Job 10:4

How does God see us? Is he SO far above us that he cannot quite see us as we are? Is he so great that he cannot conceive of our littleness? Are his ideas so different from our own that he cannot understand our life and sympathize with it? Or is not God so supreme in his vision of man that he cannot make the mistakes we make, and must see us truly just as we are? If w, why does God seem to act as though he had man's limited vision? Questions of this sort seem to be perplexing Job. How can they be met?

I. GOD SEES US TRULY AS WE ARE. It is no attribute of infinity to be above seeing what is small. Because God is infinite he can descend to the infinitely little as well as comprehend the infinitely great. Moreover, he does not treat us as insignificant beings unworthy of his notice, but he regards us as his children. The very hairs of our head are numbered by God. His greatness is seen in the truth and thoroughness of his vision. He does not look through distorting media, nor does he only see one aspect of things, as is the case with us. He sees all round everything, and he looks through all things. There is no secret hidden from God. He understands what he sees, for his infinite vision is accompanied by an infinite comprehension.

II. GOD JUDGES US BY A HIGHER STANDARD THAN OURS. We are hampered by narrow ideas; our judgment is warped and cramped by prejudice and error. Our ignorance, folly, and sin even mar the very standards by which we judge. God's estimate is supremely fair, and it is after the very highest and purest ideas of judgment.

III. GOD'S STANDARD OF JUDGMENT IS NOT ALIEN TO OURS. We might be dismayed by the very elevation and perfection of God's method of judgment, thinking it totally different from our own. If this were the case conscience would be a delusion. But God is the Creator of conscience, and though this is limited, and in a measure perverted, still it retains the essential character given to it by God. "God made man in his own image" (Genesis 1:26). Therefore man's honest judgment must be a reflection of God's judgment. God sees as we see, so far as we see truly. His judgment is just the correction and perfection of our judgment.

IV. GOD HAS ENTERED INTO OUR LIFE THAT HE MAY SEE US WITH OUR OWN EYES. This seems to be part of the purpose of the Incarnation. Christ is a brother-Man. He looks at us with human eyes. One with us by nature, he can perfectly understand us. We cannot even understand our favourite dog when he turns to us his dumb, pathetic gaze, for he is of a different species. Christ became one with us, one of our species. Thus we can understand him, and he can perfectly sympathize with us. Apart from Christ, God seems to be distant and altogether different from ourselves. In Christ he is one with us, near to us, and able to regard us with the eyes of a Brother. - W.F.A.

Is it good unto Thee that Thou shouldest oppress?

1. As inconsistent with His goodness. "Is it good unto Thee that Thou shouldest oppress, that Thou shouldest despise the work of Thine hands?" I thought Thee benevolent and merciful, but in my suffering I feel Thee to be malign. There is a strong tendency in all men under suffering to regard the Almighty as anything but good.

2. With His justice. "And shine upon the counsel of the wicked." Job saw wicked men around him, strong and hale in body, buoyant in animal spirits, and prosperous in worldly affairs, whilst he who was in his deepest heart in sympathy with right, and the God of right, was reduced to the utmost distress. He failed to see justice in this.

3. With His greatness. "Hast Thou eyes of flesh," etc. I cannot reconcile the sufferings with which Thou dost afflict an insignificant creature like me with Thine omniscience and eternity.

II. AS AN UNRIGHTEOUS DISPLAY OF ARBITRARY POWER. "Thou knowest that I am not wicked," etc. Job does not regard himself as absolutely holy. The Omniscient One knew he was not guilty of that hypocrisy with which his friends had charged him. Where, then, is the righteousness of his afflictions?

III. AS CONTRARY TO WHAT THE DIVINE ORGANISATION AND PRESERVATION OF HIS EXISTENCE LED HIM TO EXPECT. In the eighth and two following verses he ascribes the formation of his body to God. He ascribes his sustentation as well. He seemed astonished that the God who thus produced and supported him should thus mar his beauty, destroy his health, and overwhelm him with misery. This is, in truth, a perplexity to us as well as to Job.

IV. AS BAFFLING ALL ATTEMPTS TO UNDERSTAND. "And these things Thou hast hid in Thine heart." If there is a reason, it is in Thy heart shut up and hid from me, and I cannot reach it. The more he thought, the more was Job embarrassed with the mysteries of his being. Conclusion —

1. The greatness of man's capability for suffering. To what inexpressible wretchedness and agony was Job now reduced, both in soul and in body.

2. The absoluteness of God's power over us. We are in His bands, all of us.

3. The value of Christianity as an interpreter of suffering. Job's great "confusion" in his suffering seemed to arise from the idea that unless a man was a great sinner there was no reason for great suffering. Afflictions to good men are disciplinary, not punitive.


That Thou shouldest despise the work of Thine hands
Job alludes to artificers who, having made an excellent piece, will not destroy or break it in pieces; they are very tender of their work, yea, they are apt to boast and grow proud of it. Man was the masterpiece of the whole visible creation. The Lord needs not to be ashamed of, neither doth He despise any part of His work, much less this, which is the best and noblest part of it. As the body, so the soul of man is the work of God's hand. His power and wisdom wrought it, and work mightily in it. In regard of bodily substance, the most inferior creatures claim kindred of man, and he may be compared to the beast that perisheth; but in regard of the soul, man transcends them all, and may challenge a nearness, if not an equality with the angels. Take three cautions.

1. Be not proud of what ye are, all is the work of God. How beautiful or comely, how wise or holy soever ye are, it is not of yourselves.

2. Despise not what others are or have; though they are not such exact pieces, though they have not such excellent endowments as yourselves, yet they are what the hand of God hath wrought them, and they have what the hand of God hath wrought in them.

3. Despise not what yourselves are; to do so is a sin, and a sin very common. Men are ashamed to be seen as God hath made them; few are ashamed to be seen what the devil hath made them. Many are troubled at small defects of the outward man. They who come after God to mend His work, lest they should be despised, will but make themselves more despicable.

(Joseph Caryl.)

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