"And what is the portion of God from above or the heritage of the Almighty from on high? Is it not calamity to the unjust and disaster to those who work iniquity? Does He not see my ways and number all my steps?" (Job 31:2-4)Job is reaching the end of his speech. And he wonders out loud, "Can't God see that I'm right? God is suppose to punish the unjust and the sinner, not the righteous. Can't God see my way? Doesn't He take notice of how I walk? Can't He see that I'm righteous? If so, then why is He still punishing me?"
Job then sets out, in great detail, to prove his righteousness. He list many sins for which, if he had committed them, he would gladly accept God's punishment for them. Yet, he insists that he is innocent of all these sins. In the end, he cries out to God, that God might hear him, that he may be granted to present his case before Him, that he might have the opportunity to prove his righteousness to God.
"Oh that I had one to hear me! Behold, here is my signature; let the Almighty answer me! And the indictment which my adversary has written, surely I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it to myself like a crown. I would declare to Him the number of my steps; like a prince I would approach Him." (Job 31:35-37)Job assures us that, given a chance, and because of his righteousness, he would be justified and would be able to approach God as a prince would approach his king. Job trusts his righteousness, that it would grant him access before God, that God would find him acceptable due to his righteousness and that his righteousness would earn him the place of a prince. Unfortunately, trusting in our righteousness is a dead end, "for all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment." (Isaiah 64:4) This scripture, in the original Hebrew, literally says that all our righteous deeds are like a "menstruation cloth" before him, wholly defiled and unacceptable.
The truth is, that we can never approach God on the basis of our own righteousness, because we can never be good enough. If we are to approach God, we must do it on the basis of our relationship with His Son. Because of faith in Jesus Christ, we can approach God as a prince because Jesus has made us princes in His kingdom. We are His son's and daughters and we can boldly approach His as such. Sadly, like Job, we often spend too much time trying to justify ourselves before God when the truth is that we have already been justified. Let us learn to approach God on the basis of our sonship and not our righteousness.