The Voice of Job

O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that thou wouldst keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldst appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

— Job 14: 13-15

Are we not the clay, and he the potter? How can the clay claim from the potter? We are the clay, it is true, but his clay, spiritual clay, with needs and desires—and rights; clay worth the Son of God’s dying for, that it might learn to consent to be shaped unto honor. We can have no merits—a merit is a thing impossible; but God has given us rights. Out of him we have nothing; but, created by him, come forth from him, we have even rights towards him—ah, never against him! His whole desire and labor is to make us capable of claiming, and induce us to claim of him the things whose rights he bestowed in creating us. Being made, we have claims on him who made us: our needs are our claims. A man who will not provide for the hunger of his child is condemned by the whole world. It is God to whom every hunger, every aspiration, every longing of our nature is to be referred; he made all our needs, made us the creatures of a thousand necessities. When doubt and dread invade, and the voice of love in the soul is dumb, what can please the father of men better than to hear his child cry to him from whom he came, “Here I am, O God! Thou hast made me; give me that which thou hast made me needing.” What would he have, but that his children should claim their father? God is the origin of both need and supply, the father or our necessities, the abundant giver of the good things. Right gloriously he meets the claims of his child! The story of Jesus is the heart of his answer, not primarily to the prayers, but to the divine necessities of the children he has sent out into his universe.