Job 14:3
Do You open your eyes to one like this? Will You bring him into judgment before You?
Sermons
Self-Defence Before GodE. Johnson Job 14:1-12
On the Corruption of Human NatureJ. Seed, M. A.Job 14:3-4
Out of Nothing Comes NothingSpurgeon, Charles HaddonJob 14:3-4
Job's troubles are typical of the common doom of mankind - the "subjection, to vanity." And again (comp. Job 3:7; Job 7:1-5) he bursts forth into lamentation over the universal doom of sorrow.

I. HIS NATURAL WEAKNESS. (Vers. 1-2.) His origin is in frailty; he is "born of woman." His course is brief, and full of unrest. He sees himself mirrored in all natural things that fleet and pass:

(1) in the flower of the field, briefly blooming, doomed to the speedy scythe;

(2) in the shadow, like that of a cloud, resting for a moment on the ground, then vanishing with its substance. "Man is a bubble," said the Greek proverb (πομφόλυξ ὁ ἄνθρωπος). He is like a morning mushroom, soon thrusting up its head into the air, and as soon turning into dust and forgetfulness (Jeremy Taylor). Homer calls man a leaf; Pindar, the "dream of a shadow."

II. HIS MORAL WEAKNESS. (Vers. 3, 4.) On the natural frailty is founded the moral. And this poor, weak being is made accountable, dragged before the tribunal of God. And yet, asks Job, how is it possible that purity should be exacted of him? How can the product be diverse from the cause; the stream be of purer quality than the source?

III. REASONING AND EXPOSTULATION FOUNDED ON THESE FACTS. (Vers. 5, 6.) If man, then, is so weak, and his life determined by so narrow bounds, were it not the part of Divine compassion and justice to give him some release and respite until his brief day of toil and suffering be altogether spent (comp. Job 7:17; Job 10:20)? It seems to Job, in the confusion of his bewildered thought, that God is laying on him a special and extraordinary weight of suffering, which makes his lot worse than that of the common hireling.

IV. FURTHER IMAGES OF DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 7-12.) Casting his eye upon the familiar scenes of nature, it seems that all things reflect the sad thought of the transiency and hopelessness of man's fate, and even to exaggerate it.

1. Image of the tree The tree may be hewn down, but scions and suckers spring from its well-nourished root; an image used by the prophet to symbolize the spiritual Israel. The stump of the oak represents the remnant that survives the judgment, and this is the source whence the new Israel springs up after the destruction of the old (Isaiah 6:13). But when man is broken down and falls like the trunk of the tree, there is an end of him. This is undoubtedly a morbid perversion of the suggestion of nature. She by the sprouting scion teaches at least the great truth of the continuity and perpetual self-renewal of life, if she can tell no more.

2. Image of the dried-up waters. (Ver. 11.) These forsake their wonted channels and flow in them no more (comp. Job 7:9). So, it seems to the eye of nature, man passes away in a mist from the earthly scene and leaves no trace behind.

3. Image of the abiding heavens. (Ver. 12.) This is introduced, not in illustration of the transient life of man, but in contrast to it (comp. Psalm 89:29, 36, 87). The heavens appear eternally fixed, in contrast to the fluctuating scene below. They look calmly down, while man passes into the sleep of death, and into Sheol, whence there is no return. But when man rises into the full consciousness of his spiritual nature through the revelation of life and immortality, all seems passing compared with the life in God. The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, but God's salvation shall not be abolished. He that doeth the will of God shall abide for ever. - J.







Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
The disobedience of our first parents involved their posterity, and entailed a depravity of nature upon their descendants; which depravity, though it is not a sin in us, till the will closes with it, and deliberately consents to it; yet is certainly sinful in itself, and therefore is styled original sin. Adam was formed in the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness; but it is plain that we who are born with strong propensions to vice are not created in righteousness and true holiness. It is clear that we are fallen from our original and primitive state of innocence. Far be it from me to vilify human nature, as if it were totally bad, without any remains or traces of its primitive greatness. But no creature could come originally from God's hand but what was perfect in its kind; no rational creature can be perfect in his kind, in whom there is a strong propension to vice, that is, to what is unreasonable, and a great irregularity of the appetites and affections. There is a latent stock of corruption in us, though sometimes unsuspected by us, which often discovers itself as soon as there are suitable objects to call it forth. We see the wisest of men, in their unguarded hours, betrayed into unaccountable follies. Reason was originally given us to govern the passions in all cases. It does not now regulate and govern them in all cases; it is certain, therefore, that we are in a fallen, disordered state. If men proceed to action while their passions are warm, they do not see things justly, and therefore are apt to act too hastily; if they stay till their passions are cool, they are apt not to act at all. Moreover, we do not love or hate, rejoice or grieve, hope or fear, so far as is consistent with reason, and no further. We love the things of this world beyond the proportion of good which is in them. The love of virtue and heavenly happiness does not keep pace with the worth of the objects beloved. The truth is that ever since the fall, the body clogs the native energy of the soul, and pins it down to this low, ignoble sphere. Into what can this universal depravation, which prevails everywhere among the sons of men, be resolved, but into an universal cause, the inborn corruption of nature, and an original taint, derived from our first parents? Can it be resolved into education? If mankind were in a state of integrity and primitive uprightness, there could scarce be, one would think, so much evil in the world as there really is. Man was originally formed for the knowledge and worship of God only; yet in all countries men are immersed in idolatry and superstition. Man was formed for loving his neighbour as himself; yet the world is generally inclined to the ill-natured side. Again, we were designed for an exact knowledge of ourselves; and yet we see ourselves through a flattering glass, in the fairest and brightest light. Lastly, we were formed for the attainment of beneficial truth; yet there are not many certain truths, demonstrable from intrinsic evidences, from the abstract nature of the thing; though reason can prove several, by the help of external evidences. Setting revelation aside, mankind would have reason to wish that they did not know so much as they do, or that they knew a great deal more...It is one thing to say that God was, or could be, the author of evil; and another to say that when evil was introduced by man, He did not work a miracle to prevent the natural consequences of it; but suffered it for the sake of bringing a greater good out of it; and that, by redemption, He has advanced man to much superior happiness than he could have had any title to, if he had continued in a state of innocence. This is the scriptural solution of the difficulty. What remains but that we strive to recover that happiness, by our humility and meekness, which our first parents lost by pride? The consideration and sense of unworthiness will dispose a man to accept the offers of salvation by Jesus Christ, and make him endeavour to fulfil the terms of it.

(J. Seed, M. A.)

Job had a deep sense of the need of being clean before God, and indeed he was clean in heart and band beyond his fellows. But he saw that he could not of himself produce holiness in his own nature, and, therefore, he asked this question, and answered it in the negative without a moment's hesitation. The best of men are as incapable as the worst of men of bringing out from human nature that which is not there.

I. MATTERS OF IMPOSSIBILITY IN NATURE.

1. Innocent children from fallen parents.

2. A holy nature from the depraved nature of any one individual.

3. Pure acts front an impure heart.

4. Perfect acts from imperfect men.

5. Heavenly life from nature's moral death.

II. SUBJECTS FOR PRACTICAL CONSIDERATION FOR EVERYONE.

1. That we must be clean to be accepted.

2. That our fallen nature is essentially unclean.

3. That this does not deliver us from our responsibility: we are none the less hound to be clean because our nature inclines us to be unclean; a man who is a rogue to the core of his heart is not thereby delivered from the obligation to be honest.

4. That we cannot do the needful work of cleansing by our own strength. Depravity cannot make itself desirous to be right with God. Corruption cannot make itself fit to speak with God. Unholiness cannot make itself meet to dwell with God.

5. That it will be well for us to look to the Strong for strength, to the Righteous One for righteousness, to the Creating Spirit for new creation. Jehovah brought all things out of nothing, light out of darkness, and order out of confusion; and it is to such a Worker as He that we must look for salvation from our fallen state.

III. PROVISIONS TO MEET THE CASE.

1. The fitness of the Gospel for sinners. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." The Gospel contemplates doing that for us which we cannot attempt for ourselves,

2. The cleansing power of the blood.

3. The renewing work of the Spirit. The Holy Ghost would not regenerate us if we could regenerate ourselves.

4. The omnipotence of God in spiritual creation, resurrection, quickening, preservation, and perfecting. Application — Despair of drawing any good out of the dry well of the creature. Have hope for the utmost cleansing, since God has become the worker of it.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

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