Indeed God is mighty, but He despises no one; He is mighty in strength of understanding.
Elihu continues to speak on God's behalf. He defends the Divine ways from what he esteems to be Job's reflections upon them. He will fain "ascribe righteousness ' to his "Maker." The perfectness and justness of the ways of him who is "mighty in strength and wisdom" is traced by Elihu in many instances. Though greatly exalted, God does not look disdainfully upon man; nor doth he despise the work of his own hands. His perfect work is seen -
I. IN HIS JUDGMENTS UPON THE UNGODLY. "He preserveth not the life of the wicked."
II. IN HIS JUSTICE TO THE OPPRESSED. "He giveth right to the poor;" "He deliverth the poor in his affliction" (ver. 15).
III. IN HIS REGARD FOR THE OBEDIENT AND PURE. "He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous." This is especially seen -
IV. IN HIS DISCIPLINE AND CORRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS. This topic Elihu expands. While the Almighty suffers the wicked to perish, he maintains the lot of the oppressed and righteous poor, keeping them ever in view, and ever working all things together for their good.
1. In leading them to an established honour. "With kings are they on the throne." He "doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted."
2. He sanctifies their sorrows as means of spiritual discipline and correction. "If they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction, he showeth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded."
3. He imparts instruction, warning them away from the dangers of iniquity.
4. He crowns their obedience with ample reward. "If they obey and serve him," he makes them to spend their days in prosperity. How does this anticipate the final condition of Job? and in the process of this Divine poem, how is the unravelling of the mystery, the knot of human suffering, gradually promoted? Again, with another motive to urge Job to repentance, Elihu points out .
5. That even the righteous, if they are disobedient to the Divine instructions and correction, "shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge." He makes a direct application of the whole teaching to Job: "Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place;" but lays at Job's door the accusation of fulfilling the judgment of the evil-doer and suffering, as he does, for the severities of "judgment and justice." The principle of Elihu's teaching is just, if his application of it is faulty. All may learn
(1) to acknowledge,
(2) to bow to,
(3) to harmonize their life with, the perfect work of God. - R.G.
No one renders a better service to his fellows than he who leads them to a true conception of the character and purpose of God. No one has been so grievously misunderstood, caricatured, and aspersed as God. Men have looked at Him with sceptical eyes, melancholy eyes, sin-damaged eyes, tear-filled eyes, and many of their readings have been grotesque, unsatisfactory, and mischievous. How much misery has resulted froth the thought that God is impersonal — that the throne of the universe is without a King, that we are in the hands of a remorseless fate, that blind forces are evermore giving us shape, that we are accountable to no authority beyond ourselves! How much misery has resulted from the thought that God is cruel! Some have imagined God a merciless monster, an infinite detective, a harsh taskmaster, a vindictive gaoler. How much evil has been caused by the thought that God is exclusive — that only a select number are His children, that for the rest He has no love, no care, no blessing! How much evil has been caused by the thought that God is indifferent, that He dwells in splendid isolation, too self-absorbed to heed man's anguish, to ease his woes, redress his wrongs! Here, then, is our thought — God has a profound reverence for man; and this is so because of His unequalled greatness. This we know runs counter to our general way of thinking. We think of greatness as isolating, separating, and not as uniting men. We think contempt a proper sort of thing, and not often do we see greatness and gentleness going together. Our great teacher John Ruskin says "One of the signs of high breeding in men generally will be their kindness and mercifulness." And Shakespeare says: "Mockery is the fume of little hearts." Now, whatever we may find in men, we see that the greatness of God is not aloofness, not high disdain, not proud contempt, but infinite love, eternal compassion, omnipotent tenderness, absolute devotion to man's interests. Behold, God is mighty — so mighty that we are awed as we think of Him. But He despiseth not, for in Him might and mercy are combined. This is an oft-recurring note of the Bible. "I will sing of Thy power," says the Psalmist, but he adds, "Yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy." And again, "He telleth the number of the stars, He calleth them all by their names." But what says the context: "He healeth the broken in heart; He bindeth all their wounds." Oh, beautiful juxtaposition of power and tenderness, knowledge and grace. God does not despise any person. No human soul is valueless in the eye of God; it is more than all else to Him — the jewel of priceless value, the gem of peerless worth. Disparagement of man has been a note of all times, and not least of our own. Man's contempt for man finds luxuriant expression, and all its signs are ugly. Sometimes we see men despising others because of their poverty. Not for this reason does God despise men. Among the indigent He has found His princeliest souls, His most faithful servants. The ban of poverty is nothing to Him. Sometimes we see men despising others because they are commonplace. The world swarms with the colourless, the insignificant, the inept, the failing. Not so does God regard men. The colourless are full of suggestions to Him; the commonplace all have a place in His great heart. He does not measure men superficially, but radically. He takes note, not of the accidental, but of the essential. God is willing to take in hand the inept, the unbrilliant, the unpromising, and to bring their lives to an undreamt-of glory and greatness. Sometimes we see men despising their fellows because of their sinfulness. Man never appears so mean and worthless as when his sin is obvious. He, to whom sin is most offensive; He, whom it has cost more than anyone, despiseth not any sinner. He loves the sinner in spite of his sin, for love sees what nothing else can see. It is in Jesus Christ we see this truth best illustrated. He went straight to the worst. He touched the outcast, and he became a denizen of God's Kingdom. More than comforting is the precious truth that no soul is God-despised. He who despiseth not any person does not despise our desires. How often we despise ourselves because of the paucity of our good desires, or else on account of their feebleness. Well, we may sit in stern judgment on ourselves, and it is well, perhaps, we do so, but God despiseth not any desire. And God does not despise any service. Sometimes we disparage our services. We think them slight, imperfect, obscure. God never overlooks the quiet, obscure workers. Do not despise yourself. Are you poor? So have been earth's noblest children, so have been the peers of piety. Are you sinful? Thank God for the consciousness of your sin; it is a stepping-stone to salvation. Remember, the Church is made up of transmuted failures. God gives to men a second chance, and He delighteth in mercy. Do not despise your fellows. Moreover, it is ours to make it as easy as possible for every prodigal son of our Father to come home. Do not despise God. The adjuration is not unnecessary. Alas! this is the fatal fault of men; they disesteem their Maker, Redeemer, Friend. The Apostle asks: "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
Behold, God is mighty and despiseth not any.
