The blessing of him that was ready to perish came on me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
I. WHY IT IS VALUABLE. We cannot but be struck with this beautiful trait in Job's autobiographical sketch. It is better than all renown. The clamours of the multitude are poor plaudits compared with the blessing of the poor. Many people may be indifferent to it. They may be satisfied if only they can grasp power, and compel the homage of the great, although their path is followed by "curses not loud, but deep." Cruel conquerors, ruthless tyrants, hard-hearted men of the world, know nothing of the blessing Job here describes. Yet it is solid and teal.
1. It springs from true appreciation. This is no superficial praise required by custom or prompted by shallow motives. It arises out of a genuine perception of goodness.
2. It is characterized by gratitude. Thus it con-talus warmer feelings than those of admiration. An element of awakening affection enters into it. Now, it is better to be loved by the obscure than to be merely honoured by the great; it is better to be loved by a few than to be applauded by a multi-rode.
3. It is accompanied by the approval of Christ. He tells us that what we do to one of the least of his brethren we do to him. He commends the good Samaritan to us as an approved example. Therefore the gratitude of the humble poor carries with it the smile of Heaven.
4. It is powerful for good. Men try to win the favour of the great who can do much for them, and selfishly disregard the opinions of the poor who seem to have power to do them but little good or harm. Yet the blessings of the helpless are prayers to the great Friend of the helpless. They bring down the blessings of God. Happy is the man who lives under these conditions!
II. HOW IT IS EARNED.
1. By means of genuine goodness. Clamours of applause may be won by very equivocal conduct. Superficial things may excite extraordinary admiration. People rush to stare and shout after any celebrity. But they want to know more before they will bless one. This devout well-wishing and praying for a person which we call blessing can only be earned by real and solid goodness.
2. Through the exercise of sympathy. The helpless and perishing may be constrained to avail themselves of favours tossed to them from a distance by a hand of proud patronage, and perhaps even of scornful contempt, But if there is no grace in the gift there will be little gratitude in the reception of it. If we would earn the blessing of the helpless we must win their love, and in order to do that we must manifest love to them. Sympathy unlocks the fountains of the heart.
3. In deeds of active helpfulness. If the sympathy is genuine it will lead spotaneously to such deeds. We cannot truly sympathize with a person in trouble without desiring to help him. Now, the active helpfulness will be the sign and seal of the sympathy. This it was that secured Job's place in the heart of the poor. Men have heaped honours on the head of the "Happy Warrior." The time has come when we should revive the better glories of Job's days. If we desire to win a position in the world, let us save our ambition from sordid or even wicked aims. Let him be first in love and service who would be first in honour. This is Christ's rule (Mark 9:35). - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.