Verse 5 is a wonderful summary of the entire message of the Old Testament that we have studied so far. Job said, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.” Herein lies the contrast: there is knowledge about God and then there is knowing God. Before Job’s encounter with God he had been operating under a great knowledge about God. I’m sure he was raised in a good Sunday School; he probably memorized verses every week. He went to a good Christian college, never missed Sunday services, served on the deacon board, the missions committee, tithed regularly, and even went on a weekend missions trip. If he were to play Bible Trivial Pursuit, he would have always won. He was a pillar in his community. If you were to poll the neighborhood, asking for a description about Job, the unanimous response would have been that Job was a humanitarian, a great father, a great husband, a generous business man, a God-fearer, and an all-around good guy.
Do you know any people like that? Sounds good doesn’t it? Jesus met a lot of people like that in His day. They were called Pharisees. They had constructed an excellent system of external behaviors and a doctrinal belief system that allowed them to feel really good about their status of righteousness. They had an air-tight case of being “good.” The problem is that they did not know God. Jesus called them white-washed graves. On the outside they looked great, but on the inside they were filled with the stale stench of long dead bones.
Here’s the really scary part. It is highly probable that Job and the Pharisees had no idea that they were the walking dead. They are the people who will get to the final day and say to God, “Lord, Lord, we did all these great things in your name.” Then the Lord will say to them, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Fortunately for Job, he had a brave young man named Elihu who was willing to speak truth to his elder and expose him to the error of his thinking. This cleared the fog and allowed Job to see clearly the awesome majesty and greatness of God’s unchanging sovereignty. In the end, Job learned that no one is righteous in God’s eyes. No one deserves to draw one breath on this planet. All that we have is a gracious gift from God. All that we do is part of His plan and should be done for His honor and His glory.
May we, today, be like Job and fall on our faces in worship. May our attitudes reflect His as we stop thinking about our agendas and managing our image and focus all of our attention on the Kingdom of God.
We can get pretty self-righteous when our head is filled with knowledge of God and our lives are dictated by proper doctrine. It is only when we come face to face with the awesome reality of the God who is above doctrine that we can truly enter into a dynamic relationship with Him and know Him. We will never understand Him, but we can know him.