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?
(J. Seed, M. A.)
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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