The Condemnation of Man in Presence of the Divine Holiness
Job 4:12-21
Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a little thereof.…

With a figure of great boldness and grandeur Eliphaz urges his words upon Job. He is trying to illustrate the great principle of the righteous retributions of the Divine government. In the visions of the night there appeared a spirit to pass before his face, and in the dead silence he heard a voice saying, "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?" It cannot be. And the vision of Eliphaz finds its fulfilment in Job himself, who in the end is bowed down to the earth in self-abasing shame and condemnation.

I. ALL MEN MUST OF NECESSITY BE SELF-CONDEMNED IN PRESENCE OF THE DIVINE HOLINESS. Alas! we are all sinful; our best deeds are faulty, and the element of sinfulness mingles with all our acts as truly as the element of imperfectness. We cannot stand in the presence of the absolutely Perfect One. Even the rudest vanity must be appalled and humbled in his sight.

II. THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE DIVINE HOLINESS A SALUTARY CHECK TO SELF-CONFIDENT BOASTING. In the absence of a true and lofty standard of right, men boast themselves of their goodness. Measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, they are led to the proud assumption of fancied righteousness. The standards are faulty; even the faulty ones, therefore, reach them. He is wise who can say, "But now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

III. THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE DIVINE HOLINESS A STIMULUS TO LOWLY, HUMBLE, RELIGIOUS FEAR. This fear is the beginning of wisdom; and the highest attainments of wisdom do not depart from this fear. It is the beginning and the consummation of holy wisdom.

IV. THE PUREST AND MOST EXALTED BEINGS ARE ABASED IN THE DIVINE PRESENCE. "His angels he charged with folly." How much more, therefore, the children of the dust, - "them that dwell in houses of clay"! - R.G.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

WEB: "Now a thing was secretly brought to me. My ear received a whisper of it.

An Apparition
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