Job 14:13-15 - Homilies By E. Johnson
Self-defence before God: 3. Dawning of a new hope.
The thoughts of the sufferer now carry him beyond the confines of the present life. He has just been speaking of Sheol, or Hades, as his destined end, and now the reflection occurs—What may happen then? It is the nature of thought to travel on and on, to know no bounds that it will not seek to overleap. It is perpetually asking, when one goal has been reached, for the after, the beyond. And in some such way must human thought have travelled towards the light of immortality, before the truth dawned by revelation on the world. Job evidently sees a glimmer of the truth, though it soon fades out , for want of definite knowledge, into darkness.
I. LONGING FOR CONCEALMENT IN HADES FOR A SEASON . (Verse 13.) The intense desire, so frequently repeated, for a respite, marks the extremity of intolerable anguish. And if the source of it be God's wrath, perhaps in time his heart will relent. Then let the appointed judgment be held, and the decision be made. At least may the wrath of God not pursue him into the darkness of the other world!
II. A FUTURE LIFE SUGGESTED . (Verse 14.) For if there is to be a future judgment, there must be a future life to be the subject of it. Perhaps this is the greatest question man can ask without the light of the gospel. But some preliminary answer is here suggested for a moment, though Job does not grasp it firmly, that the future life is guaranteed by the justice and the love of God. But it is observable how the very faintest thought of the possibility gives a new turn to feeling. Patience can only exist when there is hope. And Job feels he could patiently wait all the days of his earthly service were that hope assured. It awakens joy. A happy change must occur. The misunderstandings of the present will clear away. And with this is connected again the glimmering of—
III. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF MAN 'S ETERNAL RELATION TO GOD . The heart is made for God. How gladly, when he appears from out the clouds and darkness that surround him, will the heart respond to his call! God yearns for man. Man is his creature, his handiwork, his offspring. He cannot but regard man with tenderness, with eternal interest. Here again we find at the bottom of the patriarch's heart the germ of that faith which the bright rays of the gospel were to bring to flower (verse 15). The revolt of the heart from false views of God. The picture of One who numbers his steps, and has an eye only for his sins, is inconsistent with the filial consciousness of God (verse 16). Yet there may be insufficient knowledge or faith to overcome this prevailing mood of despair (comp. Job 10:8-12 ).—J.
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