JOB 16

14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach [bursteth upon me again and again], he runneth upon me like a giant [gibbor (warrior)].

This chapter might appropriately enough be called "the lamentations of Job." Job's wisdom, however, was not as great and all-comprehensive as God's. Job, speaking between man and man, failed to see the desirableness of life, that apparently was to set behind such a cloud of adversity as now over-hung his sky.

The wisdom of such an experience was, for the time being, an enigma that he could not fully penetrate. He recognised the hand of God in the matter, for he speaks of himself as one, says he, "whom God hath hedged in," but the "why" and the "wherefore" in his case, of such sudden and overwhelming bitter conditions, was the thing he would most like to know, for his own comfort; but upon which he obtained no satisfactory answer from his three friends, whom he afterwards so naïvely describes in the well-known words,

"Miserable comforters are ye all" (16:2).

The first thirty-one chapters are, therefore, occupied with an account of Job and his miserable comforters. For the record to have stopped short here would of itself have been another calamity added to the rest. But there is a completeness about all that God does that is not absent from the book of Job any more than from Job's case itself, from the furnace of which he at last emerges like seven times purified gold.

Evil though it was, in its bitterest and most manifold form, it was only an element in the "ways of Providence" that first called him into being, and afterwards, at a fitting period of his later history, put him through the "small sieve," as we say, with reference to certain, as yet, undeveloped results, in the way of enlarged wisdom, that leads a man at last to say,

"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

Apart from some such experience as Job came through, it is in the very nature of the flesh and blood mind to "darken counsel by words without knowledge" (38:2). God's ways are higher than our ways, as he said to Israel: naturally speaking we are on too low a plane altogether, to fully appreciate all the divine methods of procedure.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1888

17 Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.


Our purest and truest of American women writers speaks thus of a prayer she had heard:

"It was unlike any other prayer that I had ever heard: not cold and formal as if uttered from a sense of duty, not a display of eloquence nor an impious directing of Deity in His duties towards humanity. It was a quiet talk with God, as if long intercourse and much love had made it natural and easy for the son to seek the Father, confessing faults, asking help and submitting all things to the All Wise and Tender, as freely as little children bring their little sorrows, hopes and fears to their mother's knee."

Not an impious directing of Deity in His duties toward humanity. How we have all heard that. It seems to me prayer is a matter calling for care, more than all others. It is not-it cannot be a light matter to enter voluntarily into the presence of the Most High as it were.

If we were called upon to present ourselves before the great of this world, how would we do it? With cringing sycophancy? With an assumption of bravado? Nay, neither. A calm, self-possessed self-respecting unobtrusiveness, with something of deference to the other's position as a fact. If we are certain we have attained to the exalted position of children of Deity, we should show that we feel the dignity of our position, and approach even Himself with (as nearly as in us lie) a reflection of His own greatness.

Our attitude should be one of deep humility, for we are but dust and ashes. But our thoughts and the words that give them utterance should be a blending of simplicity with sublimity. Oh! but I tell you, there is more of the truly sublime in a few simple words welling up from a full heart, a pure heart, a true heart, than in the most eloquent burst, that is possible for finished rhetorician to pour forth in empty form.

"O, my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me;" but "Thy will be done."

The Christadelphian, June 1884