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Job prosecutes the same subject in this Chapter as in the former. He is looking forward to death and the grave, as the period of repose from his troubles. He is partly speaking to his friends; and part of it is a prayer to GOD.
(1) ¶ Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? (2) As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: (3) So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. (4) When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. (5) My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. (6) My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.
This seems to be an address from Job to his friends. He compares human life under several very striking similitudes, and therefrom wishes to point out, that as a poor labouring man in any station, looks forward to the evening of the day with a kind of joy, that he shall then have rest; so he might be excused wishing for the grave, to put an end, not only to his labours, but his sorrows, and peculiar sufferings, by reason of his loathsome disease. Reader! it will abundantly more tend to our relief, under sorrow of any kind, to bring our case before the throne, and wait the LORD'S time for deliverance, than presumptuously to prescribe when the hour shall be. A child of GOD is more afraid, that he should come out of the furnace unpurged, and the LORD'S end in putting him there not answered, than that he should be there too long. And hence, you may put this down as a sure maxim; until we see GOD'S wisdom, and GOD'S love in our afflictions, we never shall be reconciled to them as we ought. But when a believer in the furnace can and doth say, My GOD my Saviour is exercising me, I know all is right; I know all shall be well; oh! how sanctified then is that sorrow!
(7) ¶ O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. (8) The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. (9) As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. (10) He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him anymore.
From man Job appears to be turning unto GOD. Oh! that in all the afflictions of the LORD'S faithful ones, this plan was more adopted. I do not mean that we should use Job's words; but only Job's method. If a child of GOD instead of seeking out companions, to pour out his afflictions into their bosom, was to go with his sorrows to pour them in to the bosom of JESUS. Oh! how different would be the relief?
(11) Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. (12) Amos I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? (13) When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; (14) Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: (15) So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. (16) I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity. (17) ¶ What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? (18) And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? (19) How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? (20) I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? (21) And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
Those who know what restless nights and pains are, will best enter into an apprehension of Job's complaints, in these verses. But amidst these expostulations of Job, what is the most pleasing part of this prayer, and which shows that grace was still alive in his breast, is that expression where Job confessed; that he hath sinned. Here we find him a child of GOD still. And let the Reader remark with me, from this precious evidence, what seems the whole design of the HOLY GHOST, in recording the life and trials of Jobadiah GOD describes him as his servant: so he mentioned him to Satan: A perfect and an upright man, one that feared GOD, and eschewed evil: chap. 1:8. And what is the scripture sense of such a character? The word of GOD tells us elsewhere, when we are informed, that there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Ecclesiastes 7:20 . Hence, therefore, the character of Job was peculiarly marked as a man faithfully attached to GOD. Against this, Satan contends that Job would prove himself to be an hypocrite. To demonstrate the reverse of this, the LORD permitted Job to be thus severely exercised. When, therefore, we find Job's integrity unimpeached, and in the midst of owning himself to have sinned, that he is still faithful in his creed, the testimony of GOD is confirmed. Job, like Elias, is a man of like passions with other servants of the LORD. But GOD'S testimony standeth sure; Job is the one that feared GOD, and eschewed evil.
LET me call upon my own heart, while I call upon the Reader's also, to make the necessary improvements from what this chapter of Job's sufferings affords, as it may suit our own circumstances and situations in life. No man hath any cause to wonder at afflictions. Our life, as Job saith, at the best is but wind. A life, therefore, so much like the vapour, must be marked with vanity. And if the LORD marks this life with trial, it is because some blessed end, some gracious design is to be the result of it. And if we could but see the kind and gracious hand of JESUS in all, what a blessing would be in it. Here lies all the difference between the sufferings of one man and another. All men, more or less, are born to trial. For he that follows the world, as well as he that follows JESUS, must take up a cross: but while the one hath that cross lightened by JESUS, the other finds his the heavier for want of JESUS. My Brother! are these lines under the eye of a troubled soul? Do you feel sorrow? Do you see the hand of JESUS in that trouble? Are you prayerful under it? Are you humbled with it? Is it sanctified? Doth it lead you to the LORD, and not from the LORD? Put these questions close: see to it that the answers are what they should be. And mark this down as a circumstance never to be questioned or disputed; the trouble that leads the heart to GOD, never did, nor ever will, do any harm. And, on the contrary, the affliction that doth not accomplish this end, never did, nor ever will, do any good, Precious JESUS! make all my trials to bring about this grand and important purpose. Choose thou for me, O my GOD; send what thou knowest to be most suited to thy glory, and my everlasting good. LORD! let not my way-ward fancy direct, but thy wisdom. Let the affliction be what thou seest proper. In what measure, to what extent, how long, and how lasting; sure I am, all will turn to my good, if JESUS be in it. Lead me, LORD, when my heart is at anytime overwhelmed, to the Rock that is higher than I; and then, though in the world I may and shall have tribulation, yet in thee I shall have peace.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent