Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he has done?
All Commentaries on Job 21:31 Go To Job 21
Gregory The Dialogist
69. Often that wrath of God, which the wicked man is to suffer for ever, even while placed in this life too he is made to experience, whilst he loses the good fortune that he loves, and meets with the adversity that he dreads. And though even in prosperity he may be rebuked for his wickednesses by the tongue of the righteous, yet we know that it is when his evil deeds bring the bad man to the earth, that the reproof of the righteous gains force. But in what sense is it now said, Who shall reprove his way to his face? seeing that the righteous even holding their peace this too is well known, that so often is ‘the way of the wicked man reproved to his face’ here, as often as his prosperity is disturbed by adversity intervening. But blessed Job, while he was speaking of the body of all the wicked, suddenly turns his words to the head of all the wicked.
For he saw that at the end of the world Satan entering into the man, whom Holy Scripture calls Antichrist, is lifted up with such exaltation, lords it with such power, is exalted with such wonderful signs and marvels in the exhibiting of holiness, that his deeds cannot be charged home to him by man, in that with the power of terribleness he likewise unites the signs of holiness which is exhibited, and he says, Who shall reprove his way to his face? ‘Who,’ that is to say, ‘of mankind may dare to rebuke him? whose face does he dread to endure [or, ‘the sight of whom he dreads’]? Yet not only Elijah and Enoch who are brought forward for the rebuking of him, but even all the Elect ‘reprove his way to his face,’ whilst they shew contempt, and whilst by excellence of mind they oppose his wickedness. But because this they do by divine grace and not by their own powers, it is rightly said now, Who shall reprove his way before his face? For ‘who’ is there save God, by whose aid the Elect are supported to have power to withstand him? For sometimes in Holy Scripture, when in asking a question the word ‘who’ is put, the Almighty is denoted. Hence it is written, Who shall raise him up? [Gen. 49. 9] Of Whom it is said by Paul, Whom God raised from the dead. [Gal. 1, 1] In respect then that holy men oppose themselves to his wickedness, it is not themselves, that ‘reprove his way,’ but it is He, by Whose grace they are strengthened, and whereas his presence, wherewith he will come in man, will be much more dreadful in persecution than it is now, when he is not seen at all, in that he is not as yet preeminently borne by that special vessel of his, it is well said, before his face. For there are many now who judge and rebuke the ways of Antichrist, but this they do as it were in his absence, in that they rebuke him whom they do not as yet in a special manner see. But when he shall come in that damned man, whoever withstands his presence, ‘reproves his way before his face,’ the powers of whom he at once sees and sets at nought. Or surely, to ‘reprove his way before his face’ is to disturb the prosperity of his course by the interrupting of eternal punishment. Which thing because the Lord alone is to do by His own might, of Whom it is written, Whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, [2 Thess. 2, 8] it is rightly said, Who shall reprove his way before his face? And hence the words follow, And who shall repay him what he hath done? Who, truly, save the Lord, Who alone shall ‘repay that lost man what he hath done,’ when by His coming He shall dash in pieces his exceeding mighty power with eternal damnation? But what this exalted prince of the wicked is about, as long as he is in this life, let us hear.