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How Many?

Job 13:23 (ESV) -- How many are my iniquities and my sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin.

Most people I talk to do not think they are bad people. In fact, I’ve only met a couple of folks in my lifetime that admitted from the outset that they were not good people. Maybe it is because I live in the Bible-belt or maybe it’s because I’ve been fortunate enough to only encounter decent people. But more likely the issue is that most people have an over-inflated view of themselves. Everyone thinks they are nice people. 


This brings us to our passage today. In Job 13:23, Job asks, “How many are my iniquities and my sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin.” This question is one asked in sincere searching. He is pleading with the LORD to reveal his sins to him. He asks what the number of them are. The significance of this is that he understands they are greater than he even knows. This is true for everyone. Our actual number of sins is greater than our perceived number of sins. We’re not as good or holy as we think we are. 


Job asks for the LORD to make known to him his transgressions and sins. It is not that Job isn’t aware of any sins. I’m sure he knows that he has sins. But what he is certainly aware of is that there are sins that he doesn’t know. His cry to the LORD is for help in seeing them. He wants to see them so that he can confess and repent from them. 


There are many lessons in this for us. First, we should be sober-minded and recognize there is more sin in our hearts than we recognize. Our lives are not as clean as we’d like to believe. Second, we can ask God to show us our sins so we can turn from them. Last, we should look to the blood of Christ to cleanse us from all of our sins. He is our Redeemer. He forgives us of every sin, even the ones we do not know about. Thank the Lord for His infinite grace!


Reflection & Journal:

- Why does Job pray for the Lord to show him his transgressions?

- What are some things that Job’s prayer teaches us about our own lives and sin?

- How can this passage inform our prayer lives and understanding of repentance?