continuing in my devotional series on Job…
Closing Arguments (Job 29-30)
From a human perspective, even though his trials were severe, this is where God wanted Job to be, and in an eternal sense, his trial is the best place for him to be.
His three closest friends attribute his sufferings to being judged by God. They have been accusing him of committing heinous sins, and it is those sins Job refuses to acknowledge which has placed him under God’s judgment. Each of his friends consecutively lay out their arguments as to why Job has sinned and why he needs to repent. Job on the other hand maintains his innocence, refusing to confess to wickedness he has never committed.
Chapters 26-31 is his longest response to his friend’s charges. They have given up trying to convince him of his errors, so beginning in chapter 26, Job launches into a long speech summarizing his innocence in light of their claims of guilt.
Job began by explaining, a) God is majestic compared to men, that b) in light of His majesty, Job has maintained his integrity, and c) In spite of his trials, Job will always seek for the true wisdom only found in God.
From chapters 29-31, Job becomes like a defense attorney who is summarizing his case before God’s law court. Job outlines three thoughts covering these three chapters:
His pre-afflicted glory in Ch. 29
His present gloom in Ch. 30, and
His oath of innocence in Ch. 31.
I. His Pre-Afflicted Glory
Job starts chapter 29 by describing how his life was for him before his trial:
– He believed God was blessing him, drawing him to Himself, and watching over him on a regular basis (1-5)
– He had the love and company of his family and his livelihood was like having his “steps bathed in cream” (5-6).
– He had a prominent position among the people and was respected by all the young men who looked up to him as a leader (7-9).
– Contrary to what his friends accused him of doing, Job most certainly helped the needy and the destitute (12-17). That included the orphans, the helpless, and widows.
– Rather than be lectured by his friends as to his personal sins, many folks at one time received his counsel and valued his wisdom (21-25).
II. His Present Gloom
Job laments his current condition. Whereas before he lived under great blessing, now things are different.
– He is disrespected socially among his peers (1-15). They mock him, even making up songs taunting him about his plight (9).
– He is physically sick and miserable (16-19). He describes his condition as having his bones pierced and gnawing pains that never give him rest.
– He felt as though he was being ignored by God (20-23). Instead of watching over him and blessing his faithfulness, Job now felt – as wrong as he was – that God was not answering him and intentionally being cruel.
– Then lastly, Job’s comforters did not genuinely comfort him (24-31). Music could not soothe him (31), nor any human advice encourage him (29).
III. His Oath of Innocence
Throughout chapter 31, Job swears to his innocence of being guilty of any sin which deserved God’s direct judgment upon him. He uses the word “if” many times in order to deny any wrong doing on his part, and basically place himself under oath, as it were.
– Job is not guilty of lustful thoughts or sexual impropriety (1-4). He has never looked upon a woman in lust, let alone touch one inappropriately.
– Job never dealt dishonestly with anyone (5-8). He never lied or engaged in dishonest business dealings.
– Job never committed adultery (9-12). Just like he never lusted after a woman not his wife, he never committed physical adultery with a woman not his wife.
– Job treated his servants and hired help with respect (13-15). Because Job had a fear of God, he looked upon any mistreatment he would give to a servant as a motivation to treat them just as God treated him.
– Job never oppressed the poor and needy or orphans (16-23). He has always been more than generous toward those in need.
– Job never had a heart for materialism, nor had a greed for money and riches (24-28). Though God blessed him materially, Job never put his hope in gold, or say that wealth was his confidence.
– Job never rejoiced over his neighbor’s trouble (29-34). In other words, he never gloried over the ruin or destruction of a personal enemy.
– Then finally, Job firmly states that he will make his appeal to the Lord and trust He will vindicate him before his accusers (35-37).
“If” any of these things he mentions are true of him, Job is incurring real judgment upon his head. Job can make such an oath, because he is confident he is right.