Though Job never rejected God, he questioned God’s ways (Job 19:5-7), defended his own righteousness (29:14), and demanded God’s action (31:1-40). God answered by telling him to “man up” and defend himself, and by revealing himself as Creator and Judge (chap 38-41). With a mighty storm and a stream of questions, God leveled Job, and he felt his small stature in God’s presence (40:4).
Job then humbly acknowledged God’s sovereign power and confessed that he had spoken foolishly (42:1-6). Job’s confession arose from a personal encounter with his living Redeemer. Though he had heard of God, believed in him, and followed his commands, now he saw God.
At the point of Job’s confession, his boils had not been removed, his family had not been restored nor was his fortunes returned; yet he submitted to God’s purposes. Job’s confession resembles Isaiah’s, who cried out when he saw the Lord in glory; “Woe is me!...For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). Similarly, when we behold Jesus through the gospel, we realize our own sinfulness and foolishness. In this critical moment, we dare not commend ourselves to God by standing upon how good we are. We cling to His mercy by acknowledging his righteousness.
God accepted Job’s repentance and fully restored his health and fortune (Job 42:7-17). When God judged Job’s friends for their evil words, he provided atonement for them in such a way that vindicated Job. Contrary to his friends’ accusations, God loved Job and had not brought calamity against him to punish him. Job demonstrated his uprightness by extending mercy to the three friends as their advocated, just as God had extended mercy to Job as his Advocate. The extent to which we forgive others reveals our grasp of how God has forgiven us.
After Job confirmed his repentance by showing mercy, God blessed Job with prosperity and honor. Job died a blessed and vindicated man. While we do not always receive such clarity and or prosperity, even when we suffer terribly, we anticipate blessings from our God that exceeds even the goodness described in Job 42. When Jesus returns, we will see our Advocate face to face, and we will know fully, even as we are fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12). As we behold Him and his truth, our God will purify us completely by His grace, wipe away every tear from our eyes, and invite us to dwell with Him.