Job 22:21
In clear words reconciliation with God is urged. "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." Ignorance of God casts men off from the highest good - from the fellowship of their truest and best Friend. Deep in the heart of the wicked enmity against God reigns. This is sin's utmost folly. Men are to be judged by their relation to a pure and true standard. The utmost condetonation lies buried in a repudiation of the highest goodness, the supreme righteousness, the purest benevolence. "What have we to do with thee?" was the expression of a purely devilish mind. The reconciliation of the human soul to God is the noblest and best work of philanthropy. Eliphaz points out -

I. THE WAY OF RECONCILIATION.

1. The search for the knowledge of God. "Acquaint now thyself with him." The knowledge of God is the basis of peace and the encouragement to it. It is the knowledge that comes of the heart turning to God. To such a heart God turns and manifests himself. Mere intellectual search is insufficient. God is known, as he is seen, by the heart.

2. Receiving teaching from him. The acceptance of his holy Law as the law of the returning life, hiding his words in the heart, taking them up into a loving recognition of them, - this is the way of all true peace and blessedness.

3. The putting away iniquity. This, the true repentance, is a departure from evil

4. A return of the soul wholly to God. This is the true conversion. From this issues the utmost good which Eliphaz points out in describing -

II. THE FRUITS OF PEACE.

1. The restoration of prosperity. "Thou shalt be built up." The blessing of God upon the human life is the highest pledge of true prosperity. Thou shalt lay up gold as dust," may not be a definite promise of riches to every returning one, but it indicates the true effect of righteousness. God will be to him his true gold.

2. Divine protection. "The Almighty shall be thy Defence."

3. A confident and joyous approach to God. "Thou shalt have thy delight in the Almighty." How greatly is the character of life raised by its purer fellowships! The soul brought to find its delight in the highest good is blest indeed.

4. The free access of prayer; and the pledge of a favourable response, "Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee."

5. Prosperity and joy. "Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways." Thus shall it come to pass that he who was "cast down" shall be lifted up, and the lowly shall be saved. Thus the guiltless shall be rescued, and he who has pure hands shall be delivered. The way of the sinner's approach to God is as of old - it is the path of humility, of repentance, of lowly confession, of faith - the heart's whole trust in the Lord and in his word of grace. And the fruits of righteousness are now as always - peace and assurance and blessing. - R.G.







Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.
I. WHAT IT IS, OR IMPLIES.

1. The knowledge of God's character and attributes. All true religion rests upon correct views of God's character. Many persons assume that they naturally know God; but they do not feel the necessity of going to Scripture to learn the character of God. The mistake arises in part from not distinguishing carefully between the existence and the character of God. You must try your notions of God's character and attributes by Scripture, and see whether they will stand the test.

2. But a man's knowledge may be nothing more than an intellectual knowledge, whilst his heart may be alienated from Him. He may feel no delight in God's character, and pay no heartfelt obedience to His will.

3. In real acquaintance with God, there is communion. This means participation in something (1 Corinthians 10:16). Communion also means intercourse, converse (Psalm 4:4). It is a wonderful thought, but it is true, that there can be, and is, communion between the eternal God and the believer's spirit. You see some things which are implied in acquaintance with God, or knowledge of God's character and attributes as revealed in Scripture, reconciliation of heart to Him, and communion with Him. The first requires the exercise of the understanding; the second, the surrender of the will; the third, purity of heart. What blessing is equal to this of acquaintance with God!

II. THE RESULTS. "And be at peace." With reference to Job. "Be happy again." Eliphaz urges Job to acquaint himself with God, so that peace and joy may be restored again to his heart. To how many hearts may such words come home! Eliphaz speaks of other results. "Thereby good shall come to thee." How much there is in that word "good!" No doubt Eliphaz thought of temporal blessings. Look at the blessings of the Christian. Sins blotted out; heart renewed; bondage changed into liberty; the power of sin broken; besetting infirmities overcome; his life made a blessing to others; death robbed of its sting.

(George Wagner.)

"Acquaint." This is a very forceful word; it comes from an old Saxon root, from which we get the word "ken" — to know. The word "cunning" comes from the same root — cunnan, to know. Get to know God — to understand Him. One rendering of the text is, "Acquiesce in God"; another is, "Join yourself to God." In the French Bible you will find that the translation is, "Attach yourself to God," which is pretty nearly the same thing. Join yourself to Him; attach yourself to Him. Fall in, it seems to say, with His ways, and with His methods.

(W. Williams.)

I. EXPLAIN THE NATURE OF ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD.

1. It includes knowledge.

2. It includes friendship.

3. It includes communion.

4. It includes confidence.

II. ILLUSTRATE THE BENEFITS THAT RESULT FROM IT.

1. Peace — with God and in our own heart.

2. Good — temporal and spiritual.

3. Now — now or never.

(G. Brooks.)

I. ITS NATURE. Men are not acquainted with God. They like not to retain God in their thoughts. Lay aside your enmity and your dread, and come and learn something of His mercy and loving kindness. Acquaint yourselves with —

1. His infinite holiness.

2. His perfect justice.

3. His boundless mercy.

4. His everlasting purposes.

II. ITS BENEFITS.

1. Peace. There is no true peace except from the knowledge of God.

2. Present and future good. Religion's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Apply —

(1)The time of attaining it. Not tomorrow, but now.

