3-1-4 Job And David
David in his drive to spiritual maturity had a similar sense: "
Such knowledge (the basic knowledge of God which, in the context, he has
just outlined) is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot
attain unto it" (Ps. 139:6). David doesn't mean that the things of
God are too wonderful for him to understand, and he just quits in trying
to handle them. Throughout the Psalms, David repeatedly speaks of the
wonder of God, how he wishes to extol the wonder of
God, and how he mourns the tragedy of the fact that Israel generally had
not grasped the wonder of their God. He asks for his eyes to
be opened so that the wonder of God's ways might be made known
to him (Ps. 119:18). The Hebrew word translated " wonder" or
" wondrous" was evidently one of David's favourites. Yet he
says that although he sees the wonder of the knowledge of God, he feels
it is " too wonderful for me" - perhaps " for
me" is where the emphasis should be. It may be that David spoke of
the knowledge of God as being " too wonderful for me" with his
eye on Job's experience. If Ps. 139 was written in the aftermath of his
physical and spiritual crisis at the time of Bathsheba, David would have
seen himself as coming out of it with the same sense of spiritual growth
as Job after his months of crisis: " Now mine eye seeth thee...I
am vile...things too wonderful for me" all have a certain ring with
the sentiments David expresses after Bathsheba. It can be demonstrated
that the repentance and restoration of David after the Bathsheba incident
is used, through New Testament allusion, as a prototype for the spiritual
growth of each of us. This means that the terrible, crushing humbling
of Job, of David, of Moses, must in some way at some time be replicated
in the experience of every true saint, who struggles up the same graph
of spiritual growth. From each of us there must be wrung the deep, essential
realization: " I am vile... I know (now) that thou canst
do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee... therefore
have I uttered that I understood thee; things too wonderful for me, which
I knew not" .
And yet in our humanity, as soon as we are faced with such situations
we cry out to God to take them from us; and not only so, when we
see our brethren in such positions, or approaching them, we plead
desperately that they will be spared. And yet ultimately,
we must each pass through the valley of the shadows, and learn our
lessons. There is nothing wrong with crying out for deliverance-
indeed, we are bidden do so. But here is one of the essential paradoxes
at the very root of our relationship with God: we know such crises
are what we need, and yet we cry out for them never to happen to
us, or be taken away. This, it seems to me, is yet one more irreconcilable
paradox in spiritual life.
David several times speaks of the need to fear God and ‘depart
from evil’, and the blessedness of the man who does so (Ps.
34:14; 37:27); and Solomon repeats his father repeatedly on this
point (Prov. 3:7; 4:27; 13:19; 14:16; 16:6,17). Yet they are surely
alluding to Job, who feared God and “eschewed” [s.w.
‘depart from’] evil (Job 1:1). Without doubt, these
allusions indicate that they saw Job as symbolic of all the righteous.
And this is no mere piece of painless Bible exposition; Job in all
his turmoil really is the pattern for each one of us, the path through
which we each must pass.