"Behold, I am vile" (Job 40:4). This was not said by Cain in a remorseful moment after his murder of Abel, nor by Judas after he had betrayed the Saviour into the hands of His enemies; instead, it was the utterance of one of whom God said, "There is none like him in the earth, a perfect (sincere) and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil" (Job 1:8). Was Job justified in using such strong language of self-deprecation? If he was, are Christians today warranted in echoing the same?

When was it that Job declared "Behold, I am vile"? It was when the Lord appeared to him and gave him a startling revelation of His own wondrous perfections! It was when he stood in the all-penetrating light of God’s immaculate holiness and was made to realize something of His mighty power. Ah, when a soul is truly brought into the presence of the living God, boasting ceases, our comeliness is turned into corruption (Dan. 10:8), and we cry, "Woe is me! for I am undone" (Isa. 6:5). When God makes to the soul a personal revelation of His wondrous perfections, that individual is effectually convinced of his own wretchedness. The more we are given to discern the ineffable glory of the Lord, the more will our self-complacency wither.

It is in God’s light, and in that only, "we see light" (Ps. 36:9). When He shines into our understandings and hearts, and brings to light "the hidden things of darkness," we perceive the utter corruption of our nature, and are abominable in our own eyes. While we measure ourselves by our fellows, we shall, most likely, think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Rom. 12:3); but when we measure ourselves by the holy requirements of God’s nature, we cry "I am dust and ashes" (Gen. 18:27). True repentance changes a man’s opinion of himself."

~ Arthur Pink