The Works of

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

3 March

At the end of man’s day, God gives him rest

Job 14:6-9

‘(O Lord,) turn from him, so that man may rest! Till he shall accomplish his day, like a hireling. For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again — and that its tender branch will not cease, even though its root grows old in the earth and its trunk dies in the ground. Still, through the scent of water, it will bud — and bring forth boughs like a plant!’ Job 14:6-9.

Lord, look away from man — so that he may rest from unwanted affliction! So that he may enjoy and have pleasure in his brief life — which is nothing more than that of the hired labourer during his hot and toilsome day.

That destiny of extant man, is compared to that of a tree. Though it may get cut down, it shall sprout again. Its branch shall not cease, even after its root ages in the earth and its trunk dies in the ground. For when it smells water, it shall bud again and bring forth new life like a fresh plant!

When God looks away from man or turns His strict watch from him — he may, like one hired for but a day, enjoy his life. Job desires God would grant him the rest of the hireling, who must toil in sorrow and eat his bread in the sweat of his brow but is still free from any special suffering — by not laying extraordinary affliction on him in addition to the infirmities beneath which he sighs.

The context treats of freedom from special suffering , by not laying extraordinary affliction on him in addition to the common infirmities beneath which he sighs. The context treats of freedom from special suffering in life.

So God would at least permit man the rest of a hireling who, though vexed with heavy toil, cheerfully reconciles himself to it — in prospect of the reward he hopes to obtain at evening time. However, Job does not claim for man the toil which the hireling gladly undergoes in expectation of complete rest later, but the toil of the hireling seems to him to be rest in comparison with the
possibility of having still greater toil to undergo.

Man’s life, which is only a handbreadth (Psalm 39:6), is not to be overburdened. He may, like the hireling enjoy his day — until he shall have accomplished it. And, even after having accomplished his day’s work, the hireling still lives on to work elsewhere! For if a tree is hewn down, the stump left in the ground puts forth new shoots. The young branches or the juicy suckers
do not cease.

The stump is the remnant that survives the judgment. And this remnant becomes the seed from which a renewed man springs up after the old is destroyed. Even after the root of a tree becomes old and its trunk dies away in the dust — when it catches the scent of water, it puts forth buds for both leaves and flowers, and brings forth branches again.

At the end of man’s day, God gives him rest. And then, man later once again brings forth leaves and branches!