Job’s Direct Address to God.

JOB’S PRAYER FOR ENLIGHTENMENT. — Job now launches forth into a pitiful complaint, addressing God Himself on the great severity with which He was treating him, although He knew that he was innocent of any specific guilt. V. 1. My soul is weary of my life, filled with disgust and loathing; I will leave my complaint upon myself, giving free course to his sorrowful statement; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. V. 2. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me, letting him die the death of a guilty person against the testimony of his conscience. Show me wherefore Thou contendest with me, letting him know the definite charge which He preferred against him. V. 3. Is it good unto Thee that Thou shouldest oppress, that Thou shouldest despise the work of Thine hands and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? Surely God would not take pleasure, find joy, in cruelly abusing a creature of His own hands, in treating Job as possessing no value, while favoring, at the same time, the success of the wicked and giving prosperity to their endeavors. V. 4. Hast Thou eyes of flesh? Would God judge like a man, perceiving the objects only from the outside, judging only by the outward look of things? Or seest Thou as man seeth? V. 5. Are Thy days as the days of man, of a mortal, changeable creature? Are Thy years as man’s days, v. 6. that Thou enquirest, seekest, after mine iniquity and searchest after my sin? Surely God’s life was not so short that He was obliged to resort to tortures of this kind, in order to force an unwilling confession of guilt from the mouth of Job. Such a way of dealing could be expected in an earthly ruler, but not in the great King of heaven. V. 7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked, rather, “although Thou knowest that I am not guilty”; and there is none that can deliver out of Thine hand; although He had all men absolutely in His power, He surely would not act like a tyrant, for they could not escape His justice in any event. Job argued that all three possibilities: gratification of a whim, judgment according to appearances only, and the necessity of deciding quickly, were out of the question in the ease of God. V. 8. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about, having carefully and elaborately formed and fashioned his intricate organism; yet Thou dost destroy me! An exclamation of reproachful amazement. V. 9. Remember, I beseech thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay, as a potter fashions a vessel out of clay; and wilt Thou bring me into dust again? Out of dust was man originally formed, and to dust he must return. V. 10. Hast Thou not poured me out as milk and curdled me like cheese? This describes the entire molding of the body before birth, one of God’s great mysteries. V. 11. Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh and hast fenced me with bones and sinews, interweaving them into the pattern of the body in that wonderful process of creation. V. 12. Thou hast granted me life and favor, his life having been preserved by reason of the divine kindness, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit; by the providence of God his life had been spared and the breath kept in his body. Should all these miraculous acts be in vain? All believers should appreciate the wonderful kindness of God; for to all men He gives body and soul, eyes, ears, and all their members, their reason, and all their senses, and still preserves them.

JOB RENEWS HIS COMPLAINT OF HIS AFFLICTION. — V. 13. And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart; I know that this is with Thee, that is: In spite of all God’s care in the creation and preservation of Job, in spite of all His apparent kindness in the past, His hidden purpose had planned Job’s destruction. V. 14. If I sin, then Thou markest me, that is, If Job should sin, God had intended to watch very carefully and immediately charge it against him, and Thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity; He carefully notes down every evidence of wickedness. V. 15. If I be wicked, woe unto me! He must expect a sudden and violent punishment. And if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head, even if he were right, he would not dare to look up with freedom and confidence, for this would not be acknowledged. I am full of confusion, filled with shame; therefore see Thou mine affliction. He always had his misery in sight and must hang his head in shame, like a wicked sinner who was getting his just deserts, V. 16. For it increaseth, rather, “and should my head lift itself up,” should Job dare to show a cheerful courage, Thou huntest me as a fierce lion; and again Thou showest Thyself marvelous upon me, God would show His wonderful power in destroying him, V. 17. Thou renewest Thy witnesses against me, God would cause ever new witnesses to appear against Job, and increasest Thine indignation upon me, with an ever new amount of displeasure. Changes and war are against me; Job would have to consider ever new troops and a whole army opposed to him, He alone is the mark of God’s displeasure, V. 18. Wherefore, then, hast Thou brought me forth out of the womb? He renews his complaint, bewailing the fact that he was ever born. Oh, that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! He would have died, never have seen the light of day, if God had not called him into being. V. 19. I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave, still-born, a corpse, and out of misery. V. 20, Are not my days few? Was not the time of his life short enough? Could not God take from him some of the burden which was weighting him down? Cease, then, and let me alone, turning His attention elsewhere, that I may take comfort a little, enjoy just a little brightness and cheerfulness, v. 21. before I go whence I shall not return, or, “go hence and return not,” even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; v. 22. a land of darkness, as darkness itself, black as the shades of midnight; and of the shadow of death, without any order, filled with chaotic confusion, and where the light is as darkness, literally, “where it is light as midnight,” said of the most intense darkness, an utterly sunless gloom. Job here, in the bitterness of his soul, gave way to a hopelessness which should never be found in a believer, but which sometimes threatens to overwhelm him, It is only the remembrance of God’s unwavering kindness, as a characteristic of faith, that will keep us from such depths of despair.