The believer should recognize that wherever he goes there is but a step between him and the grave and should always be ready. However he should allow no hard providence to deter and discourage him in the service of God, but should be so much the more emboldened to persevere in God’s way.
1 My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.
2 Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?
3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?
4 For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.
5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.
6 He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.
7 Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.
8 Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.
9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
10 But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.
11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.
12 They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.
13 If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.
14 I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.
15 And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?
16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.
Job 17:1-16 – J. Vernon McGee
Job 17 – “The Bars of the Pit”
Job’s continued complaint of his friends, Job 17:1-9
He avows that he could bear his awful calamities if only he were delivered from their mockery; and asks that God would arbitrate between him and them. God is the supreme Judge, and Job asks Him to become his surety against the recriminations of those who so shamefully misjudged him. There is no other course for hunted souls than appeal from man to God in the person of Jesus. At the close of this paragraph he insists that amid a whirlwind of trouble the righteous must hold on his way and keep his hands clean. If any should read these words whose path has dipped down into the valley of the shadow, let them hold on their way. Go on doing the will of God, so far as you know it, and it will bring you out under His heaven of love.
Job’s gloomy anticipations of the future, Job 17:10-16
For him there was a grave of darkness and gloom. Men had not as yet been begotten again unto a living hope by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The soul must descend to the bars of the pit, Job 17:16. What a contrast to our Christian hope! There is no need for us to claim the pit for father and the worm for sister! In the Father’s house are many mansions. The sufferings of the present are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed! Our kin are not in the dust. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Job 17:9—The righteous also shall hold on his way.
When the real life of God enters the soul, it persists there. Genuine religion is shown by its power of persistence. Anything short of a God-given faith will sooner or later fail. It may run well for a time, but its pace will inevitably slacken till it comes to a stand. The youths faint and are weary, and the young men utterly fall. The seed sown on the rock springs up quickly, and as quickly dies down and perishes. But where there is the rooting and grounding in God, there is a perpetuity and persistence which outlives all storms and survives all resistance.
You shall hold on your way because Jesus holds you in His strong hand. He is your Shepherd; He has vanquished all your foes, and you shall never perish.
You shall hold on your way because the Father has designed through you to glorify His Son; and there must be no gaps in His crown where jewels ought to be.
You shall hold on your way because the Holy Spirit has deigned to make you His residence and home; and He is within you the perennial spring of a holy life.
It is said that there was once a debate in heaven, as to which kind of life needed most of God’s grace. That of a man who after a lifetime of gross sins was converted at the eleventh hour, or of a man that for his whole career had been kept from destruction. And finally the latter was agreed to be the most conspicuous miracle. And there is no doubt that this is so. Yet for this also shall God’s grace avail: and He shall enable thee to hold on thy way till heaven open to thee. —Our Daily Homily