Job has paid his way!

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-second in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 31:1 NIV Job was a perfect and upright man. Chapter 31 details how his behavior showed his understanding of God’s law and his obedience to it. Commentators have noted that it is his Sermon on the Mount.

Job 31:2-4 NIV Job is determined to prove his innocence, answering each charge against his character, real or imagined. Except for Chapter 38 when the Lord begins his discourse, it is the longest chapter of the book.

Job 31:5-8 NIV Job went further than simply averting his gaze to avoid lustful desires. He made a firm decision that he would not do so, so the temptation never occurred. He knew that God would severely judge men who entertained such thoughts. What hurts is that he still met with calamity and disaster!

Job 31:9-12 NIV Sexual sin with a married woman, or committing it in the heart (Mat 5:28), or of watching his neighbors’ routines for opportunity, would never enter Job’s thoughts. He understood that adultery was the ruin of man.

Job 31:13-15 NIV Job did not consider himself superior to his servants. He understood that the servant’s right to justice was the same as the master’s. He believed God would confront him for such sin.

Job 31:16-23 NIV Job was diligent to help the poor and the widows, knowing that God required it. He never took advantage of the fatherless for he feared God, in fact, he was as a father to them.

Job 31:24-28 NIV Neither the lying god of wealth nor the idolatry of the heavenly bodies enticed Job from the worship of the true God.

Job 31:29-34 NIV Job was never a man to gloat over the misfortunes of his detractors or call down a curse on any man who wronged him. He provided hospitality to strangers; he was unafraid of judgment by the community— no one held him in contempt, proving his statements.

Job 31:35-37 NIV Oh! What am I being judged for? If my adversary, whoever it is, would only state their case, I would gladly wear the indictment as a crown! I want to know my wrongs! What is my sin? Why has my life been ruined? Here is my signature! May God answer me!

Job 31:38-40 NIV And one more thing— I did not acquire my lands by stealth so that it accuses me in the place of its rightful owners. Now that is all I have to say.

Job has not explicitly accused God of wrongdoing, but there is an implicit ring to that effect in his words. Perhaps we may think that he is only begging for clarity or for restoration but when the Lord answers, he asks Job: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2) … Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” (Job 40:2) God saw what was in Job’s heart.

Job believed he could be acceptable to God by his deeds, yet that has never been possible for man, whether in Old or New Testament days. But was this truth discernible before the giving of the law and ordinances that pictured Christ to the Jews? We shall see.

Job thought he could engineer God’s judgment as shown by his practice of sacrificing burnt offerings on his children’s behalf following their celebrations of each ones birthday (Job 1:4-5). Yet they were of age, living in their own homes. Can a man stand in the place of his grown sons and daughters, or will God not require adults to answer for their own actions?

Can a man bargain with the Lord?

Tipping point

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-first in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Bible stories give us glimpses of human nature that cause us to sigh or smile— knowing sighs and rueful smiles.

Job 30:1 NIV In Chapter 30, perhaps we can identify with Job’s wincing and his hurt pride, and with the devilment and gloating of the young men.

Bear in mind, though in this passage dogs are not viewed as laudable, the Bible does establish them as worthy creatures (Isa 66:3). They are helpers in watching over the flock, retrieve game for man, and help in many other ways.

The laughs of the young men are knowing laughs. They understand what it is to suffer and to be discounted by people who feel they are better. Now, it is their turn to scoff.

Job 30:2 NIV Commentators differ over the meaning of verse 2. Some have analyzed Job as a man who rejected the young men as unfit for labor. How could he benefit from these malnourished waifs? Who could?

Job 30:3-8 NIV These impoverished, homeless youth are banished from society, and to Job they have no value whatsoever.

What might we readers make of Job’s dim view of his fellow human beings? Did he not say previously that he delivered the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had none to help him? (Job 29:12) Did he not proclaim that he was a father to the needy? (Job 29:16)

Well, it is one thing to give a hand out to a poor person, but another to offer a job. It is one thing to view with sympathy the less fortunate, but it is another for these underdogs to view Job with derision, as though he is on their level or even under it!

Each person in any society is at a tipping point. That point is very near for some, and distant to others. If a man hires those who cannot advance his work, he will come closer to his own tipping point, sooner not later. Or, if the Lord vanquishes a man’s store, he will come upon his tipping point at once.

If a nation implodes, all citizens will reach that point swiftly. If Job cannot turn from his despair, he will tip over to a worse fate.

