I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.…
The intervention of the Deity in the magnificent last act of the drama is an intervention rather of majesty than of explanation. In the revelation of God in any one of His attributes, in the manifestations of the fountain of being in any form of reality, lies the germ at least of all satisfaction and of all comfort...The point and moral of the book does not lie in the sinfulness of the chief actor. All else is subordinated to this main point, the beautiful and glorious steadfastness of the godly man under temptation. If this is so, how shall we read, and how interpret the words of the text itself? It might be thought that the thing which God accepted in Job was this self-abasement and self-abhorrence before the manifested glory. The text carries us from the godly or Godward sorrow which worketh repentance, to that repentance itself, which is unto salvation.
1. The very narrow and limited view commonly taken of repentance. As though repentance were either a regretful and sorrowful backward looking upon some particular sin or sins; or, at best, an altered mind towards that particular kind and shape of sinning. But repentance is not the necessity of some; it is the necessity of all. Repentance is not an act, but a state; not a feeling, but a disposition; not a thought, but a mind. Repentance is too real a grace to live in the ideal. Of course, if there are sins in sight, past or present, repentance begins with these. It is of the nature of repentance to be quick-sighted, and quick-souled, and quick-conscienced; she cannot dwell complacently with evil, be it but in memory. But she goes far, far deeper than any particular exhibition or ebullition of evil. Repentance is the consciousness. not of sins, but of sin — the consciousness of sinfulness as the root and ground of all sinning. The new mind, the "after-mind," according to the Greek word for repentance, is the mind which eschews the fallen state, the taint and bias of evil, which is what we mean, or ought to mean, by original sin. Thus a deep, pervading humility, a lowly self-estimate, what our Lord speaks of as "poverty of spirit," takes a possession not to be disturbed of the very thought and soul of the man. This is one part of the grace.
2. The connection of repentance with what is here called the sight of God. This is contrasted with another thing which is called the hearing of God by the hearing of the ear. We are not to dream of any literal sight. It is a figurative contrast between hearing of and seeing. The former is a hearer hearing; the latter is a direct communication, like that face to face vision, which has nothing between the person seeing and the person looked upon. The experience spoken of is always the turning point between the two kinds of repentance. We have all heard of God by the hearing of the ear. The Godward sorrow, before it reaches repentance, has had another experience. It has seen God; it has realised the Invisible. The Godward sorrow will grow with each access to the God who breathes it, and repentance itself will be seen as the gift of gifts, foretaste of heaven below, and atmosphere of heaven above.
Parallel VersesKJV: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.