Bibliotheca Sacra 97 (386)(Apr 1940) 211-16.

               Copyright © 1940 by Dallas Theological Seminary.  Cited with permission.


                                Job and the Nation Israel 211



                        Third Study: Face To Face With The Lord



                         By CHARLES LEE FEINBERG, TH.D.


               (Concluded from the January-March Number, 1940)


          The Book of Job reveals a victory but it is not the vic-

tory of man's remarkable reasoning, nor the victory of su-

perior argumentation, but the blessed victory of faith (13:15).

This triumph was not won in a moment nor by one leap, but

in definite and progressive stages. When the last words of

Job are given in chapter 31, his friends are still of their

opinion and Job is still of his conviction. The problem is

deadlocked, as it were. The argument of the book is sum-

marized in 32:1-3. "So these three men ceased to answer

Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was

kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite,

of the family of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled,

because he justified himself rather than God. Also against

his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had

found no answer, and yet had condemned Job." Then Elihu

comes preparing the way for the words of the Lord which

follow. We take his words as appropriate because the Lord

utters no rebuke of him later. In a sense he is the answer

to Job's burning desire that he might have a Daysman

(mochiach, lit. an umpire, arbiter) to stand between God and

himself (9:33).

          The burden of Elihu's several addresses is : (1) God is

infinitely and eternally greater than man in power. In view

of this it behooves man to be in a place of submission before

his Creator. (2) God is infinitely greater than man in wis-

dom. He has no need to detail His ways and plans to man,

even if man could understand them (33:13 ). Man does best

(when he awaits God's solution which He alone can give and

will give when it pleases him. (3) God is infinitely greater

than man in righteousness. "Far be it from God, that he

should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should


212                                 Bibliotheca Sacra


commit iniquity. . . Yea, of a surety, God will not do wick-

edly, neither will the Almighty pervert justice" (34:10, 12).

