“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)
God had said that Job was “a perfect and an upright man” and that there was “none like him in the earth” (Job 1:8). Yet Job suffered as few men have ever suffered. After a fruitful life of great prosperity and highest esteem in the community, he suddenly lost all his possessions, all his children, his health, the love of his wife, and the respect of his closest friends. His friends, presuming to defend God’s character, insisted Job must have been guilty of some terrible secret sin. But Job, in all good conscience, while still trusting God, felt he had to defend his own integrity against these false charges.
Nevertheless, despite Job’s spotless record of moral righteousness, when he encountered God Himself, he could only despise his own proud self-righteousness and prostrate himself in dust and ashes. Similarly, the beloved disciple, John, after a long life of faithful service, fell like a dead man at the feet of Christ when he saw Him in His glory (Revelation 1:17). Daniel also saw Him in this fashion, and even after his long, exemplary life, all of his apparent goodness and work suddenly appeared like corruption (Daniel 10:5-9).
In the presence of God, even the most holy among men appear vile, and the sins of pride and self-righteousness and self-sufficiency–which almost inevitably are still present in their hearts–must somehow be purged before they are fully like Jesus.
This is why Job and Daniel and Paul and all other godly men and women must suffer in some degree as training for heavenly service. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). HMM