corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.07.09
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
Job 31

 

 

Verse 14

DISCOURSE: 482

THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARING FOR OUR GREAT ACCOUNT

Job 31:14. What shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

THE testimony of a good conscience is a source of rich consolation at all times, but more especially when we are suffering under afflictions from God, or calumnies from man. Job, in the midst of all his troubles, was upheld by it, when, without such a support, he must have inevitably sunk under his accumulated burthens. It must be confessed, indeed, that this holy man, when urged and irritated by his uncharitable friends, expressed himself too strongly upon this subject: yet we cannot fail of seeing throughout his whole history, that his conscious integrity enabled him to hold fast by God, and to wait with patience the issue of his unexpected calamities.

In the passage before us he is specifying many things commonly practised by others, but from which he had been preserved pure. Among these he mentions his conduct to his servants; and observes that, if in this he had been arbitrary and oppressive, he would have a melancholy account indeed to give in the day of judgment; “Then,” says he, “What shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?”

These words may be considered as,

I. A weighty reflection—

Job is contemplating his responsibility to God, together with the impartiality that will be shewn in the future judgment—

[In speaking of his accountableness to God, he does not limit it to such actions as are reprobated among men, but mentions it in reference to (what is generally but little regarded) his spirit and temper in domestic duties. He well knew that God took cognizance of small things as well as great, and of things relating to civil and social life as well as those that pertain more immediately to religion. He was certain also, that at God’s tribunal the slave and his master, the beggar and the king, would have their cause determined with equal and unerring justice. Hence, when calumniated and condemned by men, he naturally reflects on the sentence that would be passed upon him at God’s tribunal, on the supposition that there were any wilful and allowed sin found in him, whatever the nature of that sin might be, and however venial it might be deemed by the world at large.]

Such a reflection will be highly profitable to us also—

[For great and heinous sins, as they are called, we all feel ourselves accountable to God; but we scarcely think that any responsibility attaches to the dispositions we manifest in the family or the state; we may be querulous and contentious subjects, or proud and oppressive masters, or slothful and impertinent servants, and yet never imagine that God will notice such faults in the day of judgment. The rich and the great are ready to think, that they shall find some favour with God on account of their earthly distinctions; and that, while a poor man who robs or injures them is deserving of the heaviest judgments, they may rob and injure others to ever so great an amount by their extravagance or extortion, and yet pass without censure. But the great and terrible God has no respect of persons [Note: Deuteronomy 10:17.], but will “judge every man according to his works.” And it will be well for us, if we take a retrospect of our actions, and seriously reflect, what answer we shall give to God in the day that he shall visit us.]

But these words may also properly suggest to us,

II. An instructive inquiry—

The inquiry is twofold: if God should call us to his judgment-seat before we have truly repented of our sins,

1. What shall we “do?

[Shall we go before him with boldness, as too many rush into his presence now? Will not his purity abash us, and his excellency make us afraid [Note: Job 13:11.]?”

Shall we hide ourselves from his presence, and elude his search? Whither shall we flee in order to effect this [Note: Psalms 139:7-12.]? In vain shall we, “call upon the rocks to fall upon us, or the hills to cover us.”

Shall we resist his summons? How vain the attempt! “Shall our hands be strong in the day that he shall deal with us [Note: Ezekiel 22:14.],” or, “can we thunder with a voice like his [Note: Job 40:9.]?”

Let us then bethink ourselves “what we shall do in the day of visitation? to whom shall we flee for help? and where shall we leave our glory [Note: Isaiah 10:3.]?”]

2. What shall we “answer?

[Shall we say with that amiable, but mistaken, youth, “I have kept all thy commandments [Note: Matthew 19:20.]?” Alas! which of the commandments have we not broken times without number? Let it only be considered that an angry word is murder [Note: Matthew 5:21-22.], and an unchaste look adultery [Note: Matthew 5:28.]; and we shall find abundant reason, even as holy Job himself did [Note: Job 9:20.], to blush and be confounded before the heart-searching God [Note: Job 9:2-3.].

If this appear too presumptuous, shall we, like the Pharisee, tell him of our comparative goodness [Note: Luke 18:11-12.]? Suppose we do differ from others, what ground of glorying is this to us [Note: 1 Corinthians 4:7.]? And how infinitely short have we come of the perfection which God requires of us! Yea, the very disposition to justify ourselves is sufficient to make God utterly abhor us [Note: Job 9:30-32. Luke 18:14.].

