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The Lord having, in the former chapter, thus answered Job, agreeably to his wish, in the opening of this chapter demands Job's reply. Job most humbly gives it: after which the Lord takes up the discourse again, and continues it to the close of this, and through the whole of the next chapter.
(1) ¶ Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, (2) Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
This was a very solemn pause in the discourse; and, when GOD seemed to wait for an answer, no doubt Job trembled. Reader, it is a solemn thing to draw nigh to GOD, even when we come to him in the hand of a Mediator. I have often thought, that the first view of GOD'S face, when rising from the bed of death, though coming perfectly safe, and secure of acceptance in the LORD JESUS, and under the cover of his blood and righteousness, yet it must be a most awful, solemn thing. Surely, never was a soul brought into the presence of an holy GOD, either in grace here or glory hereafter, with lightness. Even in mercies GOD is awful; and therefore in death, when we come before the LORD, finally and fully to deal with GOD as our judge, and to receive our filial sentence; to put in our humble claim for acceptance in JESUS, must not this be serious, solemn, awful? Oh! how little do they think of such an interview who are ignorant of a Redeemer, and know nothing of the vast importance of his blood and righteousness! David tells us, that he trembled when he thought of GOD'S judgments; and yet David was looking wholly for acceptance in JESUS. Oh! what horrors, must instantly invade that soul, who riseth from the bed of death without, that righteousness to justify, that Mediator to intercede, that GOD-man to redeem? Psalms 119:120 .
(3) Then Job answered the LORD, and said, (4) Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. (5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Here is the state to which every truly regenerated and awakened soul is brought at last. Here grace triumphs, and the sinner casts himself wholly upon GOD'S sovereignty, and mercy in CHRIST. Reader, do remark with me how very graciously the LORD was now dealing with Jobadiah Here are solemn demands from GOD, it is true, but none of those cutting acrimonious words which Job's three friends had used; no, nor even like Elihu. Oh, sovereign grace! oh, boundless mercy! how is divine love manifested, and magnified, when proclaimed by GOD himself in the person and righteousness of the LORD JESUS CHRIST! Well might David say, Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great; and let me not fall into the hand of man. 2 Samuel 24:14 .
(6) ¶ Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, (7) Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. (8) Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? (9) Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (10) Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. (11) Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold everyone that is proud, and abase him. (12) Look on everyone that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. (13) Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. (14) Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
There is a great deal of gospel in those verses of the LORD. Is it not in the same way and manner, that the LORD now brings sinners to a sense of sin, when he thus darts conviction into their minds? Oh! how blessed, how condescending, how gracious is it, when GOD thus sets up a tribunal in the conscience, to make them sensible of the riches of his grace. And what the LORD saith, in the conclusion of this expostulation, is in fact said to every convinced sinner, 'If man could justify himself on those points, then might he as easily save himself.' Reader, do not overlook, I beseech you, what is the most blessed part of this discourse, how by such gracious means the LORD is preparing for the cordial reception of redemption by JESUS.
(15) ¶ Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. (16) Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. (17) He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. (18) His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. (19) He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. (20) Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. (21) He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. (22) The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. (23) Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. (24) He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
The LORD here represents, under the history of the largest of land animals, which some suppose to have been the elephant, the sovereignty of his power: and, having described his greatness, strength, and fortitude, points out to Job, that the same power which made, can in a moment unmake him. And the LORD takes occasion from hence to remark his distinguishing grace to man, which was formed from the dust of the earth, in the same day; and no doubt, in the description here given, the LORD designed Job to form suitable conclusions, that if all and everything resulted from his infinite power and wisdom, surely, there was enough in such views of divine greatness, and divine goodness to induce humble and dutiful submission, even independent of other causes, to the divine will.
MY soul, hast thou read, and pondered duly over, the instances here brought forward of divine power and sovereignty? and shall not the view induce the greatest lowliness and self abasement of spirit? Shall anything arise in the circumstances of thy GOD'S providence towards thee, after such a review as is here set forth, to tempt thee to murmur or repine at sovereign appointments? Oh! for grace to humble thyself as Job did, and to lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the discoveries the LORD makes of himself are not less now, than when he thus graciously condescended to reason with the man of Uz. Think, my soul, of the immense greatness of the LORD. In this one view, there is sufficient to excite, in every breast, similar sentiments to the Psalmist's, and to say, as he did, When I consider thy heavens the works of thine hands, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him! And if we add to these thoughts, the solemn consideration of GOD'S holiness; that the heavens are not clean in his sight, and even his angels he chargeth with folly; surely every man, like the Prophet, may find cause to exclaim, Woe is me, I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. And what is there that can bring relief to the soul under impressions like these, except the gracious, merciful, and sweet intimations of divine love, as given to us in the person, relations, office, work, and character, Of the LORD JESUS CHRIST? Oh! thou adored Redeemer! how hast thou softened, to our view, the awful majesty of Heaven, that when at any time we feel the heart overpowered in the recollection of the offended justice and holiness of JEHOVAH, we may call to mind, and take comfort, that to this High and Lofty One, whose name is Holy, we are authorized to look up, through an Almighty Mediator; and that amidst our offences and short-comings, and pollutions, we have such an advocate with the FATHER as JESUS CHRIST the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sins! Hail, blessed JESUS! to thee, LORD, would I come: in thee would I trust; upon the arm of thy righteousness lean, and here fix all my hopes and assurance of acceptance. And praised be thy holy name, thou hast said, All that put their trust in thee shall never be ashamed, nor confounded, world without end.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 40". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent