February 3.—Morning. [Or March 7.]
“I am the Lord, I change not.”
OUR space will not allow us to give much of this wonderful book of Job, but the following is an instance of the patriarch’s expressions of distress.
1 Then Job answered and said,
2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Most men cry before they are hurt, or more than they are hurt; but such was not Job’s case: he had good reason for every groan, and when he groaned most he fell short of expressing what he felt within.
3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
Even at his worst estate the good man knows his true refuge. When sinners turn from God in anger the saints fly to him with hope. Yet sometimes the Lord is a God that hideth himself. In this he has wise ends to answer, and he will continue it no longer than is absolutely needful.
4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. (Job wished to have the question, which his three friends had raised, fairly tried in the highest court. He felt that he could with freedom plead with so righteous a judge. It is only the pure heart which can court such an investigation. He who knows that he is clear through Jesu’s blood is not afraid to appear in the courts of heaven.)
6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
Innocence fears not power, but like Una rides on the lion. The Lord never crushes a man because he is down, but rather he delights to lift up the prostrate.
7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (He comforts himself with the assurance that if he could not find the Lord, and speak in his own defence, yet the case was already known to him, and would in due time be decided in his favour. How blessedly his faith held its anchorage though the storm raged terribly.)
11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Again in answer to the accusations of his three unfriendly friends, he protests his innocence of their charges, and scouts the idea that he is suffering for some secret apostacy.)
13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. (He accounts for his trials by considering the immutable and inscrutable decrees of God, and suggests that many more troubles might yet befall him, for which he might be unable to find a reason.)
15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.
Great suffering could not kill his faith, but it damped his joy. He had also come to think of an absolute God doing as he willed, and it is no wonder that he trembled at the contemplation. Only when we see Jesus do we see that God is love.
16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face. (He wished that by an early death he had escaped suffering, but all such wishes are vain. We cannot go back: let us therefore by faith press onward.)
God is a King of power unknown;
Firm are the orders of his throne;
If he resolves, who dare oppose,
Or ask him why, or what he does?
He wounds the heart, and he makes whole;
He calms the tempest of the soul;
He rescues souls from long despair,
And snaps in twain the iron bar.
February 3.—Evening. [Or March 8.]
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
LET us read Job’s famous passage upon the search after wisdom, and in order that we may see its beauties we will read it in an accurate translation; arranged as it should be in parallel lines.
1 For there is a vein for the silver,
and a place for the gold, which they refine.
2 Iron is taken out of the dust,
and stone is fused into copper.
The following verses describe the operations of mining, and the hazards of the miner.
3 He puts an end to the darkness;
and he searches out, to the very end,
stones of thick darkness and of death-shade.
4 He drives a shaft away from man’s abode;
forgotten of the foot,
they swing suspended, far from men!
That is to say, having no use for their feet in descending the shaft, they swing in mid air.
5 The earth, out of it goes forth bread;
and under it, is destroyed as with fire.
6 A place of sapphires, are its stones;
and it has clods of gold.
7 The path, no bird of prey has known it,
nor the falcon’s eye glanced on it:
8 Nor proud beasts trodden it,
nor roaring lion passed over it.
9 Against the flinty rock he puts forth his hand;
he overturns mountains from the base.
The solid rock is broken, and the hills are undermined by those who search for precious metals. Their tunnels pierce the centre of the Alps, and tear out the bowels of the hills.
10 In the rocks he cleaves out rivers;
and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He binds up streams, that they drip not:
and the hidden he brings out to light.
Miners take great care to prevent the water from breaking in upon them so as to flood the mines, and by such care they are able to penetrate into earth’s deep places, and reveal her secrets.
12 But wisdom, whence shall it be found?
and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knows not its price;
nor is it found in the land of the living.
14 The deep saith, It is not in me;
and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 Choice gold shall not be given in exchange for it;
nor shall silver be weighed for its price.
16 It cannot be weighed with gold of Ophir,
with the precious onyx and sapphire.
17 Gold and glass shall not be compared with it,
nor vessels of fine gold be an exchange for it.
Glass in ancient times was a costly article, used only for splendour and luxury, but however precious it might be, wisdom far excels it.
18 Corals and crystals shall not be named;
and the possession of wisdom is more than pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not be compared with it;
it shall not be weighed with pure gold.
20 But wisdom, whence comes it?
and where is the place of understanding?
21 Since it is hidden from the eyes of all living,
and covered from the fowls of heaven.
22 Destruction and death say:
with our ears have we heard the fame of it.
23 God understands the way to it,
and he knows the place of it.
24 For he, to the ends of the earth he looks;
and he sees under the whole heaven:
25 To make the weight for the wind;
and he meted out the waters by measure.
26 When he made a decree for the rain,
and a track for the thunder’s flash:
27 Then he saw it, and he declared it;
he established it, yea, and searched it out.
28 And to man he said:
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.
Job comes to the same conclusion as Solomon, who said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” True religion is priceless beyond all the treasures of earth. Seek it first, ye children and young men; for then shall you be truly rich.
Jesus is the Captain of the mine of wisdom, and he will show you the lodes of precious knowledge.
In vain we search; in vain we try;
Till Jesus brings his gospel nigh;
’Tis there such power and glory dwell
As save rebellious souls from hell.
Let men or angels dig the mines,
Where nature’s golden treasure shines;
Brought near the doctrine of the cross,
All nature’s gold appears but dross.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 67–68). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.