Shall we answer, that we had other things beside religion to attend to? But what other things? If they were lawful in themselves, they were not in the least degree incompatible with religion: and if they were unlawful, they ought to have been renounced.

Shall we reply, that we did not think God would ever condemn any one for the want of religion? But why did we entertain so fond a hope? Were we not sufficiently warned to the contrary? Was it possible for God to declare in more express terms his determination to punish impenitent transgressors [Note: Psalms 9:17. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.]?

Whatever other answers we may be disposed to make, let us consider whether they do not admit of a reply that shall stop our mouths, and utterly confound us? In this way we shall gather instruction for which we may have reason to bless God for ever.]

The oblique hints which both Job and his friends repeatedly gave to each other, may lead us further to consider the words, as,

III. A solemn warning—

If a master’s unkindness to his servant would bring down upon him the divine judgments, Job’s friends might see, that their uncharitableness towards him would not pass unnoticed. In the same manner, these questions convey a solemn warning,

1. To those who are altogether regardless of religion—

[We are well aware that when a fellow-creature expostulates with such persons, they will fill their mouths with arguments, and turn to ridicule “the words of truth and soberness.” But it is not a worm like themselves that they must answer, but the living God. Let careless sinners then consider what they shall answer him? And, before they speak peace to themselves, let them think whether he will deem their excuses sufficient? It is by his judgment that they must stand or fall; and therefore they must be satisfied with nothing which will not satisfy him. It will be to but little purpose to be justified in their own eyes, and in the opinions of a partial world; for if he should refuse his sanction, they will have nothing left but to bewail their folly in everlasting torments.]

2. To those who rest in an outward and formal religion—

[It is not the observance of forms, but the devotion of the heart, that God requires. Religion is to be our business, yea, our very element wherein we live. Our daily care, and our supreme delight, must be to maintain fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, and to glorify God by a holy conversation. These are the things which God will inquire into at the last day: and if we tell him then, that such a life was generally reprobated as hypocrisy or enthusiasm, will he account it a sufficient excuse for our conduct? What! he may say, were all the prophets, and apostles, yea, and my only dear Son, too, hypocrites and fanatics? And were others to be condemned in proportion as they resembled these divine patterns? Did you not know in your consciences, even while you ridiculed the godly, that both you, and they, ought to walk as Christ walked?

Know, then, that the form of godliness, however exemplary, will, if destitute of the life and power of it, leave you without excuse in the day of judgment.]

3. To those who profess religion indeed, but walk unworthy of it—

[Every question put to careless or formal Christians will have tenfold force when addressed to those who profess godliness: for they acknowledge their obligation to piety, and seek to be esteemed as truly religious characters; and therefore to all their other guilt they add the basest hypocrisy, if they live in any wilful sin. Let those (if such there be amongst us) who, while they “seem to be religious, either bridle not their tongue [Note: James 1:26.],” or yield to the solicitations of wrath, envy, malice, lewdness, covetousness, or any other vile affection; let them, I say, consider what they shall answer when God shall visit them. If others be punished, much more shall they [Note: Amos 3:2. Isaiah 33:14.]: yea, their condemnation shall be increased in proportion to the mercies they have slighted, and the advantages they have abused.]

We cannot conclude without adding one word of direction—

[It has been shewn already, what answers will not suffice at the day of judgment. It is but reasonable then to ask, What answer will suffice? To solve this important question, we reply, That doubtless we must renounce all habitual and allowed sin: but that, with respect to the sins of infirmity that are incident to our fallen nature, we should lie low before God [Note: Job 40:4-5; Job 9:15.], seeking mercy through Christ only, and declaring our affiance in the promises which God has given us in his word [Note: Isaiah 43:25-26. See this very question, “What shall we do?” and the answer given to it by the voice of inspiration, Acts 2:37-38; Acts 16:30-31.]. Then, though vile, we shall not be cast out; nor shall our past sins be remembered against us any more for ever [Note: Hebrews 8:12.].]


Verse 24-25

DISCOURSE: 483

SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY

Job 31:24-25; Job 31:28. If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; . This also were an iniquity to be punished by the Judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.

