I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light. (Job 33:27–28)
Nestled in the narrative of Job, in the middle of Elihu’s rebuke, we find this short description of a man who has experienced the mercy of God.
Elihu begins by challenging Job for speaking out against God. Don’t you know that God is greater than man? — he asks — why do you contend against him? (Job 33:12–13).
Then he proceeds to describe God’s incomprehensibility. We don’t know God like we think we do. He speaks, but we don’t understand. His witness is everywhere, but too often we fail to see. And he gives mercy to people when they don’t deserve it.
Elihu is simply going on about the ways of God. “[When] a man prays to God,” he explains, “he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness” (Job 33:26). And then he describes what that man says after he has tasted that kind of mercy. “He sings before men,” says Elihu. That man says, “I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light” (Job 33:27–28).
This Is Our Testimony
Maybe in a story where we least expected it, in a dialogue where we never saw it coming, we discover an anthem of grace. Elihu describes what someone says after they have been forgiven, after they have met the amazing love of God. He describes what we say.
We might not have said these words yet, but we could. These words stand as our testimony — as the testimony of anyone who has sinned and has been set free from that sin’s guilt. These words go for anyone who has been redeemed from condemnation, anyone who, by the mercy of God, will spend eternity with him.
It is amazing love, you see. Love that no one could expect. Love that doesn’t make sense in a world where everyone is trying to get their own, compete for the bargain, earn what’s owed them. It is counter-intuitive to the system we live in, to the air we breathe. And that’s why it is love that changes lives.
God Shows Us His Love
Though it is described here, though we see our testimony in the story of Job, we see more of what this love means in Romans 5:8. There, in the same spirit of what we’d least expect, the apostle Paul tells us that God showed his love for us while we were still sinners. When we were sinning and perverting what was right, when we were ungodly, lost, twisted, utterly unbecoming — then God demonstrated his love for us. Then is when Jesus died for us — bearing all of our sins, suffering the guilt we had heaped up for ourselves, absorbing the punishment we deserved. We are forgiven because Jesus was forsaken. We are accepted because he was condemned. We are alive and well, and our lives shall look upon the light, because he died and rose again.
That is God’s amazing love. That is our testimony.