Then Job said, ‘Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore, I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.’
– Job 42:3b, 5-6
Job was a righteous, God-fearing man who tried hard to please God in all he did.
When hit with unfathomable loss, he worshiped. Even when he was struck with a devastating disease, he did not turn his back on God.
He did, however, complain. His disease ravaged him to the point that he was unrecognizable to his friends as he sat in the ashes and scraped his boils with a piece of broken pottery. Finally driven to the edge, his pain was so great that he cursed the day of his birth. This vulnerable moment opened him up to the final insult as his friends attacked his integrity and heaped the blame for his tragedy upon his own head.
But Job was at the end of himself and in no mood to give in to their self-righteous chastisement. His soul had been stripped completely down to the dirt. They attacked; he defended himself vigorously. Lost in the cacophony was the voice of God. No one seemed to notice.
A fourth friend named Elihu sat there, quietly burning with anger against them all, for Job justified himself in his own eyes, and the three friends condemned him without cause. Finally, he spoke up and chastised Job because Job had complained against God instead of seeking Him out in his distress. Elihu presented a moving defense of the power and sovereignty of the Creator.
In the silence that followed, God Himself dispelled the shadows.
He reminded Job of the awesome intelligence that rules the universe and challenged him to present an understanding of even the simplest forces of nature. He rebuked Job for thinking he knew better than such an omnipotent Creator. In His words, we are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what his been made, so that they are without excuse.
– Romans 1:20
Job had spent his life following what he had been told about God. In doing so, he been so blinded by his own efforts to please His Lord that he had missed really seeing God in the world around him.
His trials were not some wicked test of wills between spiritual forces, but the means by which God brought Job to a place where he was ready to receive a deeper revelation of the God he served.
Eyes wide open, truly seeing for the first time.
Job came out on the other side of his trial having experienced the God whose faithfulness can be trusted through any hardship; the Savior whose sacrifice can heal any pain; the Father whose discipline is the beautiful badge of His everlasting love.