Job: A Case Study In Total Repentance

5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:5-6

I can’t seem to get away from the topic of repentance. It appears to me as if repentance is the only thing that we can do to make true our relationship with God. We must repent at every cost! If need be we must get on our knees and pray for a heart of repentance. Repentance must be on our top priority as children of God.

In Job chapter 1 verse 1 the Bible says that Job was a man who was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

I doubt there are many born-again believers that the Bible can talk about in those same exact words. Job was a truly righteous man. But the Bible here says that when this same Job saw God with his own eyes, he abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes. So what did Job repent of? He repented of sin. When you have no sin you do not need to repent.

Just pause and imagine that. In his perfection, still, when he saw God face to face, Job found he was a sinful man! So much so that he repented in dust and ashes.

That is so powerful! It underlines the fact that God is that much higher than we, even when we are at our most perfect.

If you light a candle and put it next to a burning 10,000 megawatt bulb, I think you will notice the difference. The difference is that there will be not much of a candlelight to notice.

If Job thought he was holy and upright before he had seen God, when he finally did see God, the Bible says, he abhorred himself and repented.

What does it mean when the Bible says that Job abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes?

It means that he utterly despised himself. Now, we take it very hard when other people despise us, how much more difficult do you think it is for someone to despise themselves? This shows the greatness of this man, Job.

“Repent” talks of a broken spirit. In the Old Testament, God commanded Moses to grind fine flour for His sacrifice (Lev. 23:13). Under the New Covenant we do not grind flour. But we humble ourselves and become broken in spirit, broken into many small pieces, which are then continually ground into much finer flour – ready for the King’s sacrifice!!

God told the Prophet Samuel:

“… for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

God looks upon the human heart. There are many things that we do in church seeking to draw the attention of God. But God is like the professional archer: He never misses the mark. You will never do anything to make God take His eyes off the human heart. God will always look upon the heart. And God is pleased with a repentant heart.

Repentance has to become a way of life for the church. We must allow this into our lives at any cost. If we had only one thing to pray to God for, we should pray for a spirit of repentance. Brokenness is a process that has to be a permanent attitude of our hearts. That is why Jesus said,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk. 9:23).

In His love for us God will allow many situations into our lives in order to give us that broken spirit. Daily we must make a choice – the choice to accept to be broken.

[Below: Mwanza is the second-largest city in Tanzania. Mwanza Airport is soon to be upgraded to international status]


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