I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.
~ Job 42:5-6
Job was a man that had come into great calamity, but things began to happen when he got serious about repentance. The scriptures testify of him, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). Job was a man that walked in his integrity. His character was blameless before God and man. Nevertheless, trouble came upon him.
Job was a man that had heard God. He was strong in the faith and had become a teacher of good things. He had strengthened many in their afflictions and helped many of the weak to bear their burdens. “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled” (Job 4:3-5). Now he seeks consolation for his own spirit in the midst of tribulation.
He confesses that he has spoken words that he believes to be true and yet does not fully understand. “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (Job 42:3). He has heard of God and has given forth his knowledge. He confesses now his own ignorance and slow understanding. He comes into closer contact with the Almighty “but now mine eye seeth thee” and under His shadow finds much to repent of, where he had previously found no flaw.
Let us now consider the repentance of Job. May God give grace to understand and faith to believe His testimony. Jesus said that men who love darkness would not come to the light because their deeds would be manifested. Therefore, let us come to the light that we may discover our sin and repent.
As long as Job stood afar off, he could think that he did well. He was not absent from all worship of God, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear.” There is no telling how far his misery would progress as long as he was content to dwell in the outer court being satisfied with the hearing of his ears and not seeking the light with his eyes. But he began to draw nearer to God and as he came “under the shadow of the Almighty,” the light reproved him.
He had once thought himself well and now saw himself vile. “But now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job found disgust in his own members. He cried as Paul, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18). God had charged Job with darkening “counsel with words without knowledge” (Job 38:2). In the light of God’s presence, Job agreed and confessed his own guiltiness (Job 42:3).
Job’s repentance was the kind spoken of by Joel the prophet, “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:13). His was not sorrow for consequences or the sorrow of the world in outward show. His was a godly sorrow, a sorrow of the heart, and a real sorrow for sin in his flesh. His thoughts ran with the Psalmists who said, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:12-14). Oh for hearts that will sorrow over sin! The Psalmists seeks cleansing from secret faults. Sins so subtle in the flesh that he has not discovered them.
If we draw near to God we will discover our own unworthiness. We will fall on our faces and plead with Him to be delivered from sin. If we desire to be an inner court worshiper we must come into His presence. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Do you wish to find the joy that exists in His presence? Do you wish to be of those that “sat down under his shadow with great delight” (Song of Solomon 2:3)? Then get serious about repentance. Fall on your face before the High God and pour out your heart in all honesty. Stop rationalizing and justifying your sins. Don’t say, “Well, I haven’t done anything all that bad.” God says in His Word, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings” (Jeremiah 3:22).