“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I shall question you and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:4,5.NIV
Those of you familiar with the story of Job know that God allowed Satan to bring great trials on his servant, Job. Satan’s contention was that it was easy for Job to love God and serve Him as long as life was good, but, try putting a little trouble into Job’s life and then see if he would remain faithful.
Job’s friends come to give him insight into why he deserves to be punished, and Job defends himself, saying he has done nothing to provoke God’s wrath.
This goes on for awhile, and then God steps in to ask Job some pretty potent questions:
“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s and can your voice thunder like his?” Job 40: 2, 8, 9.NIV
Have you ever questioned God’s plan for your life? Are you angry with God because things have not turned out the way you had envisioned? Are you currently going through a hardship that you do not think you deserve? Are you a little bit (or a lot) angry with God?
Welcome to Job’s world. As you read though this story you see Job going through all these feelings. He never got to the place of cursing God, but he was not happy with events. “Where is God when it counts? If I could only lay my case before Him he would see the unfairness of it all.”
Job says, “My ears had heard of you.” He thought he knew all about God and his gracious mercy. We, too, have some well formed ideas about God. We have an agenda for Him as concerns our lives. We even think we know how He thinks. Have you ever heard anyone make the statement, “How could a loving God allow such and such to happen?
The surprising part of the story is that when Job gets his chance to bring his case before God, we see a different response than the one we would expect. “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:4,5.
When facing the True God, not the invention of His own heart, Job is humbled. His first thought is to repent, to ask forgiveness for the arrogance of his reasoning; for daring to think he deserved anything but God’s wrath.
And that needs to be our position as well. God is gracious to us sinners, even to the point of sending His Son to die to atone for our sins, but He owes us nothing. We indeed deserve nothing from His hand but wrath. That’s why God's goodness toward us is called Grace; undeserved love.
The story ends with God blessing Job with family and riches far beyond what he lost, but, if you were to ask Job, the best part of the story was that he received these gifts from God in true humility, knowing that none of it was of his own doing. He learned that God gives freely to those who have no claim on Him.
This is a wonderful piece. The story of Job makes me picture our relationship with God thus: If we humans think that we have played our best game and we have made sure that we return the ball into the Lord's court, we must not have problem with the Lord declaring Himself the winner even if He "failed" to play the ball back to our court.