The Conversion of Job

"As a prince I would go near Him" (Job 31:37).

A great man was this Job, and strong in his own defence. The talk of his three friends would have crushed and silenced an ordinary man, but it only made him the more vehement in declaring his own righteousness, and he winds up what he thought would be his final speech by a challenge to the Almighty Himself. "Behold, my desire is that the Almighty would answer me" he cries. "I would declare to Him the number of my steps. AS A PRINCE WOULD I GO NEAR UNTO HIM." That was Job, and as his history was written for our learning we do well to consider him, as God called on Satan to do. Calamity had not broken him, aspersion and scorn could not subdue his proud spirit, he would hold his head erect without fear before the best of his fellow men, and even in the presence of the Almighty he would stand up as a prince. What could a man say after that? That surely was the climax, the limit, and Job felt it so to be, for he added, "The words of Job are ended." But they were not. The Almighty took up his challenge. He had heard all his proud words and now He answers him and demands that Job should open his mouth again. "Gird up thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me" (chap. 38:3). Then God's greatness was declared to him and in chapter 40 Job is compelled to speak, not now to tell the number of his steps, or to say one word more as to his own glory but to humbly confess: "Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once I have spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further." But he must proceed further; he had said before that he would speak no more; he says it again, "Once have I spoken, yea, twice," but no more. Yes, Job, you will speak again, and your third speech will be the truth; having challenged the Almighty you must be brought right down into the dust where He can bless you. So God again demands of him that he shall listen and answer, and so he does, for in chapter 42, we read: "Then answered Job and said, I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore I have uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." Thus he judges his own eloquent yet foolish talk and turns to God and says, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sees Thee WHEREFORE I ABHOR MYSELF, AND REPENT IN DUST AND ASHES." Yes, instead of standing up like a prince, he falls prostrate in the dust before God and confesses the truth; there was neither glory nor goodness in turn, and having confessed this he has nothing more to say of himself. But God had something to say of him, and because he took his true place before God, God raised him up indeed, and a prince he became through the goodness of God, but it was God who made him such. God turned his captivity and accepted him and made him, a priest before Him and His appointed channel of His blessing to others.