A third round of discussion begins between Job and his three friends. Here Job again responds to Eliphaz.
“I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed.
“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind? Whatever he wants to do, he does. So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny.”
Job continued his questioning, saying that his suffering would be more bearable if only he knew why it was happening. If he knew of a sin for which he could repent, he would! He knew about wicked people, and he knew they would be punished; he knew God could vindicate him if he so chose. In all his examples of the wicked in the world, Job’s overriding desire was for God to clear his name, prove his righteousness, and explain why he had received this calamity. Eliphaz had tried to condemn Job by identifying some secret sin that he may have committed. Here Job declares his confidence in his integrity and God’s justice. Job tried to make his friends see that their questions about God, life, and justice were not as simple as they assumed.
We are always likely to have hidden sin in our lives, sin we don’t even know about because God’s standards are so high, and our performance is so imperfect. If we put our trust in God, however, all our sins are forgiven because of what Christ did on the cross on our behalf (Romans 5:1; 8:1). And even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3:20). His forgiveness and cleansing are sufficient; they overrule our nagging doubts. The Holy Spirit in us proves that we are forgiven even though we may feel guilty. If we, like Job, are truly seeking God, we can stand up under others’ accusations as well as our own nagging doubts. If God has forgiven and accepted us, we are forgiven indeed.
Today, remember that you are forgiven. When you sin, confess it to God and ask for his strength to do better. He has already forgiven you.