Chapter 42 (1) Then Job answered the LORD and said: (2) "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. (3) You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. (4) Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.' (5) "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. (6) Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes."
Job is a wonderful book that demonstrates without doubt the difference between God and man. God, in this book, is willing to have Job suffer for His, that is, God's own purposes, to demonstrate to Satan that Job was a "blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" 1:8. Job according to God, both blameless and upright. Job is a man who sacrifices not only for his sins, but also the sins of his children, and those sins he may not have even known he had done.
However, most of the book is full of bad advice from his friends as to why Job is suffering. They say that Job is obviously bad, an evil man, one who has wronged God. Job disagrees with their synopsis, for good reason, we have just seen that even God calls him upright and blameless. Job therefore, demands a face to face with God. God eventually ( some 38 chapters into the book) speaks to Job, but not one word is said to justify or explain why Job's circumstances occurred. Why?
Job provides the answer in this passage that we have just read. God can do everything. God holds things to wonderful for us to understand. Job had gone further than hearing God, and, Job states "my eyes sees You". Then the books big surprise, an upright blameless man, struck down with major loss by Satan to try and prove a point to God, and we hear from the man who has suffered both physically, and emotionally, the man who lost all his children, all his property, and struck down by a dreadful disease, an amazing statement. Job says, "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes".
So how upright was Job? The book shows us that though upright and blameless, he was human, he did have some traits that we all have "pride, self-justification, and animosity in his heart." But there was not enough of this to have God describe Job in any less terms that we have heard. However, at the end of the day, Job not only saw his own humanness, and God's greatness, but repented, to a point of abhorring himself. Abhor is probably a word we don't use too often about ourselves, It is a strong word, indicating the recognition of something bad within us that we hate being there. No matter how upright and blameless we may think we are, we all have something within to abhor. We all have something to come to God with, to repent in dust and ashes. Job's story testifies that "life is lived best when offered, humbly, and submissively, to God through whatever pains he is pleased to send our way".
So, now, as we gather around the Lord's table, this Lord's Day morning, we too need to learn, remember, and act on the lesson of Job. If for some reason we are suffering, more than perhaps we think we should, or suffering at all, Job tells us that though we may not understand, God's way is so magnificent and above ours, we can still humbly bow down before him and repent. Best of all, unlike Job we not only can repent, but be forgiven immediately through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Job had to sacrifice animals to get right with God. Indeed, Job helped his three companions to sacrifice as we see in these next verses: "Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."
We have had God's only Son do for us, as Job did for his friends, but the Lord put His own life on the cross to defeat sin, death, and hell forever, for those willing to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour, Lord, and sacrifice. The bread and the wine we are about to partake symbolizes this transaction, this great gift, and this great mystery - how God loves us, his children with such great love, to the point of sacrificing his only Son for us, to bring us into His glory. As J I Packer writes in his book 'Knowing God', "We cannot know what Calvary cost the Father, anymore than we can know what Jesus felt as he tasted the penalty due to our sins. (2005, p. 300). God is adequate for us, in all things, without exception. Nothing he does is wrong, lacking in justice, or even lacking in love. It is we who are inadequate, and it is us who can never come to the table without recognizing our inadequacies in living a life, pure, holy and humble. So as we come to the table, may we in our hearts, pray that one last time, ensure that we are right with God, repenting in dust and ashes as it were, of even those sins that may be hidden from our own egos, as even Job discovered when he saw God, and saw who he, Job really was, and so repented.
The remarkable thing about the ending of the story of Job was how God elevated Job in his companion's eyes, and then restored all that he had lost, as a double portion. God says the same to us. Remember the Lord's death until he comes, and then we will be swept up to heaven, to enjoy eternity with Him, our Lord and Saviour, our sacrifice, and what is the value of that for us? Double our current wealth. I doubt that we can even create a number large enough that will demonstrate the reward God has for us in eternity.
So let us remember how we will get there. Through the bread and wine comes the remembrance of a Lord crucified, and we know that He is risen again, seated at the right hand of God, waiting for the perfect time to bring us all to himself. Let us take the bread and wine with the humbleness that is required of us in the presence of God. May we pray, and be filled with the Holy Spirit every day that our lives may become holy, and focused on the love of God poured out into us, so that we can love all around us in the same way as we love God. Let us celebrate this remembrance with worship in our hearts, thanksgiving overflowing our emotion, for such an amazing God as ours, one we cannot hope to fathom, and as Romans 8:28 tells us "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.."