However mysterious the dispensations of divine providence — they are all in mercy; and by them often the Lord answers the prayers of his people. The dealings of God with his servant Job were very trying, and long continued — but they ended in special mercy. It is probable that Job had often prayed the Lord to manifest himself, little thinking what means he would take to do it. In the end of his long affliction, we find him saying, "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. 42:5, 6.
JOB'S EARLY EXPERIENCE. He had heard of God. Knowledge was handed down by oral instruction. The memories of the parents, were the family library. He had been told that there was a God, a fact revealed clearly, needing no proof — but only demanding belief. He no doubt had been informed that God was supreme, glorious, gracious, and just. That he required obedience to his moral precepts, and the performance of his positive institutions. Or, that man was to be moral; and being sinful, must come to God through a sacrifice, which was to bleed in order to make atonement, and direct the eye forward to the Lamb of God, who was to take away the sin of the world. He believed what he heard, he did as he was commanded — and so prospered in his ways. Thus he was a sincere and upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
HIS PRESENT ATTAINMENT. "Now my eye sees you!" Not that God has appeared to him in a visual manner, or that he had seen any similitude, or representation of God; but as the eye takes in a more clear, distinct, and impressive view than the ear — so his knowledge of God was more clear, distinct, and impressive. God is to be seen in nature — here all may behold him. He is also seen in revelation — here all who have his word may view him. He is also seen in Jesus — here all who know his Son may study him. But he is made known also, by the inward operation of the Holy Spirit. God who at the first commanded the light to shine out of darkness — shines into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
Job now saw God in another manner than he had ever done
before. He saw more . . .
of his greatness and glory,
of his power and majesty,
of his purity and sovereignty,
of his grace and mercy.
Just so, we, by the constant teaching of the Spirit, and the dispensations of divine providence — come to know God more thoroughly, and therefore we trust him more implicitly.
ITS EFFECT. "Therefore I abhor myself." He had disgusting and humiliating views of himself. Having a clearer and more correct view of his God — led him to despise himself, and he turned from himself with loathing! He now abhorred the rashness he had displayed, the impatience He had manifested, the complaints he had uttered, the self-righteousness he had indulged, and the reflections He had cast on his God.
Now he says, "I repent." My mind is changed, and I am sorry for my misconduct. According to the custom of the country, and the times in which he lived — he sat down on ashes, put dust on his head, humbling himself before God, and loathing himself in his own sight for all his abominations.
To hear of God is a mercy. To be correctly informed of his existence, nature and perfection, to be taught to know his righteous law, and gracious gospel — is a greater mercy. To see God is a greater mercy. To have him revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and to have him revealed in us, as an act of special grace — is the crowning mercy.
A sight of God always humbles us. It did the prophet Isaiah, who when he saw the king, the Lord Almighty, cried out, "Woe is me, for I am undone." It did the apostle Peter, who when he perceived the dignity and glory of Jesus, exclaimed, "Depart from me — for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" It did the beloved John, who when Jesus appeared to him in Patmos, fell at his feet as dead. God's glory always lays the believer low.
Our views of God may yet be clearer, and our
impressions of his majesty deeper. We have seen but little of his
glory yet. We have felt but little of the sanctifying effects of his
presence yet. But "we shall know, if we follow on to know the Lord." Those
who know the most of God — think the least of themselves. Pride cannot live
in the presence of God. His glory . . .
consumes our self-righteousness,
dries up our conceit, and
spoils all our supposed beauty.
The higher we rise in our knowledge and enjoyment of God — the lower we shall sink in our estimation of ourselves. True repentance, is always attended with self — abhorrence. We abhor not only sinful self; but righteous self — everything of our own, and cry out with Paul, "That I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law — but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
True faith always goes hand in hand with repentance. The stronger our faith — the deeper our penitence. The more we believe God's love to us — the more we mourn over our sin and sinfulness. The tear of penitence will drop from the eye of faith, on the crystal threshold of the gate of the New Jerusalem. And then the light of glory will extinguish the light of faith — and there shall be no more sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain — for the former things will have passed away!