Tuesday: To Repent in Dust and Ashes

After enduring inhuman suffering at the hand of Satan, Job cries out: “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). What does this response tell us about God’s holiness in contrast to human sinfulness? In what ways is the gospel being preached in Job’s reaction to what he experienced? 1

The prophet Ezekiel, whom God graciously sends to Israel (even though they are captive in Babylon as a result of their unfaithfulness), also experiences the awful presence of God. What happened? (Ezek. 1:28).

Jacob had to flee from home after deceiving his father Isaac and twin brother Esau. What was Jacob’s response after his night vision of the ladder to heaven and of God speaking to Him? (Gen. 28:16, 17).

While Israel remained encamped at Sinai, the Lord again descended in the cloud on the mountain and proclaimed Himself to Moses. How did Moses react? (Exod. 34:8).

Daniel, another prophet during the same Babylonian captivity of Israel, also received major visions from God while he served as a high government official.

Though repeatedly told that he is loved in heaven, how did Daniel react when given a vision of God? Why do you think he reacted as he did? Dan. 10:5–8.  

Even though these men were faithful, godly, and righteous—they were prophets, even!—their reactions to the presence of God was one of fear, of trembling, and of worship. No doubt that was because, among other things, they got a sense of their own unworthiness and sinfulness in contrast to the holiness of God. In their own way, these passages hint at the need of a Savior, a Substitute, Someone to bridge the gap between a Holy God and fallen sinful creatures like ourselves. Thanks to the Lord, we have that bridge in Jesus.

Imagine yourself having a similar experience to one of these men mentioned above. How do you suppose you would react, and why?



Tuesday: To Repent in Dust and Ashes — 6 Comments

  1. In our modern society how can this-repenting in dust and ashes-be applied? In other words, do we still have repentance of such magnitude?

  2. At first I ponder in my mind about how would I have react if I was in these men mentioned above shoes, then I realized that without Christ our saviour I would be damned. I just want to love Him more and thank God for the day His Son say I will go. Thank you Lord for taking my place.

  3. By Jobs' statement I learn that Gods' holiness is much more than what we hear, by seeing God Job despise himself and repent in dust and ashes. Repenting in dust and ashes? What does it really mean? Maybe a total true repentance from the heart.The examples given of these men shows that we are far far away from God. We can't stand His Holy presence because we are stained with the sin. On our own without Christ we will run and hide like those friends who were with Daniel. We need the Saviour indeed. May God help us to be holy as He is holy. Amen

  4. I don't see "fear" so much in these references as a feeling of reverence and unworthiness. I see it as similar to what Ellen White wrote in Steps to Christ, p. 64: "The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature."

    In God's direct presence, these men were overwhelmed with a sense of His greatness and holiness in contrast with their own sinfulness. This is not the same as what we usually think of as fear.

  5. Hi Inge,

    I agree with "fear" understood not in the usual term like synonym to "dread" but "REVERENCE". I would like to add Rev. 14:7 “'Fear' God and give glory to Him,.. .” In other words, "obey".
    God is holy and awesome.

  6. I think that what we fear when we are in the presences of our God all mighty is not Him but what we see when we focus our eyes in Him what we see is our sinful ways and what we have become we will never be perfect like him we can only try but come short of our goal thus making us unworthy to be in His presence


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