Job 33:27

I. THE CONDITION OF RESTORATION. The redeemed man is represented as chanting a grateful psalm in recognition of his merciful deliverance. In this psalm he both acknowledges his guilt and recognizes that he has not been treated as he deserves. Guilt is a fact to be first of all owned. There is no forgiveness without confession. Even when a man is forgiven, though God may put aside his guilt, the man cannot do so. The thought of what he has been delivered from heightens his gratitude while it deepens his humility.

II. THE STATE OF RECOVERY. It is deliverance from death - "the pit." Death is the natural penalty of sin. But when God forgives and restorers he does more than remit the penalty. Salvation is far more than this negative blessing. The sin has already poisoned the life of the sinner. Already he is "dead in trespasses and sins." Therefore he needs the gift of life. Now, this positive boon comes with the great restoration of souls in redemption. God, who first gave natural life, now gives spiritual life. Thus the blessing is internal and personal. It is not a change of the soul's estate, but a regeneration of the soul itself.

III. THE SOURCE OF REDEMPTION. God himself brings about the new, happy condition of the restored penitent. He could not restore himself; no creature in the universe could give him what he needs. For the evil was death, and the requirement was a gift of life. Only he who first created life, and who ever lives in all his creatures, can renew life. Regeneration implies a Divine energy. Those forms of religion which are satisfied with man as he is may dispense with any very marked activity on God's side in religion; but when the ruin of man is acknowledged, the chief element in religion must be, not man's devotion, but God's salvation. Now, this is what we see in the Bible. There man appears in his sinfulness and helplessness, utterly unfit for heaven, or even for earthly life in its beauty and fruitfulness, and there God is seen as the mighty Deliverer coming to the rescale of his helpless child.

IV. THE METHOD OF RENEWAL. Elihu has spoken of the Divine voices, the experience of chastisement, and the personal messenger. By these means God reaches man. What else is done is not so fully seen here as in the later revelation of the New Testament, in which we discover the cross of Christ as the root of man's new life. But throughout God's dealings with man in all ages it has been apparent that there are various processes of spiritual experience through which God leads returning penitents. Therefore, if the present process is dark and mysterious and even painful, we have great encouragements for submitting to it with more than patient faith, with joyous hope, looking to the end which is, "to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living." - W.F.A.







He looketh upon men.
The text —

I. PRESENTS TO US THE EXTENT OF THE DIVINE INSPECTION. "He looketh upon men." God's omniscience ought to make us adore and tremble. He watches over men's actions, and there is no darkness or shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves from His eye. He looks upon men universally. He sees them all at one glance, in one view.

II. UNFOLDS THE LANGUAGE OF UNFEIGNED REPENTANCE. Here God fixes His eyes upon one who says, "I have sinned." The man who makes a confession like this is far better in the sight of God than he who says he has no sin, and deceives himself. Here is —

1. A confession of having by sin offended against God. Wherever the Spirit of God has begun to work upon the soul, there will be this sense of unworthiness, this conviction of sin.

2. A confession of having abused the best of blessings. "I have perverted that which was right." That is, Thy holy providence gave me many and peculiar favours, which I employed to a bad purpose, or entirely neglected.

3. A confession of having experienced disappointment in the ways of sin. "I have done all this, and it profiteth me not." Every penitent can testify that the way of transgressors is hard.

III. DISCOVERS THE TRIUMPH OF RETAKING GRACE. This humble penitent who looks to the Redeemer, obtains grace in His sight; for the Lord —

1. prevents his soul from enduring eternal perdition.

2. Raises him to the everlasting enjoyment of Divine illumination. Learn —(1) The richness of God's pardoning mercy, extending even to sins of perverseness.(2) The madness of impenitent sinners; they must be banished to the pit, never to see the light.(3) The importance of imploring daily a penitential spirit. We sin daily; therefore beg always for mercy.

(T. Spencer.)

Three points arising out of the text.

I. THE FACT THAT GOD LOOKETH UPON MAN. This is the doctrine of God's omniscience. Go wheresoever we may, whether in the crowd or in solitude, we can never escape from the eye of God. He sees the very thoughts of our hearts; He reads the motives from which actions spring. This is a very marvellous truth — it almost baffles our comprehension. The eye of God is not only upon us, it is upon the entire universe. This must be a necessary attribute of God. How should God govern the world if He were not able at one glance to scan the thoughts and actions of all mankind?

