Job 37:22
Out of the north He comes in golden splendor; awesome majesty surrounds Him.
The Testimony of Nature to the Terrible Majesty of GodHenry Melvill, B. D.Job 37:22
Man and GodHomilistJob 37:19-24
When clouds are cleared from the face of the sun we cannot bear to look up at the splendour of unveiled light. This is the case even in our thick and humid atmosphere; but it is much more so in the East, where the sun shines in its terrible strength. The unbearable light is a type of the majesty of God.

I. GOD VEILS HIS GLORY IN CLOUDS. The day often beans with clouds about the sun. Then we can look at the splendour of the dawn, because the ever-shifting panorama of crimson and gold that heralds in the day is visible to us in colours that our eyes can endure to look at. God begins the education of his children in a light that is tempered to suit their feeble vision. But a common mistake is to forget that God is condescending to our weakness, and to limit our conception of God to the measured revelation. Thus we form partial and human ideas of God. If his cloud is thick and dark we do not see his glorious light, and then we accuse him of the darkness, and narrow and unjust thoughts of God spring up in our hearts. Difficulties in nature and providence trouble us. Vexations thoughts about the apparent imperfection of God's works fill our minds with doubt. And all the while the simple truth is that God is merciful and considerate, veiling himself in clouds for the very purpose of sparing us.

II. GOD'S UNVEILED GLORY WOULD BE AN UNBEARABLE LIGHT. This we commonly say and instinctively feel. Let us now ask how it should be so.

1. Ignorance is dazzled by absolute knowledge. The beginner is not helped, he is only perplexed, when he is favoured with the most advanced thoughts of the ripe scholar. If all God's truth were suddenly flashed out to us it would be incomprehensible and overwhelming.

2. Sin shrinks from perfect holiness. The centre of God's eternal light is his purity. In our sin we cannot bear to look upon this.

3. Finite life cannot endure the fulness of infinite life. Our sympathies endeavour to respond to the appeals that draw them out. But when those appeals are infinite, our own life is swallowed up in the response. If we entered fully into the life of God, our life would be extinguished as the light of the stars is quenched in that of the sun.

III. GOD EDUCATES US BY GRADUALLY UNVEILING HIS GLORY. The clouds are rolled back by degrees. Twilight is a merciful gift of providence, tempering the first approach of the light, and saving us from the shook of the sudden exchange of night for day. God's education of his people is gradual.

1. Revelation is progressive. Adam could not endure the light which Christ brought. Early ages were trained by degrees to fit them for the growing light of God's truth. We have not reached all knowledge. Christ has many things to tell us, but we cannot bear them now (John 16:12). "God has yet more light and truth to break forth from his Word."

2. Individual lives are prepared for growing light. We cannot endure on earth the glory that shall be revealed in heaven. Our early Christian experience is not capable of receiving all that God wishes to reveal to us; therefore he rolls back the clouds by slow degrees, preparing for the great apocalypse. "Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12). - W.F.A.

Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
These words occur towards the close of that remonstrance of Elihu which he addressed to Job his friend, and is immediately followed by the answer of the Lord Himself out of the whirlwind. The text is simply one of those propositions or evidences by which the speaker sought to establish the greatness and inscrutableness of God. The operations of God in nature are given in evidence of the wrongness of expecting to comprehend God Himself. If you cannot understand the works and ways of the Almighty, is it any marvel that the Almighty Himself quite baffles your scrutiny? Why should the fact that fair weather cometh out of the north, suggest the inference that with God is terrible majesty? If every operation and production of nature may be ascribed immediately to the agency of God, then is every such operation and production a direct evidence of the wonderfulness of God, not to be surveyed by a devout and thoughtful mind, without emotions of awe as well as delight! It gives a dignity to every blade of grass, that it may be considered as the handiwork of God. It is not that each or any of the operations or productions is in itself overwhelming in testimony to the greatness of God, but that each is part of one vast system, each bears witness to the same stupendous fact, that God is nature, or that nature is but God, perpetually and universally at work. And I want nothing else to make me look on God with unbounded amazement and awe. If I think of fair weather as coming out of the north, I must think of God as acting in all the laboratories of nature, disposing the elements, bringing the winds out of His treasures, gathering the clouds, and giving the sunshine. Nature, nothing but nature's God everywhere busy, — this is God in His inscrutableness; this is God in His magnificence; this is God in His wonderfulness. "With God is terrible majesty." In the text there is also a testimony to the constancy and the uniformity of the actings of God in the material world. "Fair weather cometh out of the north." You may always reckon on this. It has been thus from the beginning; and so fixed and stable is the course of nature, that by observing the signs you may calculate the changes with a precision little short of certainty. Consider what effect ought to be produced on men, and will be produced on the righteous, by the constancy which seems to encourage the scoffers. If God be unchangeable in the operations of nature, does not even this furnish some kind of presumption that He will be unchangeable in all other respects? Our present lesson is not so much one taught by creation, when viewed by itself, as one which creation traces in illustration or corroboration of the Bible. If it be ordinarily true, that "fair weather cometh out of the north," then is this coming of fair weather another evidence of the constancy or uniformity of nature, and because we are so made and constituted, that we expect and reckon on this constancy or uniformity, therefore it is another evidence of that faithfulness of God which insures the accomplishment of every tittle of His word. Thus is there a voice to me in the constancy of nature, confirming that voice which comes forth to me from the pages of Scripture. Fair weather from the north, is neither more nor less than God's accomplishment of His word — a word which if neither spoken nor written, is to be found in the expectation which Himself hath impressed, that nature will be fixed in her workings; and whatever tells me afresh that God is faithful to His word, tells me that vengeance may be deferred, but that it shall yet break forth on the wicked in unimaginable fury, and that the righteous may wait long, but cannot wait in vain, for an incorruptible inheritance that shall not fade away. And there is yet a peculiarity in the text, which ought not to be overlooked, and in considering which we shall again be led to the theology of revelation, yea, to find the Gospel in our text. The expression which Elihu uses in reference to God, is evidently one which marks dread and apprehension — "With God is terrible majesty"; words which show the speaker impressed with a sense of the awfulness of the Creator, rather than drawn towards Him by thoughts of His goodness and compassions. And it would hardly seem as if this were to have been expected, considering what the fact is on which the speaker's attention had been professedly fixed. I know when it is that God's majesty is most commonly recognised by those who observe the phenomena of nature. It is not when "fair weather cometh out of the north"; it is rather when the Almighty rideth on the hurricane — when He darkeneth the firmament with His tempests, and sendeth forth His lightnings to consume. If any one of you be witness to the progress of a storm, as it sweeps along in its fury, your sensations as the winds howl, and the torrents descend, and the thunders roll, and the waves toss, are sensations of dread and alarm; and if in the midst of this turmoil of elements your thoughts turn upwards to God, who hath His way in the whirlwind, and at whose feet the clouds are the dust, you are disposed to regard Him with unmingled fear — to shrink from Him as manifesting, in and through this tremendous emblazonry, the heavenly attributes at war with such creatures as yourselves. And then if there come the hushing of the tempest, and the darkened firmament be suddenly cleared, and the landscape which just before had been desolated and drenched, be beauteously lit up with the golden rays of a summer sun, oh, then it is that there will be awakened within you grateful and adoring emotions, and that God whose terrible majesty you had been ready to acknowledge as the Voice of His thunders was heard, will appear to you a bountiful and beneficent Being, whom even the sinful may approach, and by whom the unworthy may be shielded. But you will observe that it was just the reverse with Elihu. It is the fair weather from the north which would make you exclaim, "How good, how gracious is God"; but It was the fair weather from the north which made Elihu exclaim, "How terrible is God." And there is the theology of revelation in this, if there be not the theology of nature. It is not so much the storm, it is rather the calm, which should lead me to think on the tremendousness of God.

(Henry Melvill, B. D.)

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