Hell is naked before him, and destruction has no covering.…
Bildad has just spoken of the exalted dominion of God that reaches to heavenly heights, overawing the very moon and stars. Job now replies, turning his eyes downward, and noticing how the dim underworld is all open to the inspection of God.
I. THE DEAD ARE NOT BEYOND THE VISION OF GOD. He lives in light, and they lie in darkness; yet he sees them. There is no escaping from his presence. "If I make my bed in Hades, behold, thou art there" (Psalm 139:8).
1. There is no eluding his observation. A man cannot flee from God by dying. Indeed, is not suicide rightly regarded as rushing into the presence of God? No darkness hides from God, for day and night are alike with him, and no change of sphere removes from the reach of him who rules through all the spheres.
2. There is no loss of his notice. No one can be beneath the attention of God - too low, too degraded, in too dark and desolate a region to be seen by him. Perhaps this was Job's thought. He was longing for God to come and vindicate his cause; but he could not but admit that death might come first, for his disease was making fearful inroads on his constitution. Still, he would not lose the chance of meeting God. If not on earth, then it should be after death. God will follow his children wherever they go in the next world, as he follows them in this world.
II. GOD'S VISION OF THE DEAD IS OF GREAT CONSEQUENCE TO THEM. If Hades and destruction have no covering before God, this means very much to Hades and destruction. It cannot be the same thing whether we are looked upon by God or not. Surely it means much to know that the abode of death is not deserted by God. God cannot look down into this dark region as a mere spectator. He is everywhere a Life, a Power, an Authority. Therefore we must conclude that the rule of God extends over the unseen world. Certain important consequences flow from this truth.
1. Justice will be done there. God will not allow injustice to go on for ever. The process of rectification is slow; but God is infinitely patient, and he has eternity before him. The unpunished sinner will meet his dreadful deserts in the next world, and the ill-used and misunderstood good man will be vindicated there.
2. Life will be given there. God cannot look on the dead and leave them in their natural darkness. His gaze quickens. If he visits the realm of the dead he will bring about a resurrection. The dead are not cast out, forgotten, left to fade and melt out of all being. God touches them, and they awake, like the frost-bound earth at the touch of spring.
3. Mercy will extend to them. How and to what extent this may be received by the dead is a mystery concerning which we have little or no light. But we know that "the mercy of the Lord endureth for ever." We know that God is changeless. His love is unfailing. He must ever desire the recovery of his children. Yet dogmatic universalism is as false to human nature as it is to the warnings of Scripture. For men may harden themselves against the mercy of God; if they do so on earth, how can we say that they will not do so after death? - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.