Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that You can do everything and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 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. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)
The Humility Of Job
If there is one man in scripture that is the definition of suffering, courage, faith, and patience, the man Job is at the top of the list. The Holy Spirit dedicated more than ten thousand words to tell his story. It began with a conversation between the Lord God and Satan. The story ends with a conversation between the Lord God and Job. In between the two bookends is a sad story of loss, grief unimaginable, suffering almost unbearable, and the counsel of friends that often was misguided, cruel, judgmental, and without mercy. Quietly sitting with the four older men was a younger man with deeper counsel and spiritual insight. As an epic drama, the book of Job is poetic yet formed as a debate on the character of God and the plight of man. No final analysis is derived from the discussions, but God is recognized as omnipotent, omniscient, full of justice, righteousness, and truth. One of the great mysteries of the book is while the calamity of events that came upon Job and his family were enormous, nothing is presented at the end of the story where God explains why those things that occurred to Job happened. And Job never asked. It did not matter. He trusted in God.
Job’s faith struggled. He did not quietly take the loss of his family and his health without bemoaning his birth, his place in life, and the unfair counsel of his friends. The faith of Job sought to argue with God – with respect – but argue nonetheless. He persistently appeals to God for help, answers, guidance, and mercy. When the friends ceased answering Job, Elihu spoke up in anger. His wrath was because Job justified himself rather than God, and Elihu was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. When Elihu finished, the Lord took up the baton against Job telling him to stand up and face the Creator’s wrath and a righteous God. The Lord’s rebuke was a blistering barrage of righteous indignation. It moved Job to say he was vile and worthless. The rebuke continued. Finally, at the end of the Divine declaration, Job realized his folly and sought the kind mercy of the Lord God, seeking His love filled with a heart of repentance.
It is hard to debate the voice of God proceeding from a whirlwind. Job did not try to excuse himself. He did not blame his three friends. His plight was not something he could seek mercy from God as a pitiful man of no degree. The voice of defiance was never heard. His heart was not filled with anger at God. There were many emotions Job could experience when it all came to an end, but the one thing Job possessed was a heart of humility. He did not understand why everything that happened to him came about. His friends were not evil men. They had tried to comfort their friend with whom they had sat for a week in silence. Human wisdom failed, but those three friends were there with Job, and that mattered to him. They brought some comfort because of their presence. Job appreciated the wisdom of youth as he listened to Elihu, a daysman sent by God. Foremost, the man from Uz heard the voice of God as he had never heard before. He knew he was in the presence of the Almighty. He approached God with a humble heart.
The catastrophes that happened to Job would destroy most men. He learned patience and humility. Job acknowledged that he was not in a place to accuse God. His heart was filled with remorse not to have greater faith and trust in the presence of his heavenly Father. Bad things happen to people, and God still rules. Long after Job died, the Son of God came and suffered more than Job could imagine. Where was God when His Son was being tortured? The same place He was when Job was suffering. The humility of Job came from a character of suffering to trust in God and His will – whether he understood the answers or not. Job said he spoke what he did not understand, and he repented. As Job looked back over the conversation with his friends, he was ashamed because he had not given glory to God. Humility begins by saying, “I know that You can do everything and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” That is a heart subject to the will of God in the face of bearing a cross for Jesus Christ.