(2)The means of obtaining it. Devout study of God's Word.Devout attendance at the Supper of our Lord. Intercourse with the Lord's people. Perusal of good and devotional books. Ask continually for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(C. Clayton, M. A.)

I. THE EXHORTATION CONTAINED IN THE TEXT. Naturally, we are ignorant of God; we are not at peace with God, but at enmity against Him. To acquaint ourselves with God, we must make ourselves acquainted with the revelation which God has made us respecting Himself and His will. We must make a heartfelt and experimental knowledge of Him the object of our unceasing pursuit. We must seek to be at peace with Him, by laying down our rebellion, asking pardon, and imploring the renewing and sanctifying influences of His Holy Spirit.

II. THE PROMISE WITH WHICH THIS EXHORTATION IS ENFORCED. "Good shall come unto thee."

1. Thou shalt have that pardon and reconciliation which thou seekest.

2. Every temporal blessing which is really "good" for you shall be secured to you.

3. You shall be satisfied that God hears your prayers, and that His blessing rests upon your undertakings.

4. Your case shall serve as an encouragement to others to proceed in those steps which you have found to lead to such inestimable blessings.

5. Your example, and conduct, and prayers will have a tendency to do "good" to your country, and to bring down God's blessing upon that.

6. The eternal good shall "come to them" — that complete deliverance from all evil, and that complete enjoyment of all "good," which will be their portion forever.

(John Natt, B. D.)

I. THE WAY OF BECOMING ACQUAINTED WITH GOD. There are two kinds of knowledge — speculative and practical, or experimental — resting upon personal acquaintance. Of these two, the experimental is the only solid and satisfactory knowledge; and is as much superior to the ideal as the substance is to the shadow, as the sun in the firmament to a sun painted upon canvas, and as a living man to his picture. The reason of which is that ideal knowledge is not the perception of the things themselves present, but only the forming in our minds the images and pictures of things absent; whereas experimental knowledge is the real perception of the things themselves, present and acting upon us, and communicating themselves and their properties to us. The ideal knowledge which we have of God should excite us to endeavour after the experimental. A penitent sinner, who is sensible of God's mercy in the forgiveness of his sins, who experiences the Divine favour in speaking peace to his soul, has a much better knowledge of the mercy, power, and goodness of God, than all the ideas of these attributes could give him as long as the world lasts. No ideal knowledge can give us either virtue or happiness. There are four ways of becoming acquainted with any person.

1. If he has written anything, to acquaint ourselves therewith. They are generally the truest and liveliest image of the mind.

2. If he be a great person, to get some opportunity of coming into his presence, and to do this as frequently and constantly as we may be permitted.

3. Readily to embrace all opportunities that are offered to us of eating at his table.

4. Living in the house, and conversing with him continually.

II. THE ADVANTAGES AND HAPPY EFFECTS OF THIS ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD. These are the greatest and noblest human nature is capable of enjoying — peace and tranquillity of mind; happiness by the exercising and perfecting the noblest faculties of the soul, the understanding, and the will. The supreme happiness must consist in contemplating and possessing, in loving and enjoying the supreme Perfection, who is Beauty and Love itself, and "whom truly, to know is eternal life." All happiness, consists in loving and possessing the object of our love.

(V. Nalson.)

The three friends of the patriarch Job often reasoned rightly, but on wrong principles and false assumptions. The best thing which natural religion can effect is the putting awful distances between man and God, the representing Deity as so sublimely inaccessible that the creature can only bow reverently down and adore from afar, with trembling of spirit, the mysterious Being who is the arbiter of his destinies. And it is not the province of revealed religion to take off anything from the mysteries of Godhead, nor to diminish that unmeasured separation which reason tells us must stretch between the infinite and the finite. Without bringing God down to our level, revelation shows man that he may be lifted up into communion with God Himself. Our text prescribes what we are bound to call familiarity with God. But the better I am acquainted with God, the more shall I find to wonder at. The precept, "Acquaint thyself with God," would never have found a place amongst the dictates of natural religion. It is not the mere acknowledgment of the existence of God which will cause peace in the human soul. On the contrary, it may be given as a self-evident truth, that until Christ, and the scheme of redemption, through His precious death, are brought under review, the more God reveals Himself, the more will man be disturbed and distressed. Where our acquaintance with God is acquaintance with God in Christ, the closer the "acquaintance," the greater will be our peace.

(Henry Melvill, B. D.)

Two things no one will challenge.

1. That most men like to improve their acquaintance, to get familiar with such as show a higher social position, with a similar moral preference and taste to their own.

2. Any such acquaintance, to whom a man may "look up," will be no small factor in giving shape and maturity to his character. The text indicates —

I. A DISTANCE, A VARIANCE OF FEELING, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. Here nonacquaintance is enmity. Man now is like to the disobedient child, Sin is nothing if it is not a perverted, a wronged, and a wronging relationship — a change on the one side from the natural to the unnatural. There is wrong relationship between heaven and earth. Sin is not only cruel in putting man at a hateful variance with his Divine Father, but it is murderously fatal. It has more than pain, there is peril of perdition.

II. HEAVEN DESIRES THE PRESENT AND PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF THE DIFFERENCE.

1. Any estrangement between two who should be friends will always bring the most pain to the one who has the finest and most susceptible nature.

2. The initiative in seeking this readjustment has been taken by heaven. At the Cross He halts for audience and restoration. This He makes the one point for all negotiations — a witness of His love, and a challenge for others' love and service.

