Then Job answered the LORD, and said,…
Jehovah's mode of dealing with Job is very remarkable. He did not enter at all upon the point about which the disputants could not agree. He said nothing whatever about the dispensations of His providence. Nor did He declare whom He chastened, and whom He left unchastened in the world. Of what, then, did He speak? Of the great mysteries of creation and nature, as displaying His glorious majesty, His creative power, His perfect wisdom. The result was striking. Job was strongly convinced of his own ignorance and sinfulness.
I. JOB'S DEEP CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN. No words could express it more strongly than these, "Behold, I am vile!" It is just the most eminent saints — just those who are most advanced in the knowledge of God, who make use of such words. (See case of Isaiah; and Psalm 51:3.) "Behold, I am vile!" is no exaggerated statement; it is a state and a feeling to which we ought all to be brought — a confession which we ought all to make. If we try to analyse the state of mind expressed by these words, it is quite evident that it is one in which the sinfulness of sin is most deeply felt — in which sin is regarded with great abhorrence, and the sinner views himself with deep self-abasement. There is a Scripture term that suits the idea — "self-loathing" (Ezekiel 36:31). If we endeavour to go a little deeper into this state of mind, we shall find that there are two feelings, carefully to he distinguished from each other, which elicit this solemn confession. The one is "remorse," the other is "the consciousness of ingratitude towards God." There is a great difference between remorse and true repentance. Remorse may, and often does, lead to repentance, but very often it stops short of it. Remorse is repentance without grace — the working of the natural heart; whereas repentance is a change of mind, showing itself in real sorrow for sin. The chief difference between "the two lies in the motives. Have you then felt the ingratitude of your heart? Have you realised that every act of sin in which you indulge is an act of ingratitude towards God?
II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS DEEP CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN. One only is mentioned here — silence before God. The natural heart is very prone to arraign God's ways. Never, in the language of the world, do you find such words as these, "I will lay my hand upon my mouth." But the true Christian places authority on her right throne — in God, and not in man, — and aims continually at the grace of silent submission. If you wish to be submissive, pray that you may feel your utter sinfulness. You wish, it may be, to feel your utter sinfulness, pray that God may be manifested to you by the Spirit in Jesus Christ through His Word.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Job answered the LORD, and said,