A sermon delivered on Thursday evening, March 28, 1872, by C. H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen; the lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. (Job 28: 7, 8)
In this chapter, Job is speaking of the hidden treasures that are to be found deep down in the bowels of the earth. The keen eyes of the vultures, though they see their prey afar off, have never seen the gold, and silver, and other precious metals which lie in the dark places of the earth; and the lions, especially the young lions hungering for their prey, though they will lie in wait in their lairs in the dens and caves of the earth, have never been able to descend into places so deep as those that are opened up by men who seek after gold and silver.
Yet, further on in the chapter, we notice that Job refers to the search after wisdom, and that he seems to say that, though men should explore the deep places of the earth with all the diligence of miners seeking gold and silver, though they should exert all their mental force, as miners use all their muscular vigor, and though they should employ all the machinery within their reach, as men do who pierce through the rocks in search of precious treasure yet it is not within the range of human labor and skill to attain unto wisdom. That can only be found by another and a higher method; it must come to us by revelation from God, for we cannot find it by our own efforts.
"There are two kinds of walking, of going on a journey. The first kind is typified by an elevator ride.... the experience is all about getting where you’re going. It’s not about the journey. But there’s another kind of journey. It’s best typified by lovers going for a walk....Nobody cares where we’re going; we’re just going for a walk." - Dan Olinger
Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are You not He, O LORD our God?
Therefore we will wait for You,
Since You have made all these. (Jeremiah 14:22)
We’ve all heard versions of the prayer that goes, “Lord, help me to be patient, and please hurry up about it.” In my life the lesson on being patient has been probably the hardest one to learn. In fact, I must confess that I have not learned the lesson very well, and have constantly to relearn it. If I were to put my finger on the problem it would have to land on the truths brought out in the verse above.
Jeremiah knew a lot about having to wait. During his ministry he had to preach for God to a people who had set themselves against the truth. His words often seemed to bounce off the surface of the ears of his listeners. Moreover, he had to contend with false prophets who would tell the eager hearers what they wanted to hear; the bad times were coming to an end; the Babylonians would be beaten back; God would come to the rescue of Israel. These were not the messages that Jeremiah was given to proclaim.
Given that Jeremiah had an unpopular message to preach, he had to be a man of patience to continue, day in, day out, to be a herald of, this verse gets to the heart of why we can wait on the Lord, giving over to Him our propensity to rush things or to see matters change overnight.
The prophet poses two questions about the way the world works.
COVID-19 has brought the whole world to its knees. It is a world-wide pandemic in which none of us are completely immune: not to the disease itself nor to its effects. The novel coronavirus is fearful for many reasons. We face the loss of economic health and activity, the loss of social comfort from our friends and family, and for our loved ones or ourselves, perhaps the loss of the ability to breathe, which is life itself.
These same catastrophic losses that we are facing mirror the biblical story of Job. The story of Job seems almost surreal. In one day, he lost all of his wealth and all ten of his children. A few days later he was sick on his death bed—except things were so bad he didn’t even have a death bed … just a pile of ashes.
The book of Job doesn’t just tell the story of natural disasters but also reveals what was behind the scenes—a very real Devil. At this point, many people may scoff and dismiss the book of Job as outdated. After all, this is a day where we believe in science. Christians do not and should not discount science. But if we are paying attention, we realize that science isn’t enough. Science is observation in its simplest definition. The book of Job invites us to consider that there is more to calamities than what meets the eye.
"An ultracrepidarian is someone who goes 'beyond the shoe.' He is 'one who is presumptuous and offers advice or opinions beyond his sphere of knowledge.' Or 'someone who has no special knowledge of a subject but who expresses an opinion about it.' Apelles’ concern was that the shoemaker should stick with his area of expertise and not presume to be an expert on everything." - Challies
God uses even sin to develop us as Christians. That may sound like a bold statement, especially because God never wants us to sin (1 John 2:1); we should always seek to avoid it and not take it lightly.
God created Adam and Eve knowing they would sin. Their sin—which cast the entire human race into sin and resulted in a cursed universe—was nonetheless used by God to work a greater good. Because mankind was plunged into a lost condition, God would send His Son to redeem the world. Perhaps nothing brings glory to God like the atoning death, burial, and conquering resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ—the gospel message. Believers find themselves in a better position than Adam and Eve ever were!
There is a vast difference between God desiring sin and God using sin for spiritual purposes. Jesus said of the sinful woman who turned to Him, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Jesus is not encouraging us to sin rampantly so that we will love Him more. Instead, He calls us to come to Him now, whatever our state. But if we come to Him from an extremely sinful life, we will appreciate His forgiveness even more. But there is a downside: such persons will have more baggage and will have done more damage. I have known many folks to say, “I so wish I had come to the Lord at a younger age!” Sadly, many will never come to Him.