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What the Bible says about Job's Inability to See Himself
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Job 3:23-26

Job tried hard to project a certain image. This was not entirely wrong, but despite his righteousness, his projection was far from the perfection that he may have thought he was showing, as the testimony of his three "friends" indicates. In fact, it was fraught with a major failure in his heart, which God clearly saw and determined to cleanse him of.

Suddenly, Job's image of himself is shattered before his eyes. What is he to do? Should he defend his image of himself or repent? To repent may have been quite embarrassing, but as the story unfolds, we see that Job does not perceive that anything is wrong with him. Even if something were wrong, it would have been a major embarrassment to have it exposed. He is so aware of himself as a human being that, for quite a while, he does not perceive that the problem resides in his heart. Therefore, he does what we all do: He defends and justifies himself.

The book of Job is the story of the destruction of Job's self-image. It can also be summed up as the book of human nature. His friends are unsuccessful in their efforts because they perceive his condition as being the result of the sins that he has committed; what he is going through is just retribution for conduct that Job has managed to hide from others for many years. However, God's comments to Satan in Job 1:8 and 2:3 reveal that this is not so: Job is an unusually righteous person, as far as the conduct of his life is concerned.

The problem is not what Job was doing but a flaw in what he was. His defect is not one of outward action but of inward thought, especially in how he perceived himself in relation to God, but also to fellow man. It is a matter of the heart.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Job, Self-Righteousness, and Humility

Job 17:1-4

Job has not yielded any ground, and now he asks God to put up bail for him to rescue him from his predicament. In addition, he is now not only accusing God for his plight, but he is also accusing Him of closing the minds of his friends so that they cannot judge fairly.

Something deep and wonderful is beginning to happen to Job. He does not yet "see" his sin, but he is vaguely realizing that he cannot justify himself before God or man by his works. He wants their former relationship restored—he wants to be reconciled to the One against whom he has sinned—so that he, in desperation or defiance, almost even as a challenge, asks the One he sinned against to set him free! This is exactly what God does through Christ. However, in Job's case, his condition continues to worsen before it gets better.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Job, Self-Righteousness, and Humility

Job 30:18-25

Job 30:18-25 adds more complaints that essentially claim, "If I, Job, can see these problems, why can't God? And yet He does nothing!" His mindset is such now that he is blaming God for everything that goes wrong in his life. The sum of these charges is that God is guilty while Job is an innocent victim of God's blind, uncaring negligence.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Job, Self-Righteousness, and Humility

Job 38:1-7

God approaches Job in a way calculated to chop him down to the humanity to which he belonged. How could Job possibly conclude that he was anything close to what God is! Such presumptuousness! Had Job ever created anything remotely like this earth? How could he even begin to think he was somehow God's equal? Job had a highly exaggerated opinion of himself. He had somehow managed to outgrow his humanity or had lost it on this trip to call God into condemnation!

Just as surely as there was an awesome difference between God's creation of the heavens and earth and what Job had accomplished, there was at least that much difference between God and Job spiritually.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Job, Self-Righteousness, and Humility


 




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