Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty.
Homilist.I. GREAT CRIMES HAVE PREVAILED ON THE EARTH FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES. Amongst the crimes specified in this chapter there is —
1. Theft. There were those who stole from others their lands and flocks, and robbed the widow and orphan of their food and clothing (vers. 2-8). There is —
2. Cruelty. "They plucked the fatherless from the breast," made "men groan out of the city." There is —
3. Murder. "The murderer, rising with the light, killeth the poor and needy." There is —
4. Adultery. "The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight," etc.The fact that these crimes prevailed in Job's land and times implies —
1. That in those distant scenes and times the same standard of morals existed that we have. They esteemed theft, cruelty, murder, and adultery wrong; so do we.
2. That in those distant scenes and times men had the same sinful propensities as they have now.
II. THAT ALTHOUGH THE GREAT GOD IS COGNISANT OF THOSE CRIMES HE DOES NOT ALWAYS VISIT THEM WITH PUNISHMENT IN THIS LIFE. Job begins with the question, "Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know Him not see His days?" The meaning is, Why, since crimes are not hidden from the Almighty, do not His friends see His judgments? He shows that these great criminals fare as well here, both in life and death, as others. Why is this? Not because the Almighty is ignorant of their crimes, or because their crimes are not abhorrent to His nature. Whatever the cause, the fact is undeniable; and this fact Job brings out here to refute the doctrine of his friends, namely, that great suffering implies great crime.
Men groan from out of the city.
(Alfred Bowen Evans.)
Rebel against the light.
1. We may understand the text of light in a proper sense, and some insist chiefly on that. They rebel against the very light of the sun, or the ordinary daylight. Wicked men love darkness; they hate even natural light, the light of the sun, because it seldom serves, but often hinders, their occasions.
2. Take light figuratively for the light of knowledge. So it is more true that wicked men rebel against it. The light rebelled against is rather an internal light, that light which shines into the soul, than that which shines to the eye; and there is a two-fold internal light, against which wicked men may be said to rebel.(1) The light of nature, or natural internal light; there is a light of the natural conscience, which every man carrieth about him, concerning good and evil, or what is to be done and what is to be left undone.(2) There is a light of Divine revelation, which shines into the soul from the Scriptures or written Word of God. Divine truths inspired and dictated by the Spirit of God are there written as with the beams of the sun. Yet the wicked man rebels against the clearest and fullest discoveries of the mind of God.
3. Some understand by the "light" here, God Himself, who is light. The very reason why the light of nature and the light of reason are rebelled against, is because the former hath somewhat of God in it, and the latter much of God in it. For as God is light, so all light is of God.
I. DETECT THE REBELS. Well-instructed persons, who have been accustomed to teach others, and yet turn aside to evil; these are grievous traitors. Children of Christian parents who sin against their early training; upon whom prayer and entreaty, precept and example are thrown away. Hearers of the Word, who quench convictions deliberately, frequently, and with violence. Men with keen moral sense, who rush on, despite the reins of conscience which should restrain them. Lewd professors who, nevertheless, talk orthodoxy and condemn others, thereby assuredly pronouncing their own doom.
II. DESCRIBE THE FORMS OF THIS REBELLION. Some refuse light, being unwilling to know more than would be convenient; therefore they deny themselves time for thought, absent themselves from sermons, neglect godly reading, shun pious company, avoid reproof, etc. Others scoff and fight against it, calling light darkness, and darkness light, Infidelity, ribaldry, persecution, and such like, become their resort and shelter. Persons run contrary to it in their lives; of set purpose, or through wilful carelessness. Walking away from the light is rebelling against it. Setting up your own wishes in opposition to the laws of morality and holiness, is open revolt against the light. Many presume upon their possession of light, imagining that knowledge and orthodox belief will save them. Many darken it for others, hindering its operations among men, hiding their own light under a bushel, ridiculing the efforts of others, etc. All darkness is a rebellion against light. Let us "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
III. DENOUNCE THE PUNISHMENT OF THIS REBELLION. To have the light removed. To lose eyes to see it even when present. To remain unforgiven, as culprits blindfolded for death, as those do who resist the light of the Holy Spirit. To sin with tenfold guilt, with awful wilfulness of heart. To descend forever into that darkness which increases in blackness throughout eternity.
IV. DECLARE THE FOLLY OF THIS REBELLION. Light is our best friend, and it is wisdom to obey it; to resist it is to rebel against our own interest. Light triumphs still. Owls hoot, but the moon shines. Opposition to truth and righteousness is useless; it may even promote that which it aims to prevent. Light would lead to more light. Consent to it, for it will be beneficial to your own soul. Light would lead to heaven, which is the centre of light. Light even here would give peace, comfort, rest, holiness, and communion with God. Let us not rebel against light, but yield to its lead; yea, leap forward to follow its blessed track. Let us become the allies of light, and spread it. It is a noble thing to live as light bearers of "the Lord and Giver of Light." Let us walk in the light, as God is in the light; and so our personal enjoyment will support our life work. Light must be our life if our life is to be light.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Sunday Circle.The devil fears the light, and this is one reason why we should keep it always burning. A governor of the Bahamas, who was about to return to England, promised to do his best to procure from the Home Government any favour the Colonists might desire. And what think you was their unanimous reply: "Tell them to tear down the lighthouses — they are ruining the Colony." The men were wreckers, and they hated the light! And the devil so hates the light that he would tear down every spiritual lighthouse in the land if he only could.
The terrors of the shadow of death.
I. WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES DEATH TERRIBLE?
1. It is the rending asunder of what God has joined together. Body and soul. What life is, and what death is, we know by marked outward signs; but what the soul is, whence it comes, whither it goes, who knoweth, except so far as God has taught us?
2. It is the passage to judgment. "After this the judgment."
3. It is the breaking up of all we love, and desire, and care for here.
II. Turn to the other side of the picture — WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES DEATH PEACEFUL?
1. The body and spirit shall again be joined. "In Christ shall all be made alive."
2. The judgment will be the "judgment seat of Christ." Judgment is terrible where sin is; but sin washed away in the blood of the Cross has no sting, no terror left.
3. The Christian's treasure is above, his hope is full of immortality. Death to the Christian is the sure and certain hope of a better life.
(Alfred Port, B. D.)
Yet His eyes are upon thy ways.
1. That God's eye is upon them, to mark all their debordings.
2. That after their exaltation for a little while, they are cut off.
3. That yet this is done but in an ordinary way, as befalls all others. As the tops of the ripe ears of corn are cut down and gathered in.Learn —
1. Outward safety is in itself a mercy. Therefore men ought to improve this mercy aright, and should be sensible of their ill-improvement thereof, when they are deprived of it.
2. Safety is from God, and gifted by Him. No man can secure himself without God.
3. God in His long suffering and indulgence may set the wicked in safety for a time, for a snare upon them.
4. It is a plague upon the wicked that they rest and secure in the enjoyment of outward mercies.
5. It is, in particular, a plague upon the wicked, that their outward security and safety quiets all their fears, so that they have no doubt of God's favour, or of their own good estate, so long as they are in such a condition.
6. God does not give safety to wicked men because He approves of them or seeth not their wickedness; but He hath an eye upon them all the while, and particularly notices how they abuse these providences.
7. Albeit the Lord be not still punishing the wicked, yet this is sad, that He is still observing and marking all their ways, to call them to account for them in a day of reckoning.