Then Job answered and said,
We have here:
I. The search for God. Of all the many things men seek, surely this is the noblest—the search for God. "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!" There speaks a man eager in the highest of all pursuits. Yours, too, is the capacity to seek for God. Have you, amid your many quests, ever wished to find Him? or is it true that you do not even wish or want to find God?
II. The search for God unavailing. Here, in the Bible, the very book which professes to tell us about God, and in the words of a writer as earnest and devout as this, we find this exclamation of despair about finding God, this exceeding bitter cry: "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!" It seems to be Job's chief trouble that he cannot penetrate the clouds and darkness which surround his Maker. What a high, sublime desire for a troubled man to cherish! "Oh that I might come even to God's seat!" Imagine the prayer granted. Should we like it to be granted to us, to rest there?
III. The search for God rewarded. The Bible has more for us on this subject than this cry of Job's. There is a progress in its many pages, the product of many ages and of successive revelations. It is one of the chief revelations of the New Testament that the deep, unquenchable, and before unsatisfied craving of frail, suffering, sinful men to find their Maker, and to find Him their Friend, is met in Jesus Christ.
T. M. Herbert, Sketches of Sermons, p. 298.
Job 23:3I. God comes only into the heart that wants Him. All that God says—though He be clothed with omnipotence and have at His girdle the keys of all worlds—is, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock." God does not force His way into the human heart. Except a man desire with his whole heart and strength to find God, no promise is given in the living word that God will be found.
II. This desire on our part is in answer to the desire of God. We love God because He first loved us. If we desire God, it is because He hath first desired us. His love comes up from unbeginning time, and goes on to unending eternity. There is nothing in our hearts that is good, and true, and tender that is not inspired by God the Holy Ghost.
III. We must seek God as men who know there is no other help for us. If there be the least distraction of feeling or affection on our part as to this point, we cannot find God. If we would really and truly find God, we must go to Him as men who have lost all right of standing up before Him. No man is allowed to stand before God on equal terms. We must desire God with a true heart, with an unmixed love, and then He will come to us and be our God.
IV. No man can find but God unto perfection. We must not suppose that we have concluded our studies of the Divine nature. In proportion as we are really religious we shall be the first to resent the suggestion that we have done more than but begin our studies of the Divine person, the Divine law, and the Divine grace.
Parker, City Temple, vol. iii., p. 37.
References: Job 23:3, Job 23:4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii., No. 700; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 231. Job 23:6.—Ibid., vol. iii., No. 108. Job 23:8, Job 23:9.—J. Burton, Christian Life and Truth, p. 344. Job 23:8, Job 23:10.—J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 56. Job 23:11, Job 23:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1526. Job 23:13.—Ibid., vol. vii., No. 406. Job 23:16, Job 23:17.—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 436. Job 23—S. Cox, Ibid., 1st series, vol. viii., p. 161; Ibid., Commentary on Job, p. 304. Job 24:1.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 94. Job 24:13.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 130.
Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.
Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.
For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.