Monday, December 18, 2023

Response of Repentance (Job 40:1-5)

“Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You?” (Job 40:4).

God rebuked Job for questioning His judgment: “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.” It is as if God had to pull a response from Job, who on previous occasions had been quick to defend himself. But now, he is silent and God puts the question directly to him: “Who are you to question me and presume to instruct me?” Those who argue with God are assuming they are in a position to instruct God on a better way. But who is man, a creature, to instruct his Maker? Can a finite human being add to the inexhaustible wisdom and knowledge of God?

Job recognizes his folly and responds in humility: “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.” Like Isaiah before the glory of God, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” and Peter before Christ, “Away from me for I am a sinner,” Job confesses his sin before the holiness of God. “Job now vilifies himself as much as ever he had justified and magnified himself,” Henry wrote. “Repentance changes men’s opinion of themselves. Job had been too bold in demanding a conference with God, and thought he could make his part good with Him: but now he is convinced of his error, and owns himself utterly unable to stand before God or to produce any thing worth His notice, the veriest dung-hill worm that ever crawled upon God’s ground.”

Job is silenced, not because he is downcast and sullen, but because he knew he had been wrong. “Those that are truly sensible of their own sinfulness and vileness dare not justify themselves before God, but are ashamed that ever they entertained such a thought, and, in token of their shame, lay their hand upon their mouth.” True repentance silences the offender and humbles him before God. If you have never been silenced before the holiness of God on account of your sin, if you have never confessed your unworthiness before His glorious throne, if you have never stopped making excuses and owned the guilt of your sin, you have never been truly repentant. May you follow the example of Job, lay your hand on your mouth because of the vileness of your sin, and, then, seek forgiveness in Christ who alone can pardon and cleanse you of your sin.

Is there something you have been contending with God about? Maybe you haven’t verbalized it like Job did, but maybe you have thought in your heart that God had been unjust about something. Have you thought that God could have done something better in your life or that you deserved better? If so, repent of your pride today.