Therefore they say to God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of your ways.
Job shows that wicked men may prosper in life and health (ver. 7); in their multitude of children (ver. 8); in tranquillity and safety (ver. 9); in success and increase of their substance (ver. 10); in wealth, security, and pleasure (vers. 11, 12, 13). Job sets down two things — their sin, in the text; their punishment, in verse 13. The text contains three things — Wicked men's contempt of grace. Their contempt of the means of grace. The profaneness of their lives. From the first of these, — a wicked man's contempt of grace, observe this doctrine: — That a wicked man doth not so much as desire saving grace. A true desire of grace is a supernatural appetite to grace not had for the goodness of it. Four things in this appetite —
1. It is an appetite of the soul to grace, when the heart doth even go out of itself for the attaining of grace. A hungry appetite signifies a hunger unfeigned, which is unsupportable without meat, so that he who truly desires grace cannot be without grace: nothing can satisfy him but meat, though he had all the wealth of the world. Hunger is irrepulsable, so he who truly desires grace will not let God alone, but begs and cries for it. And hunger is humble, it is not choice in its meat, it will be content with anything.
2. It is a supernatural appetite, distinguished from that which natural men have, and yet hate grace.
3. It is an appetite or desire after grace not had. No desire is desire indeed, but true desire; because grace is above the reach of nature; because grace is contrary to nature; because grace is a hell unto the natural man. The first step to grace is to see that we have no grace. Grace which wicked men desire, is not true grace. Thy hands and thy heart are full of corruption, so that though grace lie even at thy feet, yet thou canst not receive it up, unless thou empty thy hands and thy heart. Wherefore if there be any lust, though never so dear, any bosom sin, which thou wilt not part with; it is an evident sign that thou hast not a true desire of grace. It is a vehement desire, if true; a lukewarm desire is no true desire. Though delight be an effect of true desire, yet it is also a sign of grace, because grace in potentia is in the ordinance of God. Therefore the man that desires grace, he will delight in the ordinances of grace. The more delays the greater becomes the desire; delays are as oil cost into the fire, which makes the flame the greater. If thy desires be true, thou hast gotten some grace: examine therefore thyself. They that truly desire grace, desire the means of grace. Men that desire a crop of corn, they will be at the cost, charges, and pains, for ploughing, harrowing, and sowing of their ground. How shall we get our hearts truly to desire grace?
1. Learn to know it. Grace is such an admirable thing, that if men knew it, they could not bet desire it. The taste of grace is sweet and dainty, that if we could but once taste it, our hearts would ever water after it, and we should have little lust to the contrary evil. If you would desire grace, then purge out the ill-humours of sin out of thy soul. Fear to offend God, for the fear of evil is the desire of good. The desire of the righteous is only good; he desires God, and Christ, and the eternal love of God in Christ to be manifested to him, and therein he rests himself; but the hope of the wicked is indignation, he only desires the base self of the world; but the wrath of heaven is with that, and he shall bewail his own soul, that for such base things he should refuse the eternal good, and neglect it. In God there is all good. God is such a good, that without Him nothing is good.
(William Penner, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.