II. THE CHARACTER OF A TRUE PENITENT. This includes —

1. The personal consciousness of sin. Sin brought home to the individual, sin acknowledged — sin confessed as a burden resting upon the individual himself; not merely a burden shared in common with others.

2. The absence of all self-excusing. "I have perverted that which was right." An insincere penitent will always endeavour rather to palliate his fault than otherwise; to extenuate his trespass, The true penitent is rather ready to aggravate than to extenuate the sins of which he is conscious.

3. Hopeless dissatisfaction. "It profiteth me not." Every transgressor of God must be brought, at one time or another, to exclaim, "It profiteth me not." Sin always comes with the offer of profit. The temptation to transgress would fall powerless if it were not accompanied with the bribe of some prospective advantage.

III. THE BLESSED EFFECTS FOLLOWING TRUE REPENTANCE. Two things —

1. Deliverance from condemnation "He will deliver his soul from going into the pit." This speaks of full and complete forgiveness.

2. Translation to reward. "His life shall see the light." He shall be translated to everlasting life.

(Bishop Boyd Carpenter.)

Whether God visits with affliction, with adversity, or prosperity, yet all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

I. HE LOOKETH UPON MAN. As a Creator. As the Governor of the world. As a holy Being. As the Judge of men. As a compassionate parent looks upon his family.

II. THE PENITENT MAN LOOKING UP TO GOD.

1. "I have sinned." This supposes reflection. "I thought on my ways." This supposes self-abhorrence. "Woe is me, for I am undone." This supposes godly sorrow, sorrow for sin. I have sinned. My sin has brought misery and evil upon myself, and exposed me to future punishment.

2. "And perverted that which was right." These words may be considered in reference to the dispensations of providence, whether prosperous or adverse. They are perverted by man. Man perverteth his way as to opinion; as to moral practice; for interest or gain, as well as pleasure.

III. THE MERCIFUL DETERMINATION OF GOD IN BEHALF OF THE PENITENT. "He will deliver his soul from going down to the pit, and his life shall see the light." These expressions are sometimes used for deliverance from natural death to life and health. Sometimes these expressions are used figuratively for deliverance from distress, and restoration to happiness. God will hear our cry, and deliver us out of all our troubles.

(J. Walker, D. D.)

True repentance begins in conviction, awakens contrition, leads to confession, and ends in conversion. Many encouragements are given to sinners to repent.

I. GOD SEES THE CONDUCT OF PENITENT SINNERS.

1. God looks upon men universally. Our power of vision is limited. God sees all things.

2. God looks upon men individually. No man can hide from God.

II. GOD HEARS THE CONFESSION OF PENITENT SINNERS. Many have sinned who do not admit their sinfulness; many confess their sins who do not forsake them.

1. The true penitent confesses his sins. The penitent's confession is full, free, and sincere.

2. The true penitent acknowledges his folly. We have perverted our spiritual blessings.

3. The true penitent admits his disappointment. Sin is a great blunder. There is no satisfaction in sin.

III. GOD DELIVERS THE SOUL OF PENITENT SINNERS. God knows the backwardness of the trembling penitent, and seeks to encourage him with the fullest assurance of pardon.

1. God saves the penitent from eternal death.

2. God rewards the penitent with eternal life.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

There is the whole philosophy of penitence in the text.

I. THE CREED OF PENITENCE.

1. An absolute good and evil, right and wrong. There are those in whose sight the burden of a guilty conscience is but a bad form of hypochondria. While the world lasts, the penitent's creed will express the conviction and reefing of mankind.

2. I have perverted that which is right. This is the second article of the penitent's confession of faith. No man knows what "I" means, but the man who has felt himself isolated from God by transgression. According to the pantheistic philosophy, there is, strictly speaking, no such thing as sin. Man sins like a sullen dog, or a vicious horse.

3. And it profited me not. "The wages of sin is death." If any other confession than this of the text were possible for a sinner in the long run, and after full experience of an evil way, it would simply mean that the righteous God had ceased to be the ruler of the world.

II. THE CONFESSION OF PENITENCE. "If any say, I have sinned." That implies fundamentally that evil is not of God. God has made a being capable of sin, but God has not made sin. Saying to God, "I have sinned," is essential to complete forgiveness; on what ground of reason does this necessity rest? If a man is convinced, is not that sufficient? God demands confession.