III. THIS SETTLEMENT, WHEN EFFECTED, WILL CERTAINLY BRING TO MAN THE HIGHEST BLESSEDNESS. "Thereby good shall come unto thee." Everywhere, with a fever of greed, men are seeking "good." Sin pardoned is the true good.

IV. THE ATTAINMENT OF THIS STATE DEMANDS THE HEARTIEST EFFORTS OF ALL MEN. Surely the dignity of this state makes a claim upon men. To be "at peace with God" will be the noblest, the safest, and the happiest of states.

(Edwin D. Green.)

I. WHY WE SHOULD ACQUAINT OURSELVES WITH GOD. The fact is that our very salvation depends upon our knowledge of God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

1. That a better acquaintance with God will develop a more intense love for Him. We find a friend, and the more we study his traits of character and learn the true principles of his friendship, the more intense will become our love for him.

2. A closer acquaintance with God will develop in us a deeper work of grace. Grace and the knowledge of God are always associated in the Bible (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).

3. In a closer acquaintance with God, our thoughts, and our words, and our very habits of life become assimilated unto the Divine Mind and ways.

4. With our acquaintance with God grows our delight in His service (Psalm 1:1, 2; Psalm 119:35, 47, 92).

II. HOW SHALL WE SECURE THIS ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD?

1. Through His Word.

2. We get acquainted with God by living much with Him in prayer.

3. By persistently submitting our wills to His will. Our friends delight to confer and counsel with us so long as they feel that we are putting their counsels to practical use.

4. We get better acquainted with God by carefully noting our experiences in life.

III. WHAT MUST BE THE CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH AN ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD? Such an acquaintance must result —

1. In a fixedness of purpose.

2. Proficiency in His service.

3. Constant peace and joy.

(J. C. Jacoby.)

The study of God's nature in the page of revelation is oftentimes abused, so as to give a man not peace, but trouble. But we should be aware that this is not the necessary fruit, nay, that it never need be the consequence at all, of meditation on Gospel truth. Acquaint thyself with God. Thou knowest Him not aright by nature; thou art in need of diligent study, constant prayer, frequent meditation. Thy notions of God are far from being what they ought to be. Take pains to know Him as He is. To know that God made us, and at the same time to feel that we therefore owe to Him our own existence, this is to acquaint ourselves with God. To know of the gift of God's Son as a Saviour from sin, and to know of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. and Sanctifier, this is to acquaint ourselves with God. Then thou shalt be at peace with God and with thyself. And "good shall come unto thee." Both now and hereafter.

(C. Girdlestone, M. A.)

Peace — where does it dwell? There is peace in nature. But is there peace with man? Why has man no peace? Sin is the destroyer of your peace and mine. As sin is alienation from God, the recovery of that peace is only to be sought in deliverance from sin, and in a return to the knowledge and love of Him.

I. IN WHAT SENSE ARE WE TO ACQUAINT OURSELVES WITH GOD? To what kind of knowledge does the text refer? Is it required for our peace that we should know Him "as He is"? Shall we strain our puny minds to span the countless ages of the eternity of the past? Surely eternity, self-existence, omnipotence, infinite and essential wisdom, holiness and love, these are depths which even angels can only "desire to look into." Is it then to know Him in His counsels and ways — to understand His dealings in providence and grace? No. How often have His people to trust and not to trace! How seldom does He vouchsafe to show to them the thing that He does! How then shall man acquaint himself with God? "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." To know God as a reconciled Father in Christ, is saving, sanctifying, comforting, peace-speaking knowledge of God to your souls and mine. It is a knowledge which changes, warms, strengthens and cheers the heart.

II. BY NATURE WE ARE NOT THUS ACQUAINTED WITH HIM. We are not talking of an intellectual, but, if I may say so, of a moral, a spiritual, knowledge. Sin must ever involve ignorance of God. The unrenewed heart cannot have the rich, experimental knowledge of the true child of God. Examine well, then, the character of your acquaintance with God, your religious knowledge.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE MORE SPIRITUAL ACQUAINTANCE IS TO BE GAINED. Turn to the Bible. See in Jesus of Nazareth, "God with us."

IV. THE HAPPY RESULT PROMISED AS ATTENDANT UPON THIS ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD. "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

(John C. Miller, M. A.)

These are the words of a heathen thinker. The words are true in substance. They are wise, far-sighted words. This sage made a grand mistake in the application of this truth to his friend Job.

1. Is there such a thing among men as "peace" — a deep and true peace — without any acquaintance with God? Suppose the case of one possessing high intelligence allied with all the ordinary virtues of human life, but who lacks entirely any personal faith in God as a Person. It is useless to approach such men with arguments for the existence of God, or in favour of any of His attributes. For they are in a state which no abstract argument can well reach. We may take them on the side of the text, and ask, "How about peace?" Is his whole nature at peace? He says, "Yes; I have no fear, no trouble, except that which comes by ignorance or inattention to law. Life is not long. I shall soon be in the dust, and that will be an end of me. If we are to live again, we shall be prepared for it when it comes: why should we trouble about the matter now?" Is this answer true? I say it is not. If it be true, then it comes to this, that one man is essentially different from another man. Not merely circumstantially, but in very nature. Any peace a man may have may be calmness, indifference, but cannot be the same thing as comes into a soul, and flows through it, and down into its far depths, as the result of acquaintance with God. Suppose the case of those who have no doubt of the existence of God, but cannot be said, in any true sense, to be acquainted with Him. Are any such at peace? Again the answer is "No." Indeed, such imperfect and partial knowledge of God is practically more disturbing and alarming than complete scepticism. Once allow His existence, and it is impossible ever to put that existence anywhere but in the primary place. If God exists, clearly our relations to Him, and His relations to us, are of first importance. Suppose one convinced of the Divine existence, and yet destitute of any true idea of the Divine character, what is the result? It may be this or that, according to temperament, or circumstances, but it never is "peace." It may be a silent distrust, or a habitual alienation, or a more active antipathy, or an undefined dread, or an awful, but most uncheerful and uncomfortable sense of solemnity, or a settled despondency, or the falling shadow of a black despair; but it never is "peace." Those who are imperfectly acquainted with God look at some of the attributes separately, but never at the centre and essence of the character, where all the attributes meet. They never see that "God is love." The text literally means, "dwell with God." Dwell with Him in the same tent or home. To come to God in Christ is to come home: to enter the tent of the Divine presence.

