Job 6:5, 6
Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass? or lows the ox over his fodder?…
Job proceeds to show the reasonableness of his grief, and with it the unreasonableness of his censor's accusations. Eliphaz had been wasting his eloquence on the assumption that Job's outburst of despairing grief was uncalled for; or, at all events, he had not appreciated the tremendous distress of which it was the result. He regarded the effect as preposterous, because he had not seen the greatness of the cause.
I. THE SATISFIED ARE NOT DISCONTENTED. We have illustrations of this fact in nature. Among the wild animals ("the wild ass"), and also among the domesticated ("the ox"), we see that sufficiency produces content. If the wild ass brays, or if the ox lows, something is amiss. Supply them with all they need, and they will be quiet and contented. If, therefore, Job is not. at rest, something must be amiss with him.
1. The discontent of society makes it evident that some want is unsupplied. Men do not rebel for the sake of rebellion. Political and social upheavals have their sources in some disorganized condition of the body politic. If all were satisfied, quiet would reign universally.
2. The discontent of the soul proves that the soul is not satisfied. Man has deeper needs than the animals. The wild ass and the tame ox can be satisfied, while man is still possessed by a "Divine discontent." This very restlessness is a sign of his higher nature. His thirst reveals the depths from which it springs. Man is
"Poor in abundance, famish'd at a feast,
(Young.) because "man shall not live by bread alone" (Matthew 4:4).
II. THE UNSATISFIED MUST BE DISCONTENTED. This is more than the reverse side of the previous statement. It carries with it the idea that the dissatisfaction cannot be stifled, must be met, if it is to be set at rest. The truth is illustrated from natural things. Unsavoury food cannot be made savoury without the salt, the needed condiment. That which is naturally tasteless, like the white of an egg, cannot be made to have delicious flavours by any conjuring process, unless the thing itself is changed or receives additions. So no jugglery will remove the dissatisfaction of society or of the soul. We cannot make the world at rest by wishing it to be peaceful, or by declaring it to be quiet. A theory of order is not order, nor is a doctrine of optimism a quietus for the world's distresses. The bitter cry of the outcast will not be allayed because some philosophers believe themselves to be living in "the best of possible worlds." We do not make peace by calling, "Peace, peace!" when there is no peace. To preach to souls of rest and satisfaction is not to bestow those desired boons. It is as much a mockery to tell miserable men to be contented without supplying their wants, as to tell the hungry and naked to be fed and clothed while we do nothing to furnish them with what they lack. Any lulling of discontent without curing its cause is false and unhealthy. It is like putting a weight on the safety-valve. It is no better than the morphia that allays the symptoms of the disease it cannot cure. The discontent should go on till it finds its remedy in a true satisfaction.
1. Christ gives this for society in the kingdom of heaven; if we followed out his teaching in the world the wants of society would be satisfied.
2. He gives it for the soul in his body and blood, and the life eternal that comes from fellowship with him. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?