If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do bow before him.
All Commentaries on Job 9:13 Go To Job 9
Gregory The Dialogist
23. It is very strange that it is declared that none can resist God's wrath, seeing that the divine Oracles witness that many have withstood the wrathfulness of the visitation of Heaven. Did not Moses resist God's wrath, when standing up for the fallen people, He restrained the very impulse of the stroke from above, by the oblation of his own death, saying, Yet now if Thou wilt forgive their sin:—and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of the book, which Thou hast written? [Exod. 32, 32] Did not Aaron resist God's wrath, when between the living and the dead he took a censer, and assuaged the fire of visitation with the fumes of incense? [Numb. 16, 47. &c.] Did not Phinees resist God's wrath, when slaughtering them that went a whoring with strange women in the very act, he offered his zeal to the Divine wrath, and pacified fury with the sword? [Ib. 25, 11] Did not David resist God's wrath, who by presenting himself to the Angel, as he dealt destruction, won the grace of propitiation, even before the appointed time? [2 Sam. 24, 25] Did not Elijah resist God's wrath, who when the earth was now for long dried up, brought back by a word the showers withdrawn from the heavens? [1 Kings 18, 44] In what sense then was it said that none can resist the wrath of God, when it is proved by existing examples that numbers have resisted it? However, if we minutely consider both these words of blessed Job, and the deeds of those persons, we both find it to be true that there is no resisting the Divine Wrath, and also true that many have often resisted it. For all Saints that encounter the wrath of God, obtain it from Himself, that they should be thus set in the way to meet the force of His stroke; and so to say having Him with them, they lift up themselves against Him, and the Divine Power arms them in alliance with Itself against Itself. Since in that which they achieve against the wrath of Him dealing cruelly without, the grace of Him so angered encourages them within, and He bears up those serving Him inwardly, whom He submits to resisting Him outwardly. Thus He bears the supplicant's contradiction which He inspires, and that is forced upon Him as though He were unwilling, which is by Himself commanded to be done. For He saith to Moses, Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them, and I will make of thee a great nation. [Ex. 32, 10] What is it to say to His servant, Let Me alone; but to give him boldness to supplicate? As if He said in plain words, ‘Consider how thou prevailest with Me, and know that thou mayest obtain whatsoever thou beseechest for the People.’ And that the thing is done with this mind, is witnessed by the pardon which is immediately subjoined. But when the Wrath above moveth Itself, so to say, from the heart's core, human opposition cannot stay It; and no man's entreaty presents itself to any purpose, when once God ordains any thing whilst angered from His inward Deep. For it is hence that Moses, who blotted out by his entreaties the guilt of the whole People in God's sight, and whilst he offered himself in the way, appeased the force of the Divine indignation, when he came to the rock Horeb, and for the bringing forth the water gave way to distrust, could never enter the Land of Promise from the Lord being wroth. And oftentimes he is distressed on this score, often he is troubled by his regret making itself felt, and yet he could never remove from himself the anger of an ordained retribution, who by God's good pleasure removed it even from the very people. Hence David, who afterwards by prayer held back the sword of the Angel from the fallen People, first fled from his son with bare feet howling and lamenting, and until he received to the full the cup of vengeance for the transgression he had done, he could never abate the wrath of the Lord for himself. [2 Sam. 24, 10] Hence Elijah, that as a mortal man he might as it were feel some little of God's visitation, he, who opened the heavens with a word, fled in terror through the wilderness from a woman's indignation; and he proves weak for himself in his dismay, who appeases God's fury for others through his intercession. Thus there is both a possibility of resisting the wrath of God, when He, That is wroth Himself, vouchsafes aid; and there is no possibility at all of resisting it, when He both rouses Himself to deal vengeance, and doth not Himself inspire the prayer that is poured forth to Him. Hence it is said to Jeremiah, Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither take to thee praise and prayer for them; for I will not hear in the time of their crying to Me; [Jer. 7, 16] and again, Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people. [Jer. 15, 1]
