I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.…
This is a grand experience for Job to attain to. It is worth all the agony and mystery of his bitter affliction. Suddenly the black clouds break open and the glorious vision of God appears beyond them. Job now contrasts his new, direct seeing of God with his former hearsay knowledge.
I. A HEARSAY KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. This is what Job possessed in the old days. Not that he was without any religious experience in those prosperous times. But the shallowness of it in comparison with what he has now attained makes it look of little worth. Most of us begin in this way. We hear of God "by the hearing of the ear." This is especially true in a Christian country. Here we seem to breathe a Christian atmosphere, and Christian ideas float in upon us unsought. But the faint perception of God that is acquired in this way cannot be of very great value to us. Historical facts can only be known by testimony, and the facts of the gospel must reach us through "the hearing of the ear." But we have got a very little way when we have only come to understand and believe in the historical character of those facts. We are still only among the antiquarian relics at a museum. There is no life in such a knowledge, and it has little influence over us.
II. A PERSONAL VISION OF GOD. "Now mine eye seeth thee." Job had longed for a revelation of God; at length he has received one. But this was not in a vision like those of Jacob at Bethel or Moses at Horeb. It was not after the manner of the startling apparition that Eliphaz describes with so much pomp and self-importance (Job 4:12-21). It was the calm inward vision of spiritual experience, which is indeed an experience of God.
1. This has been brought about through trouble. In his great distress Job has been continually seeking God. His grief has strengthened his hold upon the unseen world by making him feel that world to be most real.
2. God has spoken and manifested himself, Religion is not a one-sided effort of man to reach after God. God descends to man, and the communion of God's Spirit with man's spirit is the deepest fact in religious experience.
3. This interior vision of God is what all our souls need. We have to go beyond the hearing of sermons to our own personal experience of God. Then we begin to understand him; then he becomes real to us; then we can say with Tsuler, "I am more certain of the being of God than I am of my own existence."
III. THE EFFECT OF THE NEW EXPERIENCE.
1. It leads to self-humiliation It is vain any longer to boast of our own rights and to make the most of ourselves. We cannot think of ourselves but with shame and. confusion of face in the light of the new vision of God. When once he manifests himself to us, he is everything.
2. It awakens repentance. In the light of God we not only see our littleness, we perceive our sire This vision had done for Job what all the harangues of his three friends had failed to effect. They had charged him falsely, and his pride had been hardened by their unjust accusations. God had not charged him at all, but the very vision of the Divine at once revealed his mistaken position to Job. He saw that he had been wrong in arraigning the justice of God. So it will ever be. We never know ourselves till we see ourselves in the light of God. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.