Acquaint now yourself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come to you.
These are the words of a heathen thinker. The words are true in substance. They are wise, far-sighted words. This sage made a grand mistake in the application of this truth to his friend Job.
1. Is there such a thing among men as "peace" — a deep and true peace — without any acquaintance with God? Suppose the case of one possessing high intelligence allied with all the ordinary virtues of human life, but who lacks entirely any personal faith in God as a Person. It is useless to approach such men with arguments for the existence of God, or in favour of any of His attributes. For they are in a state which no abstract argument can well reach. We may take them on the side of the text, and ask, "How about peace?" Is his whole nature at peace? He says, "Yes; I have no fear, no trouble, except that which comes by ignorance or inattention to law. Life is not long. I shall soon be in the dust, and that will be an end of me. If we are to live again, we shall be prepared for it when it comes: why should we trouble about the matter now?" Is this answer true? I say it is not. If it be true, then it comes to this, that one man is essentially different from another man. Not merely circumstantially, but in very nature. Any peace a man may have may be calmness, indifference, but cannot be the same thing as comes into a soul, and flows through it, and down into its far depths, as the result of acquaintance with God. Suppose the case of those who have no doubt of the existence of God, but cannot be said, in any true sense, to be acquainted with Him. Are any such at peace? Again the answer is "No." Indeed, such imperfect and partial knowledge of God is practically more disturbing and alarming than complete scepticism. Once allow His existence, and it is impossible ever to put that existence anywhere but in the primary place. If God exists, clearly our relations to Him, and His relations to us, are of first importance. Suppose one convinced of the Divine existence, and yet destitute of any true idea of the Divine character, what is the result? It may be this or that, according to temperament, or circumstances, but it never is "peace." It may be a silent distrust, or a habitual alienation, or a more active antipathy, or an undefined dread, or an awful, but most uncheerful and uncomfortable sense of solemnity, or a settled despondency, or the falling shadow of a black despair; but it never is "peace." Those who are imperfectly acquainted with God look at some of the attributes separately, but never at the centre and essence of the character, where all the attributes meet. They never see that "God is love." The text literally means, "dwell with God." Dwell with Him in the same tent or home. To come to God in Christ is to come home: to enter the tent of the Divine presence.
2. "Thereby good shall come to thee." Good of every kind, and especially of the best kind. In fact, the state itself is the good begun. By far the greatest good that can be done to a man is the making of himself good. This is done by bringing him into intimate acquaintance and reconciliation and friendship with God. No man is good who avoids the society of God. The reconciled soul is the receptive soul, receptive of God, and of His truth and love. This "good" that comes is, in fact, nothing less than all the benefits and blessings of the Gospel.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.