2. "Thereby good shall come to thee." Good of every kind, and especially of the best kind. In fact, the state itself is the good begun. By far the greatest good that can be done to a man is the making of himself good. This is done by bringing him into intimate acquaintance and reconciliation and friendship with God. No man is good who avoids the society of God. The reconciled soul is the receptive soul, receptive of God, and of His truth and love. This "good" that comes is, in fact, nothing less than all the benefits and blessings of the Gospel.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

I. ALL COUNSELS THAT A MAN MAY GIVE, OR HIS FELLOW RECEIVE, THERE IS NONE SO IMPORTANT AS THAT OF CULTIVATING ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD. Acquaintance signifies more than a bare knowledge. Acquaintance with God is included in three particulars.

1. In a spiritual knowledge of the being of God.

2. In a union of will, and a union of way, with that of God.

3. In a perpetual communion with God.

II. OF ALL TIMES, SEASONS, AND OPPORTUNITIES, THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT TO CULTIVATE ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD. Consider —

1. That this matter is important.

2. That there is no time like the present time.

3. That the future is quite uncertain.

4. That the longer a man lives in sin, the farther he goes from God.

III. OF ALL THE BENEFITS WHICH MAN RECEIVES, OR GOD BESTOWS, THERE ARE NONE LIKE THOSE BLESSINGS THAT FOLLOW ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD. "Good shall thereby come unto thee."

1. All the good in nature.

2. All good in grace.

3. All the good in glory. How miserable must be the state of that man who has no acquaintance with God.

(T. Jones.)

I. THE PROPER METHODS OF ACQUAINTING OUR OWN SELVES WITH GOD.

1. The first step is to acquire a competent knowledge of His nature, His attributes, and His will. We need not commend an inquiry into the metaphysical essence of the Supreme Being. But a competent knowledge of the moral nature of the Deity is both. possible and necessary to us. In nature, and in the Scriptures, God's infinite wisdom and almighty power, His perfect purity and holiness, His justice and faithfulness, His goodness and mercy, His general and particular providence, His determined resolution finally to punish incorrigible wickedness, and to award sincere though imperfect obedience, are set forth with such plainness that the most moderate understanding may gain all requisite intelligence concerning His Divine nature and attributes. God's will, and all that He requires from us, is laid down with equal plainness.

2. A sincere repentance of our past transgressions. This is a necessary consequence of the former step toward an acquaintance with God. The result of our inquiries will be, that He is a Being of the most perfect purity and holiness. All unreasonable and vicious conduct must be offensive in His sight. While we continue in impenitence, we have the greatest reason to be overwhelmed with terror and dismay. But the repentance must be sincere and universal, extending to all the particulars of our duty and God's commands.

II. WHEN WE HAVE ACQUIRED AN ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD, WE MUST BE CAREFUL TO PRESERVE AND IMPROVE IT, BY FREQUENT PRAYER AND DEVOTION. Prayer and religious meditation is the proper food of our souls. This maintains that communion with God without which whatsoever is good in us will quickly languish and decay.

(R. Richmond, LL. D.)

