Job 42:6 is a bit baffling. In this verse Job says to God, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Why did he repent? I mean for goodness sake he has just spent 41 chapters arguing with his friends over this very fact. They told him he needed to repent and he kept arguing that he was an innocent man. Indeed, God Himself vindicates Job in v.8 when He tells Eliphaz that Job was in the right and the others in the wrong. So why then did Job need to repent?
Well, we need to be clear what Job was repenting of. Job was not repenting of what his “friends” wanted him to. They wanted him to say that he had done some horrible secret sin and God was consequently punishing him for that sin. Job did no such thing and refuses to repent of sin he has not committed. This is not what Job is repenting of in this verse. So what then is he repenting of?
He is repenting of the way he repeatedly demanded that God owes him an explanation! That is what he repents of. Job faced horrendous suffering, and one of the things that made it so horrendous was that the reason for it was so mysterious. There was no good reason why Job should have been suffering this way. That is what baffles Job in this book and he therefore demands an explanation from God. God, however, does not owe Job or us any explanations for what He does. “The secret things belong to the Lord…” (Deut.29:29). God is under no obligation to divulge all of His counsel with us. We should take this to heart. Let us beware of every demanding from our Creator explanations for that which we do not understand. Rather, let us trust that God is good and wise and all-powerful and that He works for the good of those who love Him, always!