For today’s reading, I found that I could do no better than James Durham’s observations on this chapter. I will quote from his Lectures on the Book of Job at length, wherein he draws practical counsel from these verses:
- In general. One good man may soon mistake the condition of another good man, and judge too hardly of him, and this was the fault of Job’s friends.
Use. Beware of constructing hardly of one another from particular slips or infirmities. Seek to have a more solid ground of comfort to lean to, than the estimation and judgment of others. If Job had not a better proof of his sincerity, his comfort had been to seek in the day of his distress.
2. Nothing will make folks more readily miscarry in rash judging of other men’s state, than the judging of it by dispensations either outward or inward. Especially outward dispensations are not the rule of trial of ourselves or others, but the promises, and evidences of God’s grace. Dispensations thus looked upon, are the great ground whereupon Satan gets advantage to mud [cloud] folks’ condition, such as when you pray, and God does not hear you; you read, and get no comfort. Therefore beware of walking by this rule.
3. When once Satan and temptations enter, and get way to question a man’s state, he will not be soon put from it; the temptation will not be easily repelled. Job’s wife began the temptation, Eliphaz holds on, and Job resists both. Yet here he meets with a new onset, and more follows. Therefore think not this temptation soon put by, and weary not under it, but resist steadfast in the faith.
4. Oft-times men are given to count little of anything said against them by other men, and much of anything they say or is said for them. Job had said much to vindicate himself, yet Bildad casts all his words as vain. It is a thing incident to men in debates and disputes to stumble on an ill [chosen] word, and to mistake the main purpose and truth of the matter. Job’s friends had sooner come to the knowledge of the truth, if this ill had not prevailed with them.
James Durham, Lectures on the Book of Job, p. 55