Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped,
1. The best of men are often exercised with the sorest troubles. Job was a perfect and upright man, fearing God and eschewing evil. Those who are nearest God's heart may smart most under His rod.
2. When things go best with us as to this world, we should look for changes. Presumption of continued prosperity is unwarrantable; for who can tell what a day may bring forth? If any man in the world had reason to promise himself a security from poverty and distress, surely it was this eminent servant of God. The Lord had blessed him with large possessions, and a numerous offspring. He could appeal to heaven as to the integrity of his conduct, that he had got his wealth without oppressing the poor or injuring his fellow creatures. Let us therefore take care how we say our mountain shall stand strong and cannot be moved, for who can tell what is in the womb of providence? This will, in a great measure, prepare us for the trial, if God should call us to it. On the other hand, we should be cautious how we sink under our burdens when the Lord is contending with us, and entertain gloomy apprehensions that deliverance is impossible. Our wisdom lies in the medium, between resting in and boasting of blessings, and limiting the power and goodness of God, as if He could not support us under trouble, or make a way for our escape.
3. The grace of God is given us, not to erase or destroy our natural passions and affections, but to correct, restrain, and purify them. Job arose, rent his mantle and shaved his head, and this before he set himself to worship. The grace of God is designed to regulate, refine, and spiritualise our natural affections, which, if left to themselves, are ready to run rote riot and excess.
4. Saints under trouble usually find that relief at the throne of grace, when pouring out their souls to God in prayer, which they meet with nowhere else.
5. Seriously to reflect on what we once were, in a state of infancy, and what we shall be when laid up in the grave, is a good means to reconcile our minds to afflictive emptying providences. Pride is the mother of discontent. Humility gives the sweetest relish to all our enjoyments, and prepares the mind with a becoming resignation to part with them at the will of our original Proprietor, who is the Sovereign Disposer of all things.
6. Good men desire to look beyond second causes to the hand of God in all their mercies and afflictions. Job mentions not a word of his own industry or care in obtaining, or of the Sabeans and Chaldeans in robbing him of his substance, but, the "Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." Means and instruments have their influence, but it is under a Divine agency or permission. Those which are best suited to promote a desirable end will certainly miscarry without His concurrence, and the most envenomed enemies of God and His people can do no more than He is pleased to suffer.
7. Satan, the accuser of the brethren, narrowly watches the saint when oppressed with affliction, and if anything can be pleasing to a spirit so completely miserable, it would be to hear him speak unadvisedly with his lips, and charge God foolishly. It is hard work, but how very reasonable! For a saint cannot be in that situation not to have much to bless God for. More and better is always left than is taken away, such as God Himself, His unchangeable love, the glorious Redeemer, the Holy Spirit, an everlasting covenant, the blessings of redemption and sanctification, with grace and glory. And who does not see that all the sufferings and losses of this world are not worthy to be compared with any one of these, much less than with them all!
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,