Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!
We have no objection to weigh all Job's griefs. But what shall we put in the other scale? He who counts the hairs of our head, and puts our tears in a bottle, will not make light of human grief. In His scale it will be weighed to the utmost grain. But God has two scales, whereas Job has evidently only one.
1. In one scale look how he has put his SELF. The first personal pronoun is heavy enough in these speeches. Job's friends perceived his egoistic spirit, and heaped up therefore the opposite scale. What art thou compared to the Eternal? Very sublime is the God whom Eliphaz puts over against Job. He fills all — man is nothing. No man's thoughts or sufferings are to be seen or heard or reckoned against the Absolute. But should I not say "I"? Am I in no sense to feel myself and be an egoist? in my solemn hours I cannot but know and dwell with a very real being within me which is my ego. God and sin are nothing to me unless first of all I have a personality, What is the indwelling of Christ, unless I have a separate individuality Into which He can come? David says, "I am a little lower than the angels." May I not say the same? Yes, say it; say it loud and clear. But balance it. Put into the other scale, for example, your fellow men. Other men have as intense a self as you. They, too, are crowned with glory and dignity, and have their range of feelings, strong and tender, like thyself. "Let each esteem other better than himself." Put also into the other scale over against thyself the great Other. Down on the seashore when we wander, or when we look out on the starry heavens, how clearly and with all its mystery we say "I." But as we say it, there comes back from the ebon walls of night the echo of the voice of That Other, which brings ourself into equilibrium. We sweep our hands out and whisper to ourselves, "my power," or we lift up our heads, proud in the consciousness of our knowledge. But when God sweeps His hand across the heavens, or lifts up the might of His knowledge, then the pride of the human heart is humbled. We bow our heads in silence; not crushed out of all consciousness, but balanced and rightly weighed by the thoughts of men and God.
2. Job's egoism arose from his sorrow. How much he makes of his afflictions. His howling is dismal. Chapters 6 and 7 are one long lamentation, with much poetry in them, but truly a terrible heaping up of one scale. What shall we do to balance human sorrow? Laugh at it? Call it nothing? Call it commonplace? Nay, let us try and put something over against it which may outweigh it. Philosopher! hast thou aught which can balance a broken heart or a soul convulsed with agony? Surely thou hast something. Let us try your maxims, your precepts of self-control and of wholesome thought. Put them into the opposite scale; Bacon's "Essay on Adversity," beautiful extracts from Marcus Aurelius. Put them all in. Now lift up the balance and see. Ah! they weigh nothing. Scientist! canst thou do this great work? Go and tell Job your germ theories. Explain to him the nature of his sloughing sores, and see if you can answer his complaint. No, never. Religionist, what can you put into the opposite scale? Let us hear your doctrine. "God is the potter and man the clay. We are creatures of His, and He can do as seems best. Let us learn to submit to His sovereign will. The discipline is good, though bitter." Oh, what bitter drops of acid are all these to wounded souls. You only crush a man when you hurl at him, at such a time, God's sovereignty. No, lot us put into the opposite scale human sympathy. Let us acknowledge all the pain and sorrow and affliction of the sufferer. Let us suffer it, and feel its weight. Let our tears flow. Put our sufferings and our feelings into the opposite scale. Let us seek to put God's sympathy into the opposite scale. Not the absolute hard stern Deity Eliphaz labours to construct. Let us speak of His tenderness and pity. Is it not said, Jesus wept? Christ's tears will outweigh ours. When looking down into the dark and horrid grave, listen what Christ says, "Thy brother shall rise again." That is Christ's sympathy to balance thy crushing pain.
3. Job asks of God the question, "What have I done?" Ah! well might he heap up that scale; piling up to the heavens his sins, and offences, and ignorance. Probably there would be no scale large enough to hold our iniquities. Is this right? Oh yes. Know thy sins, O soul, all of them, black as hell and heavy as lead, and high enough to hide the light of heaven. But be not men of one idea. Have two ideas. Look into the other scale and see, if you can, a drop of Christ's precious blood. Lift up the scales, and see if this drop of precious blood does not balance all your sins. Yes! Thank God it does, cries out Bunyan. Nay, more, it outweighs them. "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin."
(J. D. Watters, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!