Most of us are familiar with the story of Job, a man considered righteous among the men of his time, and greatly blessed by God in terms of this world’s riches. Satan was allowed to take it all away and Job was counseled by four friends concerning why he was suffering and by his wife who recommended he curse God and die. If you haven’t read the account of Job for yourself, we recommend you do so, paying particular attention to the dialogue between Job and his friends.
After all of the dialogue, in itself interesting because it revealed the true character of everyone in the discussion, we finally have in Chapter 40, God speaking directly to Job and reminding him of exactly whom he and his friends were dealing with:
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
Have you an arm like God,
and can you thunder with a voice like his?
“Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity;
clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
Pour out the overflowings of your anger,
and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.
Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low
and tread down the wicked where they stand.
Hide them all in the dust together;
bind their faces in the world below.
Then will I also acknowledge to you
that your own right hand can save you.
– (Job 40:6-14 ESV)
What follows through the rest of Chapters 40 and 41 is a wondrous and awesome declaration of God’s sovereignty over all creation. At the end of God’s declaration and challenge, Job replies:
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
– (Job 42:1-6 ESV)
Whatever self-righteousness Job might have had vanished completely as Job considered what God had spoken and his own stature compared to the sovereign Lord of the universe! As a result Job concludes the matter by saying to God:
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Ch 42,vv. 5-6)
It is with that confession to God that Job provides us with what I consider to be a perfect definition of true humility before God; realizing exactly who God IS and who we are!
For Job to ‘man up’ before God turned out to be ‘seeing’ God, realizing who he was compared to God, and finally assuming a posture of repentance and humility before Him.
What a lesson for us in today’s evangelical culture of self-centered Christianity!
May God richly bless you as you consider these things!