J O B
In most disputes the strife is who shall have the
last word. Job's friends had, in this controversy, tamely yielded
it to Job, and then he to Elihu. But, after all the wranglings of
the counsel at bar, the judge upon the bench must have the last
word; so God had here, and so he will have in every controversy,
for every man's judgment proceeds from him and by his definitive
sentence every man must stand or fall and every cause be won or
lost. Job had often appealed to God, and had talked boldly how he
would order his cause before him, and as a prince would he go near
unto him; but, when God took the throne, Job had nothing to say in
his own defence, but was silent before him. It is not so easy a
matter as some think it to contest with the Almighty. Job's friends
had sometimes appealed to God too: "O that God would speak!"
ch. xi. 7. And now,
at length, God does speak, when Job, by Elihu's clear and close
arguings was mollified a little, and mortified, and so prepared to
hear what God had to say. It is the office of ministers to prepare
the way of the Lord. That which the great God designs in this
discourse is to humble Job, and bring him to repent of, and to
recant, his passionate indecent expressions concerning God's
providential dealings with him; and this he does by calling upon
Job to compare God's eternity with his own time, God's omniscience
with his own ignorance, and God's omnipotence with his own
impotency. I. He begins with an awakening challenge and demand in
general, ver. 2, 3. II.
He proceeds in divers particular instances and proofs of Job's
utter inability to contend with God, because of his ignorance and
weakness: for, 1. He knew nothing of the founding of the earth,
ver. 4-7. 2. Nothing of
the limiting of the sea, ver.
8-11. 3. Nothing of the morning light, ver. 12-15. 4. Nothing of the
dark recesses of the sea and earth, ver. 16-21. 5. Nothing of the springs in
the clouds (ver.
22-27), nor the secret counsels by which they are
directed. 6. He could do nothing towards the production of the
rain, or frost, or lightning (ver. 28-30, 34, 35, 37, 38),
nothing towards the directing of the stars and their influences
(ver. 31-33), nothing
towards the making of his own soul, ver. 36. And lastly, he could not provide
for the lions and the ravens, ver.
39-41. If, in these ordinary works of nature, Job was
puzzled, how durst he pretend to dive into the counsels of God's
government and to judge of them? In this (as bishop Patrick
observes) God takes up the argument begun by Elihu (who came
nearest to the truth) and prosecutes it in inimitable words,
excelling his, and all other men's, in the loftiness of the style,
as much as thunder does a whisper.