and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know then that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves.
I. IT IS NATURAL TO DESIRE A DIVINE VOICE. This desire springs out of our spiritual instincts. We cannot shake it off. It is almost universally felt among all races of men, and it becomes only deeper and more urgent with the progress of spiritual culture. The animals betray no signs of any such wish. We alone feel as orphans, as exiles from home; we alone crave a voice from heaven. This is but natural. The child longs to hear from his father. The perplexed looks for a guide, the sorrowful for a comforter, the wronged for an advocate. Will God come and solve the great riddle of existence?
II. IT IS UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE WITH THE OUTWARD EAR. By our materialism we pervert the natural instinct that cries out for God. We Live so much in the body that we come to overvalue the experience of our senses. It seems to us that we should be better satisfied if we could hear God's voice sounding like the voice of our human friend. We forget that the senses may be subject to illusion. If we heard a voice as from heaven we could not be sure that it came from God. Moreover, it is not well that God should cut the knot and explain every mystery at once. We are not yet ready to receive all truth. It is good for our discipline that our patience should be tried, and that we should walk by faith.
III. GOD HAS SPOKEN. We listen for the thunder and ignore the still, small voice. But God is ever speaking to us in his Spirit through our consciences. He has given more explicit revelations of his truth through the inspiration of prophets and apostles. The circulation of the Bible is the going forth of God's voice. Christ is the incarnate Word of God. What Zophar wished for has in a measure appeared in Christ. The old craving for a Divine oracle is met in the best way by the advent of our Lord as "the truth" (John 14:6).
IV. GOD WILL SPEAK MORE FULLY AT THE END OF THE DAYS. God appeared at the end of Job's trials. A grand theophany in final judgment is promised us (Zechariah 14:4). Even in the light of the gospel many problems are still obscure. Christ did not bring the answer to every question when he appeared on earth. He brought sufficient light for saving knowledge, but he left us to walk by faith. Thus we may still crave the complete revelation, when God shall speak once more, vindicating the right and clearing the mystery of providence. Meanwhile. the nearer we walk to Christ the more of his voice can we hear, and the less perplexed shall we be; for he who follows Christ will not walk in darkness (John 12:35). - W.F.A.
But the eyes of the wicked shall fail...and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.
Homilist.1. Here is the loss of energy. "The eyes of the wicked shall fail." The soul's eyes gone, and the spiritual universe is midnight.
2. Here is the loss of safety. "They shall not escape." All efforts directed to safety utterly fruitless.
3. Here is the loss of hope. "Their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost." The idea is that the loss of hope is like death, the separation of the soul from the body. What the soul is to the body, the dominant hope is to the soul, the inspirer of its energies and the spring of its being. The loss of the dominant hope is like death in two respects.(1) In respect to its painfulness. The loss of the dominant hope is like death —(2) In respect to its ruinousness. When hope takes her exit from the soul all beauty departs, all pleasures end, all usefulness is gone.
( R. Baxter.).
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