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Hitherto, through the subject of dispute, we have been attending to the words of Job and his friends. In this chapter God himself becomes the speaker; and a most solemn address it forms. God challengeth Job, from the whirlwind, on divers subjects, by way of showing Job's nothingness, and the Lord's sovereignty; and this in such language as manifests the wisdom of the Speaker, beyond all possible conception, of man's weakness, and the Lord's strength.
(1) ¶ Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Reader, let us enter upon the perusal of this chapter with more than ordinary reverence. When GOD speaks, well may man hear. Job might well have cried out, and you and I ought to cry out in the language of Samuel. Speak, Lord! for thy servant heareth. 1 Samuel 3:9 . And, Reader, let us further observe from whence the LORD spake; from the whirlwind: such as the LORD spake to the Prophet Elijah from, 1 Kings 19:11-12 . The Prophet Ezekiel, and the Evangelist John, were favoured with visions in the same way. Ezekiel 1:4 ; Revelation 10:4 .
(2) Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? (3) Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
Observe, it is to Job the LORD directeth his speech, Job had, in the haste of his desire to be delivered, said, he would that GOD would speak to him . Here it is granted. Job 23:3-7 .
(4) ¶ Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. (5) Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? (6) Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; (7) When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (8) Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? (9) When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, (10) And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, (11) And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? (12) ¶ Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; (13) That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? (14) It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. (15) And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. (16) Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? (17) Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? (18) Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. (19) Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, (20) That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? (21) Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? (22) Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, (23) Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? (24) By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? (25) ¶ Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; (26) To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; (27) To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? (28) Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? (29) Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? (30) The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. (31) Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? (32) Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? (33) Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? (34) Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? (35) Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? (36) Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? (37) Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, (38) When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? (39) Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, (40) When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? (41) Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.
I presume not to interrupt the progress of the LORD'S words. The whole forms one beautiful subject from beginning to end, and it were a pity to separate it. Having gone through, I would beg the Reader to pause with me over it, and observe, with holy solemnity, those strong and unequalled words of GOD. Job had presumed on much knowledge, therefore the LORD begins with questioning, where he was when creation work began; what he knew of these grand events, and what account he could give how the whole from darkness came forth into light. The LORD goes on to describe, under the beautiful similitude of a new birth, when being was given to the deep, how it broke out from the door of the womb, and how the LORD swaddled it with the binding earth as with a garment; appointed the full bounds of it, and, amidst all its seeming violence, in its waves and billows, determined, by a perpetual decree, how far it should extend, and no further. After this the LORD takes up the subject of light, then of death and darkness, and demands of Job if he can tell where that way is, in which light dwelleth, and where the place of darkness is to be found. After dwelling, in a most unequalled manner, on these subjects, the LORD proceeds to others as strikingly descriptive of man's ignorance and of GOD'S wisdom; of the creation, form, government, and regular ordination of the heavenly bodies; and then, by a sweet transition, calls Job's attention to the creation and power of the beasts of the earth: and demands of him if he can tell how the cry of the ravens is heard, when calling upon their Maker for food, and by what means all their wants are supplied. It would be presumptuous to offer ought upon such sublime representations. It is enough to observe, that the evident design of those words, is to convince Job, by drawing so striking a description of GOD'S sovereignty, and Job's littleness, of GOD'S wisdom, and Job's ignorance: and by representing GOD'S infinite presence and knowledge, the weakness, narrowness, and impotency of man in his highest attainments. For, if man knows nothing of those common works of GOD in his kingdom of nature, how can he be competent to scan the ways of GOD in his kingdoms of providence and grace. Every view must only tend to confirm yet more and more, that man, in his highest knowledge, is limited at every step he takes in exploring the ways and works of GOD before him: and as one of Job's friends had before remarked, Who by searching could find out GOD , or who could find out the Almighty to perfection! Job 11:7 .
READER, let you and I pause over this chapter, and amidst many other sweet thoughts, which arise out of the solemn review of what is here brought before us, let this strike our minds as among the highest improvements; I mean, to note down the wonderful grace, and goodness, and condescension, and love, JEHOVAH here manifested in reasoning with Job in the manner here set forth. JEHOVAH hath indeed said, that though he is the High and Lofty One who inhabiteth Eternity, and whose name is Holy, yet that he doth humble himself to behold the things which are in heaven and earth. But that GOD should thus graciously condescend to reason and expostulate with his creature, under the dissatisfied and murmuring state of a repining mind! Oh! how great the mercy! And, yet, Reader, cannot we both find another instance of yet greater tenderness, in which the LORD hath surpassed every other testimony he hath afforded mankind, or ever can afford again, in all the stores of his omnipotency and grace? Did he not indeed perform an act of condescension, at which all Heaven stood amazed, and Angels have long been contemplating with wonder and surprise, when JESUS, the only begotten Son, which lay from all eternity in the bosom of the FATHER, came at the call of GOD, and tabernacled in substance of our flesh? Nay more-not only tabernacled in our nature, but in that nature debased himself to the lowest possible degree of humiliation, until, by the accursed death of the cross, he had fully accomplished the redemption of his people! Well might the Prophet exclaim, Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth! for the Lord hath done it.
Reader, over and above this view of divine love and condescension, let you and I learn from what the LORD hath said, what poor, shortsighted, ignorant creatures we are. Let us from henceforth rejoice, that we are under a wiser and better direction than our own. Whatever dispensation it pleaseth GOD to exercise us with, let our first and great object be, to see the hand of JESUS in it, and to rest in a clear assurance of our interest in him. The Christian's, the true believer's motto should be, in every state when in union with JESUS, what the Prophet hath said, The just Lord is in the midst of Zion; he will not, he cannot, do iniquity. And oh! when the voice of GOD is heard in the dispensation, how dark soever it may be, the whole face of the dispensation is changed. Let a poor believer in the LORD JESUS be drenched in the deepest adversity of bodily afflictions, or soul distresses, or both; yet when JESUS is seen directing the event, there can be no room to question or enquire, much less to fret and grow uneasy, under the providence. Let a soul, but hear his precious voice; "Be still, and know that I am GOD." Surely a GOD in CHRIST, a GOD in covenant, a faithful GOD, a tried GOD, an approved GOD, buoys up the soul, like the anchor of a ship in a dark and tempestuous night, and the soul is made more than conqueror through his grace helping us. Reader, let us beg of GOD for this grace, that it may be to his glory, and our joy.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 38". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent