Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
All Commentaries on Job 38:23 Go To Job 38
Gregory The Dialogist
By either cold, or hard, snow, or hail, we understand, as has been said, the hearts of the wicked. But because Almighty God has chosen His Saints from such, and knows how many of the Elect He has still stored up amongst the life of the wicked, He fitly says, that He has His treasures in snow or hail. For ‘thesaurus’ (treasure) is so called from qesiV, that is, from its being placed away. And He beholds many long concealed in a life of coldness, whom He brings out, when He orders it, and exhibits glittering with the brightness of righteousness, through grace from on high. For it is written, Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. [Ps. 51, 7] And He hides them for a long while beneath the seal of His foreknowledge, prepared against the day of war and of battle, but the moment He brings them out, He strikes the opposing breast of the adversaries, with their words and refutations, as if with hailstones. Whence it is written elsewhere, Through the brightness in His presence the clouds passed away, hailstones and coals of fire. [Ps. 18, 12. See S. Aug. ad loc.] For coals pass away through brightness, because holy preachers traverse the whole compass of the world with the brightness of their miracles. And they are called, moreover, hailstones, and coals of fire; because they both strike with their reproof, and kindle with the flame of charity. The bold reproof of the Saints is also fitly represented by the nature of hail. For hail strikes as it falls, and waters when it melts. But holy men both strike the hearts of their hearers with dread, and bedew them with comfort. For the Prophet bears witness how they strike, saying, They shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts, and they shall tell of Thy greatness. [Ps. 145, 6] And he has proceeded to subjoin, how they bedew with gentleness; They shall utter the memory of the abundance of Thy sweetness, and shall exult in Thy righteousness. [ib. 7] Treasures, therefore, are kept in the snow or hail, because many who were frozen in the torpor of iniquity, when taken up unto heavenly grace, shine forth in Holy Church with the light of righteousness, and smite with the blows of their doctrine the evil wisdom of their adversaries. Whence also it is fitly subjoined, Which I have prepared against the time of the enemy, against the day of battle and war. For Saul in truth had been snow or hail through cold insensibility; but he became snow and hail against the breasts of his adversaries, either by the brightness of righteousness, or by the reproof of his keen eloquence. O what a treasure did the Lord keep him, stored up in snow or hail, when He already secretly beheld him as His own Elect, though placed among the life of the wicked. And to smite how many breasts of His adversaries did He grasp in His hand this hailstone, by which He laid prostrate so many hearts which resisted Him.
39. Let no one then boast himself of his own deeds; let no one despair of those, whom he sees still cold. For he sees not the treasures of God in snow and hail. For who could believe that that very person, who at his death kept the raiment of all those who stoned, could go before the martyred Stephen through the grace of apostleship? [Acts 7, 58] If therefore we refer to these secret gifts, or judgments, while not desparing utterly of any, we do not prefer ourselves in our hearts to those, to whom for a time we have been preferred. For though we now observe how much we have outstripped them, yet we know not how much we may be surpassed ourselves, when they begin the race. It is well, therefore, said to blessed Job, Hast thou entered the treasures of snow, or hast thou beheld the treasures of the hail, which I have prepared against the time of the enemy, against the day of battle and war? As if it were openly said, Prefer not thyself to any one, by reason of thy doings; for of these, whom thou beholdest still frozen in sin, thou knowest not what mighty workers of righteousness, and defenders of sound faith I intend to create. But because this is effected by the coming of the Mediator.