1. Confession alone makes the penitence complete.

2. Confession alone re-establishes that filial relation, without which the penitence can have no lasting fruits,

III. THE FRUITS OF CONFESSION THROUGH THE ABOUNDING MERCY AND LOVE OF GOD. The fruits here set forth are two fold. He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. A glory shall gild its path, even through this weary wilderness of discipline.

(J. Baldwin Brown, B. A.)

I. GOD'S MERCIFUL REGARD TO MAN. "He looketh upon man." The looking upon man is not of a general kind; it is expressive of that kind, benignant attention which has immediate respect to the welfare of its objects. It is not the scrutinising look of a hard and rigorous taskmaster, who feels a pleasure in finding out a fault; it is the look of a Father, who, though when He sees evil may not and cannot suffer it to pass unnoticed, desires to behold nothing but what is right, and affectionately fixes His eyes upon the least sign of a favourable kind in the conduct of His child.

II. WHAT GOD EXPECTS FROM MAN. He looks to discover a humbled, penitent state of heart. All morality, and all that is called religion which is not founded on a sense of guilt, and which does not rise from humiliation for sin, is but a splendid delusion, a mere form, and shadow, and mockery of piety. There must be the full, open, frank acknowledgment of guilt. Confession is the first, proper, natural language of repentance. When your minds are deeply humbled, you will not only confess that you have sinned, but you will feel and acknowledge too that it "profited you not."

III. THE BLESSINGS WHICH GOD IMPARTS TO THOSE WHO COMPLY WITH THIS DEMAND. "He will deliver his soul from going down into the pit, and his life shall see the light." It is not certain Elihu meant more than that humiliation before God would he the means of preserving Job's life, and of restoring him to his former peace and prosperity. We can have no difficulty in giving to the language a much wider and more general meaning. Beyond the grave there is a deeper and more awful pit. But there is now no condemnation to the humble and believing penitent.

(Stephen Bridge, M. A.)

1. God's eye is fixed upon every individual of the family of man. The very opposite sentiment, the negation of this truth, was maintained by some of the most eminent heathen philosophers. Their notions of the Deity were such as led them to conceive it impossible that He should be in any way concerned with the things of this our world.

2. What God specially looks for is a full confession of sin.

(1)An acknowledgment of sin's essential guilt, as a perversion of that which is right.

(2)Confession of the actual fact of sin.

(3)Acknowledgment of its disappointing and deceptive folly.

3. Such penitent confession shall turn to our unspeakable advantage. Learn then to view the confession of sin as a duty of the first importance. The language of confession in our text every living being has reason to make his own.

(Robert Eden, M. A.)

The great folly and perverseness of human nature is in nothing more apparent than in this, that when in all other things men are generally led and governed by their interests, and can hardly be imposed on by any art, or persuaded by any solicitation, to act plainly contrary to it; yet, in matter of their sin and duty, they have little or no regard to it. Of this every sinner, when he comes to himself and considers what he hath done, is abundantly convinced. In these words is a great blessing and benefit promised on God's part, and a condition required on our part.

1. A penitent confession of our sins to God.

2. A true contrition for our sin; not only for fear of the pernicious consequences of sin, but from a just sense of the evil nature of sin, and the fault and offence of it against God.

3. Here is a description of the evil nature of sin — it is a perverting of that which is right. Sin is a perverting of the constitution and appointment of God, and of the nature and order of things. When we do that which is right, we act agreeably to the design and frame of our beings; we do what becomes us; but sin perverts the nature of things and puts them out of course.

4. An acknowledgment of the mischievous and pernicious consequences of sin. This is not only true as to the final issue and event of an evil course in the other world, but even in respect of this world and the present life, the practice of some sins is plainly mischievous to the temporal interests of men; that others are wholly unprofitable.Reflections —

1. What has been said upon this argument ought particularly to move those who have so great a consideration of this present life, and the temporal happiness of it, that the practice of all virtues is a friend to their temporal as well as eternal welfare, and all vice is an enemy to both.

2. This likewise takes off all manner of excuse from sin and vice. It pretends not to serve the soul, and to profit our future happiness in another world; and if it be an enemy also to our present welfare in this world, what is there to be said for it?

3. All the arguments used to convince men of the folly of a wicked course, are so many strong and unanswerable reasons for repentance. Men make mistakes about repentance. Some make the great force and virtue of it to consist, not so much in the resolution of the penitent, as in the absolution of the priest. Some make repentance to consist in the bare resolution of amendment, though it never has its effect.

(J. Tillotson, D. D.)

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