You said,Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.Job 42:4-6
Notice the difference:
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. The inner eye of the heart sees the nature of God. And the result? Job says,
I despise myself.
That is repentance. What Job is really doing is agreeing with what God says about him. He says, in effect,
You are right, Lord. I have perceived things wrongly. I do not know enough to begin to challenge the wisdom of the Almighty. I am an ignorant, limited man who speaks without even knowing what he is talking about. You are quite right, Lord, it is I.
Then he quotes God again:
Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me. He is saying,
Lord, you are right about that, too. I have been an arrogant man. I have been thinking I could answer your questions and that I would even ask you questions that you could not answer. Lord, I have been an arrogant man. I see it now. Something within me has been proud, lifted up, self-righteous, and confident that I was right. I have been wrong all along. So he says,
Lord, I despise myself.
Job has never been in this place before. He is learning at last the hardest lesson of life, what God seeks to teach us all: the problem is never in others or in God; the problem is in us. And it is a problem that only God can handle. We are unequipped to handle it ourselves. All we can do is put it back in His gracious hands.
It looks as though God has humiliated Job and brought this poor, broken-hearted man down into the dust almost cruelly. Yet it is not cruelty, it is love—because, at this point, when Job has finally given up trying to defend and justify himself, God begins to heal and pour into this man's life blessings he never dreamed of.
This is the story of the whole of Scripture, isn't it? Everywhere the Scriptures seek to tell us this. Jesus said,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, the men and women who are bankrupt in themselves, who stop counting on what they have to make it. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
God will begin to heal a life that repents before Him, and He will fill it with blessing and honor and glory and power. None of the prideful things to which we cling will be worth the smallest portion of the glory and joy we have discovered in coming into a relationship with God Himself.
Thank You, Father, for this penetrating look at my own heart. How proud I have been, how filled with self-justification with complaints before You. Teach me to put my hand upon my mouth and admit to You that the problem lies so often with me so that You will heal and restore me.
The astounding humility of Christ's incarnation gave birth to the spiritual family of God. In repentance do we humbly realize God's daily astounding grace and mercy?