» commentary on job

Thursday, 20 December A.D. 2012 @ 10:33 PM

What was it that Job “saw” when God spoke to him out of the whirlwind that he had previously only “heard by hearing of the ear,” so that he despised himself and repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6)? Job has persistently held God to account in his protests over against his “comforters,” who tried to exonerate God by their “theodicies.” Job's friends thought his speech laying the responsibility on God was outrageous and blasphemous, but Job insisted on crying out against God since God is, according to “the hearing of the ear” (perhaps we might the say “The Doctrine of God!”), the one who is supposed to be in charge. Now God, in declaring his awesome and universal majesty out of the whirlwind, actually approves what Job had said over against all the explanation of the “theologians.” So God declares (42:7-9) that Job had spoken the truth, terrifying as it was and is. Job now sees that in the voice of his suffering he had unwittingly spoken the truth, and he is terrified by it: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know” (42:3). Job sees that through suffering the truth had literally been wrung out of him. He sees where previously he had heard and complained. He thus “despises himself and repents in dust and ashes.”

—from On Being A Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard O. Forde