“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6
Job’s righteousness was unparalleled in his day, God himself declaring that Job was “a blameless and upright man.” (Job1:8). We often view such spiritual exemplars as having transcended the depravity that is common to us all. In fact, such an attitude is present today when believers who have been in the faith for many years forget that their lives are saturated with sinful depravity, a condition that needs to be brought before the Lord daily for forgiveness and renewal. To illustrate this, the LORD took the most righteous man on earth and exposed him to the utter and complete holiness of God. The trial that Job endured makes clear to us that God is sovereign and beyond our meager attempts to contain in human understanding. But, it also shows us the complete bankruptcy of human goodness as Job is stripped of his self-declared righteousness before a holy and awesome God. Coming face to face with his own fallenness and finitude, Job declares “I despise myself” since the only proper response to the unfiltered glory of God is to “repent in dust and ashes.”
Friends, I am concerned that some of us have lost serving God in fear and wonder. The evidence is not in the overt and especially “bad” sins we commit such as drugs or sexual immortality, although these certainly would indicate it. Rather, I am concerned with how easy it seems for some to make space for “acceptable” sins: greed, jealousy, divisions, unforgiveness, selfish desire, and pride. Let us reacquaint ourselves with the majesty of the God we serve and bask in His love and mercy, knowing that we could never be worthy except for the blood of Jesus, and carry in our hearts the constant refrain of repenting in dust and ashes.
Pastor John Woolard