And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away…
Although he was bereaved of every comfort, although his heart was pierced with many sorrows, although his patience was tried by the extremity of pain, and his ear stunned with the words of a foolish woman, Job still retained his integrity, and continued to look up with cheerful resignation to the hand that chastened him. The calamities which befell Job are a standing lesson, confirmed by the experience and observation of mankind in all ages, that this world furnishes no armour which is proof against the arrows of adversity; and that the more diversified are the comforts which any person enjoys, he is exposed to the greater variety of suffering in the days of darkness which may overtake him.
I. THE WORDS OF JOB DISCOVER A RECOLLECTION OF THE GOODNESS OF GOD. Instead of searching for other causes of the distinguished prosperity which he had enjoyed, he says, with the simplicity and humility of a grateful spirit, "The Lord gave." There is no portion under the sun precisely similar to that which was given to Job. But all we have we have received from the hand of God. If you accustom yourselves to remember the years of the right hand of the Most High, no change of situation will obliterate from your minds the good which you have received; and to be deprived will seem but another phase of the same Divine goodness.
II. THE WORDS OF JOB IMPLY AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT THAT THE LORD DOES NOT DEAL UNJUSTLY WITH THE CHILDREN OF MEN WHEN HE TAKES AWAY WHAT HE GAVE. The security and joy of possession may have produced a mistaken opinion of the good things of this world. But you do not find in Scripture any promise of their being continued to you. They are in their nature temporary. When they are bestowed in the largest measures, they cease not to be precarious. You cannot demand from the justice of your Creator that He should never take away from you anything that He gave. If He takes away you should, with Job, be disposed to bless His name.
III. THE WORDS OF JOB IMPLY A CONVICTION THAT THE EVIL WHICH THE CHILDREN OF MEN RECEIVE IS INTENDED FOR THEIR BENEFIT. He represents it as proceeding from the same independent and unchangeable Being from whom they receive good. God rejoices over His creatures to do them good; but it is needful that He should sometimes afflict. In the sober solitude of affliction He corrects that giddiness with which continued prosperity often inspires frivolous minds, and His chastisements bring back to Himself those hearts which His indulgence had estranged. By touching something dear to those who are at ease in their possessions, He rebukes their former indifference about the distresses of others, and melts them into a fellow feeling of all the infirmities of the children of sorrow. Although the salutary effects are often counteracted by the foolishness of man, yet it has been understood in all ages that adversity is, by the appointment of nature, the season of recollection, and the school of virtue.
IV. THE WORDS OF JOB IMPLY A BELIEF THAT THE BENEFIT WHICH THE CHILDREN OF GOD DERIVE FROM AFFLICTION IS IMPARTED TO THEIR SOULS WITH TENDERNESS AND GRACE. Attend then to the consolations of religion. The consolations are founded on the principle that all the sorrows of life are appointed by God. The same hand which, at one time, fills your houses with good things, at another time measures out the waters of affliction which you drink. Attend to the hopes which religion provides for the afflicted. But these hopes belong only to His dutiful children. If you honour the God of your fathers, if you enjoy with moderation what He gives, and serve Him with gladness of heart in the multitude of His goodness, He will revive you when you walk in the midst of trouble. The best preparation for adversity, then, is the sentiment of religion, habitually cherished by acts of devotion.
(G. Hill, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.