This is all the three friends could, in substance, say. It is difficult to read the exhortation of another man. We are, indeed, apt to put into all reading our own tone, and thereby sometimes we may do grievous injustice to the authors or speakers whom we seek to interpret. One canon of good reading, however, may surely be this, that when a man so seer-like, so prophet-like as Eliphaz, concluded his controversy with Job, observing the suffering and the sorrow of the patriarch, he would be sure to drop his voice into the music of consolation, and would endeavour, whilst speaking words of apparently legal and mechanical preciseness, to utter them with the tone of the heart, as if in the very sorrow was hidden a gracious Gospel, and as if duty might, by some subtle power, be turned into the most precious of delight. All hortatory words may be spoken with too much voice, with too strong a tone, so as to throw them out of proportion in relation to the hearer, whose sorrow already fills his ears with muffled noises. Let us imagine Eliphaz — eldest of the counsellors, most gracious of the speakers — laying his hand, as it were, gently upon the smitten patriarch, and approaching his ear with all the reverence of affectionate confidence, and giving him these parting instructions. Then the exhortation becomes music. The preacher does not thunder his appeal, but utters it persuasively, so that the heart alone may hear it, and the soul be melted by the plea. May it not be so with us also? We do not need the strong exhortation, but we do need the consolatory appeal and stimulus. You may frighten a man by calling out very loudly when he is within one inch of a brink; the nearer the man is to the precipice, the more subdued, the less startling, should be your appeal: you might whisper to him as if nothing were the matter; you might rather lure his attention than loudly and roughly excite it; and then when you get firm hold of him bring him away to the headland as urgently and strongly as you can. May it not be that some hearts may be so far gone that one rude tone from the preacher would break up what little hope remains? Should we not rather sometimes sit down quite closely to one another and say, softly, "Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace"? think of what all thy life comes to, poor soul, and see if even now, just at the very last, the flickering lamp cannot be revived, and made strong and bright: come, let us pray. Never regard the Gospel as having come roughly, violently, but as always coming like the dawn, like the dew, like music from afar, which, having travelled from eternity, stops to accommodate itself to the limitations of time. Still the exhortation has the strength within it. Speak it as you may, it is the strongest exhortation that can be addressed to human attention. When the tone is softened it is not that the law has given up the pursuit of the soul, has ceased to press its infinite claims upon the trespasser. Do not mistake the persuasion of the Gospel for the weaknesses of the preacher, and do not regard the errors of the preacher as implying in any degree defect on the part of his message. Eliphaz tells Job what he must do; let us read his bill of directions. "Acquaint now thyself with Him." Here is a call to mental action. Job is invited to bethink himself. He is exhorted to put himself at the right point of view. Instead of dealing with social questions and personal details, the seer invites the smitten patriarch to betake himself to the sanctuary and to work out the whole solution in the fear and love of God. There are amongst ourselves questions that are supreme and questions that are inferior. Who would care for the inferior if he could solve the supreme, and fill himself with all the mystery of Deity? What are all our inventions, arts, sciences, and cleverest tricks, and boldest adventures into the region of darkness, compared with the possibility of knowing human thought — the power of removing the veil that separates man from man, and looking into the arcana of another soul? But this is kept back from us. We are permitted to dig foundations, to build towers and temples; we are permitted to span rivers with bridges, and bore our way through rocky hills; but we cannot tell what the least little child is thinking about. All other learning would be contemptible in comparison with an attainment so vast and useful. This is the explanation of men spending their days over crucibles, in hidden places, in darkened dungeons, seeking in the crucible for the particular Something that would dissolve everything that was hard, and reveal everything that was dark. This is the meaning of the quest in which men have been engaged for the Sangreal, the philosopher's stone — that marvellous and unnamable something which, if a man had, he would open every kingdom and be at home in every province of the universe. You cannot kill that mysterious ambition of the human heart. It will come up in some form. It is the secret of progress. All this leads to the uppermost thought, namely, that if a man could acquaint himself with God, live with God, would not that be the very highest attainment of all? If he could enter the tabernacles of the Most High, and survey the universe from the altar where burns the Shechinah, what would all other attainments and acquisitions amount to? Yet this is the thing to be aimed at — grow in grace; grow in all life; for it means, in its fruition, acquaintance with God, identification with God, absorption in God, living, moving, having the being in God; taking God's view of everything; made radiant with God's wisdom, and calm with God's peace. Assuming that to be a possibility, how all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof, fade away into the dim distance! How grandly some of the old seers now and again touched the vital point; and how the ages have thrilled with their touch, knowing that at last they had left detail and cloud and mystification, and touched the very pulse of things. Here stands the great truth, the eternal verity: until we have acquainted ourselves with God, by means prescribed in God's own Book, our knowledge is ignorance, and our mental acquisitions are but so many proofs of our mental incapacity. Eliphaz therefore lifts up the whole discussion to a new level. He will not point to this wound or that, to the sore, boil, or blain, to the withering skin, to the patriarch's pitiful physical condition; he begins now to touch the great mystery of things — namely, that God is in all the cloud of" affliction, in all the wilderness of poverty, and that to know His purpose is to live in His tranquillity.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

Here, if our received version is correct, Eliphaz hits upon one of the profoundest thoughts in religion, the significance and value of which each new step in the revelation of God to men has more and more disclosed. The principle is, that a more true and full knowledge of God is the cure for every phase of human unrest. Spiritual disquiet lies outside of God. He who does not know God as He is at all, lies open to every incursion of religious disquietude; whether through superstitious fear, or through conscience, or through doubt, or through passion, or through discontent, or through any other of the numberless and sometimes nameless alleys by which disturbance is forever assailing the souls of men. On the other hand, the more truly and the more fully anyone knows by acquaintance the personal God, the more is he rid of sources of inward dispeace.

1. Of what sort must our knowledge of God be? It is possible to know as a friend by personal intercourse, one whom we are by no means able fully to understand. A little child knows his father; but he does not comprehend, or embrace in his knowledge, the fulness of that father's capacities. It is not through the intellect alone, or best, that the Infinite God is knowable by any creature. It is through the personal affections, through conscience, and through the spiritual faculty of faith. There are three stages to be observed in a man's knowledge of God.(1) Certain true notions respecting the Divine Being and His character must be presupposed, before I can approach Him with that personal approach which is the basis of acquaintanceship.(2) Given a fairly correct notion of the almighty and righteous God, whose name is Love, the man must not suffer sin to hold him back from moral intercourse with God, else his knowledge will be only a knowledge about God, not a knowing of God. To worship, to love, and to obey, is the road to real acquaintance with Him.(3) Such a moral acquaintanceship with God ekes out even the imperfection of our intellectual notions regarding Him. Much must forever remain that we cannot know. Intimacy with a good person breeds confidence, and confidence gives peace. Those who know God as a friend will put their trust in Him.