Contempt, whether of men or of things, is a feeling that is alien to God. With Him there is no littleness; He neither spurns, nor slights, nor disregards. And the reason is that He is so mighty.
I. GOD IS GREAT IN INTELLIGENCE AND DESPISETH NOT. How great that intelligence is, in its reach, in its grasp, in its certainty, the Scriptures keep continually before us. He whom we worship is the "Only Wise." God sees things not only in themselves, but in their connections, sources, and results; sees them with all those secret accompaniments that make matters that are apparently trivial really significant and momentous. Therefore, though man may be careless, he cares; what man holds lightly, he esteems. We argue from the inerrancy of the Divine judgment. We found on the comprehensiveness of the Divine mind. God is great in knowledge and despiseth not, depreciating neither person nor tiring.
II. GOD IS GREAT IN HOLINESS AND DESPISETH NOT. He is so pure and exalted a moral Being Himself, He must needs hold everything of importance into which the moral element enters. Take the minutest moral deflection. He cannot think lightly of that. Sin is sin, whatsoever its scale. He cannot think lightly of the least moral aspiration. The feeblest of our longings, the stretching of a hand, the breathing of a sigh, the dropping of a tear, are matters of interest and importance to Him whose kingdom is a kingdom of uprightness, and who longs for that kingdom to come in the hearts and lives of men. The righteous Lord loveth righteousness. His very purity is a sure guarantee that the yearnings and the strivings of a sin-weary heart will always be precious in His sight. Then beware of contempt. Do not belittle the moral realities. Do not belittle sin. Too often we meet goodness with a spirit of levity.
III. GOD IS GREAT IN HIS LOVE AND DESPISETH NOT.
1. The greatness of God's love is a pledge that He will not despise the least or the lowliest disciples. He is not the God of the strong merely, He is the God of the weak.
2. The greatness of God's love is a pledge that He does not despise the least or the lowliest needs.
3. The greatness of God's love is a pledge that He will not despise the least and lowliest services. Whatsoever love offers, love will value, love will store up, and love will reward. Two practical lessons.(1) Observe the light which the text casts on the dignity of everyday life. It illumines our homeliest tasks. Do not think lightly of the homeliest kindnesses.(2) The principle also throws light on the nearness and sympathy of God. He despiseth not little things, therefore consult Him about little things.
It is a poor result of vast wealth. or great learning, or cultivated taste, when a man affects superiority and despises others. True wisdom should make us humble, not haughty. God is mighty. Yet His power is the omnipotence of right, and truth, and love. God's infinite might has co-existent with it, infinite right and infinite love. This wonderful combination in the Divine character is now before us.
1. Behold this combination in the lower orders of creation. The minutest insects are as well provided for as the cattle on a thousand hills. Compared with man, what are they? Yet God despiseth them not.
2. In the revelation of His Word. All language does but poorly express the great thoughts of God. Yet He condescends to all degrees of thought, The old philosophers concealed their thoughts from common people.
3. In the subjects of the Divine regard. Men are in danger of despising each other. God despiseth not any.
4. In the incarnate life of Christ, how near He seems to come to men! It would not be difficult to survey Hebrew society, and pick out the despised classes — lepers, lost women, publicans. Jesus came very near to the weak and weary, the reviled and persecuted, and they found recovery and rest in Him.
5. In the agencies He employs, God does not pass by His own best materials among men; but He uses the humble prayer of a desolate widow, or the effort of some silent worker, who speaks a word for the Master in quiet places of the city. In the moral world there is no need to despise the day of small things.
6. In the sacrificial atonement of Christ. The magnet of the Cross meets all conditions of men, all types of character, all degrees of education, all depths of ignorance, all forces of rebellion and self-will.
7. In the great gathering of the redeemed. There the rich and the poor, the master and the servant, meet together. Jesus is Lord and brother of men. Deity is linked with humanity in the marks and memories of the manger, the carpenter's home, and the Cross. Many who have had scant mercy from man, will enjoy there the triumphs of the mercy of God in Christ.
You can buy complete sets of all the flowers of the Alpine district at the hotel near the foot of the Rosenlaui glacier, very neatly pressed and enclosed in cases. Some of the flowers are very common, but they must be included, or the fauna would not be completely represented. The botanist is as careful to see that the common ones are there, as he is to note that the rarer specimens are not excluded. Our blessed Lord will be sure to make a perfect collection of all the flowers of His field, and even the ordinary believer, the everyday worker, the common convert, will not be forgotten. To Jesus' eye, there is beauty in all His plants, and each one is needed to perfect the fauna of paradise. May I be found among His flowers, if only as one Out of myriad daisies, who with sweet simplicity shall look up and wonder at His love forever.
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