Job 1:20
The trial in its great severity has fallen upon Job. His oxen and asses have been rapaciously torn away from him by the Sabeans; many of his servants have been slain with the edge of the sword; the fire of God has consumed the sheep and the shepherds who took charge of them; the camels the Chaldeans have stolen, and slain the camel-keepers; the house of the eldest son, in which Job's sons and daughters were feasting, has been smitten by a great wind, and it has fallen, crushing the young men beneath its ruins. Could greater calamities happen to any man? This picture of desolation is complete. Surely every quality of character is tested. What call for passionate, impatient complaining! What is Job's conduct in this hour? He presents the example of the triumphant victory of faith.

I. THE VICTORY OF FAITH HAS ITS FOUNDATION IN A RECOGNITION OF THE DIVINE SUPREMACY. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." To live in the abiding acknowledgment of the Divine supremacy is the first requisite in a pure and a triumphing faith. It sees all things to be God's. He is Lord of all. Job feared God, and he trusted in God. Fear supports faith as truly as it sanctifies love.

II. THE VICTORY OF FAITH IS PROMOTED BY REVERENTIAL DEVOTION. Even the keen pangs of sorrow did not prevent Job from lowly worship. He sought the Lord in the day of his calamity, and he was helped. One allows his affliction to withdraw him from God; but he is driven to despair, for there is no helper; and the poor smitten spirit cannot stand alone. Another is driven to God, and finds a Hiding-place and Rock of defence. When we make God our Refuge, he becomes our Strength. It is foolish to forget God in the time of our need. He can help us when all other help fails. He will not see his feeble creatures come to him with lowly prayer, asking his aid with heart sincere, and yet leave them to their own resources. He who before God confesses his want gains for himself the Divine riches.

III. THE VICTORY OF FAITH IS CONSISTENT WITH GREAT PAINFULNESS AND SORROW Job rent his mantle and shaved off his hair - Eastern methods of representing sorrow. The great Exemplar was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." He also "suffered" - was preeminently "a Man of sorrows." The godly in all ages have been put to the proof. "It came to pass that God did tempt Abraham." This is to be said of every son of Abraham.

IV. THE VICTORY OF FAITH IS THE LOWLY' BUT BECOMING TRIBUTE OF THE HUMAN HEART TO THE SUPREMACY, THE WISDOM, AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

V. THE VICTORY OF FAITH ENSURES THE UTMOST DIVINE APPROVAL; and, as this completed history is designed to show, ends in a final reward which hides the recollection of the toil and suffering by which it is attained. The great lesson of all: "Have faith in God." - R.G.







And worshipped.
Homilist.
This is the grandest scene that human nature has ever presented. The world had never seen anything to compare to it. The greatest conqueror that ever won his triumph in Rome was as a pigmy beside the giant.

I. THE TRIUMPH OF MIND OVER MATTER. Job's soul seems to soar above what is material. Things which were seen faded from his view, and things which were not seen grew bright and distinct. The dying Stephen saw the Lord Jesus in his vision. But Job was not a dying man. He was in full strength and vigour. It is possible, then, so to triumph over that which is seen and temporal, that even in this world heaven is a reality.

II. THE TRIUMPH OF PRINCIPLE OVER SELFISHNESS. Principle and selfishness are always antagonistic. There is a constant warfare going on between these in the universe, in the world, in the soul. Self is too often the victor. But in Job religious principle was supreme. He rose up and worshipped! Selfish human nature would have raved and cursed. The worldly man would have cursed his luck, cursed his foes, cursed the Chaldeans, and cursed everything. There does not seem to have been any struggle in the mind of Job. He seems, by constant patience and by the unceasing habit of giving principle the first place, to have been raised almost above strife and contention. There is a time when contest ceases. Sometimes self, after a few weeks or years, obtains the mastery, and then to self the man habitually yields. But we do occasionally find cases wherein principle is victor, and then homage is paid hereafter unquestioningly to its sovereignty.

III. THE TRIUMPH OF RELIGION OVER WORLDLINESS. The world passed out of Job's ken as a factor in his fate. Many would have said, What a strange combination of circumstances! What a terrible coincidence! What an unlucky man! "The Lord hath taken away." Here is a pattern for causalists, who look to minor details instead of to the prime Ruler of all things. This is the true sphere of religion — to east out all else from a man's life — all except God. Then, and then alone, has it triumphed over the world, and sin, and temptation.

IV. THE TRIUMPH OF DIVINE GRACE OVER THE DEVIL'S TEMPTATIONS.

(Homilist.)

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!

(S. Wilson.)

1. That when the hand of God is upon us, it becometh us to be sensible of it, and to be humbled under it.

2. That in times of affliction we may express our sorrows by outward gestures, by sorrowful gestures.

3. That when God afflicteth us with sufferings, we ought to afflict ourselves, to humble our souls for sin.

4. That thoughts of blasphemy against God should be cast off, and rejected with the highest indignation.

(J. Caryl.)

1. A godly man will not let nature work alone, he mixes or tempers acts of grace with acts of nature.

2. Afflictions send the people of God home unto God; afflictions draw a godly man nearer unto God.

3. That the people of God turn all their afflictions into prayers, or into praises. When God is striking, then Job is praying; when God is afflicting, then Job falls to worshipping. Grace makes every condition work glory to God, as God makes every condition work good to them who have grace.

4. It becometh us to worship God in an humble manner.

5. That Divine worship is God's peculiar.

(J. Caryl.)

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