My brothers have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;…
The meaning of this passage is, that Job had been disappointed. He hoped his friends would have comforted him in his sorrows; but all his expectations from that quarter had failed. He had been like weary and thirsty travellers in a desert, who came to the place where they hoped and expected to find water, but who, when they came, found that the streams were dried up, and had vanished away.
I. THE FORMS IN WHICH DISAPPOINTMENTS OCCUR. They are as numerous and as varied as our hopes. There are two uses of hope. One is to stimulate us to exertion by the prospect of some good to be obtained and enjoyed. The other is to be held in the Divine hand as a means of checking, restraining, humbling, recovering, and controlling us.
1. Disappointments which relate to the acquisition of property. Some desire to be rich; and some desire the reputation of being rich. The majority of those who with such ends in view seek property, are destined to be disappointed.
2. Those who aim at distinction in honour and office are often disappointed.
3. Those who attempt to build up their family name, and obtain distinction in their children. Few hopes are more likely to be disappointed. A blight often rests upon the effort to found a family name. Honours are scattered by a rule that no one can study out.
4. Those who seek for happiness solely in the things of this life. Multitudes seek it; a few profess to find it to an extent that rewards their efforts; the man disappointed in one thing, at one time, hopes to find it in another.
II. THE REASONS WHY DISAPPOINTMENTS OCCUR.
1. Because the plans and expectations which were formed were beyond any reasonable ground of calculation, based on the ordinary course of events, or what ordinarily happens to man. Many illusions play upon the minds and around the hearts of men. They arise from several sources. We are either ignorant of or forgetful of the usual course of events, and do not take that into our calculation; or we anticipate in the future what does not commonly occur; or we trust in our "star," or our destiny, and suppose that ours is to be an exception to the common lot; or we are merely presumptuous, relying on what we suppose is our talent, or something in us which will exempt us from the common lot of mankind; or we feel that there is a charm around us and our family. So we engage in the execution of our plans with as sanguine a feeling as if we were certain that they would be all successful. As a law of our nature it is wise that this should be so, if we would only admit the possibility that we might be disappointed, and if we would not murmur when disappointment comes.
2. Because our expectations were such as were improper in themselves. They related to things in which we ought not to have cherished hope.
3. Because disappointments may be for our good. He who sees all things perceives that success may be perilous for us.
III. LESSONS WHICH OUR DISAPPOINTMENTS SHOULD TEACH.
1. All our plans in life should be formed with the possibility of failure in view. Possibility, not gloomy foreboding. Life would be a burden if fear had the same place in the economy which hope now has.
2. We should form such plans and cherish such hopes as will not be subject to disappointment. Such as relate to religion and are founded on that. Others may be successful, these certainly will be. For evidence of this see that they who become true Christians are not disappointed in what religion promises in this life. The mind has a conviction of its own that religion will not disappoint. And we have God's promises. Those, therefore, who have felt what disappointment is in regard to worldly hopes and prospects, religion invites to herself, with the assurance that it will never disappoint them; and she points them to heaven as the place where disappointment never comes.
Parallel VersesKJV: My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;