HATEFUL as boasting is, and justly condemned both by God and man, there are occasions when it is proper, and indeed necessary. For instance; when a character has been grossly calumniated, and can be vindicated only by an appeal to facts, those facts may be adduced, however much the recital of them may tend to proclaim our own praise. Samuel was constrained to assert the equity of his own administration, when the people cast reflections on him, by desiring to change the form of his government, and to have a king substituted in his place. Paul also, when traduced by persons who sought to destroy his influence in the Church, declared, though much against his will, the honours which had been conferred upon him, and the habits he had invariably maintained [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:1-11.]. Indeed, we should have known comparatively but little of this blessed Apostle, if he had not been compelled by the malevolence of others to make known the hidden principles by which he had been actuated, and the blameless conduct which he had uniformly pursued: and, so far from blaming him for his boasting, we cannot but be thankful that God suffered him to be so injured, and thereby constrained him in self-defence to make known to us so much of his true character. In like manner we account it a great benefit to the Church, that Job was driven by the heavy accusations that were brought against him, to insist so largely on his own innocence, and to declare so fully the habits and exercises of his former life. Throughout this whole chapter he maintains, in reference to the evils that were laid to his charge, that his conduct had been the very reverse of what his friends supposed. Had he done this in the spirit of the self-applauding Pharisee (Luke 18.), he had acted wrong: but when it was necessary to wipe off the aspersions that were so injuriously cast upon him, he was justified in adducing whatever had a tendency to place his character in its true light.

The part we have just read is a vindication of himself from idolatry. Of idolatry there are two kinds; one actual and manifest; the other virtual and constructive. The actual idolatry is that which is referred to in the verses we have omitted. In the days of Job, or at least in the country where he lived, the sun and moon were the only objects to which idolatrous worship was paid: and, as they were out of the reach of the worshippers, the kiss, which was afterwards given to idols as an expression of supreme regard, was transferred to them by means of the hand [Note: Hosea 13:2.]. But Job declared, that he had never been guilty of this great impiety. Nay more, he had never, even in heart, given to the creature any portion of that respect which was due only to the Most High God: and if he had, he acknowledged that his sufferings were richly merited, and that as his conduct would have been in fact a denial of his God, he could expect nothing from God but wrath and indignation to all eternity.

I. The disposition here specified—

An undue regard to wealth is extremely common in the world—

[The possession of wealth is no evil: it then only becomes an evil, when it is accompanied with a measure of affiance or delight in it. But, fallen and depraved as man by nature is, it is exceeding difficult to view wealth with such indifference as we ought. Our blessed Lord states this, when speaking of the Rich Youth, who renounced and forsook him, rather than part with his great possessions. He first said, “How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God!” and then, “How hardly shall they that trust in riches enter into the kingdom of God!” intending thereby to intimate, that it is almost “impossible” to have them, and not to trust in them [Note: Mark 10:21-27.]. The pleasure that men take in the contemplation of their wealth, whether inherited or acquired, arises from the thought, that they are thereby placed, if not entirely, yet in some measure, beyond the reach of evil; and that, in whatever circumstances they may be, they shall have something which will administer to their comfort [Note: Habakkuk 2:9.]. But this is idolatry, as we shall shew under our Second Head. At present, we content ourselves with observing, that this is the view, which all natural men have of wealth, and the regard which, under all circumstances, they pay to it.

Whence is it that men are so eager in the pursuit of wealth? Whence is it that they so earnestly desire it for their children? Whence is it that all who come to the possession of wealth, or to any great preferment, are congratulated by their friends, and receive those congratulations as suitable to the occasion? Whence is it, on the contrary, that any heavy losses are considered as so great a misfortune, and call forth either real sympathy, or compliments of condolence? Is not all this from a presumption, that wealth and preferment are in themselves a certain and a positive good? Does it not all imply a hope or confidence in gold? Would a man who had merely scraped together a great heap of dust, rejoice because his hand had gotten much? and does not the satisfaction he feels from the attainment of riches, shew, that he has formed an erroneous estimate of their value? — — —]

Such then being the disposition specified in our text, we proceed to point out,

II. The sinfulness of it—

To act in any way unworthy of God is to deny him [Note: Titus 1:16.]: but to feel such a disposition towards wealth as has been now described, is in a more especial manner to be regarded in this view. It denies, in fact,

1. That God is the only source of happiness to man—

[God has called himself “the Fountain of living waters,” and has pronounced all creatures to be “broken cisterns that will hold no water.” Now what is this but a declaration, that to make us happy is his exclusive prerogative? Doubtless the creature, when he accompanies it with his blessing, is a source of much comfort: but it has nothing in itself: the sun, whose genial warmth is such a fruitful source of blessings to some, destroys all the hopes of others, and burns up the very face of the earth. The moon, which gladdens the heart of many a benighted traveller, operates by a secret influence upon the brain, to strike some with madness. Thus wealth also, which to some is the means of exercising a most diffusive benevolence, to others is a curse. What was Nabal the better for his wealth? It only fostered his deep-rooted churlishness, and ultimately proved the occasion of his death. In a word, the creature is nothing but what God is pleased to make it: with his blessing, it will contribute to our happiness; but without his blessing, it is only “vanity and vexation of spirit.” If then we place any confidence in it, or suffer it to be a source of complacency to our minds, we ascribe to the creature what is found in none but the Lord Jehovah; to whom alone we should have respect, when we say, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”]

