By Henry Mahan
At the beginning of this lesson let us establish some things that we know. Job was a man of integrity and uprightness, and one who feared the Lord (Job 1:8). Job was a man of great patience, reverence, and dedication (Job 1: 20-22). Job was a man of faith and perseverance (Job 1 3-15-16). Job was a man of sound theology (Job 19: 3-27).
God in his divine wisdom and good providence had permitted all these trials to come upon Job--the loss of property and wealth, the loss of children and health, and the loss of influence and standing. Job's three friends had come from afar to enquire of him concerning the evil he had done to deserve such tribulation (Job 2:11-13, 4:7, 8:2-6). Job defended himself rather strongly to his friends. They insisted that these tragedies would not have occurred if he were not guilty of some great sin.
Job strongly denied their charges and claimed to be righteous (Job 31:6; 32:1-2). Then came Elihu and rebuked both Job and his three friends: Job, because he justified himself rather than God, and his friends because they condemned Job without cause (Job 32:1-3).
After all these things, God spoke to Job (Chapters 38-41).
The Lord had been silent during the trials, during the days of discussion and argument between Job and his friends, and even as Elihu corrected them all. But now the Lord speaks to Job and declares, 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?' (Job 38:2, 42:3). 'Gird up your loins like a real man, for I have some thing to show you and to inquire of you' (Job 38:3). If one reads these chapters, he will see God (revealing himself to Job) in his absolute sovereignty, infinite wisdom, infinite holiness, unchanging purpose, and his total rule and reign over everything from the greatest planet to the invisible atom, over all creatures and all their actions, and who giveth no account to anyone.
Then comes forth this tremendous confession from the lips of Job (Job 42:1-6).
'I know that thou canst do everything'
I'm sure that Job had always believed in the power of God to do all things; but now it was not the sovereignty of God that Job saw, but the God who is sovereign. The power of God was now an experience, not a doctrine.
'No thought can be withholden from thee'
When will men cease to call him Lord with their lips while their hearts are far from him? Only when they see the Lord and learn that he looks on and knows the heart and thoughts of all. No doubt Job's doctrinal position admitted the omniscience of God before this revelation, but now he has experienced it. It is doubtful that a person really believes anything until he experiences it. God revealed himself to Job; Job truly saw the Lord and was now able to understand that 'God is not worshipped with hands,' holy days, outward form and righteousness, but from the heart in spirit and truth: for the living God knows the thoughts and motives of men. 'My son, give me thine heart' (Rom. 10:9-10).
'Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge'
Who is it who darkens the understanding, confuses everyone by talking about these great mysteries of God in human ignorance?' Job says, 'I'm guilty.' I have been talking all this time about things I did not understand. I have been speaking dogmatically and yet foolishly about things too wonderful for me.
I thought I knew, but I didn't (Rom. 11:33). Is not this the case today with the many religious voices heard in the land? Oh, that men would put their hands on their mouths (Job 40:4-5; Eccles. 5:1-2), until they have seen the Lord. Isaiah saw him and had something worthwhile to say (John 12:41).
'I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear'
There are few in our land who cannot say, 'I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear.'
1. God speaks in creation (Psalm 19:1-3).
2. God speaks in his law, written on heart and conscience (Rom. 2:14-15) .
3. God speaks by his prophets and by that prophet-- his Son (Heb. 1:2).
4. God speaks through his written word (John 20:31) so that all men are without excuse. Like Job, we can say that we have certainly heard of God.
'But now mine eye seeth thee'
This is not a vision, nor a dream, nor only an emotional spell. It is to see by faith the living God revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is to understand something of the majesty and sovereignty of God. It is to understand something of the righteousness and holiness of God. It is to see him in his chief glory--his redemptive mercy and grace in Christ (Exo. 33:18- 19).
1. When did Job see the Lord? When the Lord was pleased to reveal himself to Job (John 6:44-45; 1 Cor. 2:9-10). 'Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father.'
2. What was Job's reaction when he saw the Lord?
He was filled with awe and reverence in the presence of the Lord. He put his hand on his mouth and stood in silence. He saw his evil nature in the only light in which it can be truly see--the holiness of God. He confessed his sin and repented before God.