Job 42:1-6 (ESV)
1 Then Job answered the Lord and said:
2 “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job’s repentance at the end of this book is something special to behold. It is a very real repentance. There is a change of thinking, of feeling, and of acting. And, it is a very good example for us to walk our own minds and hearts through.
In verse 3, Job quotes what God said about him, “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Job understood that what the Lord said about him was true. Job was accusing God of doing wrong. Job was thinking that he could sit in judgment over the values and actions of God. And Job was wrong. Job thought he could offer genuine counsel, but Job lacked knowledge. And God proved that to Job over a series of crushing questions in which God reminded Job how different they are. Here is Job changing his mind, growing in his understanding by thinking differently about who God is and who he is in comparison.
In verse 6, we see Job’s emotions. He says, “”therefore I despise myself.” Job is frustrated with himself. He is embarrassed by the foolish way that he had spoken and thought. Job rightly feels sorrow over his failure.
How about a change of action? Job stops questioning God. He declares that he repents in dust and ashes. He is no longer lifting himself up and demanding his rights. Instead, Job is broken and humbled before the Lord. He changes from arrogant questioning to humble submission. His actions change from wrong to the godly alternative. This is repentance.
What is it to repent? It is first to think differently. Second, it is to feel the proper sorrow over the wrong that you have done. Finally, it is to turn from an evil direction to the right alternative. Job did so, and so should we.