2. That he is all-sufficient for that end—

[The man that can look up to a reconciled God in Christ Jesus, has all that he can desire: the wealth of the whole world can add nothing to him. If it be thought that wealth being an addition, must of necessity enlarge the comforts of the soul; we would ask, What can a taper add to the light of the meridian sun? or who that enjoys the full splendour of that heavenly orb, does not despise the feeble efforts of a taper to augment its lustre? So it is with him who beholds the light of God’s glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ: the creature, whoever, or whatever it may be, “has no glory in his eyes by reason of the glory that excelleth.” Did the prodigal any longer affect the husks which the swine ate of, when he was feeding on the fatted calf in his father’s house? No, surely: nor does he ever hunger, who has fed on Jesu’s flesh; or thirst, when once he has been refreshed with the water of life — — — Hear the testimony of one who spoke from his own experience: “We are sorrowful,” says the blessed Apostle, “yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing all things [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:10.].”

Now if we desire any earthly good from an idea that it can of itself contribute to our happiness, we virtually deny the all-sufficiency of Christ; and by exalting the creature to a participation of his rights, we rob him of his unalienable and incommunicable glory.]

Improvement—

1. For reproof—

[Let this character of Job be compared with that of the generality of Christians, and it will afford abundant matter for the deepest humiliation. Certainly, on account of our superior advantages, we ought to possess far greater spirituality of mind than Job: yet how far below him do the generality even of those who profess religion fall! Perhaps the besetting sin of those who embrace the Gospel is worldliness: it is certain, that very many of them are as eager in the pursuit of wealth as others: and this accounts for the little influence of the word of God upon them: the seed is good, but the soil is bad; and the noxious weeds, by their speedy and incessant growth, keep down the feebler plants of piety in the soul: “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” And here let it be observed, that it is not the overt act of covetousness or creature-dependence that is condemned, but the inward disposition of the soul: even the complacency of mind that arises from the possession of wealth is itself a positive “denial of the God that is above.” O, Brethren, enter into your own bosoms, and judge yourselves in relation to this matter. Inquire whether God has such a full possession of your hearts as to render all earthly things rain, empty, and worthless, in your estimation? if not, how can you call God your portion, or imagine that you have formed a proper estimate of the blessings of salvation? Know assuredly, that, if you have just views of Christ, you will regard him as the pearl of great price, “to purchase which a wise merchant will sell all that he has;” and you will say from your inmost soul, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee.”

2. For instruction in righteousness—

[We learn from our text, wherein a true confession of Christ consists: it is not in an assent to some particular truths, but in a practical and experimental sense of his love overpowering all inferior considerations. To love the Lord Jesus Christ, to “cleave to him with full purpose of heart,” to count him “all our salvation and all our desire,” this is what God requires; this is also what our blessed Saviour merits at our hands; and if we despise not even life itself when standing in competition with his will, his presence, his glory, we shall be regarded as denying him, and must expect to be denied by him in the presence of his Father and his holy angels [Note: Mark 8:34-35; Mark 8:38.]. In the Church above “there is no need of either sun or moon to lighten it, because the Lamb is the light thereof [Note: Revelation 21:23.];” so also is it in the Church below, wherever Christ has really established his kingdom in the heart [Note: Isaiah 24:23.]. Look to it then, Brethren, that it be thus with you: and, if you are disposed to ask, “Who will shew me any good?” learn immediately to add, “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me; and that shall put more gladness in my heart, than any increase of corn or wine or oil can ever do [Note: Psalms 4:6-7.]:” for as, on the one hand, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth,” so, on the other hand, “In God’s favour is life, and his loving-kindness is better than life itself.”]


Verse 28

DISCOURSE: 483

SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY

Job 31:24-25; Job 31:28. If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; . This also were an iniquity to be punished by the Judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.

