After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.…
Frail is the heart of man. With all its heroism, its endurance and power, yet the stout heart yields and the brave spirit is cowed. The strongest bends beneath the heavy pressure. But if the human life is to be truthfully presented, its failures as well as its excellences must be set forth. It is an evidence that the writer is attempting an impartial statement, and in the midst of his poetical representations is not led away to mere extravagance and exaggeration in depicting the qualities of the righteous man. Job's strength of heart receives a shock. He is in the whirlpool of suffering and sorrow. He will recover himself in time; but for the present he is as one who has lost his balance. Let it not be forgotten how severe the strain upon him is. His possessions have been torn from him; his family stricken down by death; his body is the seat of a fierce and foul disease; his friends are powerless to help him. No wonder that "his grief was very great." Out of that grief springs his wail of complaint - the cry of a spirit overburdened. This is an instance of what may escape from the lips of a strong and good man under the pressure of unusual affliction. In judging the cry of sorrow or forming our estimate of the character of him who raises it, we must remember -
I. THAT IT DOES NOT ACCURATELY REPRESENT THE UTTERANCE OF A CALM UNBIASED JUDGMENT. The sufferer is so liable to be unmanned at such an hour. There is too vivid a perception of the pains of life for the cry to be an accurate judgment on life itself.
II. THAT IT IS THE EXPRESSION OF THE SOUL'S FEELINGS IN THE EXTREMITY OF ITS CIRCUMSTANCES. And although the true test of strength is in an ability to bear the heaviest pressure, yet that perfection of virtue by which the severest strain can be borne with calmness is only an uncommon experience; if, indeed, it can ever be found but in the Perfect One.
III. THE INHERENT HUMAN FRAILTY. In this instance Job, "the perfect man and upright," falls behind the one absolute Example of patient endurance of the severest sufferings. Job, judged by the ordinary standard of human life, must be pronounced a model of patient endurance. The inherent weakness, the true mark of humanity, is apparent here. The world needed one "greater than Job" as its typical Example of patience.
IV. But in all we may also learn THE USELESSNESS OF THAT CRY OF SORROW WHICH DEMANDS THE IMPOSSIBLE. In quietness and self-composure Job would not have cried thus. Reason is not always supreme. In moments of great suffering her authority is assailed, impaired, even sometimes lost. In our judgment upon the cries of our frail brethren, we must, therefore, extend our utmost charity, make every allowance for the extreme conditions of which they are the expressions; and in our own habit of life accustom ourselves so to receive our minor afflictions that we may be tutored to comport ourselves rightly under the extremset pressure. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.