Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
The text marks a special circumstance in the character of "workers of iniquity," namely, that they are men who wish or will wish to hide themselves; that there is that in their dispositions and practice which they wish concealed from all knowledge and judgment. This wish to hide is the acknowledgment that there is justice over the creation, that there is a righteous and retributive Power inspecting everywhere, with the consciousness that there is something obnoxious to justice. But for this consciousness all would be "children of the light."
I. The text chiefly respects the impossibility of concealment from God and the wish that it were possible. But to a certain extent it might be truly said also with regard to human inspection and judgment. It is but imperfectly that the workers of iniquity can hide themselves even from human view. For there are innumerable vigilant eyes and minds exercising a keen inspection. Men are watching one another, in default of inspecting themselves. There is a never-sleeping suspicion. The wicked often betray one another.
II. Notice the different kinds of darkness in which sinners seek to hide themselves. (1) There is the darkness of profound dissimulation. (2) There is the darkness of deep solitude. (3) There is the darkness of night. (4) In a moral or spiritual sense, we may give the name of "darkness" to a delusive state of notions respecting religion. (5) In the grave, in the state of the dead, in the other world, there will be no hiding-place of darkness. No corner of the universe has a veil from the Creator. There is no recess into which a spirit can slide. The same all-seeing power and almighty justice are everywhere. And if we look forward through time, there is in prospect the great day of manifestation, of which the transcendent light will be such as to annihilate the darkness of all past time. It will be not only as "the light of seven days," but as the light of thousands of years all at once.
J. Foster, Lectures, vol. i., p. 167.
References: Job 34:29.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. viii., p. 62; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., No. 737. Job 34:31, Job 34:32.—Ibid., vol. xxii., No. 1274; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 132.
Job 34:32What we all want is direct teaching—the teaching of Almighty God. God has many lesson-books out of which He teaches. But the Teacher Himself is always apart from and above the lesson-book. The power is all in His secret agency. That instructs; that elevates. It is a real, personal God, using all, pervading all, impressing all, a spirit working with the spirit of a man.
I. There are two classes of subjects about which we need God's teaching. (1) The one is what we know is to be known, but as yet we do not know it. (2) The other is that about which we have not a conception; we do not know that it exists or can exist. Both equally lie in the words, "What I see not."
II. As you attain to the knowledge of the one, the other will open to you—first of things dimly guessed; then of facts actually realised. So it will be for ever, indistinct knowledge growing distinct, and the distinct knowledge making up the idea of things indistinct, and then those indistinctnesses becoming again in their turn distinct. Then shadow out further hazes, which in their turn grow into substances, and so on in a never-ending series. And still the craving must be, "What I see not, teach Thou me."
III. There is only one way to secure God's own teaching. You must go into that school with clean hands and a pure heart. Over the portal of the palace of truth is the inscription—as strict in its stipulation as it is large in its undertaking—"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine."
J. Vaughan, Sermons, 9th series, p. 21.
References: Job 34:33.—A. Raleigh, The Little Sanctuary, p. 195; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 136; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, pp. 132, 287; H. F. Burder, Sermons, p. 299. Job 34—S. Cox, Expositor, 1st series, vol. x., p. 341; Ibid., Commentary on Job, p. 437. Job 35:10.—H. Melvill, Four Sermons in Cambridge, No. 2; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 295. Job 35:10, Job 35:11.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1511. Job 35—S. Cox, Expositor, 1st series, vol. xi., p 33; Ibid., Commentary on Job, p. 455.
Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.
In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:
So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.
Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.