HATEFUL as boasting is, and justly condemned both by God and man, there are occasions when it is proper, and indeed necessary. For instance; when a character has been grossly calumniated, and can be vindicated only by an appeal to facts, those facts may be adduced, however much the recital of them may tend to proclaim our own praise. Samuel was constrained to assert the equity of his own administration, when the people cast reflections on him, by desiring to change the form of his government, and to have a king substituted in his place. Paul also, when traduced by persons who sought to destroy his influence in the Church, declared, though much against his will, the honours which had been conferred upon him, and the habits he had invariably maintained [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:1-11.]. Indeed, we should have known comparatively but little of this blessed Apostle, if he had not been compelled by the malevolence of others to make known the hidden principles by which he had been actuated, and the blameless conduct which he had uniformly pursued: and, so far from blaming him for his boasting, we cannot but be thankful that God suffered him to be so injured, and thereby constrained him in self-defence to make known to us so much of his true character. In like manner we account it a great benefit to the Church, that Job was driven by the heavy accusations that were brought against him, to insist so largely on his own innocence, and to declare so fully the habits and exercises of his former life. Throughout this whole chapter he maintains, in reference to the evils that were laid to his charge, that his conduct had been the very reverse of what his friends supposed. Had he done this in the spirit of the self-applauding Pharisee (Luke 18.), he had acted wrong: but when it was necessary to wipe off the aspersions that were so injuriously cast upon him, he was justified in adducing whatever had a tendency to place his character in its true light.

The part we have just read is a vindication of himself from idolatry. Of idolatry there are two kinds; one actual and manifest; the other virtual and constructive. The actual idolatry is that which is referred to in the verses we have omitted. In the days of Job, or at least in the country where he lived, the sun and moon were the only objects to which idolatrous worship was paid: and, as they were out of the reach of the worshippers, the kiss, which was afterwards given to idols as an expression of supreme regard, was transferred to them by means of the hand [Note: Hosea 13:2.]. But Job declared, that he had never been guilty of this great impiety. Nay more, he had never, even in heart, given to the creature any portion of that respect which was due only to the Most High God: and if he had, he acknowledged that his sufferings were richly merited, and that as his conduct would have been in fact a denial of his God, he could expect nothing from God but wrath and indignation to all eternity.

I. The disposition here specified—

An undue regard to wealth is extremely common in the world—

[The possession of wealth is no evil: it then only becomes an evil, when it is accompanied with a measure of affiance or delight in it. But, fallen and depraved as man by nature is, it is exceeding difficult to view wealth with such indifference as we ought. Our blessed Lord states this, when speaking of the Rich Youth, who renounced and forsook him, rather than part with his great possessions. He first said, “How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God!” and then, “How hardly shall they that trust in riches enter into the kingdom of God!” intending thereby to intimate, that it is almost “impossible” to have them, and not to trust in them [Note: Mark 10:21-27.]. The pleasure that men take in the contemplation of their wealth, whether inherited or acquired, arises from the thought, that they are thereby placed, if not entirely, yet in some measure, beyond the reach of evil; and that, in whatever circumstances they may be, they shall have something which will administer to their comfort [Note: Habakkuk 2:9.]. But this is idolatry, as we shall shew under our Second Head. At present, we content ourselves with observing, that this is the view, which all natural men have of wealth, and the regard which, under all circumstances, they pay to it.

Whence is it that men are so eager in the pursuit of wealth? Whence is it that they so earnestly desire it for their children? Whence is it that all who come to the possession of wealth, or to any great preferment, are congratulated by their friends, and receive those congratulations as suitable to the occasion? Whence is it, on the contrary, that any heavy losses are considered as so great a misfortune, and call forth either real sympathy, or compliments of condolence? Is not all this from a presumption, that wealth and preferment are in themselves a certain and a positive good? Does it not all imply a hope or confidence in gold? Would a man who had merely scraped together a great heap of dust, rejoice because his hand had gotten much? and does not the satisfaction he feels from the attainment of riches, shew, that he has formed an erroneous estimate of their value? — — —]

Such then being the disposition specified in our text, we proceed to point out,

II. The sinfulness of it—

To act in any way unworthy of God is to deny him [Note: Titus 1:16.]: but to feel such a disposition towards wealth as has been now described, is in a more especial manner to be regarded in this view. It denies, in fact,

