Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?
Vain man reasons upon the ways of God, and presumes to penetrate to the depths of the Divine wisdom. A professed wisdom lands him in folly. To scale the heavens is as easy as to "find out the Almighty to perfection," to fathom the depths of the Divine designs. Job and his friends and hosts of others of us attempt to explain the name and ways of God, but our efforts are vain, and but expose a folly equal to our ignorance.
I. THE DIVINE NATURE AND THE DIVINE PURPOSES INFINITELY BEYOND THE POSSIBLE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN. How soon may a prudent reflection on either of these assure men that they "cannot attain unto" them! "High as heaven, deeper than hell," "longer than the earth," "broader than the sea," - these are the terms used by Zophar in his just description. As well may man attempt to touch the height of heaven, to reach to the depth of Hades, to stretch his arms to compass sea and land from the far cast to the distant west, as to pretend to comprehend, within the compass of his feeble and limited knowledge, an adequate estimate of the Divine nature, an adequate understanding of the Divine counsels, - "to find out God."
II. As the Divine Name is incomprehensible by man, and the Divine ways past his searching out, so is it equally BEYOND THE POWER OF MAN TO HINDER THE WORKING OUT OF THE DIVINE PURPOSE. In his ways God hides his wise design. He worketh towards a definite end. Men may oppose it in their folly or sinfulness, or seem to hinder it in their error. But like an onflowing tide it bears all before it. "Who can hinder him?" His work is an omnipotent work, as his Name is infinite. Against the might of God it is vain for feeble man to oppose his strength, or the energy of his will. The Divine "kingdom ruleth over all."
III. It is, therefore, utterly IMPOSSIBLE FOR MAN TO ESCAPE THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF ALMIGHTY GOD. Zophar would thus shut up Job unto self-abasement. Revealing his impotence before God, his inability so much as to know the Divine Name, or to grasp with his understanding the widespread ways of the Most High, he would compel Job to abasement - to a confession of guiltiness, to the wisdom of casting away his vain self-assurance, that of God he may be made wise. All these purposes are good in themselves, but the covert implication - God is angry with thee; God judgeth thee; "he seeth" thy "wickedness" - is harsh and erroneous. Like his brethren, he errs in the method of applying his good principles. Yet is it wise for all men
(1) to learn their impotence before God; to bow to the Divine ways;
(2) to assure themselves of the wisdom and goodness of the hidden purposes of God;
(3) to commit themselves in lowly reverential trust to the overruling power and government of God. Thus the intractable one shall become gentle, docile, and obedient - the "wild ass's colt" will become a man. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?