How can we avoid crossing our own point of downfall? Cling to the Lord for dear life!

Job 30:9-14 NIV Anyone, even the dimwitted, can see that Job is vulnerable. Why not jump on God’s bandwagon and hurt me even more than the Lord already has? The best is gone, why not take the rest? It won’t be hard.

Job 30:15 NIV Job keenly feels his demise and he is worn out.

Job 30:16-19 NIV But was it God who crushed Job? On the other hand, whether or not he is at the root of our dilemma, he does have the power to reverse the circumstances of our tumble or fall.

Job 30:20-23 NIV Job accuses God of cruelty. This is the lowest point of his life so far.

Belief in the goodness of the Lord is how we rise above our trials. This belief enables us to hold on. Without our voice and expression of love for God and our testimony of knowledge and trust of the Holy, we are cast off in a rudderless boat in hurricane waters. Say it: “There is no unrighteousness in him” (Ps 92:15) And if we should try to wait on the Lord without hope, it is the same as dreading him.

Can things be worse when you are in the worst time of your life? Yes, if you shrink back from your faith, they can be even worse.

Job 30:24-26 NIV Here, Job is saying that he has been a better friend to the downcast than God has been to him. Though he was caring and responsive to the ruined man, God disappoints and ignores him.

Job 30:27-28 NIV Job has not failed to cry out to God, as we have read over many chapters. He has addressed his friends and tried to answer their criticisms, but has rather presented his case before the Lord and entreated him for enlightenment and help. Nevertheless, his moment of release has not yet come. He must continue yet a while in misery and hopelessness, the latter which betrays his near loss of faith.

Job 30:29-31 NIV Job has not lost his faith, but he is overwhelmed by his reversals. He must be at this point before the Lord can show him his misconception. We will see in the next chapter that he has a deeper problem than his wreck and ruin: He is spiritually blind!

Was Job doing anything wrong?

Job Sees The Light - Thirtieth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

There are times when it is important to share about our lives as Christians. These moments arise when we are with those in need of encouragement, or we may be asked to present our ‘testimony’ to a group.

If the Lord provided special wisdom, a material gift or divine deliverance in a time of crisis, hearing about our experience may encourage a fellow believer.

However, believers do not normally tout their good works and describe their Christian demeanor to others. These are either in view, or if not, they are not to be mentioned (Mat 6:4-18). An exception would be if a person had to recount an activity to prove his whereabouts or corroborate an account of another person.

Paul did boast about his tribulations for Christ (2 Cor 11:22-33) and briefly noted his credentials for apostleship (2 Cor 12:12), and this was to establish his integrity to the wayward Corinthians.

Perhaps we might see Job’s testimony in Chapter 29 in this light.

Job 29:1-2 NIV The Chapter begins with Job mourning his loss of companionship with God. "The pathos of the whole book is in these words." (ref)

Job 29:3 NIV In the past when Job faced challenges, he had felt God’s hand of guidance. It is not so now.

Job 29:4 KJV The word ‘secret’ means God’s wisdom that is given only to those in his inner circle.

Job 29:5 NIV He has lost fellowship with God and his children are departed.

As we consider Job’s immense losses, we are deeply perplexed. What should Job's attitude be? What would ours be?

Job 29:6-11 NIV Job’s thoughts turn to the time when he was prosperous and respected. Most likely he was on the city council, with a seat in the square. His judgment was valued by young and old, and he enjoyed the praise of his contemporaries.

Job 29:12-17 NIV Job had been a good man who watched over the poor, disabled and dying. He consciously sought to be godly and to oppose evildoers.

Job 29:18-20 NIV He had enjoyed many days of strength and vigor, so many that it did not occur to him they would end.

Job 29:21-25 NIV Job had championed the underdog and disenfranchised; he ruled with compassion, was not a snob, and was loved by suffering souls as well as men of position.

His wisdom satisfied all. He understood the requirements of the Lord very well. (Micah 6:8)

Considering all this, what room did Job have for improvement? Why would God permit his demise and then leave him in despair for this unbearable time period?

For a man, the loss of position and reputation is a severe downfall. But perhaps there is no greater grief than the death of children. Strong grief, like the unbounded, treacherous flooding of a river, can rend a heart and make it pliable for God to reshape. But what reformation did Job need?

He enjoyed serving God. It was his way of life.

What was Job doing wrong?