Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
These words indicate two stages in acquaintance with God and spiritual things, the one defined by the hearing of the ear, and the other by the seeing of the eye. But it is the latter which is attended by thorough contrition and change of character.
I. Every man may be said to hear of God by the hearing of the ear to whom the Gospel is preached or who has in his hand the book of revelation. And if this hearing of the ear do not involve or ensure a change of heart or conduct, there are great advantages which it does bestow. Revelation is effectual in transforming the face of society even where it does not as a spiritual leaven pervade the inner life of a people. It is something—it is a great deal—to be able to say, "We have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear."
II. When the patriarch speaks of "abhorring himself," he indicates his sense of his own utter deficiency and worthlessness, his consciousness of being debased and very far gone in original sin. Our text involves an assertion that no clothing which men can weave for themselves without the disclosures and directions of the Bible will be of any use before God.
III. Great emphasis should be laid on these words, "Mine eye seeth Thee." Faith is that act of the soul which corresponds most nicely to the act of sight in the body. The passing from the possession of revelation to the exercise of eyesight is the mighty transition from being a nominal to being a real Christian. We need light from God in order to our seeing light. There is an incalculable difference between listening to a sound and having an eye in the heart.
IV. We may account for much of the slow progress of real Christians in piety on the principle that they are but seldom occupied with contemplations of the invisible world. Without these glimpses of futurity, piety will languish, and hope lose its vigour. There is nothing like a glimpse of heaven to make a man a humble, self-denying Christian.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2207.
I. These words may indeed be applied to any manifestation of God to His sinful creatures, but with a peculiar force and propriety may we consider them as applicable to "God manifest in the flesh" in Christ crucified. Nothing like this can set before us these two points combined together: God's hatred of sin and love for mankind. Other things might teach us these separately, but then either of these separately would profit us little without the other. Whatever therefore most humbles us and gives us low opinions of our own condition brings us nearer to Christ's Cross; whatever exalts and puffs us up with pride puts us farther from it. All the blessings which the Gospel holds out to faithful Christians are connected with the Cross of Christ, and may be best attained by meditating on it.
II. They who are made conformable unto the great doctrine of "Christ crucified" will receive the blessings of the kingdom both now and hereafter; but they who are not, Scripture declares in many ways, will not be admitted into that kingdom. All things preach this doctrine to the eye and ear of faith—the disappointment, the vexation, the vanity, and heavy judgments attending all that is good in this world; but when Jesus Christ is Himself brought before us on the Cross, it teaches us as none of these can do. "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. iv., p. 169.
References: Job 42:5, Job 42:6.—E. Garbett, Experiences of the Inner Life, p. 13; C. J. Vaughan, Voices of the Prophets, p. 21. Job 42:7.—J. Jackson Wray, Light from the Old Lamp, p. 263. Job 42:7-17.—S. Cox, Expositor, 1st series, vol. xii., p. 245; Ibid., Commentary on Job, p. 542. Job 42:10.—R. Glover, Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 290; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vii., No. 404, and vol. xxi., No. 1262; G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 2.
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
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.
Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
He had also seven sons and three daughters.
And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
So Job died, being old and full of days.