Job 1** This book is so called from Job, whose prosperity,afflictions, and restoration, are here recorded. He lived soonafter Abraham, or perhaps before that patriarch. Most likely itwas written by Job himself, and it is the most ancient book inexistence. The instructions to be learned from the patience ofJob, and from his trials, are as useful now, and as much neededas ever. We live under the same Providence, we have the samechastening Father, and there is the same need for correctionunto righteousness. The fortitude and patience of Job, thoughnot small, gave way in his severe troubles; but his faith wasfixed upon the coming of his Redeemer, and this gave himstedfastness and constancy, though every other dependence,particularly the pride and boast of a self-righteous spirit, wastried and consumed. Another great doctrine of the faith,particularly set forth in the book of Job, is that ofProvidence. It is plain, from this history, that the Lordwatched over his servant Job with the affection of a wise andloving father. * The piety and prosperity of Job. (1-5) Satan obtains leave totry Job. (6-12) The loss of Job's property, and the death of hischildren. (13-19) Job's patience and piety. (20-22)1-5 Job was prosperous, and yet pious. Though it is hard andrare, it is not impossible for a rich man to enter into thekingdom of heaven. By God's grace the temptations of worldlywealth may be overcome. The account of Job's piety andprosperity comes before the history of his great afflictions,showing that neither will secure from troubles. While Job beheldthe harmony and comforts of his sons with satisfaction, hisknowledge of the human heart made him fearful for them. He sentand sanctified them, reminding them to examine themselves, toconfess their sins, to seek forgiveness; and as one who hopedfor acceptance with God through the promised Saviour, he offereda burnt-offering for each. We perceive his care for their souls,his knowledge of the sinful state of man, his entire dependenceon God's mercy in the way he had appointed. 6-12 Job's afflictions began from the malice of Satan, by theLord's permission, for wise and holy purposes. There is an evilspirit, the enemy of God, and of all righteousness, who iscontinually seeking to distress, to lead astray, and, ifpossible, to destroy those who love God. How far his influencemay extend, we cannot say; but probably much unsteadiness andunhappiness in Christians may be ascribed to him. While we areon this earth we are within his reach. Hence it concerns us tobe sober and vigilant, #1Pe 5:8|. See how Satan censures Job.This is the common way of slanderers, to suggest that which theyhave no reason to think is true. But as there is nothing weshould dread more than really being hypocrites, so there isnothing we need dread less than being called and counted sowithout cause. It is not wrong to look at the eternal recompencein our obedience; but it is wrong to aim at worldly advantagesin our religion. God's people are taken under his specialprotection; they, and all that belong to them. The blessing ofthe Lord makes rich; Satan himself owns it. God suffered Job tobe tried, as he suffered Peter to be sifted. It is our comfortthat God has the devil in a chain, #Re 20:1|. He has no power tolead men to sin, but what they give him themselves; nor anypower to afflict men, but what is given him from above. All thisis here described to us after the manner of men. The Scripturespeaks thus to teach us that God directs the affairs of theworld. 13-19 Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that hischildren began their course of feasting. The troubles all cameupon Job at once; while one messenger of evil tidings wasspeaking, another followed. His dearest and most valuablepossessions were his ten children; news is brought him that theyare killed. They were taken away when he had most need of themto comfort him under other losses. In God only have we a helppresent at all times. 20-22 Job humbled himself under the hand of God. He reasonsfrom the common state of human life, which he describes. Webrought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but havethem from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out,but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is butreduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been atlast, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little soonerthan he expected. If we put off our clothes before we go to bed,it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when itis near bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Joblooks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First Cause.Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion.If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us.The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift; we haveforfeited it by sin, and ought not to complain if he takes anypart from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly.Against these Job carefully watched; and so must we,acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have donewickedly, so God has done wisely, but we have done veryfoolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render thatSaviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy theworks of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from thatenemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.
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