2. Show, by two or three instances, how God's growing revelation of Himself to man has been followed in experience by a corresponding increase of peace in their souls. Take, for illustration, two items from the Old Testament manifestation of Jehovah to the Hebrew people, and two from the better revelation in His Son, which, as Christians, we enjoy.(1) The fundamental truth, which it took nearly a thousand years to teach the chosen nation, is the unity of God. So entirely has this splendid truth taken possession of the modern world, Christian, Jewish, and Mohammedan — that we absolutely fail to conceive of the ancient heathen habit of thought on the subject. This doctrine of the unity of God brought a beginning of peace to the world's heart.(2) The unrest created by the heathen creed of many gods, with limited powers and overlapping provinces, was immensely increased by the selfish partiality, venality, and passionateness generally ascribed to the Divine character. To the gods were imputed the passions of men, and of very bad men, too; so that anything was worship which could be supposed to influence a fickle, corrupt, or facile will. This wretched degradation of deity bred dispeace of soul. It is impossible to know the secret mind of one who is unfair, or open to unrighteous influence. I cannot count on his friendship. But Jehovah is just, impartial, Consistent. What may be called God's absolute integrity, embracing His truth or faithfulness; His justice, or the equality of His administration and its coincidence with law; and His unchangeableness, as one inaccessible to unfair influence — this is the grand moral discovery of the Old Testament. To such a God, upright men do not appeal in vain.(3) Until God was pleased to make, through Christ, a further disclosure of Himself, we never could be perfectly at peace. Through all pre-Christian religions, and in the religion of every man still who has not acquainted himself with the Gospel of Christ, there ran, and there runs, some unquiet effort to solve the problem of atonement. The idea which rules them all, the only idea possible till God taught us better, is that man has to work on God through some means or other, so as to change repulsion or aversion into favour. This false and heathenish notion is still widespread among us. But it brings no peace. We can never be sure that our effort has succeeded. Expiation does not come by our successful efforts to work on Divine placability, or to deserve Divine grace, or to buy off or beg off Divine resentment. It is God's own act, dictated by His sole charity, wrought by His sole passion.(4) We are led still nearer to perfect peace by a more recent revelation, that of the Third Person. God is the Holy Ghost, who freely, gladly stoops to inform our warring and sin-sick souls. With infinite patience He stays by us while we fight or sin. God, the Third Person, broods like a dove of peace over the tumultuous chaos of a passionate heart, glimmers like a star of hope in our blackest night. With Him let us acquaint ourselves. Then we shall have the full repose that follows conquest.

(J. Oswald Dykes, D. D.)

Ignorance of God is the secret of all opposition to God. It is impossible for any man to know God message to those who are ignorant of His name. Do not misjudge His character any longer. Do not blaspheme the name that you would bless, if you did but understand the God that it represents.

I. AN EXPOSITION OF THE TEXT. There are two or three translations of this sentence: "Acquaint now thyself with Him," or "Acquiesce in Him" — surrender that will of yours. The first step to salvation is an absolute surrender of the will. Another rendering is, "Join yourself to God." The French translation has it: "Attach yourself to God." Fall in with His ways, and with His methods. This is particularly practical advice to us as Christian workers. But there is a special force in the Saxon word "acquaint," from which we get the word ken, to know. Get to know God — to understand Him. Know Him intellectually, for this is the pioneer of all other blessings. We can only become acquainted with God as He reveals Himself. Become acquainted with Him morally. Yield your hearts to Him. Know Him socially by walking with Him. Know God the Son, as well as God the Father. Your acquaintance with Him must begin at the Cross. And know God the Holy Spirit, as a Sanctifier, Comforter, Teacher, yea, as an abiding, tender Guide, and as a Power to help us in our Christian work.

II. ENFORCE THIS EXHORTATION. The text speaks to us individually. And it must be acquaintance with Him — with Himself.

III. THE PROMISE OF THE TEXT. The first good is, "Thou shalt be established"; the second, "Evil shall be removed from thy dwelling"; the third is, delight in God, and an uplifted face.

(W. Williams.)

I. AN ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD, THE BEST SUPPORT UNDER AFFLICTIONS. The exceeding corruption and folly of man is in nothing more manifest than in his averseness to entertain any friendship or familiarity with God. In all cases where the body is affected with pain or sickness, we are forward enough to look out for remedies. Yet notwithstanding that, we find and feel our souls disordered and restless, tossed and disquieted by various passions, and notwithstanding that we are assured from other men's experience, and from our own inward convictions, that the only way of regulating these disorders is to call off our minds from too close an attention to the things of sense, and to employ them often in a sweet intercourse with our Maker, the Author of our being, and Fountain of all our ease and happiness; yet we are strangely backward to lay hold of this safe, this only, method of cure; we go on still nourishing the distemper under which we groan, and choose rather to feel the pain than to apply the remedy.

I. WHAT THIS SCRIPTURE PHRASE IMPLIES. Wherein does the duty consist? We are prone by nature to engage ourselves in too close and strict an acquaintance with the things of this world, which immediately and strongly strike our senses. To check and correct this ill-tendency, it is requisite that we should "acquaint ourselves with God," that we should frequently disengage our hearts from earthly pursuits, and fix them on Divine things. This is only general; it may be useful to mention some particulars wherein it chiefly consists. In order to begin and improve human friendships, five things are principally requisite — knowledge, access, a similitude of manners, an entire confidence and love; and by these also the Divine friendship, of which we are treating, must be cemented and upheld.

II. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO A PERFECT TRANQUILLITY AND REST OF MIND. "And be at peace." Honour, profit, and pleasure, are the three great idols to which the men of this world bow, and one or all of these are generally aimed at in every friendship they make; and yet, though nothing can be more honourable, profitable, or pleasing to us, than an acquaintance with God, we stand off from it, and will not be tempted even by these motives, though appearing to us with the utmost advantage, to embrace it. Can anything improve, and purify, and exalt our natures more than such a conversation as this, wherein our spirits, mounting on the wings of contemplation, faith, and love, ascend up to the first principle and cause of all things, see, admire, and taste His surpassing excellence, and feel the quickening power and influence of it? In what conversation can we spend our thoughts and time more profitably than in this?

III. THE MOST PROPER SEASON FOR SUCH A RELIGIOUS EXERCISE OF OUR THOUGHTS IS WHEN ANY SORE TROUBLE OR CALAMITY OVERTAKES US. "Now," when the wise Disposer of all things hath thought fit to pour out afflictions upon thee. At such times our soul is most tender and susceptible of religious impressions, most apt to seek God, to delight in approaching Him, and conversing with Him. The kind and chief design of God, in all His severest dispensations, is to melt and soften our hearts to such a degree as He finds necessary in order to the good purposes of His grace. We are, by nature, indigent creatures, incapable of ourselves to content and satisfy ourselves; and therefore are ever looking abroad for somewhat to supply our defects and complete our happiness. How can the pious sons and daughters of affliction better employ themselves than in looking up to Him that hath bruised them, and possessing their souls in patience? Let us, throughout the whole course of our lives, take care to make the thoughts of God so present, familiar, and comfortable to us here, that we may not be afraid of appearing face to face before Him hereafter.

(F. Atterbury, D. D.)

Of all earthly comfort, the firmest basis and the principal constituent is peace of mind. Without this, neither power, nor riches, nor even life itself, can yield any substantial or lasting satisfaction. If our peace of mind be destroyed, all pleasure is destroyed with it. No sufficient remedy was discovered by the efforts of unassisted reason: we may therefore inquire what aid can be derived from Divine revelation.

1. To acquaint ourselves with God, in the sense in which our Scriptures teach, and require the acquaintance, we shall soon perceive to be no difficult task, if we engage in it with zeal and diligence, and take those Scriptures for our instructor and guide. Of the Supreme Being we certainly have not the faculties to comprehend the "Eternal power and Godhead." The misfortune is, we attach ourselves so entirely to the business and the pleasures of our present state, that we are unwilling to turn our thoughts to the greater and better objects of our care. Hence negligence produces many of the effects and mischiefs of ignorance. We must not only make God the subject of inquiry and speculation; we must seriously reflect on the relation in which we stand to this Creator and Ruler of the world, and what His providence is doing every day. In the Bible such laws are prescribed for our conduct, as, if duly observed, would render human life a constant scene of virtue, piety, and peace. More than half our sufferings are the effect of our own misconduct. From the Bible we learn that our present state is the time and place of trial for our faith and conduct. When this life has come to an end, then each will be adjudged to an eternal allotment of happiness or misery, proportioned to his vice or virtue, to his piety or his profaneness. Even this is not the whole of our information and advantages. We are offered, upon our repentance and amendment, the pardon of our sins of error and infirmity, through the merits and mediation of a Redeemer.

2. Of this acquaintance with our God, the declared intention, and the promised effect, are to be at peace — at peace in our own minds. The perplexities of life can only be satisfactorily explained, and the afflictions of life patiently endured, by acquainting ourselves with God, and obtaining this acquaintance by the assistance of his own revelation. It is universally allowed that the human mind is never fully satisfied with what human life can bestow upon us. In the midst even of riches, authority, and honours, some want is still felt, something new is still sought, something better is still desired. Even when we know that we have offended God by the transgression of His laws, when our conscience afflicts us with the sense of guilt and the apprehension of its punishment — under these unhappy circumstances, and most especially under these, to acquaint ourselves with God is the only expedient for us to be at peace. It is, indeed, in the hour of calamity, under the pressure of affliction, that this acquaintance with our God is most necessary, and will most avail us. It is when accident or sickness or poverty has deprived us of worldly comfort or of worldly hope, it is then our trust in Providence, and that only, will support our sinking spirits, speak peace to our minds, and teach us that patient submission which must be at once our duty and consolation. It was under such circumstances that Eliphaz gave to Job the advice of the text.

(W. Barrow, LL. D.)

Man became alienated from God by the apostasy, and consequently miserable; and peace was to be found again only by reconciliation with Him. There are two great difficulties in the minds of men. The one is, they have no just views of the character and government of God; and the second is, if His true character is made known to them, they have no pleasure in it, no confidence in it. Both these difficulties must be removed before man can be reconciled to his Maker. No small part of the difficulty will be removed if we can show him that the character of God is such as to deserve his confidence.

