Sermons by Monday Club
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
The Book of Job resembles a drama. An English biblical scholar calls it "the Prometheus or the Faust of the most complete age of Jewish civilisation." What, as illustrated in the story of Job, is the ripe result of affliction?
1. A true knowledge of God (ver. 2). He had assumed that he, a finite man, could understand the mystery of God's providence. He had held a theory of religion which made prosperity the reward of goodness, and suffering the effect and evidence of sin, and which denied that the latter could ever befall the godly. By the calamities which overtook him, while conscious of his integrity, this theory had been violently shaken. It seemed to him that the Almighty had set him up as a mark for His arrows, without any cause. In the stupor of his distress and amazement he had sat down in the ashes in silent misery and brooded like one in a trance over the perplexing mystery. His heart ran over in the fulness of its sorrow, and he uttered a cry of regret that he had ever been born. It seemed to him that God had utterly forgotten and cast off His child. No other composition so describes the wrestlings of a distressed human spirit with the mystery of sorrow, none breathes out such longings for death as a refuge and escape from trouble. In his conception God was a being of arbitrary purposes and action, who governed the world in veiled obscurity, remote, inaccessible to tender appeal, regardless of man's weal or woe. Out of the darkness we hear him call to the incomprehensible and invisible One. Who has not this feeling of uncertainty and remoteness toward God when in great trouble the soul gropes in the darkness for Him? Job reckoned not that man is incapable of judging the meaning of God's dark providences; that within the range of God's view there might be broad zones of light, though to his narrow vision all was dark; and that within the resources of God's omnipotent power there might be found stores of relief and goodness that should give a way of escape from his trouble far better than that offered by the grave. To this larger and truer view, however, he was brought at last. As we read the book from the beginning to the end, we can perceive the change of view gradually going on. In the struggle of his mind with the mystery of his sorrow, another conception of God is seen slowly shaping itself in his thoughts. God is not indifferent to our sorrows, neither does He recklessly inflict on us pain.
2. A second fruit of his affliction was a feeling of humility and penitence for his sin (vers. 3-6). All his upbraidings of God had been like the complaint of a foolish child. His proper place was only that of an humble inquirer. God alone was able to answer the problems that environed his existence. He was humbled to the dust before the new view of God which dawned upon him. Spiritual conceit vanishes at the sight of the Holy One. The night of sorrow produces more than the day of prosperity.
3. The sufferer's manifest acceptance with God (vers. 7-10). Job was approved of God, while his three friends, who had seemed to be the special champions of God's truth, are condemned. The temper of the friends had grown more harsh, and their conduct more and more reprehensible. They sin against charity and truth. A lesson underlies the restoration. Job's earthly possessions may, without his being aware of it, have had too large a place in his heart. Now Job was able to use the world as not abusing it. One thought in conclusion. It is that when trouble comes and lies heavy on us, the thing to be done is not to long for death, or to accuse God of cruelty and injustice, but to be patient and wait for deliverance.
(Sermons by Monday Club.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.