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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
Job 34



Verse 29



Job 34:29. When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him?

GOD orders and appoints all things throughout the universe. Nations are not so mighty as not to need his superintending care, nor are any individuals so insignificant as to be disregarded by him. The words immediately following the text shew that the text itself is equally applicable to nations or to individuals. The history of the Jews is a striking comment on them in the former view. The experience of every man attests the truth of them in the latter view. Waving the less profitable consideration of the text, we observe,

I. None can trouble those whom God comforts—

God is pleased to bestow peculiar quietness on his own people—

[He sprinkles their souls with the blood of his dear Son [Note: Hebrews 10:22.]: hence they enjoy peace with God, and in their own consciences [Note: Romans 5:1.]. By his Holy Spirit also he sheds abroad his love in their hearts [Note: Romans 5:5.]: hence they maintain a filial confidence towards him [Note: Romans 8:15-16.]. Moreover he convinces them of his own continual care over them [Note: Romans 8:28.]: hence their minds are established in the most trying circumstances [Note: Job 5:19-24.].]

This quietness is widely different from the false peace enjoyed by the world—

[There is a kind of peace possessed even by the ungodly [Note: Luke 11:21.], but it flows only from inconsiderateness or delusion; it vanishes as soon as light breaks in upon the soul: hence the wicked cannot be said to enjoy true and solid peace [Note: Isaiah 57:21.]. But the peace of God’s people consists in a resignation to his will, affiance in his promises, assurance of his love, and an expectation of his glory: hence the Apostle speaks of it in the most exalted terms [Note: Philippians 4:7.].]

When God vouchsafes it to their souls, none can trouble them—

[The question is much stronger than the strongest affirmation: it is a triumphant challenge to the whole universe [Note: It is not said here that none will endeavour to trouble the Believer; for it is certain that both the world and Satan will exert all their influence for this end; 2 Timothy 3:12. 1 Peter 5:8. Nor is it said that God’s children shall never have cause for trouble, for they are liable to pain, sickness, &c. as much as others; but it is affirmed, that none shall greatly or materially trouble them; and this assertion is verified by daily experience.]. They who enjoy God’s presence may disregard the pressures of poverty [Note: Habakkuk 3:17-18.]: nor will they be discouraged by the persecutions of man, or the temptations of Satan [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.]. Every child of God therefore may adopt the Apostle’s words [Note: Romans 8:31.]: he may assume the triumphant language of Messiah himself [Note: Isaiah 1:7-9.].]

On the other hand, God’s determinations are irresistible also with respect to his enemies; so that,

II. None can comfort those whom he troubles—

Though God does not leave it in the power of creatures to trouble his people, he does not see fit altogether to exempt them from trouble. He sometimes, for wise and gracious reasons, hides his face from them—

[David had frequent occasion to lament the loss of God’s presence [Note: Psalms 30:7; Psalms 13:1.]. It was a subject of complaint with the Church of old [Note: Isaiah 49:14.]. Even our Lord himself cried out by reason of dereliction [Note: Matthew 27:46.]. There is therefore an awful propriety in the prophet’s address to God [Note: Isaiah 45:15.].]

Nor can any comfort them at such seasons [Note: The last clause of the text admits of two different interpretations: it may import, either that none can behold God with comfort, when he hides his face from them; or, that if God hide his face from any one, men will no longer look upon him, or at least that they cannot so look upon him as to impart comfort to him. The sense we adopt includes both, God will not, and men cannot, comfort those from whom God hides his face.]—

[Job speaks of himself as quite disconsolate under the hidings of God’s face [Note: Job 3:23-24.]. David also describes the anguish of his heart on a similar occasion [Note: Psalms 102:1-11.]: and universal experience confirms the truth of Job’s assertion [Note: Job 12:14.].]

The wicked, however, are more awfully exposed to these tokens of God’s displeasure—

[They are now indeed, for the most part, insensible of God’s absence from them: but at the hour of death they will feel the whole weight of his indignation [Note: Romans 2:8-9.]. God will then assuredly hide his face from them, and bid them to depart from him [Note: Deuteronomy 32:20. Matthew 25:41.].]

And who will comfort them, when they are in such a tremendous state?

[Sinners even here are often made utterly inconsolable [Note: This is awfully exemplified in Judas, Matthew 27:3-5.]; but, in the eternal world, GOD will afford them no comfort. The angels will certainly administer none [Note: The angels will rather be the executioners of God’s vengeance, Matthew 13:41.]; nor can their fellow-creatures help them in the least [Note: Their wicked companions will only increase their misery, as may be inferred from the solicitude which the Rich Man manifested respecting the probable condemnation of his five brethren, Luke 16:27-28.; and the righteous will not afford them so much as a drop of water to cool their tongue, Luke 16:24-25.]. They cannot derive any comfort from refections on the past; nor can they find consolation in their prospects of the future. Thus can they find no comfort from without, or from within.]


1. To those who are seeking rest and quietness in the world—

[How poor a portion is the world in comparison with God! and how absurd would it appear if any one should affirm of the world what is here affirmed respecting God [Note: Should any one ask, ‘If the world comfort me, who can trouble me?’ we answer, without fear of contradiction, ‘Conscience, i## awakened by God, may trouble thee; pain and sickness may disquiet thee; the prospect of death may appal thee; and, above all, the wrath of God shall trouble thee forever, if thou continue to seek thy happiness in the world.’ If, on the contrary, any one say, ‘When the world troubles me, who can comfort me?’ we may refer him to that unalterable declaration of the prophet, Isaiah 26:3.]! Let every one then acquiesce in the decision of Solomon [Note: Ecclesiastes 1:14.]; and let Christ be regarded as the true and only source of rest [Note: Matthew 11:28.].]

2. To those who now enjoy quietness in God—

[Peace, however firmly established at present, may soon be lost: it can be maintained only in a way of holiness [Note: Isaiah 32:17.]. Sin indulged will cause God to hide his face from us. This is the true source of the disquietudes which many feel [Note: Isaiah 59:2.]. Let all therefore mortify secret and besetting sins. In this way they shall attain happiness in life, in death, and for ever [Note: Psalms 119:165 and 2 Peter 1:10-11.].]


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Job 34:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 29th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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