CHAPTER 11.

We heard three of Job's friends came to comfort him, two of them have spoken very unlike their errand, and now Zophar the third comes in, and follows the same strain that the two former did, (which was wisely ordered of God for Job's exercise and trial) and he begins to cast down all Job's confidence, and to reprove him for misleared49 expressions; yea, to shake the very foundation of his interest in God, and labours to put Job in thoughts that God is dealing with him as with a foal or wild ass colt, though the conclusion be not exprest. This he does to Job 11:13. and from Job 11:13. he has some exhortations backed with motives, of promises on the one hand, and threatnings on the other, which are good in themselves, though unsuitable to Job's afflicted condition. 

He lays down in the first place, the grounds whereon he will proceed; and, 

1. He shows that Job must not go without an answer, and breaks off with a sad reflection on him, that he was a man of many words and full of talk. Is it meet (would he say) that such a man should go without an answer? or, that the truth should not be vindicate which he cries down with his talk? Job 11:2. A second reflection is, Job 11:3. Should thy lyes make men hold their peace? Because thou goes on maintaining thy absurdities, should men hold their peace? that should not be. 3dly. Is it meet that thou shouldst mock all God's dealing, and none come to convince thee of it? Job 11:3. And on thir three grounds he goes on to stop Job's mouth; and having in the first place laid down this, that Job was an empty talker, a lyar, and mocker; in the second place, he stares the question from Job's own words, Job 11:4. Thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. He grounds this challenge on two places before, the one, Job 6:10. where Job had said, He had not concealed the words of the Holy One, holding forth his sincerity in not keeping up the truth of God committed to him, and this Zophar expones to be a crying up of his own tenet. And the other is taken from Job 10:7. where Job had said to God, Thou knowest that I am not wicked, which Zophar expones, as if Job had said, he was without sin, and from this he strives to prove Job to be an absurd man, that durst attest God, so audaciously and presumptuously, but Job's expressions will hear no such exposition; and so his stating of the question meets not with the point. When Zophar has laid down this ground, he goes on to prove, that Job in his conversation was not clean, as he alledges he pretended; and the great argument he brings is, Job 11:5-6. which he presses by way of wish, that God would come and convince Job. Would God, (says he) that the Lord would come and speak to thee, and show thee the secrets of wisdom, or let thee see the depth of his understanding, whereof he searches out that which men cannot see, nor find out: that they are double to that which is, that is, that these secret sins which men see not, are double to these which are seen. Therefore Job thou cannot be clean, and hence he concludes. Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth, that is, take with thy hypocrisy, acknowledge thy wickedness, and defend that integrity of thine, which thou pleads so much for, no more. Thou art more gross, corrupt and prophane, nor ought that appears does demonstrate, or, nor any thing appears in thy scourge; and if God dealt with thee as thy iniquities deserve, thou mightst get twice so much; and this is true, for there is more sin in the holiest man nor he sees, and God exacts less of us than our iniquities deserve; but yet for all that, that Job's sins were the controversy which God was pursuing him for, or that he was the greater sinner because so heavily afflicted, that follows not. He prosecutes this argument, that God saw many sins, that men saw not, and the ground he gives to prove it is this, that God was infinite in wisdom to find out many things that man sees not, and he propounds it by way of question, Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? Job 11:7. Thinkest thou an infinite God should be limited with thy bit of knowledge? or can thou find out God's wisdom in searching things? thou cannot. Then positively he lays it down, Job 11:8. It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? and Job 11:9. The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. By comparing God with the highest and lowest, the broadest and longest of the creatures, he sets him out infinite and boundless in all his attributes, and excellent induction of the mass of the creation, to set out the infiniteness of the Creator beyond all these, which were a good lesson for us to think upon in looking on the creatures. The second way he follows out this argument is in the application of it, Job 11:10.

If he cut off, or shut up, or gather together, who can hinder him? If God be thus great, then whatever he do with creatures, not only has folks no power, but they have no warrant to hinder him. Expressions holding forth God's sovereignty to be such that none can challenge God, whatever way he is pleased to take in handling his creatures. The second way how he sets out God's sovereignty is in God's taking notice of man, and the wickedness in men, Job 11:11. For he knoweth vain man; he seeth wickedness also: will he not consider it? He knows men what they are, and sees all their sins, and will not he that sees all their sins consider, and call them to a reckoning. And this insinuates a clear application to Job, that God has seen, and is now considering his wickedness, and calling him to a reckoning for it. And Job 11:12. closes this part of the chapter, with a reason, why God takes such notice and inspection or trial of men, and discovers their wickedness, For vain man would be wise, though he be born like a wild ass colt. Man by nature is like a wild ass colt untamed and undaunted, yet he thinks himself wise. Therefore God under affliction, or by affliction, discovers his emptiness and folly unto him, else he would die in the dark; and so he insinuates the reason of God's dealing with him.

In the second part of the chapter, he discovers what Job should do, and what true repentance is, Job 11:13-14. and from that to the end, presses the practice of it on Job. The first step he presses on him is, to fix his heart, If thou prepare, or fix thy heart, which seems to be opposed to the vanity of the heart spoken of before. He would have him seeking to have his heart established by grace.

2. And stretch out thy hands towards himi.e., if thou make thy prayer and supplications to him. He would have him first to wash his heart, and then stretch out his hands in supplication. 

3. If iniquity be in thy hand; put it far away. If there be any sin in thy practice that God is choping at 50, put that away, and mend thy life. 

