For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinks up my spirit…
The first thought that occurs to Job when he attempts to describe his trouble to his misjudging friend is that that trouble has been produced by shafts from heaven. Here is the exceeding bitterness of his grief. He regards his calamities as more than natural mischances; such a terrible conjunction of disasters points to a superhuman source. Thus Job is Scourged by his faith. His theism adds an agony which the materialist would not feel.
I. THE TERROR OF THE ARROWS OF THE ALMIGHTY.
1. They are impelled by an irresistible power. They are shot by "El Shaddai." God in his power is conceived of as the Source of the troubles. But none can resist the might of God. No wonder Job is prostrate in despair. It is useless for him to stand up against his adversary. The shield of faith may "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16); but no shield can keep off the piercing arrows of the Almighty If God is against us, we are utterly undone.
2. They come from the Source of light and blessing. God had been showering blessings on the head of the patriarch, who had learnt to honour him as his Benefactor. It was hard, indeed, to find his great Friend turned into a Foe. This fact made the wounds pain as with deadly venom. It is fearful to think that our Father in heaven is shooting wrath against his children. No arrows are so keen as the arrows of love.
3. They penetrate to the heart. Earthly calamities strike the outer life. We may have ramparts and bastions that keep them off from our true self. But God's arrows penetrate to the citadel of the soul He reaches the heart whenever he smites. We can bear outside distresses so long as we keep up a stout heart; but the wounds of the inner man are deadly.
II. THE MISAPPREHENSION OF THE ARROWS OF THE ALMIGHTY.
1. The error of ascribing to God what he has not sent. Job thinks that God is his Adversary, but the prologue shows that the adversary is Satan. Of the Satanic cause of his trouble Job has not the least conception. He ascribes it all to God. Thus he is mistaken, unjust, and needlessly dismayed. If he had but known that he was suffering from the arrows of Satan, he would have been more courageous and hopeful. May we not be in error in ascribing to God what he never sends? The evil state of society causes many troubles to the poor, which God does not wish them to suffer from- We cannot charge him with the terrible wrongs of a corrupt civilization which darken the slums of great cities. Our worst woes come from the devil within - from our own heart of sin.
2. When God does smite, his purpose is good. Job was so far right that God had some hand in his sufferings, for God had permitted Satan to go to the great length in tormenting Job that he had now reached.
(1) There is a smiting to heal Grievous chastisement is a discipline of love. We think that the arrow poisons us; what it really brings is a needed astringent.
(2) There must be a smiting of judgment. God cannot suffer his rebellious creatures to sin with impunity. Though Job had not felt them, God has terrible arrows of judgment for the impenitent. It is well if we learn the lesson of the milder wounds of chastisement before those terrors burst over us. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.