His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen now stick out.
All Commentaries on Job 33:21 Go To Job 33
Gregory The Dialogist
52. For when every outward pleasure is worn away by the pressure of the rod, the bones of inward firmness are laid bare. For what is meant in this place by the word flesh, but fleshly pleasure itself? Or what by bones, but the virtues of the soul? The flesh therefore wastes away, and the bones are laid bare, because while carnal pleasure is brought to nought by the reproof of scourges, those sturdy virtues are laid open, which had long been concealed, as it were, beneath the flesh. For no one learns what progress he has made, except in adversity. For in prosperity, the evidences of strength cannot be discerned. Whence it is written elsewhere, The Lord commanded His loving kindness in the day time, and declared it in the night. [Ps. 42, 8] Because, in truth, it is in tranquil rest that each man obtains the grace of the heavenly gift, but it is in trouble and adversity that he gives proof how much he has received. Let our flesh then waste away, that our bones may be laid bare. Let us be smitten with the reproofs of a father, that we may know what progress we are making. For by the scourge of the Lord the rankness of carnal pleasure is worn down, but the bones of our virtues are laid bare. Our outward beauty is tarnished by this world’s sufferings, but that which was concealed within is made manifest. For when the Apostles had been scourged, they were directed to speak no more in the Name of Jesus. [Acts 5, 40, 41] But they rejoiced with exceeding joy, that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the Name of Jesus: and they confidently replied to their adversaries, We ought to obey God rather than man. [Acts 5, 29] See how the strength of their faith shone forth more vigorously in adversity. See how the soundness of the flesh was cut through, but the bones of their virtues were laid open. It is hence said of them by Wisdom, God proved them, and found them worthy for Himself. [Wisd. 3, 5] For, though tried by the blows of adversity, they are found worthy by the laying bare of their bones. For that the trial of their scourging is here meant, is plainly declared by what follows, As gold in the furnace He tried them, and received them as a victim of a burnt offering. [ib. 6] Because, then, each man’s strength is made known only by adversity, it is well said, His flesh shall waste away, and his bones which were covered shall be laid bare. For the flesh wastes away, while every thing which is perishable and weak is worn away by the scourge. The bones are laid bare, while by these means our latent strength is also made manifest. As we have before said, not merely is the strength of our resolution made known, but also the weakness of our nature laid bare, by the very trials of adversity; and every one shews indeed under trial the progress he has made through God, but also confesses under the very inflictions of the scourges, how weak he is in himself; because not only are the bones laid bare, but the flesh also wastes away.