Throughout this book, Job’s three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) were convinced that he had committed some horrible sin that he would not admit. In their limited understanding, God’s judgment of sin was the only explanation for the extreme suffering of their friend. Their assumption was, “There is something wrong with Job or he would not be suffering. He needs to repent and do right.” Ironically, they were the ones who were required to repent for falsely accusing Job and adding to his misery (v.7-9).
Job held an equally false assumption regarding his suffering: “There is something wrong with God or He would not allow me to suffer. He needs to repent and treat me right.” For that attitude, Job was the one who needed to repent, and he did (v.6). He admitted that while he still did not understand why he had lost so much, he did understand something new about God — he was seeing God in a new light (v.5). Job could see clearly that God’s will is perfect, even when we can’t explain it, and His plans are good and right, even when they include suffering. Job understood that his place was not to question or reason with God, but to trust God. Sometimes suffering is God’s way of calling us into deeper fellowship with Him.
In an expression of humility and repentance, Job grabbed a handful of dust and ashes and tossed them over him. He was expressing his awareness that as a person created from dust, he was destined for ashes if it were not for God’s grace.
God could have left it at that. Satan was proven wrong and doubly shamed. Job’s story would be recorded and preserved forever as a testimony for suffering saints. Job’s faith was intact and stronger than ever. His friends had been humbled and set right. God could have left it at that. But in a generous display of grace He restored what Job had lost. In fact, He doubled the blessings He had given Job previously and “blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (v.12). What a gracious God!