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We have a continuation of the speech of Elihu in this chapter. He is still prosecuting the same theme, in holding forth to Job's view the perfectness and glory of the Lord, in all his dispensations.
(1) ¶ Elihu spake moreover, and said, (2) Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's? (3) For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin? (4) I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee. (5) Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. (6) If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? (7) If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? (8) Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
Nothing can be more just and beautiful than this comparative statement between man's righteousness, as extended towards man, and the same, as manifested towards GOD. We may be very helpful to one another, but when this kind of reasoning is brought forward, as it refers to GOD, it loseth its very name. There is a beautiful expression of David; with an eye to CHRIST, in his prophetical character, in one of the Psalms, which throws a light to illustrate this reasoning of Elihu's very strikingly: O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord, my goodness extendeth not to thee; but to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Psalms 16:2-3 . This may be said of David, King of Israel, and of every man like David. All the goodness of the world is unprofitable to the LORD; for whether men bless GOD, or revile GOD, the one neither can add to his glory, nor the other tend to the lessening of it. The glory of the sun is never the less for any dark or bright clouds below. The LORD hath no need of our services. And indeed, all the good that any man is enabled to do, the ability must be derived from GOD to do it. So that in fact, in the very act of doing good (if there be anything among poor sinners which can deserve the name) there is a debt to GOD for being enabled to do it, instead of GOD being indebted to any to whom be gives that ability for doing it. But I rather would read the passage with an eye to JESUS, concerning whom, if I mistake not, David spoke these words by the spirit of prophecy. And here how precious is it to hear JESUS addressing our GOD and FATHER in these sweet words, That his goodness, in the redemption he wrought for poor sinners, extended not to the FATHER. His glory was and is eternally the same. But, saith JESUS, it is to the saints, to my redeemed, the excellent in me, for there is no excellency otherwise in themselves, but as they are related to me. In these, saith the LORD, is all my delight. Precious LORD! thy delights were with thy people from everlasting. And notwithstanding all our unworthiness, and baseness, thy delights are with us still; for having loved thine own, which are in the world, thou lovest them unto the end. John 13:1 . Elihu's reasoning on this subject, as it refers to Job, is most decisive. The great defect all along of Job's discourse had been, in seeking more his own justification than the divine glory. This therefore Elihu unanswerably refutes. He also reproves Job for denying the profitableness of affliction, and plainly shows that in all dispensations the grace of GOD is directed to man's profit, not the LORD'S advantage, for that is impossible: neither our righteousness or un-righteousness can do anything to GOD.
(9) ¶ By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. (10) But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; (11) Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? (12) There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. (13) Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. (14) ¶ Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. (15) But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:
How awfully is this scripture verified in the daily experience of mankind. Men under the various oppressions of life will cry out; some under sickness, some under want; some under one affliction, and some under another. But none of their cries are directed unto the LORD. Go wheresoever you may, in prisons, in sick rooms, in poor houses, or even among the rich under disappointment or trouble, yet, though you may hear one saying, O my child, my brother, my husband, my father, my friend! O my head, my heart, my body; or, O the cruelty of this or that; yet, amidst all these wailings and bitter Lamentations, which are all the cry of nature, not of grace, you never heard among them the voice of an awakened soul, crying out, Where is GOD my maker, who giveth song in the night? What an awful blindness hath the fall induced in the circumstances of all mankind by nature! To behold men thrown into prison, on dying beds, under bereaving providences; and all complaining, yet none crying to GOD, though all disposed to complain of GOD. Reader, do mark the difference. The people of GOD, if in sorrow, affliction, sickness, on a bed of languishing, they have their songs in the night; and, from the sweet visits of JESUS, can and do say, In the multitude of the sorrows that I had in my heart, thy comforts have refreshed my soul. Psalms 94:19 .
(16) Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.
MY soul, here is a new field opened for thy further improvement in this highly finished reasoning of Elihu. And, surely, the HOLY GHOST graciously intended from it that the people of GOD should learn, that even good men, like Job, need to be perpetually on their guard, lest, in their view of things, they are found more attentive to their own ease than to the promotion of the divine glory. To promote this should be the first and great end of all our pursuit and all our desire. It was for this purpose creation work was first ordained. So the Song in heaven declared, when addressed to JEHOVAH, 'That the LORD had created all things, and for his pleasure they were and are created.' And, for the same end, redemption-work was accomplished, that GOD in all things might be glorified, in and through JESUS CHRIST. And oh! how blessed it is, and must be, when the believer is enabled by grace to say, It matters not what becomes of such a poor worthless creature as I am: but oh! let my GOD be glorified, and the work of redemption by the LORD JESUS be eternally praised, by giving glory to GOD in CHRIST.
Reader, how are you and I glorifying our GOD in his dispensations towards us? Can we, do we, bless GOD in all things, trials as well as enjoyments; dark seasons as well as light ones? Do we rejoice in all, and bless GOD in all, and thank GOD for all, and live to him through all? Do our discouragements leave these precious and blessed effects behind them, to endear JESUS the more, and the world the less? Are we more heavenly-minded, more disposed to prayer, less vain, less confident, more humble? Is sin more sinful to our view, more loathsome in itself, and are ourselves more loathsome also, from being the subject of it? Above all, Is JESUS more precious, increasingly dear, increasingly lovely? Are these the blessed effects in our experience? Oh! Sir, if these things be in us and abound, then is our state, be it what it may in outward appointments, or in inward exercises, a blessed state, and everything is ministering to our good. Then, as the Apostle saith, if these things be so, they shall make us to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 35". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent