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This Chapter, containing Job's reply, is but short. The man of Uz seems to intimate, that though Bildad had advanced the truth, yet it was nothing to refute what he had before said. Job beautifully dwells upon the infinite and unsearchable power of God.
(1) ¶ But Job answered and said, (2) How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? (3) How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? (4) To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?
The chief purport of Job's reply, in these words, seems to be directed to convince Bildad, that he had not answered, because he could not contradict what Job had advanced. And if Bildad thought, by what he had said, that he had benefitted GOD'S cause, he was grossly mistaken. But, beside this Job intimated also, that had Bildad been directed of GOD'S SPIRIT, in this discourse, he would not only have taken notice of GOD'S power, but of his grace; and especially as needed so much to be shown to a poor afflicted creature, like Job. Now, said Job (for that seems the subject of his reply) if the SPIRIT of the LORD came to thee on this occasion, thou wouldest have seen how needful it is to comfort an afflicted soul, with spreading before him sweet views of GOD'S love and grace; and not so much of his power, when the heart is before so dreadfully alarmed in the contemplation of his greatness. See a sweet precept to this purport, Isaiah 40:1-23.40.2 .
(5) ¶ Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. (6) Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. (7) He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. (8) He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. (9) He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. (10) He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. (11) The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. (12) He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. (13) By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. (14) Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?
Beautiful as this relation is, concerning GOD and his glorious attributes, yet certainly it was nothing but what might have been as well discoursed, without an eye to the dispute between Job and his friends, as with it. It forms a grand subject in the display of GOD'S power. His omnipotency in creating; his omniscience in beholding. Hell naked before him, is a solemn description, in few words, of everything awful and alarming. But these things, read in a spiritual point of view also, as referring to his gracious power in re-creating the souls of his people, observing the sorrows of hell in their struggles with the kingdom of darkness; holding back the face of his throne, when dark seasons oppress them; spreading his cloud upon it, when there seemeth no answer to prayer: these are beautiful illustrations of GOD'S ways, though, as Job saith, these are but parts of his ways: and how little a portion, after all, can the wisest discover of him. Reader! it is profitable to eye these things with reference to ourselves. Beautiful and instructive as all scriptures are, when seen as exemplified in the history of others, yet, to our own experience, those come home nearest and closest to the heart, which speak to a man's own mind. David hath made a very striking and just observation on this ground when he saith, I will never forget thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me. Psalms 119:93 .
An interesting subject ariseth here, from the perusal of this chapter, in the departure of Bildad's discourse from the main point in question, by the instruction it gives to the ministers of GOD'S word and ordinances, that they always regard the express wants of their people. That subject may be very profitable at another season, which, in a moment of sorrow, would be ill-suited, and ill-timed. What the Apostle calls, in season, and out of season, implies, that those who visit souls in distress, as Job's three friends were supposed to have done, should suit their discourse to the alleviation of their misery. Dry argument, even though the subject itself be true, will not assuage the want of a poor thirsty sinner. Oh! how sweet is that sermon, which GOD the HOLY GHOST commissions to the heart, when a weary, heavy laden, and sorrowful soul feels encouragement to come to JESUS, and to cast all his burden upon him, who alone can sustain him. This is indeed to have the tongue of the learned, when a minister is enabled to speak a word, in season, to him that is weary.
But here, precious JESUS, as in every other instance of mercy, so in this, how can my soul ever think of the sweetness of the lips of consolation without calling to mind how thou, in the day of thy flesh, didst go about binding up the broken heart; and, like the good Samaritan, didst pour in oil and wine into the deadly wounds of our robbed and ruined nature. Thou art indeed the consolation itself of thy people, for there is no other; and thou speakest to the wants and necessities of thine, in all their multiform shapes. Thou art, as thy Prophet described thee, the rest, wherewith thou wilt cause the weary to rest, and thou art their refreshing. Be thou then, O LORD, now in the day of thy power, the unceasing comforter of thine heritage: visit distressed souls of thine in their affliction: graciously propose before them such sweet and constraining subjects, to manifest thy love; and proclaim thyself, O LORD, under that endearing character, I am the Lord, that teacheth thee to profit.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent