By Henry Mahan
This lesson will consider chiefly three questions asked by Job which are answered only in our Lord Jesus Christ. The questions are:
v. 4. 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?'
v. 10. 'Yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?'
v. 14. 'If a man die, shall he live again?'
1. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean
v. 1. 'Man that is born of a woman.' This is the cause of all our misery. We are the product, the offspring of natural, sinful parents. The first man (and the only man not born of woman) was created in the image of God. That man fell and became a sinful creature (Rom. 5:12, 19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). All who are born of woman are born in sin, frail, weak, and of an evil nature (Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3). Sinful parents produce sinful offspring.
'Is of few days and full of trouble.' Before the flood some men lived as long as nine hundred years, but now and since the days of Moses, the years of men are but threescore and ten (Psalm 90:10). Those who live the longest live only a few days compared to eternity. Man is born to trouble because he is born in sin; sin and trouble go together! Sin, uncleanness, death, and trouble live in and with this man born of woman.
v. 2. 'He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down.' As the flower comes from the earth, so does man; as the flower flourishes for a while and looks beautiful, so does man; as the flower soon withers and dies, so does man. 'He fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not.' A shadow is an empty thing, dark and without substance, uncertain and quickly passes away, and so fitly resembles the life of a man (James 4:14).
v. 3. Job has described all men in the preceding verses; but here he refers mainly to himself and asks, 'Lord, do you open your eyes upon such an unclean, worthless, temporary piece of clay?' Do you take thought or care about him? Do you observe all his ways when it is below you to contend with him? David considered this question (Psalm 8:3-4). 'Lord, do you bring me into judgment with thee?' No man can contend with God upon the basis of strict justice (Psalm 143:2). Men do not even deserve to be considered by God in the matter of righteousness and judgment.
v. 4. 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. 'We are born unclean, live unclean, and die unclean in God's sight. How can he be clean that is born of woman? (Job 15:14- 16; Job 25:4-6). The answer is found in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Saviour.
Our Lord Jesus is the surety of a better covenant (Heb. 7:22; Heb. 13:20-21).
Our Lord Jesus was born of woman as our representative (Gal. 4:4-5). He had no human father, so was without the sin of Adam (1 Cor. 15:47-48).
Our Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience in the flesh, imputed to us a perfect holiness, sanctification, and righteousness (Rom. 5:19; 3:19-24).
Our Lord Jesus died for all our sins, cleansing us, perfecting us, and presenting us holy in God's sight (1 John 1:7; Heb. 10:14; Col. 1:21-23).
2. Man giveth up the ghost, and where is he
vv. 7-9. If a tree is cut down, it falls to earth, the root withers, and the branches and stock die in the ground. But if it rains on the remains of that tree and the sun shines upon it, it will bud and grow again.
v. 10. 'But a man dieth and wasteth away.' We die, are buried in the ground, and go back to the dust from whence we came.
There will be no revival of life because 'man giveth up the spirit.' Life is utterly gone! Where is he? The answer is found in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord said to the believing thief, 'Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.' The believer who dies goes to be with the Lord Jesus. His body returns to the dust but his soul to God who gave it (Phil. 1:20-23; 2 Cor. 5:8).
Paul writes of our dwelling after death. He does not describe it but says, 'even we put off this tent we have a building of God' (2 Cor. 5:1-3). Moses and Elijah appeared in a certain form and talked with Christ (Luke 9:30-31).
3. If a man die, shall he live again
v. 12. 'So man lieth down' in the grave when he dies, 'and riseth not;' or he will never come forth from that grave into the world, to the place where he was and as he was. The sense is that a man who dies will never live again as to this natural life, but he shall live again.
v. 14. 'If a man die, shall he live again?' Oh, yes! Those who are in Christ have the promise of the glorious resurrection unto eternal life. 'Because I live, ye shall live,' saith our Lord.
Our Lord Jesus died and rose again; so shall we (1 Cor.15:12-22).
We shall have a glorified body like his (1 John 3:1-3; 1 Cor. 15: 42-49).
(c) How are the dead raised? (1 Cor. 15:35-38; Luke 24:36-43). Christ is the resurrection and the life. If we believe in him, we shall never die. We died when he died, arose in him, and are seated with him in the heavenlies.
We shall sleep but never die!