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Friday, June 29, 2012

Listen! Job Speaks!


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Finally! We hear Job speak! Job 40:3-5 says, 


       Then comes Job's reply, 
Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
 “Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more.”
I so wish I could see Job's face as he says these words. As he put his hand over his mouth, did he look away? Did he stare at God? Did he bow his head? Did his eyes look sad? What tone of voice did he have? 

And what would be your demeanor saying those words? Would you be close to tears? Would you hang your head? Or look confidently at the Lord Who loves you?

I'm sure we'll never know on this earth. But someday we will look at Jesus Himself and if we were to say something similar, He would grin and open His arms wide to gather you in. Because your sins have been forgiven and your life has become eternal.

Job's words are the words of repentance. He:
  • recognizes he is insignificant. There is nothing of himself that merits acceptance from God
  • recognizes that words are insufficient to defend himself before the sinless, perfect, holy God
  • carries out a submissive act
  • acknowledges that he had tried to defend himself and it was futile
  • commits to no longer trying to protect himself from God working in his life.
Does thinking of having a similar response bring you fear or hope? Discouragement or anticipation? For most of my life, I would have said it would bring me more hopelessness than encouragement. Before becoming a Christian, I thought I had to wallow in my bad feelings to show God how truly repentant I was and how I deserved His love.


But today, such repentance brings me hope. No longer do I need to beat myself over the head to pay penance for my sins. No longer do I have to earn God's restorative forgiveness and cleansing. Instead, I can quickly claim I John 1:9 and move on: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Yes, there is a bowed head in honor and awe. But there is hope in knowing God is working and I'm being pruned and sanctified.


Although the old patterns do surface. As I recently recognized my resistant heart that I've mentioned in previous posts, I thought, "Well, I really need God's grace for this kind of resistance." 


In that moment, it hit me so forcefully. God's grace is fully needed for what I call "little" sins or "huge" sins. It's the same amount of grace for any sin. There's no little grace nor little sin. There's no big grace nor big sin. It's the same grace and the same level of sin. 

Joe Thorn in his book, Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself, explains, "You need to remember your sins for what they are--lawlessness that stemmed from a heart that hated God. It wasn't just what you did; it was what you were. And in remembering these sins, you hold fast to Jesus. This remembrance does not encourage you to shrink back from God but to draw near, seeking him because of the hope of the gospel. When you remember your sins, you learn humility, love Jesus, and make much of the gospel."


Job didn't know about the gospel but he was living it out in that moment by confession, repentance, and humility. And praise God, there is hope and peace that comes for us when we are in that same place. 


Make sure you're not believing any lies that steal your joy, hope, and peace in the midst of your repentance. You can say Job's words with full conviction and not be discouraged. Because God wants you cleansed and to continue on in His power. That's good repentance!

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