Tuesday, October 3, 2023

“This Noble Poem” (James 5:7-12)

"Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job …" (James 5:11).

The book of Job is an historical account of the sufferings of Job, and it comprises a number of discourses written in poetic form. Most of the book is a compilation of disputes. The opponents are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. The respondent is Job. The moderators are Elihu and then God Himself. The subject of the dispute is Job’s honor and prosperity. Job teaches us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but that when the Lord delivers them out of them all, the trial of their faith will be found to praise, and honor, and glory,” Henry wrote.

“This noble poem,” as Henry calls it, presents five general topics for instruction. The first is a “monument of primitive theology.” The principles of the light of nature, on which natural religion is founded, are considered as eternal truths in each of the discourses. Throughout the book, Job recognizes the being of God and His authority in every area of his life. “Were ever the being of God, His glorious attributes and perfections, His unsearchable wisdom, His irresistible power, His inconceivable glory, His inflexible justice, and His incontestable sovereignty, discoursed of with more clearness, fullness, reverence, and divine eloquence, than in this book?” Henry asks. “The creation of the world, and the government of it, are here admirably described, not as matters of nice speculation, but as laying most powerful obligations upon us to fear and serve, to submit to and trust in, our Creator, owner, Lord, and ruler.”

The second subject is a picture of true Gentile piety. Job affirms the statement made by Peter that “in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of Him” (Acts 10:35). God brings people to Himself from every nation; this was true in ancient times, and it is undoubtedly true today.

The book also gives us great illustrations of God’s providence, His control over every area of life, His sovereignty over the spirits of darkness. It also provides us with an eminent example of patience and faithfulness to God in the midst of trial. And last, it gives us an “illustrious type of Christ.” “Job was a great sufferer, was emptied and humbled, but in order to his greater glory,” Henry writes. “So Christ abased Himself, that we might be exalted.”

Read James 5:7–12. What does James say we should learn from the account of Job’s suffering (v. 11)? Think of a time that you suffered under some affliction. How did God prove Himself to be full of compassion and mercy in that situation? Thank God today for those times that He taught you patience and showed you mercy.