4. And let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacle. He would have him not only reforming his heart, and practices, and taking course with bygones, but reforming his house, to let none be in the house with him that is wicked; or his meaning is, Let no sin, nor fruit, nor effect of sin dwell with thee. If there be any thing of sin, any thing come an evil and sinful gate within thy doors, send it back again; a good pattern of repentance under affliction. Then the motives follow, 

1. Thou, shalt lift up thy face without spot, thou shalt lift up thy face before God, and not think shame. 

2. Thou shalt have thy heart settled, and thy prosperity shall not fall about thine ears as before, reflecting on Job's condition before the stroke came, Job 3:25. For Job 11:16. Thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away. All thy former misery shall soon be forgotten; the prosperity that shall come from God to thee shall be so comfortable, that it shall drown the memory of this afflicted condition. A fourth promise is, Job 11:17. Thine age shall be clearer than the noon-day, and thou shalt shine forth as the morning. Thy life and conversation, thy age and health, and all the accidents that accompanies life, shall have no darkness in them, but shine as the morning light. A fifth promise is, Job 11:18. Thou shall be secure; not carnally secure but spiritually; thou shalt have inward quietness of mind, and outward peace, as if he said, If God be a friend to thee, thou shalt have no enemies, nothing that can annoy thee: Because there is hope, there is ground of hope and peace to expect this in turning to God. A sixth promise is, Thou shalt dig about thee, and take thee rest in safety. If thou be pleased to build houses, and not flit from place to place, as many do, there shall be nothing to trouble thee; and the first part of Job 11:19. clears the former promise, Job 11:18. Thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; thou shalt get leave to sleep sound in thy bed, and shall have none to trouble thee, as if thou wert fortified with walls. And in the latter part of the verse is a new promise, Many shall make suit unto thee. That is, thou shalt have more reverence and respect than ever thou had before. In the last verse he sums up all his motives in a threatening, to let Job see the necessity of following the way he has prescribed; as if he said, Job, ye have need to repent, for I have shewed you great good will follow the doing of it: and now I tell you of much evil to come on you, if ye do it not. The eyes of the wicked shall faill. The expectation of any comfort to a wicked man shall fail, and he shall not escape God's judgement, and any hope he hath shall perish; all thir motives are good, being well understood and applied; but they would not he restricted to temporal things, as if outward prosperity did always follow true repentance; and always immediately upon the back of repentance; that will not follow: but one way or other, at one time or other, the penitent has all thir promises made good.

 OBSERVATIONS.

1. From the current of this chapter, with what goes before, observe, That when once a temptation and trial begins, where the Lord has a mind to exercise, he will add more witnesses than one or two to complete the trial. Therefore after two has spoken, a third comes in, and confirms what the former said as an undeniable truth. There are more ways than one, that folks integrity will be pursued, when it is brought on the stage; for we are not only to look on this, as a dispute with Job, but, as a temptation, and trial to put a fey 51 to Job's faith. 

2. From Zophar's beginning, and breaking off with sad reflections at the broad-side on Job. 

Observe

A good man engaged in a debate, readily miscarries, in coming over the debate to passionate expressions, and sad reflections. Inward prejudices, and sinistrous 52 thoughts miscarry passion to a reflecting on the person. Long ere such words, as their, convince Job, yet they must out, ere he fall upon the matter itself.

3. From Zophar's stating the question, upon the mistaking of Job's expressions, Observe, that oftimes, the greatest debates, among God's people, will be found to flow from their mistakes in circumstances of expressions in one another, rather than from the matter itself, about which the debate is. This is clear here, and through this dispute. Job, chapter ix. disclaimed this, which Zophar alledges on him; he did never plead he was without sin, yet they will speak to the circumstance of expression, and are keeped off the main matter. Guard against mistakes of this kind.

4. From Zophar, his way of prosecuting his argument, 

Observe

That God sees many things in folks that they observe not themselves; he sees many things that they see not, therefore though we see nothing, we have no cause to be proud, but have an eye upon secret faults, that God may call us to a reckoning for, Psalm 19.

5. He wishes God to come in, and reprove Job, and when God came, he decided the just contrary to what Zophar expected. Observe, That good men will sometimes be too confident in their opinion, that they are right when they are wrong, and too soon attest God in cases which will not bear out.

6. Take it in opposition to the temptation, or that which the temptation bears in upon Job, and observe, that temptation will, yea, uses to represent God as an adversary to folks, when their hate and integrity is questioned. It represents men's pleading, as if God himself were pleading against the man.

Observe

7. Let men speak as they will, and bring argument after argument to convince of an evil, there is no convincing of sin till God do it.

8. From his setting out of God in his attributes, by comparing him with the creation, Learn we, to do the like, to make use of the creatures for the end God has made them, even to exalt God; and let it shame us, that has so many means, besides the work of creation, and yet carries so slender an impression of the majesty of God.

9. From Job 11:12. Observe, That man is one of the emptiest, and yet one of the proudest things in the world; the proudest man is the toomest53 and emptiest man, and the most empty man is the most proud man. The consideration whereof would be a good guard against pride.

From the second part of the chapter, observe, There is no better gate, or rather no other gate to true happiness, but repentance, turning to God, cleansing and fixing of the heart, supplication to God, reformation of practice in our own person, and in our families, and all that follow us to commend this gate, If we would seek a way of making up our peace with God in Jesus Christ. 

1. Let the heart be prepared to seek God. 

2. Let the hand be stretched out in external duties. 

3. Let iniquity be quit, and put away. 

4. Let every evil thing be put out of the tabernacle. Till this be done, it is like God's controversy may grow, and if it shall continue, we look upon folks not stooping to God, and not humbling of themselves before God, as the main cause of it. This was Zaccheus's repentance, Luke 19.