What then shall I do when God rises up? and when he visits, what shall I answer him?
Although Job appears to have taken an undue estimate of his own righteousness, and certainly adhered to his own integrity with a blamable tenacity, yet his scrupulous conscientiousness is greatly to be admired. The smallest act of injustice or oppression, nay, even of neglect, towards the meanest slave or household servant, was viewed by Job as a sin against God, and one for which God would hereafter call him to account!
I. THE OCCASION CONTEMPLATED. "When God will rise up, and when He will visit" in judgment.
1. He appears now, as it were, indifferent to the affairs of men.
2. A day is coming when He will arise and visit. It is the day of death. It is the day of punishment. It is the day of judgment.
3. The certainty of its approach. Accountability seems almost an instinct in man. The day of judgment must come — there is no escape from it.
4. Yet most persons believe and act as if they believed it not. How surprising is the indifference of professed believers!
II. THE IMPORTANT INQUIRY RESPECTING THIS SOLEMN EVENT. "When He visiteth, what shall I answer Him?"
1. There is individuality in this question; it is the soul's soliloquy. Not what shall this man do; but what shall I do?
2. It is, what shall I do? But the time for action is then over. Can I escape and hide myself? Can I evade or deceive? Can I contend with Him?
3. It is, what shall I answer? Various are the excuses with which men satisfy their consciences now, but they will avail nothing then. The following will have nothing to answer, — vicious men and dissipated. Men who have neglected their souls. Self-satisfied formalists. The spiritual professor who has not departed from secret sin. There will be one who can answer — the poor, penitent, humble, believing disciple of Jesus.
(F. Close, A. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?