Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
The value and power of human life.
I. Life in its origin is infinitely important.
II. Life is transcendently precious from the service it may render God in the advancement of His glory.
III. Life is infinitely valuable on account of the eternal consequences flowing from it.
T. L. Cuyler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 49.
Job 33:6-7Elihu seems to stand forth as the very type of young, ardent, imaginative, quasi-inspired genius; he is the mouthpiece of the young age, the young school, which always vehemently protests its power to solve the questions which well-nigh strangle each successive generation, and which the elder wisdom practically abandons in despair. But Elihu stands far in advance of the aged ones in his discernment of the real nature of the necessity with which the aged patriarch was struggling. He knew that a mediator, a qualified interpreter of God, was the one solution of the problem, and in his short-sighted wisdom he offered himself. But, alas! an archangel had been a daysman wholly insufficient. But Elihu had laid hold of a mighty truth when he handled the subject of mediation, and he deals with it in an altogether masterly way.
In discussing the subject unfolded in the text, we notice:
I. That the words "mediation" and "intercession" present fundamentally the same idea—a coming between to bridge over a gulf or to avert a stroke.
II. Intercession rests on the fact that there is a complete humanity in God. That humanity in God is the intercession. It is God who intercedes with God. He is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His substance," who is the Daysman between us; and all this fulness of human pity and compassion was already in the Father when He sent Him forth.
III. There was a Divine necessity that God should be self-revealed as the Mediator, that this most Godlike form of God should take shape and appear in our world. There were depths of the Divine nature, secret things of the Divine counsels, which no material creation was full enough or rich enough to draw forth into expression. All the compassion, the tenderness, the patient love, which bore the God-Man through that path the only possible end of which was Calvary, were there in the Father, yearning for expression. It was this in God which the Lord came to make known. There is a Mediator, "one Mediator between God and man," that God may declare Himself as Mediator.
J. Baldwin Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., pp. 392, 406.
References: Job 33:6, Job 33:7.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2217. Job 33:12, Job 33:13.—S. Pearson, Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 405. Job 33:23, Job 33:24.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xv., No. 905.
Job 33:24It was a hard and marvellous thing to find that ransom, something so precious and so vast that it should outweigh in God's balances the sin and the condemnation of the whole world.
Looking at that ransom, we see:
I. What a hateful thing sin is—sin, that needed such cancelling; sin, that murdered that ransom! You will never see sin as it really is till you look at it from the foot of the Cross.
II. Of what value must your soul be to God if that was expended upon it! See your dignity and your preciousness.
The higher the rank of the captive in war, the larger is the ransom demanded for his release. Of a thing so bought, the use, the purpose, the capability, the destiny, must be eternally immense.
III. What we buy at a great cost we watchfully keep and dearly love. And will not God be sure to take care of you and keep you safe and near Him, if only for this, that He has ransomed you with that which is above all gold and precious stones?
IV. Plead everything by the greatness of the ransom. Measure everything in your demands of Him by that. What a background is the Cross to prayer and confidence! "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
J. Vaughan, Sermons, 15th series, p. 101.
References: Job 33:25.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Christmas and Epiphany, p. 59; H. Macmillan, The Olive Leaf, p. 185.
Job 33:27-28I. He looketh upon men, and if any say"—He is listening to hear a rare saying. Sinning is not a rare thing, but repenting is. Yet such a saying is heard. God's ear is open when men speak, to what their hearts speak, if any of them are speaking to Him about sin.
II. This man has no good to say of himself; he has evil to say of himself, and that evil he speaks to God. We have here three heads of a long story of a sinful life. Mark the correctness of the man's view of sin. It is given in three particulars. (1) "I have sinned." I have transgressed the law, the commandment, of Him who is my liege Lord, and to whom I belong. (2) There is a recognition, not only that the law is authoritative, but that the law is right: "I have perverted that which was right." Law, considered simply as law, is the will of a superior; but God's law is moral law, founded on the will of God, but having a ground in the nature of God. The law is the expression of God's moral perfections. (3) "And it profited me not." Sin is an unnatural, suicidal thing. It is contrary to the constitution and nature of man as it proceeded from the hands of God.
III. The confession is not meritorious, entitling to forgiveness, to deliverance. For it is added, "Then He is gracious unto him;" it is an act of grace to deliver the self-confessed sinner. God hath found a ransom. The sinner's place is the pit, but the ransom came into his place, and he shall not perish, but shall live. And then the ransomed one belongs to the Ransomer. Thou art not thine own, but bought with a price; therefore glorify God in thy body and in thy spirit, which are God's.
J. Duncan, Pulpit and Communion Table, p. 354.
We have here:
I. The creed of penitence. (1) An absolute good and evil, right and wrong. Right and wrong, good and evil, are fixed and absolute opposites. Opinions of men may vary, but the things themselves do not vary; they abide immutable, because there is One who knows them, and before whom they are real, who abides immutable. (2) "I have perverted that which was right." No man knows what "I" means but the man who has felt himself isolated from God by transgression, alone responsible for it, alone bound to bear it, a solitary soul in a universe of solitude. (3) "And it profited me not." "The wages of sin is death." Can sin stand the test of possession? Is it proof against satiety? The test of profit is the ultimate test to which everything will be practically brought.
II. The penitent's confession. (1) "If any man say, I have sinned." This implies at any rate that if any man should think it, and not say it, he must miss the promised fruit. (2) God demands confession (a) because confession alone makes the penitence complete; (b) because confession alone re-establishes that filial relation without which the penitence can have no lasting fruits.
III. The fruits of penitence. "He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light "—the light in which it was born to live, the light of the face of God.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Divine Mysteries, p. 131.
References: Job 33:27, Job 33:28.—Parker, Fountain, July 26th, 1877. Job 33:27-29.—W. P. Lockhart, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 97. Job 33:29, Job 33:30.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xix., No. 1101; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 131.
Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.