A Song and a Solace
Job 10:12-16
You have granted me life and favor, and your visitation has preserved my spirit.…

You see that Job is appealing to the pity of God, and this is the form of his argument: "Thou art my Creator; be my Preserver. Thou hast made me; do not break me. Thou art dealing very hardly with me, I am almost destroyed beneath the pressure of Thy hand; yet remember that I am Thine own creature. Weak and frail as I am, I am the creation of Thy hand; therefore, despise not Thine own work. Whatever I am, with the exception of my sin, Thou hast made me what I am; 'tis Thou who hast brought me into my present condition; consider, then, O God, what a poor, frail thing I am, and stay Thy hand, and do not utterly crush my spirit." This is a wise prayer, a right and proper argument for a creature to use with the Creator; and when Job goes further still, and, in the language of our text, addresses God not only as his Creator, but as his Benefactor, and mentions the great blessings that he had received from God, his argument still holds good: "Do not, Lord, change Thy method of dealing with me; Thou hast given me life, Thou hast shown me special favour, Thou hast hitherto preserved me; cast me not away from Thy presence, dismiss me not from Thy service, let not Thy tender mercies fail, but do unto me now and in days to come according as Thou hast done unto me in the days that are past." I. First, then, let us use the former part of our text as a SONG FOR BRIGHT DAYS: "Thou hast granted me life and favour, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit." Whatever we have received that is good, has come to us from God as a matter of pure favour. Now, then, ye joyful ones, unite with me while we first bless God for granting us life. To a Christian man, life is a blessing; in itself, considered alone, it is a blessing; but to the ungodly man it may turn out to be a curse, for it would have been better for that man if he had never been born. But to a godly man like Job, it is a great mercy even to have an existence. I find that, in the Hebrew, this word "life" is in the plural: "Thou hast granted me lives"; and blessed be God, we who believe in Jesus have not only this natural life, which we share in common with all men, but the Holy Spirit has begotten in the hearts of believers a new life infinitely higher than mere natural life, a life which makes us akin to Christ, joint heirs with Him of the eternal inheritance which He is keeping for us in heaven. Let us praise God, then, for life, and especially for this higher life if it is ours. What a joy it is to live in this respect! Next, we have to praise God for granting us favour. I should be quite unable to tell you to the full all that is wrapped up in that word "favour." Favour from God! It is a great word in the original, a word big with meaning, for it means the love of God. God loves immeasurably. The force and extent of true love never can be calculated; it is a passion that cannot be measured by degrees as the temperature can be recorded on the thermometer; it is something that exceedeth and overfloweth all measurement, for a man giveth all his heart when he truly loveth. So is it with God; He setteth no bound to His love. We might rightly paraphrase Job's words, and say, "Thou hast granted me life and love." Oh, what wondrous words to put together, life and love! Life without God's love is death; but put God's love with it, and then what a song we ought to send up to His throne if we feel that He has given us both spiritual life and infinite love. The word "favour," however, means not only love; but, as we ordinarily use it, it means some special form of grace and goodness. If, at this hour, any one of you is a child of God, it is because God has done more for you than He has done for others. If there be a difference between you and others, somebody made that difference; and whoever made it ought to be honoured and praised for it. By the word "favour" is also meant grace in all the shapes which it assumes, so Job's words might be rendered, "Thou hast granted me life and grace." Now let us dwell, for a minute or two, on the third blessing of this Divine grant: "and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit." There is a wonderful range of meaning in those words, but Job no doubt first refers to the providence of God by which He makes, as it were, a visitation of all the world, and especially of His own people. Some of us have had very special providential deliverances; we will not mention them tonight, because they are too many. It has been well said, "He that watches providence shall never be without a providence to watch." Oh, but that is only the beginning of the meaning of Job's words, "Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit." God hath visited those of us who are His people in other ways besides the watching of His providence. Let me mention some of them. He has visited some of us with correction, and we do not like that form of visitation. There are some, whom God will yet permit to be rich, who would not have been capable of managing so much money, to the Lord's honour and glory if they had not for a while had to live on short commons. The very thing we regret most in providence will probably be that in which we shall rejoice most in eternity. There are other visitations, however, such as the visitations of consolation. Oh, how sweet those are to the soul when in trouble! Once more, how sweet are the visitations of God in communion!

II. A SOLACE FOR DARK NIGHTS: "And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart: I know that this is with Thee." There is another interpretation of this verse, quite different from the one that I am going to give you, but I do not think that Job ever could have meant what some people think he did. I believe that, when he said, "These things" — that is, life, favour, and God's gracious visitation, — "These things hast Thou hid in Thine heart: I know that this is with Thee," that he meant, first, that God remembers what He has done, and will not lose His pains. "'Thou hast granted me life and favour'; Lord, Thou hast not forgotten that; Thou hast hidden that in Thine heart, Thou rememberest it well. Since Thou hast done this for me, and Thou dost remember that Thou hast done it, therefore Thou wilt continue Thy mercy to me, and not lose all the grace and goodness which Thou hast already bestowed upon me." Even if you have forgotten all that God has done for you, God has not forgotten it. Many children forget all the kindness and love of their mother, but the mother remembers all that she did for her children in the days of their helplessness, and she loves them all the more because of what she did for them. "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." But, next, I think that the words, "And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart: I know that this is with Thee," have this meaning, that God sometimes hides His favour and love in His heart, yet they are there still. At times, it may be that you get no glimpse of His face, or that you see no smile upon it. The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; therefore, O tried child of God, learn what Job here teaches us, that these things are still hidden in the heart of God, and that eternal love holdeth fast to the objects of its choice. "I know that this is with Thee," said Job, so the last thing I want you to learn from his words is that God would have His people strong in faith to know this truth. Job says, "I know that this is with Thee." I speak to many persons who say that they are Christians, and who perhaps are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and one of their clearest evidences is that they are very happy. True religion makes people happy, it is a perennial fountain of delight. But do not set too much store by your emotions of delight, because they may be taken from you, and then where will your evidences be? God's people sometimes walk in darkness, and see no light. There are times when the best and brightest of saints have no joy. If your religion should not, for a time, yield you any joy, cling to it all the same. You see, God does not give you faith in order that you may merely run about in the meadows with it all among the fair spring flowers. I will tell you for what purpose He gives you faith; it is that you may put on your snow shoes, and go out in the cold wintry blasts and glide along over the ice and the snow. Only have faith in Him, and say, "My God, Thy will towards me to give me life, and favour, and preservation, may be hidden, but it is still in Thine heart, 'I know that this is with Thee.'" Now I must leave these things with you. You who know and love the Lord will seek a renewal of His visitations tonight; and as for you who do not know Him, oh, how I wish that you did!

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.

WEB: You have granted me life and loving kindness. Your visitation has preserved my spirit.

Man the Creature of God
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