Acquaint now thyself with him - Margin, that is, "with God." Eliphaz takes it for granted now, that Job was a sinner wholly unreconciled to God, and unacquainted with him. This fact, he supposes, was the source of all his calamities. As long as he remained thus unreconciled to God, he must be miserable. He proceeds, therefore, in a most beautiful manner, to exhort him to be at peace with God, and portrays the benefits which would result from such a reconciliation. There are few passages in the Bible of more exquisite beauty than this, and nothing could be sounder advice, on the supposition that Job was, as he supposed, a stranger to God. In this beautiful exhortation, be shows:
(1) what he means by becoming acquainted with God Job 22:21-23; and then
(2) what would be the happy results of such reconciliation,Job 22:24-30.
The word rendered "acquaint thyself" הסכן hasâkan - from סכן sâkan means, properly, "to dwell," to be familiar with anyone, to associate with one - from the idea of dwelling in the same tent or house; and in the Hiphil, the form used here, to become familiar with anyone, to be on terms of friendship. The meaning here is, "Secure the friendship of God. Become truly acquainted with him. Be reconciled to him. You are now estranged. You have no just views of him. You murmur and complain, and you are suffering under his displeasure as a sinner. But it is not too late to repent, and to return to him; and in so doing you will find peace." An acquaintance with God, in the sense of this passage, implies:
(1) a correct knowledge of his true character, and
(2) reconciliation with him.
There are two great difficulties among people in regard to God. The first is, that they have no just views of his real character. They think him harsh, stern, tyrannical. They regard his law as severe, and its penalty as unjust. They think his government to be arbitrary, and himself to be unworthy of confidence. This erroneous view must be corrected before people can be reconciled to him - for how can they be brought to lay aside their opposition to him while they regard him as unjust and severe? Secondly, even when the character of God is explained, and his true character is set before people, they are opposed to it. They are opposed to him because he is so holy. Loving sin, they cannot love one who has no sin, and who frowns on evil; and this opposition to the real character of God must be removed before they can be reconciled to him. This requires a change of heart - a change from sin to holiness; and this is the work performed in regeneration.
And be at peace - There can be no peace while you maintain a warfare with God. It is a war against your Maker, where he has control over your conscience, your intellect, your body, and all which can affect your welfare; and while this is maintained, there can be no peace. If the mind is reconciled to him, there will be peace. Peace of mind always follows reconciliation where there has been a variance, and nowhere is the peace so entire and full of joy as when man feels that he is reconciled to God. Eliphaz here has stated a doctrine which has been confirmed by all the subsequent revelations in the Bible, and by the experience of all those who have become reconciled to God; compare the notes at Romans 5:1 : It is peace, as opposed to the agitation and conflict of the mind before; peace resulting from acquiescence in the claims of God; peace in the belief that he is wholly right, and worthy of confidence; and peace in the assurances of his friendship and favor forever. This doctrine, it seems, was thus understood in the early ages of the world, and, indeed, must have been known as early as religion existed after the fall. Man became alienated from God by the apostasy; peace was to be found again only by returning to God, and in reconciliation to him.
Thereby good shall come unto thee - The benefits which he supposed would result from such reconciliation, he proceeds to state in the following verses. They relate chiefly to temporal prosperity, or to proofs of the divine favor in this life. This was in accordance with the views which then prevailed, and especially with their limited and obscure conceptions of the future state. They saw a part - "we" see more; and yet we by no means see all. The "good" which results from reconciliation with God consists in:
(1) pardon of sin;
(2) peace of conscience;
(3) the assurance that we shall have all that is needful in this life;
(4) support in trial;
(5) peace and triumph in death;