I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.…
After all, were the charges brought by the three friends against the patriarch just? Was he in the end proved to be the transgressor and the self-deceiver which they had affirmed from the beginning he was? If not, what means this confession, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes, extorted from him at this late hour?" "I abhor myself, and repent," sounds very differently from his former asseverations. How are we to explain the incongruity? This confession, in the text, is unquestionable evidence that in no respect was Job hypocritical. Considering what had come to pass, the abhorrence of himself which he now expressed was a stronger testimony that there was no unrighteousness in him than all his previous self-justification. Had there been a doubt of his integrity before, there could have been none now. But was it the same person who said, I abhor myself and repent," and was he in the same state when he said it, as when he said, "My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go"? Yea, the very same. The very opposition of the language, coupled with the variation of the accessories, demonstrates the identity of the speaker. What had happened? God appeared, walking upon the wings of the wind, had confronted the patriarch, and pleaded His cause; hence, the subdued and self-despising tone of his reply; and hence, neither by his Divine Justifier, nor his human accusers, could anything be added to it, nor anything be taken from it. It was the free confession of a perfect man, humble and abasing as it was: How is the apparent discrepancy to be explained? In the presence of God man is very differently affected by the sight of himself than when in the presence of his fellows. The difference of self-estimate here is the difference between man in man's sight and in God's, and this alone. In the presence of his fellows man doth not clearly see himself, any more than he seeth them clearly. We know neither the worst about the bad in this world, neither the best about the good. Overhanging the world is a moral haze. If it hinder us from the perception of some excellence, it also prevents our seeing much depravity. When a man "cometh to God," or rather God come to him, the man "cometh to the light." When a man seeth himself in the blaze of that "Sun of Righteousness," compared with whose brightness the sun in the material heavens is as a dark ball, he is at once made conscious of a number of flaws and failings, faults and fallacies in the moral constitution, of which he may have had no previous knowledge; and which, had not He who is the source of light and love darted His heavenly beams into the secret corners of "the chambers of his imagery" within, he might have remained ignorant forever. Man is a two-sided being. In his moral aspects he is by turns a dwarf and a giant. He possesses a better self and a worse. He hath a sincere and an evil double. No man ever had his good self built up within him, who was not constantly upon his guard against his bad self. What then is the difference between man and man? It is that one man is duly mindful of the phenomenon, and another is not. It behoves us then to determine which side of our nature we will take; and having taken it, to beseech of God that we may never desert it, or go over to the other. According to the side we habitually take, we are what we are; and such do we appear to the world, and the world to us. On the sunny side of the road all things look sunny; on the opposite all things look shaded. He who acts from the worst side is against God; and he who is against God is against himself; as he who is not on God's side is no longer on his own.
(Alfred Bowen Evans.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.