Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?
Job sometimes spake a language difficult to be interpreted by his friends, and easy to be mistaken by his enemies. The men who came to comfort him made no allowance for the anguish that his flesh suffered, and hence they took undue advantage of every self-justifying word that fell from his lips, to humble him with reproaches, and to declare him guilty of some heinous sins in the sight of God, of which the world knew nothing. These so-called friends mistook chastening for punishment. There is something singularly ungenerous in the way that Zophar delivers his thought here. He makes assertions without proofs, and states fallacies, which he calls truths. His heart was overflowing with rancour. As if he would strip this holy man of all the brightness of hope, he proposes two questions to him which, although to a certain extent true in themselves, were, in Job's ease, most unsympathising and comfortless.
I. ALL THE NATURAL SEARCHING IN THE WORLD CANNOT FIND OUT GOD. Man's reason is not equal to the work of apprehending the spiritual. We are compelled to rest conjecturally upon visible impressions; we can go no further. Supposing we are intelligent enough to set every faculty to this searching work, the result would be the same. The world by wisdom never yet knew God; common earthly intelligences move in every ether direction than towards heaven. Philosophy deals with things on the earth, under the earth, and above the earth; but not one tittle of that which relates to God forms any part of it. The high-class moralists of the most civilised heathen states have no standing at all in their religious creeds. In them you perceive at once the utmost length that an unenlightened understanding can go.
II. THERE IS A SEARCHING WHICH CAN FIND OUT GOD, YET NOT UNTO PERFECTION. "Search the Scriptures." For thousands of years there was a dispensation in which terror prevailed over hope, and a hard bondage over spiritual liberty. It was deeply covered with a veil which hid the wonderful workings of God, as a pardoning and a reconciled Father in Christ Jesus. But when the mind has become acquainted with Scripture facts, what is its real gain? It knows more, but does it ascend higher? By such searching no man profitably finds out God. Notwithstanding all that the best searching achieves, in the way of experimental knowledge, not the holiest saint that ever searched the most, is able to find out the Almighty in His perfection.
III. IN WHAT MANNER ARE WE TO GLORIFY GOD IN THE DISCOVERY OF HIS REDEMPTIVE CHARACTER? Our desires must be longing and panting after fuller flowings in of His love. It is in the heart that we are' the most sensible of the tender relationship which He bears to us.
(F. G. Crossman.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?