24. Wherein it may be usefully enquired wherefore, so many more ancient fathers being set aside, Moses and Samuel alone are preferably and preeminently singled out for the utterance of prayer? Which however we easily learn, if we weigh well the claims of that charity which is bidden to love even enemies. For that prayer comes with a special recommendation to the ears of our Creator, which exerts itself to make intercession for our enemies too; and hence ‘Truth’ saith by His own lips, Pray for them that despitifully use you and persecute you. [Matt. 5, 44] And again, When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any. [Mark 11, 25] Now when we revolve the deeds of the fathers of old time as Holy Writ describes them, we find that it was Moses and Samuel, who prayed for their adversaries. For one of them had to fly from the persecution of that infuriated People, and yet he interceded for the persecutor's life: the other being deposed from the rule of the People, saith to his own adversaries themselves, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you. [1 Sam. 12, 23] Therefore in the difficult work of deprecating wrath, what is it to bring forward Moses and Samuel, but to shew the more plainly that not even they if they stood forward would stay His wrath, who might for this reason have interceded the sooner for their friends, that they were used to intercede with Him even for their enemies. Hence it is said to that same Judaea, I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one. And again, Why criest thou for thine affliction? Thy sorrow is incurable. [Jer. 30, 14. 15.] Let the holy man then regard how the wrath of God is restrained by no man's intercession, when once it is inexorably called forth, and let him say, God, Whose wrath none can resist. And this we rightly reduce to a particular sense, if we reflect on the woes of that same Israelitish People, which the Saviour, Who was made manifest in the mystery of His economy; abandoned in their pride, and called the Gentiles to the grace of the knowledge of Him. And hence it is rightly subjoined directly, Under Whom they that bear the world are bowed down.
25. For they do bear the world, who sustain the cares and concerns of the present world. Since every one is necessitated to bear the burthens of as great things as he is a leader of in this world; and hence a ruler of the earth is not unsuitably designated in the Greek tongue ‘basileus.’ For ‘laus’ means ‘people.’ Basileus therefore is the title ‘basis laou’ which in the Latin tongue is rendered ‘basis populi,’ or, ‘the base of the people;’ since it is he that bears up the people upon himself, in that be controls its motions, himself steadied by the weight of power. For in proportion as he bears the burthens of his subjects, like a base he supports a column raised upon it. Let blessed Job, then, full of the power of the prophetic Spirit, see how Judaea is forsaken, and the rulers of the Gentiles are bowed to the worship of the Divine Being, and let him say, God, Whose wrath none can resist, under Whom they that bear the world are bowed down. As though he plainly owned, saying, ‘Both the People, that was once subject to Thee, Thou forsakest in Thy severity, and the powers of the Gentiles, that set up their heads, Thou bendest low in Thy mercy.’
26. Though hereby, that it is said, Under Whom they that bear the world are bowed down; we may also understand the Angelical powers; for these bear the world, in that they execute the charges of the governing of the universe, as Paul bears witness, when he says, Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them that shall be heirs of salvation. [Heb. 1, 14] Thus he says, God, Whose wrath none can resist, under Whom they that bear the world are bowed down. As if he beheld the humiliation of every created being, and said in fear and trembling, ‘Which of frail mortals resists Thy nod, before Whose might the Angelic Powers themselves bow down themselves?’ Or, surely, since, when we are bowed down, we see nothing of things above us, those subtlest spirits must needs have been erect, if they completely reached the power of His Majesty; but ‘they that bear the world, are bowed down under God,’ for though when they are lifted up they behold the loftiness of the Divine Nature, yet not even the Angelic Powers attain to comprehend It. Which Same the righteous man failing from infirmity to fathom, and yet in some degree estimating It from the ministrations of the most exalted spirits being subject to Him, falls back to the consideration of himself with heedful humility, and makes himself little in his own eyes compared with the omnipotence of the Supreme Majesty.