God’s providence has the ordering of the period of our lives; our times are in His hand. The consideration of our inability to contend with God, of our sinfulness and weakness, should lead us to throw ourselves unreservedly into His hands that He might accomplish fully His purposes in us.
1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.
7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?
11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:
12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?
17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.
18 And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.
19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.
20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.
21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.
Job 14:1-22 – J. Vernon McGee
Job 14 – Shall Man Live Again?
Continuing his appeal, Job looks from his own case to the condition of mankind generally, Job 14:1-6. All men are frail and full of trouble, Job 14:12; why should God bring a creature so weak into judgment with Him? Job 14:3. The sinfulness of man is universal—not one can be proved clean before God, Job 14:4. Since man is so frail Job pleads that he may not have such unwonted affliction, but may get some pleasure, Job 14:6, out of his brief day.
The anticipation of death as total extinction strengthens Job’s appeal, Job 14:7-12. Of a tree there is hope that, if cut down, it will sprout again, Job 14:7-9. But at present Job sees no such hope for man. He dies, and is done with, as waters “fail from the sea,” Job 14:10-12. This is a gloomy, despairing thought, and one against which the mind rebels as soon as uttered. Against the belief that death is the end of all things every man’s better nature revolts. Hence the picture of another life beyond the present immediately rises to Job, Job 14:13-15. It may be only a yearning desire, for Job still asks the question, Job 14:14. Yet this desire, as that for a Daysman, Job 9:32-34, both suggested by the heart’s despair, is equally answered by the gospel.
The hope for a future life is made stronger by the apparent injustices that exist now, Job 14:16-22. God’s treatment of Job appears to be so severe that Job must perish under His hand, Job 14:18-22. A future life is surely necessary to remedy the inequalities of the present. Evidently this is not the place and time of judgment. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Job 14:13-15 – When shall this change come? I know not, the patriarch replies, but I am content to wait for it “all the days of my appointed time” (v. 14). Faith and Hope then express themselves in prayer, “Hide me in the grave,” he says (v. 13), “keep me secret, until thy wrath be past,” and the day of peace and glory come – “appoint me a set time, and remember me” – then “Thou shalt call, and I will answer” (v. 15). How beautiful is all this! The child lying down to rest asks the parent to remember him in the morning, and call him at the appointed time. And when the sun casts his glad beams over the earth, and all nature is awakening to joy, the father withdraws the curtains and bids his child arise. So shall it be with the blessed God and His children in the glad resurrection morning. He will remember to call them at the “appointed time” (v. 14), and at His well-known voice they shall awake to sleep no more. (Tait)
Job 14:14—All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
The Lord Jesus has chosen us to be His soldiers. We are in the midst of a great campaign let us endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and strive above all things to please Him (II Timothy 2:4). Amongst other things, let us be sure not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of this life. What purpose could a soldier serve who insisted on taking all his household goods with him on the march!
There is no pause in the warfare. We can never, like Gideon’s soldiers, throw ourselves on the bank and quaff the water at our leisure. Every bush may hide a sharp-shooter; every brake an ambuscade. It becomes us to watch and pray; to keep on our harness of armor; to be on the alert for our Captain’s voice. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the hosts of wicked spirits in the heavenly places; we need to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might, and to take unto ourselves the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
But the release will come at last. When the soldier has fought the good fight, the time of his departure will come, and he will go in to receive the crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give in that day. “Come,” said the dying Havelock to his son, “and see how a Christian can die.” Sometimes it demands more of a soldier’s courage to wait than to charge. Remember that long waiting on the field at Waterloo, when the day passed from morning to evening. If you can do nothing else, wait. Be steadfast, immovable: lying still to suffer, to bear, to endure. This is fighting of the noblest sort. —Our Daily Homily