For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. (Job 5:18, NIV)
For he wounds, but he binds up
The surgeon, who makes a wound even more painful by probing and opening it, does so to let out the matter and make way for his medicine. Then he lays on the plaster, and binds it up. So God causes grief and puts his people to pain, by diseases of body, or by making breaches in their families and estates, by other cutting providences. Then he binds up their breach, and heals the stroke of their wound, and in the issue makes all whole again. So it is in spiritual things – by the sharp, two-edged sword of the Word, he cuts and wounds, and gives pain and uneasiness. His Spirit lays open all the corruption of nature, and brings to repentance and humiliation for all transgressions; and then pours in the oil and wine of pardoning grace and mercy, and binds up the wounds that are made.
He shatters, but his hands heal
The same thing is meant as above, expressed by different words. The whole suggests that every afflicted man, and particularly Job, should he behave well, and as he ought, under the afflicting hand of God, would be healed, and become sound and whole again, in body, mind, family, and estate. For, though God for the present caused grief, yet he would have compassion, since he did not willingly grieve the children of men. He did not do it for his own pleasure, but for their good, as a skillful surgeon cuts and wounds in order to heal. See Deuteronomy 32:39, Hosea 6:1, Lamentations 3:32, and Lamentations 3:33.
(Adapted from john gill’s exposition of the bible, job 5:18)
A Thought to Keep
No one likes going under the knife, but we like cancer even less. God is in the business of scraping off those warts and moles that threaten to become malignant and attack our souls. He wounds so we might experience wellness in the Spirit.