I. THE LIABILITY TO ERROR ON OUR PART IN JUDGING OF THE CHARACTER AND GOVERNMENT OF GOD. The great evil in this world is a want of confidence in God — a want of confidence producing the same disasters there which it does in a commercial community and in the relations of domestic life. The great thing needful to make this a happy world is to restore confidence in the Creator — confidence, the great restorer of happiness everywhere. Now, man can never be reconciled to God unless this confidence shall be restored. In disputes between you and your neighbour, the great thing for you to do is to restore to his mind just confidence in yourself — to explain matters. This is what is to be done in religion. It is to convince men that God is worthy of confidence. Why should a man wish to cherish any hard thoughts of God without the shadow of reason? In our estimate of God, are we in no danger of being influenced by improper feelings? See four sources of danger on this point.

1. We are in danger of being governed in our views of God by mere feeling, rather than by sober judgment and calm investigation.

2. We are often in circumstances where we are in danger of cherishing hard thoughts of God. They may make us feel that His government is severe and arbitrary.

3. We always regard ourselves as the aggrieved and injured party. We do not allow ourselves to suppose it possible that God should be right and we be wrong.

4. Back of all this is the fact that We are not pleased with the character of God when it is understood. By nature we have no pleasure in God. All the views of the Divine character which are formed under influences like these are likely to be wrong.

II. THE REAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE CASE. Such as a man might find who would wish to see such evidence as would enable him to put unwavering confidence in God. There are many things which such a man cannot understand. Such as, that sin should have been allowed to come into the system formed by a holy God. That misery should come into the universe, and that death, with many forms of woe, has been commissioned to cut down one whole race. That the immortal mind should be allowed to jeopard its infinite welfare. That any should suffer forever. That since God can save men, and will save a part, He has not purposed to save all. These, and kindred difficulties, meet the mind when we think on this great subject. They are real, not imaginary difficulties.

III. THE EVIDENCES THAT HE IS WORTHY OF CONFIDENCE. They are, God Himself as revealed; and the government of God as —

1. One of law.

2. Stable and firm.

3. The arrangements of this government tend to promote the welfare of His subjects.

4. They provide for the evils that arise from the violation of law.

5. In the plan of recovery none are excluded.

6. Those who know God's character best are found to repose most confidence in Him.

( A. Barnes, D. D..)

These are strange words to be addressed to a man renowned for piety and integrity! Job and the Almighty were by no means strangers to each other. How comes it, then, that Eliphaz says to Job, "Acquaint now thyself with Him"? God appears to have given him over to Satan for the time being, because that evil spirit had alleged that the piety of Job was maintained only for selfish ends. Dr. Stanley Leathes says: "It may be presumed that Satan challenged the Almighty in the case of Job, and that the Almighty accepted his challenge. It must, however, be carefully noted that the reader only, and not the several characters in this discussion, is supposed to be acquainted with this fact: for had it appeared openly at any point of the argument, there would at once have been an end to the discussion, The several speakers were shooting arrows in the dark; the reader only occupies a vantage-ground, in the light afforded by a knowledge of the secret."

I. THE FACT OF ESTRANGEMENT.

1. The witness of conscience. That there is more unrest in the world than there is of peace and contentment, few would deny. What is the cause of the dissatisfaction? The popular replies are, "We work at such high pressure. There is so much competition in commercial life that daily toil becomes a daily struggle. There is too much worry, and too little recreation"; etc., etc. But are these replies satisfactory? As a matter of experience, does recreation make for contentment? Do our worries cease as our possessions increase? One thing we know, that humanity is adrift from its God. Unacquaintance with Him explains much of the joylessness and impotence in human life today.

2. The witness of the world. To the questions, "Why should there be so much mutual suspicion in men's hearts? Why so much strife?" The world itself bears witness that it has turned away from its Creator and its King.

3. The witness of God Himself. If God calls, there is a need for the call; and He, with lament and sorrow, says to the children of men, "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?"

II. THE ESTRANGEMENT MAY END. "Acquaint now thyself with Him." But what things are necessary to a reconciliation that shall be both just and abiding? There are two ways in which sin may be dealt with. First, to condone it; secondly, to forgive it. The Almighty, being a God of Justice, cannot do the former. We see then that —

(1)Reconciliation is based on Divine pardon.

(2)Pardon is assured through the atonement of Christ.

III. THE ESTRANGEMENT MAY END NOW. "Acquaint now thyself with Him." But on certain conditions. And they are —

1. Repentance.

2. The forsaking of sin.

(F. Burnett.)

I. THE RESULTS OF THIS ACQUAINTANCESHIP, OR THE EFFECTS OF RECONCILIATION, — "be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee." What is this good which is as the gateway of peace? Is it a gift or an experience? How does it come? Am I but the passive object of the Divine pity? Have I to stand and wait, or to strive and obtain? The enriching of my life with good is God's work; it is also my work. There is a human power in the Divine life. I must arise and return to the Father, ere He can receive me.

II. THE POSSESSION OF GOOD IS SEEN IN CONTENTMENT OF MIND. Discontent is more common than contentment. Is there no such thing as a righteous and justifiable ambition? Our text says that by making the acquaintance of God, we become the possessors of good. Material good or spiritual good? Both. The God who graciously invites my friendship, and offers His, is interested in my whole being. With the Bible — the story of man and his God — before us, and the testimony of men around us, we may reply that man, in making the acquaintance of God, is not a loser, but a gainer. Acquaintance with God has opened unto him the gates of peace and prosperity.

III. THE POSSESSION OF GOOD IS SEEN IN AN ABUNDANCE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. This life, that is life indeed, includes —

1. Sonship.

2. Joint-heirship with Christ.

3. Daily power for daily need.

(F. Burnett.)

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