For then shall you have your delight in the Almighty, and shall lift up your face to God.…
These words can be raised to a higher level than that on which Eliphaz placed them, and regarded as describing the sweet and wonderful prerogatives of the devout life. So understood they may rebuke, and stimulate, and encourage us to make our lives conform to the ideal here.
I. LIFE MAY BE FULL OF DELIGHT AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD. When we "delight" in a thing or person, we recognise that thing or person as fitting into a cleft of our hearts, and corresponding to some need of our natures. Without delight in God there is no real religion. The bulk of men are so sunken and embruted in animal tastes, and sensuous desires, and fleeting delights, that they have no care for the pure and calm joys which come to those who live near God. Above these stand the men whose religion is a matter of fear or of duty or of effort. And above them stand the men who serve because they trust God, but whose religion is seeking rather than finding, it is overshadowed by an unnatural and unwholesome gloom. He is the truly devout man who not only knows God to be great and holy, but feels Him to be sweet and sufficient; who not only fears, but loves. True religion is delighting in God. The next words, "Thou shalt lift up thy face unto God," express frank confidence of approach to Him. The head hangs down in the consciousness of demerit and sin. But it is possible for men to go into God's presence with a sense of peace, and to hold up their heads before their judge. There is no confidence possible for us unless we apprehend by faith, and thereon make our own the great work of Jesus Christ our Lord.
II. SUCH A LIFE OF DELIGHTING IN GOD WILL BE BLESSED BY THE FRANKEST INTERCOURSE WITH HIM. Three stages of this blessed communion are possible. First a prayer, then the answer; and then the rendered thank offering. And so, in swift alternation and reciprocity, is carried on the commerce between heaven and earth, between man and God. The desires rise to heaven, but heaven comes down to earth first. Prayer is not the initial stage, but the second, in the process. God first gives His promise, and the best prayer is the catching up of God's promise, and tossing it back again whence it came.
III. SUCH A LIFE WILL NEITHER KNOW FAILURE NOR DARKNESS. To serve God and to fall into the line of His purpose, and to determine nothing, nor absolutely want anything until we are sure that it is His will, — that is the secret of never failing in what we undertake.
IV. SUCH A LIFE WILL BE ALWAYS HOPEFUL AND FINALLY CROWNED WITH DELIVERANCE. Even in so blessed a life as has been described, times will come when the path plunges downward into some valley of the shadow of death. But even then the traveller will bate no jot of hope. The devout life is largely independent of circumstances, and is upheld and calmed by quiet certainty, that the general trend of its path is upward, which enables it to trudge hopefully down an occasional dip in the road. And the end will vindicate such confidence. Continuous partial deliverances lead on to, and bring about, final full salvation.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.