At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
I. We live under a cloud, and see God's way only by a dim light. As beings of intelligence, we find ourselves hedged in by mystery on every side. All our seeming knowledge is skirted, close at hand, by dark confines of ignorance. What then does it mean? Is God jealous of intelligence in us? Exactly contrary to this. He is a Being who dwelleth in light, and calls us to walk in the light with Him. (1) The true account appears to be that the cloud under which we are shut down is not heavier than it must be. How can a Being infinite be understood or comprehended by a being finite? Besides, we have only just begun to be; and a begun existence is one that has just begun to know, and has everything to learn. (2) There is not only a necessary, but a guilty, limitation upon us. And therefore we are not only obliged to learn, but, as being under sin, are also in a temper that forbids learning, having our mind disordered and clouded by evil. The cloud rests (a) upon God Himself; (b) upon revelation; (c) upon the creative works of God; (d) upon the person of man.
II. There is abundance of light upon the other side of the cloud and above it. This we might readily infer from the fact that so much light shines through. (1) The experience of every soul that turns to God is a convincing proof that there it light somewhere, and that which is bright and clear. (2) Things which at some time appeared to be dark are very apt afterwards to change colour and become visitations of mercy.
III. The cloud we are under will finally break away and be cleared. On this point we have many distinct indications. (1) It coincides with the general analogy of God's works to look for obscurity first and light afterward. (2) Our desire of knowledge and the manner in which God inflames that desire show that knowledge will be given. (3) The Scriptures also notify us of a grand assize or judgment when the merit of all God's doings with us, as of our doings towards Him, will be revised. This will require Him to take away the cloud in regard to all that is darkest in our earthly state. (a) From the review of this subject let us receive a lesson of modesty. (b) There is no place for complaint or repining under the sorrows and trials of life. (c) The inscrutability of God should never suppress, but rather sharpen, our desire of knowledge. For the more there is that is hidden, the more there is to be discovered and known—if not today, then to-morrow; if not to-morrow, when the time God sets for it is come.
H. Bushnell, The New Life, p. 134.
References: Job 37:21.—Old Testament Outlines, p. 99; G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 4; W. T. Bull, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 213; T. L. Cuyler, Ibid., vol. xx., p. 65; W. G. Beardmore, Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 392. Job 37:23.—J. Budgen, Parochial Sermons, vol. i., p. 133. Job 38:1.—T. T. Shore, Some Difficulties of Belief, p. 153. Job 38:2, Job 38:3.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 22. Job 38:4.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 288.
Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.
He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.
By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.
He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.
Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?
Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?
Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?
Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.
And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.
Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.