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. (15) Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him. (16) For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: (17) Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

Job here falls back again into somewhat of his former frame. Perhaps some new pain of the body goaded him at the moment; at least, we may consider grace less active than when he expressed himself so sweetly in the former part of the chapter. Alas! what is man; even the best of men, if for one moment left without the influence of the SPIRIT. Reader, let you and I learn from it, the vast importance of David's prayer, Lord take not thine holy Spirit from me! Psalms 51:11 .

Verse 17


READER, I cannot beg a greater blessing from our gracious Covenant GOD in CHRIST, either for you or for myself, than that a Spirit of grace may be poured out upon us both, to lead us with similar breathings of soul, and earnest desires of spirit, for drawing near to the footstool of the mercy seat, which Job here desired to approach. Depend upon it, the nearest and sweetest communion believers have with GOD, rests upon this very method, when their whole souls are going forth, in pleading justification before GOD, upon the pure footing of righteousness: not of our righteousness, you may well suppose, for we have none, but that of JESUS. This is the strength, Job saith, GOD will put in his pleading, praying people. And here, and here alone it is, that either now, at a mercy seat, or hereafter, at a throne of judgment, poor sinners can ever be delivered from their judge!

Pause, Reader, and contemplate the vast privilege! Count over, if it be possible, the immense mercy; and then think what everlasting love, what a revenue of everlasting praise will be forever offered to the Father's grace in providing, and the Son's tenderness and mercy in accomplishing, such a redemption, by his righteousness, and blood. Oh! Holy FATHER! never, never suffer me to lose sight of thy rich, free, and sovereign grace, in thus providing strength for a poor sinner to lay hold of, to make peace with thee by thy dear and ever blessed SON! And oh, thou lovely, and all loving LAMB of GOD, that art as well the Lion of the tribe of Judah, give me to see how, in thy complete righteousness, my soul finds strength to plead for salvation, on the ground of justice. Yes, blessed JESUS! in thee, and thy strength and holiness, may come, even to GOD the FATHER'S seat. I may tell him of justice, and plead for acceptance on the score of righteousness; for thou art made of GOD to me, both wisdom and righteousness; and therefore GOD is just, in being the justifier of every poor sinner that believeth in JESUS. All hail! thou holy, righteous Saviour of sinners! Oh! for more of this blessed communion at a mercy seat, in having fellowship with GOD in CHRIST! Oh, for grace to maintain a constant intercourse at the gate of heaven, in finding strength, even the strength of JESUS'S righteousness, to plead this, and this only, before my GOD, for sure acceptance in the beloved.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 23". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/job-23.html. 1828.
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