Job 40:1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
God has given Job much information to consider in the past couple of chapters. He knew that His Words are powerful. He knew that He had given Job exactly what he needed. Now He stopped for a moment to challenge Job if he really had anything to say against God. Did Job actually believe he had the right to scold God and demand anything of Him?
Job answered the LORD in the only right manner. He was not a fool. He knew he had been wrong. He knew he had been out of line. He was truly humbled by what he had heard. He had received a genuine rebuke, but he was not so puffed up with pride that he would take offence to the truth. This is important. If you cannot take a true rebuke when it is justified, you have a problem with pride. Pride is sin.
We have talked before of how too many children and adults are being brainwashed into thinking they need to protect their “self-esteem”. Self-esteem is just another word for pride. No one needs to protect their pride. Pride is sin. It needs to be confessed as sin and rejected.
Job had been very proud in assuming that God owed him an answer for what was happening to him. Job had heard first hand of the wisdom and power of the Almighty. He had been confronted with truths he had not thought of before. He understood he had nothing to answer with.
Job was not just making up words. Job was truly humbled. He now understood that he was vile. Job understood he was of “little account”. He was way out of place in his attitude toward God. Job would place his hand over his mouth and be quiet.
Job had taken liberty that did not belong to him. God had been gracious to him and allowed him to shoot off the mouth. However, Job needed to understand that there are consequences for the choices we make. He noted that he had spoken out of turn at least twice. He was not going to add to his sin. He was not going to continue to dig his hole deeper. He wanted out of the hole. He wanted God’s forgiveness.
Job had a completely different attitude now. Earlier, he had wanted to be freed from his affliction. Now that he understood Who God was in a much better way, he did not even talk about his affliction. As we have noted before, when we turn our eyes unto the LORD and consider His greatness, our troubles become much smaller. It was not that Job’s troubles were gone, but in comparison to God’s greatness and the blessing of being able to worship before this true and great God, his troubles were not really that bad.
What Job was doing here was exalting God, rather than the devil. Earlier, he had been giving in to the devil. He had been acknowledging the power of the devil, even though he did not know the devil was inflicting the suffering on him. By dwelling on the suffering, he was giving in to the devil’s tactics. God showed him this was not right and it was not justifiable.
This was an important lesson for Job to learn. It is also an important lesson for us to learn today. We need to be reminded of this often. The flesh does not like difficulties. The flesh demands pampering. We do not grow when we are pampered. We grow when we are tested and tried. Job knew this in principle but now he knew it practically.
Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
We can sometimes know the right response in theory, but we have not lived it out. We need to live it out. When we live it, it becomes real. The apostle Paul stated:
II Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Paul learned this important lesson in his life. We all need to learn this important lesson. God knows the right way to teach us this. We need to pray for the right attitude and the right perspective to be able to benefit from the testing that God needs to do in our lives.
Job was a better man at the end of his testing. Paul was also a better man at the end of his testing. Neither one was robbed of the blessings of God. They are examples for us to learn from. As we already noted, the flesh will not appreciate this, but the spirit will. Christians are challenged to walk in the spirit and not to fulfil the lust of the flesh.