Then the third session opens. This is the fifth chapter of the story, Job gets a sight of God (Job 38-41). God speaks. Job hears, and gets down on his face at once. God picks up the thread where Elihu had dropped it, and goes on weaving the same fabric.
And what God does is this, simply this, but all of this: He looks into Job's face. Job never forgot the sight. God talks in a very simple, homely way about Himself.
Job gets a picture of God, the Creator, His intelligence that could think things out, His wis dom that could so skilfully adapt means to end, His power that could actually do what He did; and then above all, running through all and between the lines is this: His love; He did it, actually did what He did.
Job got a picture of God. He never got over it. He's down on his face in the dust. It's a remarkable face-about. "Mine eye seeth Thee: I abhor myself" (Job_42:1-9).
And then God graciously gives Job a rare opportunity. It is not a test to see if Job can stand it. It is Job's opportunity to reveal the wholly new spirit now in control. It is his opportunity to be like God.
He is to pray for these poor befogged critics. They certainly need it. And he gladly does it. He is so taken up now with God that everything is affected. The absorbing thought of such a God comes swamping in. It takes possession. It graciously grips him.
The bitter sarcasm toward these critics goes clean out. Love, that is to say, God, fills his heart. He is grateful for the outlet of this new passion. He gladly prays for these men that they, too, may see this wondrous God.
The real God-touch means a humaner human touch. Job is really humble now, but he doesn't know it. He's so absorbed with God that he quickly forgives and loves his bitter critics. Because that's being like God. That's the God touch.
When a man thinks he is humble he may know at once that he isn't. He's thinking about himself. When one thinks in his heart that he really is saintly, he may know for a truth that he isn't. He hasn't the real thing for he's taken up with himself.
The real thing of humility is being absorbed with God. Then you become unconsciously like Him. It becomes a passion, an intensely practical passion, to get others in touch, too. That's the God-touch
Humility is such a sensitive plant, when you think you have it, it withers up at once, and dies. This is the third session of school. Job sees God, and gets down on his face, and then reaches out to help others.
Then comes chapter six, Graduation Day(Job_42:10-17). School's out. Satan is heard of no more. He has slunk away. Resisted, he fled. The healing touch comes without being asked for. And it's a full healing. It includes body and family and circumstances and length of life.
And the striking thing that catches you at once is this: Job fixed the date for graduation day. The whole decision rested with him. His will had new strength now. It could bend, bend to the higher will.
And it did. That was the turning point. That fixed the date. All God's power and love wait on man's consent. We control the door through which God enters our lives.
How long did this school of suffering last? There were three sessions, then graduation day. But how much time did the whole take?
I don't know in actual days and weeks. It doesn't tell. But the story as told gives the impression that the whole thing could have occurred within a few weeks, from new moon to full.
How long did this school last? I do know. I know exactly. Just as long as it took Job to get down on his face; then graduation day.
Job could have made it last much longer. Any one can. Some are strong enough to talk humbly about themselves, and submissively. But they're not strong enough to bend, bend clear down.
You've got to get clear down to see God's face, and hear His voice. The best view of God is gotten on your face in the dust. Then the eyes of the spirit open.
And even the ash heap, and that broken piece of crockery, become fragrant memories. For they became the gateway into that blessed change of spirit. And through that the healing and all the rest came.
School fees were never so high. Ask Job. And payment of fees was never more cheerfully assented to, afterward, when school was out.
One is quick to note that there is a twofold purpose in this old Job school-story. There was a purpose for Job himself.
And there was a purpose through Job. Job has been a silent eloquent preacher to men ever since his story was lived in the plains and hills of Uz.
There was a distinct purpose of service in Job's experience. The whole Church, and some day the whole race, will be grateful to Job for being a good scholar in God's school.