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JOB CURSES THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH
Job 3:1. After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
IT is Worthy of observation, that the most eminent saints mentioned in the sacred records are reported, not only to have sinned, but to have failed in those very graces for which they were most distinguished. Abraham, the father of the faithful, who is set forth as the great pattern for all future believers, repeatedly denied his wife through the influence of unbelief: and Moses, the meekest of all men upon the face of the earth, spake unadvisedly with his lips, and thereby provoked God to exclude him from the earthly Canaan. Of the patience of Job the Scripture speaks in the highest terms: but, behold, he is here set forth to our view in a state of grievous impatience. Let us consider,
The manner in which he expressed his impatience—
It should seem as if Satan had now assaulted, not his body only, but his soul also, and had succeeded in wounding him with his fiery darts. It is probable too, that the continued silence of his friends had produced an unfavourable impression on his mind. But however these things might be,
He vented his complaints in very unbecoming terms—
[He first cursed the day of his birth, wishing it to be marked, both by God in his providence, and by men in their feelings, as a day of darkness and gloominess, even to the latest generations [Note: ver. 3–10.]. He next expressed his regret, that he had not been left to perish as soon as he came out of the womb; seeing that he should then have escaped all his calamities, and been quiet in the tomb, where all of every class, whatever their situations and circumstances were whilst they were living upon earth, are enjoying equal repose [Note: ver. 11–19.]. And, lastly, he complained that whilst his grievous sufferings tormented him beyond measure, they did not prevail to take away his life [Note: ver. 20–26.].
We have a similar instance of impatience in another eminent saint, the Prophet Jeremiah, who seems almost to have adopted the very expressions in the chapter before us [Note: Jeremiah 20:14-18.].
Alas! how weak a creature is man when left in any measure to himself!]
But is this an uncommon line of conduct?
[No, truly: there is the same spirit in every man, ready to break forth whenever occasion offers: and in too many of us it breaks forth almost without any occasion at all. How little a thing will discompose the minds of the generality! — — —
How small a provocation will cause them to vent their displeasure in angry and opprobrious language! — — — If trials be at all heavy and of long continuance, how will they disquiet our minds, and destroy all the comfort of our lives! Is it an uncommon thing for men under some calamity to feel weary of their existence, and even to entertain thoughts of terminating their sorrows by suicide? Yea, do not multitudes, who have not one half of Job’s trials, actually destroy their own lives, and rush headlong into hell itself, in order to get rid of their present troubles?
Whilst then we lament the imperfections of this holy man, let us turn our eyes inwards, and contemplate the prevalence of our own corruptions, which a single loss, or disappointment, or injury, is sufficient to call forth in their utmost extent.]
Having viewed the impatience of Job, let us notice,
Some observations arising from it—
We may justly notice,
The folly of arraigning the providence of God—
[Had Job been able to see the design of God in that dispensation towards him, (as sent in the purest love;) and the end in which it was soon to issue, (his greatly augmented happiness and prosperity;) had he contemplated the benefit that was to arise from it to his own soul (both in present sanctification and in eternal glory,) and to the Church of God in all ages, (in having such an example of sufferings and patience set before them,) he would never have uttered such complaints as these: he would have acknowledged then, what he afterwards so clearly saw, that “the Judge of all the earth did right.” Thus if we also in our trials would look to the final issue of them, we should bear them all, whether little or great, with resignation and composure. We see Jacob complaining, “All these things are against me,” and yet at last find, that the loss he so deplored was the salvation of him and all his family: it was a link in the chain of providence to accomplish God’s gracious purposes in the preservation of the chosen seed, and ultimately in the redemption of the world, by Him who was to spring from the loins of Judah. And if we saw every thing as God does, we should see that the very trials of which we complain are sent by God as the best means of effecting the everlasting salvation of our souls; and we should unite in the testimony of David, that “God in very faithfulness has caused us to be afflicted.” Let us be contented then to leave every thing to the disposal of an all-wise God: let us in the darkest seasons “possess our souls in patience;” assured, that “he doeth all things well;” and let us say with Job when in his better mind, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”]
The inability of Satan to prevail against the Lord’s people—
[Satan had hoped that he should instigate Job to “curse God to his face:” but in this he was disappointed. Job did indeed “curse his day;” but never for a moment thought of cursing his God. On the contrary, he often spake of God in the most honourable and reverential terms. But Satan is a chained adversary: he can prevail no further than God sees fit to permit him. He could not have done any thing against Job, if he had not first obtained leave of God. Neither can he do any thing against the least of God’s people, any further than God is pleased to suffer him with a view to their eternal good. He “desired to sift Peter as wheat:” but the intercession of Christ preserved his servant from being finally overcome. “He is a roaring lion, going about seeking whom he may devour:” but he cannot seize on one of the lambs of Christ’s flock. They are kept in safety by the Good Shepherd; and “none can pluck them out of his hand.” God has provided for his people, “armour, by means of which they shall be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand [Note: Ephesians 6:10-18.].” Nor do the more aged and experienced alone defeat him; “the young men also overcome him [Note: 1 John 2:13-14.],” yea, all that are begotten of God are enabled so to “resist him, that he flees from them [Note: James 4:7.],” and “toucheth them not [Note: 1 John 5:18.].” He may be permitted to tempt and try us [Note: Revelation 2:10.]; but he is a vanquished enemy [Note: John 12:31.], and “shall be bruised under our feet shortly [Note: Romans 16:20.].”]
The necessity of fleeing from the wrath to come—
[There is a period fast approaching, when all the ungodly will be reduced to a state infinitely more calamitous than that of Job. They will indeed then, and with justice too, “curse the day of their birth;” for it would, as our Lord himself testifies, be “better for them that they had never been born.” O what a day of darkness awaits them; a day wherein there will not be one ray of light to cheer their souls! Then will they curse and “blaspheme their God, because of the plagues that he inflicts upon them [Note: Revelation 16:9; Revelation 16:11.].” They will wish for death also, and “call upon the rocks to fall upon them, and the hills to cover them [Note: Revelation 6:15-17.];” but all in vain. Now if we were informed that only such troubles as Job’s were coming upon us, what diligence should we use to avert them! how careful should we be to preserve our property, and to guard against the disorders with which we were threatened! Not a moment would be lost by us, nor should we decline the use of any means, to ward off such awful calamities. How earnest then should we be in fleeing from the wrath to come! Think, Brethren, what a fearful thing it will be to “fall into the hands of the living God,” and to “be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,” “where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched [Note: Mark 9:43-48. with Revelation 14:10-11.].” O delay not one moment to flee for refuge to the hope set before us in the Gospel: flee to Christ, as the city of refuge, where, notwithstanding all your past iniquities, you may find perfect rest and security. Do not put off the great work of your souls to a time of sickness and trouble: such a season is but ill calculated for so great a work. Look at Job: if he had neglected his soul hitherto, how incapable would he have then been of performing those offices of repentance and faith, which require all the energies of the mind! He could not even compose his mind to bear his affliction aright; much less could he have employed that season in calling his past ways to remembrance, and in turning unto God with all his heart. So we also shall find it quite enough to bear up under the pains or weakness of a dying hour. Let us then improve the time of health and prosperity, in preparing for a better world, where neither sin nor sorrow shall molest us more, but we shall be for ever happy in the bosom of our God.]
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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Job 3". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12