It is impossible for us fully to conceive how sinful it is for

us to condemn the righteous and just God, or seek to maintain

our righteousness at the expense of His. (4) God is infinitely

greater than man in His tender mercy (Jas. 5:11). If we

could understand the heart of God, we should be convinced

that even in Our afflictions which He permits, His heart is

most tender and compassionate toward us. After these

addresses, God Himself appears. But He is not on the de-

fensive, for He is responsible and amenable to none of His



                   JOB IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD


          Neither the enemy nor the critics dealt properly with Job

and his problem; that remains for God alone to do. Job had

been afflicted inwardly and outwardly; now God intends to

bless him inwardly and outwardly. God does this by asking

Job well-nigh one hundred questions. (If one is ever in-

clined to feel quite exalted in his own mind, we suggest that

he read through these questions. It is a most beneficial and

deflating experience.) Suffice it to say, that Job failed in

all his examination questions. But the result. was blessed,

nevertheless. God revealed to Job the omnipotence and

omniscience which are God's alone. Nowhere in the Bible

have we a more marvellous delineation of the majesty and

greatness of God. This revealed to Job his own ignorance

(and of earthly, temporal things at that). Then God sets

forth the impotence of Job. This was not done to show Job

that His ways are totally inscrutable. If so, then why appear

at all in this problem if not to solve it Himself? No, the

portrayal of the frailty and weakness of Job is meant to

given him a clearer conception of the glorious nature of his


          Job's arguments showed that he had an imperfect, or

rather an incomplete, view of God. The pivot and climax

of the book are verses 5 and 6 of chapter 42. Job says: "I


                             Job and the Nation Israel                     213


had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine

eye seeth thee: Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in

dust and ashes." This is the height of the piety and faith

of the afflicted one when brought to repentance. Job's right-

eousness was real, for God had boasted of it to Satan. But

in the light of God it appeared as nothing. Such is the re-

pentance of the righteous. He might try to clear himself

before men; before God this was impossible. The vision of

God had turned hearsay into clear vision. Hearsay is that

which is taught us, what we receive by tradition or instruc-

tion, what might be termed the letter of the truth. (We

dare not press this out of bounds, for Job did utter words

of faith and truth in chapters 13 and 19). Vision, on the

other hand, is that view which is unclouded, undimmed, un-

I trammeled sight, having the eye filled to overflowing with the

knowledge of God. That Job did not know God in all the

perfection of His Being is clear from the view of God that

he now expresses. It is direct and soul-searching experiences

together with the realization of God's power, majesty, holi-

ness, love, and goodness that turn hearsay into vision. He

sees clearly now that what he had mistaken for the seizure

of an enemy was the firm grasp of a friend, and what he

thought was the weapon of a foe was the careful and skill-

ful physician who only cuts to heal. The skilled physician

may hurt, but he does not injure. Is this not true of our


          By God's appearing to Job he learnt himself. Once hav-

ing seen God he sees himself. He sees himself in all his im-

purity. When the seraphim stand before God they veil their

faces before His holiness. When Isaiah saw the Lord he

saw his own unclean lips and said, "Woe is me!" When

Paul saw Christ he fell to the ground as dead. When Peter

saw Christ he said, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man,

O Lord." When John saw the Lord he said, "I fell at his

feet as dead." In God's sight all our comeliness is turned

jnto corruption; in His purity and whiteness all on earth is

polluted and blackness of darkness. To see God as infinite


214                                 Bibliotheca Sacra



is to see ourselves as finite. To see Him as perfect is to

bring us forcibly to our imperfection. To know Him as all-

knowing, the summation of all wisdom, is to realize our

ignorance. To acknowledge Him as right is to own our-

selves as wrong. To view His holiness is to be smitten with

our own sin and contamination. Submission, contrition, and

humility should then follow. Job, then, comes forth with a

clearer vision of God, a discrediting of self, a rejecting of

self-righteousness. When the spiritual and the inward has

been cared for, then God showers upon the patriarch the

temporal and the outward. He becomes the channel of

blessing through his intercession for his friends who had so

grievously maligned him, such intercession surely a humiliat-

ing thing for them. "And Jehovah turned the captivity of

Job, when he prayed for his friends: and Jehovah gave Job

twice as much as he had before." Job's enemy dealt ill with

him; his friends dealt with him as best they could; it is God

who ever and always deals best with us. How true, then, the

words of the apostle James, “ye have heard of the patience of

Job, and have seen the end [the final experience that came

into the life of Job by the Lord's command and direction]

of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful."


                   ISRAEL IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD



          That blessedness which was the portion of Job in the'

presence of God, meeting Him face to face, will be the ex-

perience of Israel in a coming day. Zechariah predicts: "I

will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants

of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of Supplications; and

they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they

shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and

shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness

for his first born" (12:10). In that selfsame time "there shall

be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the in-

habitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleaness" (13:1).

Job, looking unto God, saw his own undone condition and was

cleansed; Israel will see the returning Hope of Israel and

                             Job and the Nation Israel                     215


will be fully cleansed. Then shall come to pass the words

of Jeremiah: "In those days, and in that time, saith Jehovah,

the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be

none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found:

for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant" (50:20).

How glorious will be the lot of God's ancient people when

Israel is without iniquity and Judah without sins! By the

appearing of the Lord to Job, he came to know God as never

before; when God appears to Israel, they shall know Him

as never before. God's law will be implanted in their hearts

after such a fashion, that they will not need to teach their

neighbor in the knowledge of the Lord, for they shall all

know Him from the least of them to the greatest (Jer.


          By coming face to face with the Lord they will finally

understand and know themselves. They will repent in deep

sorrow, mourning, and contrition. They will throw to the

bats and to the moles all their vaunted self-righteousness.

As with Job, their former knowledge of God will appear

shallow in comparison with the light of that hour. Job was

seeking after God and found Him; so will Israel.

          The hour of Job's deliverance was one of the most intense

pain, and mental and spiritual anxiety. Such will be the

case with Israel. Regathered and settled in the land, the

eyes of the confederacies of the Gentile nations will be at-

tracted to her. The confederacy in the north of Europe,

that in the south of Europe (the revived Roman empire with

its ten kingdoms), that of the kings of the sun-rising, and

the king of the north of Palestine will sweep down upon the

defenseless land with rapacity and avarice, to make of her

a spoil. Zechariah foretold that all the nations would be

gathered together against the holy city of Jerusalem to make

war with her. Israel has had many a dark hour in her

national history; this will be the worst of all and the culmi-

nation of them all. She will have her time of trouble and

trial but God's Word is sure that she will be saved out of

it (Jer. 30:7).


216                                 Bibliotheca Sacra



Israel will then, as Job, know increased prosperity as

never before. "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages

without walls, by reason of the multitude of men and cattle

therein. . . grain shall make the young men flourish, and

new wine the virgins" (Zech. 2:4, 5; 9:16, 17). That will be

the time when Israel will become a channel of blessing to

others. First Job was blessed, then his friends through him.

The order is the same with Israel and the Gentiles. As

Psalm 67 puts it: when Jehovah blesses Israel, it will follow

that all the ends of the earth will fear Him. Israel will

enter actually into the fulfillment of God's original purpose

for her--a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exod.

19:5, 6). Ten men out of all the languages of the nations

shall lay hold of the Jew and desire to go with him, recogniz-

ing that God is with him. Job is a wonderful character;

Israel is a remarkable people; but oh, how blessed is God

above all! He is ready to forgive and pardon and receive.

This God is our blessed, daily portion.

          The problem of Job is solved; that of Israel will be too.

Then it will be seen that afflictions try piety as well as in-

iniquity. Trials develop faith. Hardships lead to clearer!

views of God. Tribulations draw the soul nearer to God.

What was formerly considered an unbearable burden is seen

to be an abiding blessing. What matters it, then, if God

permit us to be delivered into the hands of the enemy, or

allow us to be subjected to the vitriolic ministrations of

physicians of no value, as long as at the end of it all we

may have that meeting with Him face to face, to minister

to our every need? Thrice blessed be God for Himself and

for His all-sufficient provisions!


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