Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
Zophar's question made Job burn with passion. Over three chapters, in alternate hope and despair, but always with fierce intensity, turning and returning his thoughts, but always reasserting against his woes his unconquerable knowledge of God, his unconquerable trust, Job's reply spreads itself before us. The question is, Can a man find God?
I. Look at nature; that is Job's first cry. "Ask the beasts, and they shall teach thee," etc. Wherever I look I see life. Where does the life come from? Here are Job's words: "In God's hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind." Can I by searching find out God? Yes. I look for Him in nature, and I know Him there as intelligence and life.
II. Then Job passes on. Look now at man, he cries; see the changes of the world, the breaking down and raising up of men, wise men turned fools, bonds of kings loosed, the mighty overthrown. Who has done this? Man himself alone? The one clear thing in it all is that man is proved to be the creature of Another's will. It is He whom I have found in nature, God the Lord.
III. Then Job turns to the personal question, the question pressed upon him by his dull and meddling friends, who in his trouble began to preach to him. He throws himself in a passionate despair of trust on God. I have nothing else to look to, and I will cling to that, no matter if death come. And he does cling to it, mean it.
IV. "Can man by searching find out God?" Yes. There is no need to seek Him in the unreachable heavens, or in the depths of the invisible darkness to look for Him. He is here in the life, and intelligence, and beauty of nature. He is here in the conduct of the world. He is here in the sense I have of my own righteousness before Him. He is here in the sense of an absolute justice, even though that justice punish me. He is here in my undying, unquenchable trust that He is mine and I am His for ever.
S. A. Brooke, The Spirit of the Christian Life, p. 347.
References: Job 11:7.—H. Melvill, Voices of the Year, vol. ii., p. 1. Job 11:7-9.—W. English, Church Sermons, vol. ii., p. 26. Job 11:12.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 314. Job 11:13-15.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 129. Job 11—S. Cox, Expositor, 1st series, vol. v., p. 123; Ibid., Commentary on Job, p. 141. Job 11-17—A. W. Momerie, Defects of Modern Christianity, p. 104.
Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;
And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.
If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.
But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.