I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.…
Though Job had supported the truth on the subject of Divine providence, yet in the heat of the debate and the anguish of his own sufferings he had let fall some expressions, not only of impatience, but of disrespect to the conduct of the Lord his Maker. For these he was first reproved by Elihu, and then by God Himself, who asserts the dignity of His power and the righteousness of His providence. Perhaps God gave Job some visible representation of His glory and omnipotence.
I. THE EFFECT OF A DISCOVERY OF THE GLORY OF GOD. Attend to the following preliminary remarks.
1. This truth (that a view of the glory humbles the soul) will hold equally certain in whatever way the discovery is made. God manifests Himself to His people in very different ways. In miraculous ways; by affecting dispensations of providence; by His ordinances, or instituted worship, accompanied with the operation of His Spirit; and sometimes by this last alone, without the help or accession of any outward mean.
2. We may add the manifestations given us in the Gospel of the Divine glory.
3. When I speak of the influence of a discovery of the glory of God, I mean an internal and spiritual discovery, and not such a knowledge as is merely speculative, and rests in the understanding without descending into the heart. A barren speculative knowledge of God is that which fixes chiefly on His natural perfections. The true knowledge of God is an inward and spiritual discovery of the amiableness and excellence of His moral perfections.What influence has such a discovery of the glory of God in producing a repentance, and increasing humility?
1. It tends to convince us of sin, and particularly to bring to light those innumerable evils which a deceitful heart often hides from our view. There is a light and glory in the presence of God which discovers and exposes the works of darkness. Nothing makes any quality appear so sensibly as a comparison with its opposite.
2. It serves to point out the evil of sin, the aggravations of particular sins, and to take away the excuses of the sinner.
3. It serves to point out the dangers of sin. It is the hope of immunity that emboldens the sinner to transgress, and to persist in his transgressions. But a discovery of the Divine glory at once destroys the foundation of this stupid security and impious presumption. "All things are naked before Him," so that there is no hope of lying concealed. God in Scripture reveals the glory of His own nature as the effectual means of restraining us in the commission of sin, or turning us from it; plainly supposes that nothing but ignorance of Him can encourage sinners in their rebellion.
4. It tends to lead us to repentance, as it sets forth His infinite mercy, and affords encouragement to, as well as points out the profit of repentance. Just and proper conceptions of God cannot be given us without including His great mercy. It is in the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that we have the brightest and clearest display of Divine mercy.
II. PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT.
1. Learn the force and meaning of those passages of Scripture, in which the whole of religion is expressed by the knowledge of God.
2. The great danger of a state of ignorance.
3. The necessity of regeneration, or an inward change of heart, in order to real religion. Finally, address those who are strangers to true religion. See also the reason why every truly good man, the more he groweth in religion, the more he groweth in humility.
(J. Witherspoon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.