1. That God is the only source of happiness to man—

[God has called himself “the Fountain of living waters,” and has pronounced all creatures to be “broken cisterns that will hold no water.” Now what is this but a declaration, that to make us happy is his exclusive prerogative? Doubtless the creature, when he accompanies it with his blessing, is a source of much comfort: but it has nothing in itself: the sun, whose genial warmth is such a fruitful source of blessings to some, destroys all the hopes of others, and burns up the very face of the earth. The moon, which gladdens the heart of many a benighted traveller, operates by a secret influence upon the brain, to strike some with madness. Thus wealth also, which to some is the means of exercising a most diffusive benevolence, to others is a curse. What was Nabal the better for his wealth? It only fostered his deep-rooted churlishness, and ultimately proved the occasion of his death. In a word, the creature is nothing but what God is pleased to make it: with his blessing, it will contribute to our happiness; but without his blessing, it is only “vanity and vexation of spirit.” If then we place any confidence in it, or suffer it to be a source of complacency to our minds, we ascribe to the creature what is found in none but the Lord Jehovah; to whom alone we should have respect, when we say, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”]

2. That he is all-sufficient for that end—

[The man that can look up to a reconciled God in Christ Jesus, has all that he can desire: the wealth of the whole world can add nothing to him. If it be thought that wealth being an addition, must of necessity enlarge the comforts of the soul; we would ask, What can a taper add to the light of the meridian sun? or who that enjoys the full splendour of that heavenly orb, does not despise the feeble efforts of a taper to augment its lustre? So it is with him who beholds the light of God’s glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ: the creature, whoever, or whatever it may be, “has no glory in his eyes by reason of the glory that excelleth.” Did the prodigal any longer affect the husks which the swine ate of, when he was feeding on the fatted calf in his father’s house? No, surely: nor does he ever hunger, who has fed on Jesu’s flesh; or thirst, when once he has been refreshed with the water of life — — — Hear the testimony of one who spoke from his own experience: “We are sorrowful,” says the blessed Apostle, “yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing all things [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:10.].”

Now if we desire any earthly good from an idea that it can of itself contribute to our happiness, we virtually deny the all-sufficiency of Christ; and by exalting the creature to a participation of his rights, we rob him of his unalienable and incommunicable glory.]

Improvement—

1. For reproof—

[Let this character of Job be compared with that of the generality of Christians, and it will afford abundant matter for the deepest humiliation. Certainly, on account of our superior advantages, we ought to possess far greater spirituality of mind than Job: yet how far below him do the generality even of those who profess religion fall! Perhaps the besetting sin of those who embrace the Gospel is worldliness: it is certain, that very many of them are as eager in the pursuit of wealth as others: and this accounts for the little influence of the word of God upon them: the seed is good, but the soil is bad; and the noxious weeds, by their speedy and incessant growth, keep down the feebler plants of piety in the soul: “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” And here let it be observed, that it is not the overt act of covetousness or creature-dependence that is condemned, but the inward disposition of the soul: even the complacency of mind that arises from the possession of wealth is itself a positive “denial of the God that is above.” O, Brethren, enter into your own bosoms, and judge yourselves in relation to this matter. Inquire whether God has such a full possession of your hearts as to render all earthly things rain, empty, and worthless, in your estimation? if not, how can you call God your portion, or imagine that you have formed a proper estimate of the blessings of salvation? Know assuredly, that, if you have just views of Christ, you will regard him as the pearl of great price, “to purchase which a wise merchant will sell all that he has;” and you will say from your inmost soul, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee.”

2. For instruction in righteousness—

[We learn from our text, wherein a true confession of Christ consists: it is not in an assent to some particular truths, but in a practical and experimental sense of his love overpowering all inferior considerations. To love the Lord Jesus Christ, to “cleave to him with full purpose of heart,” to count him “all our salvation and all our desire,” this is what God requires; this is also what our blessed Saviour merits at our hands; and if we despise not even life itself when standing in competition with his will, his presence, his glory, we shall be regarded as denying him, and must expect to be denied by him in the presence of his Father and his holy angels [Note: Mark 8:34-35; Mark 8:38.]. In the Church above “there is no need of either sun or moon to lighten it, because the Lamb is the light thereof [Note: Revelation 21:23.];” so also is it in the Church below, wherever Christ has really established his kingdom in the heart [Note: Isaiah 24:23.]. Look to it then, Brethren, that it be thus with you: and, if you are disposed to ask, “Who will shew me any good?” learn immediately to add, “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me; and that shall put more gladness in my heart, than any increase of corn or wine or oil can ever do [Note: Psalms 4:6-7.]:” for as, on the one hand, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth,” so, on the other hand, “In God’s favour is life, and his loving-kindness is better than life itself.”]

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Job 31:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/job-31.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 9th, 2020
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology