This is Episode #160 and today we’ll read Job chapters 29-31 together. This is Job’s mournful lament and final throw-down before God.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #160 and today we’ll read Job chapters 29-31 together. This is Job’s mournful lament and final throw-down before God.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Job Chapter 29
Job’s Final Claim of Innocence
Job continued his discourse, saying:
If only I could be as in months gone by,
in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone above my head,
and I walked through darkness by his light!
I would be as I was in the days of my youth
when God’s friendship rested on my tent,
when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
when my feet were bathed in curds
and the rock poured out streams of oil for me!
When I went out to the city gate
and took my seat in the town square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
while older men stood to their feet.
City officials stopped talking
and covered their mouths with their hands.
The noblemen’s voices were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
When they heard me, they blessed me,
and when they saw me, they spoke well of me.
For I rescued the poor who cried out for help,
and the fatherless child who had no one to support him.
The dying blessed me,
and I made the widow’s heart rejoice.
I clothed myself in righteousness,
and it enveloped me;
my just decisions were like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy,
and I examined the case of the stranger.
I shattered the fangs of the unjust
and snatched the prey from his teeth.
So I thought, “I will die in my own nest
and multiply my days as the sand.
My roots will have access to water,
and the dew will rest on my branches all night.
Like One Who Comforts
My whole being will be refreshed within me,
and my bow will be renewed in my hand.”
Men listened to me with expectation,
waiting silently for my advice.
After a word from me they did not speak again;
my speech settled on them like dew.
They waited for me as for the rain
and opened their mouths as for spring showers.
If I smiled at them, they couldn’t believe it;
they were thrilled at the light of my countenance.
I directed their course and presided as chief.
I lived as a king among his troops,
like one who comforts those who mourn.
Job Chapter 30
But now they mock me,
men younger than I am,
whose fathers I would have refused to put
with my sheep dogs.
What use to me was the strength of their hands?
Their vigor had left them.
Emaciated from poverty and hunger,
they gnawed the dry land,
the desolate wasteland by night.
They plucked mallow among the shrubs,
and the roots of the broom tree were their food.
They were banished from human society;
people shouted at them as if they were thieves.
They are living on the slopes of the wadis,
among the rocks and in holes in the ground.
They bray among the shrubs;
they huddle beneath the thistles.
Foolish men, without even a name.
They were forced to leave the land.
Now I am mocked by their songs;
I have become an object of scorn to them.
They despise me and keep their distance from me;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
Because God has loosened my bowstring and oppressed me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.
The rabble rise up at my right;
they trap my feet
and construct their siege ramp against me.
They tear up my path;
they contribute to my destruction,
without anyone to help them.
They advance as through a gaping breach;
they keep rolling in through the ruins.
Terrors are turned loose against me;
they chase my dignity away like the wind,
and my prosperity has passed by like a cloud.
Now my life is poured out before me,
and days of suffering have seized me.
Night pierces my bones,
but my gnawing pains never rest.
I Cry Out for Help
My clothing is distorted with great force;
he chokes me by the neck of my garment.
He throws me into the mud,
and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry out to you for help, but you do not answer me;
when I stand up, you merely look at me.
You have turned against me with cruelty;
you harass me with your strong hand.
You lift me up on the wind and make me ride it;
you scatter me in the storm.
Yes, I know that you will lead me to death —
the place appointed for all who live.
Yet no one would stretch out his hand
against a ruined person
when he cries out to him for help
because of his distress.
Have I not wept for those who have fallen on hard times?
Has my soul not grieved for the needy?
But when I hoped for good, evil came;
when I looked for light, darkness came.
I am churning within and cannot rest;
days of suffering confront me.
I walk about blackened, but not by the sun.
I stood in the assembly and cried out for help.
I have become a brother to jackals
and a companion of ostriches.
My skin blackens and flakes off,
and my bones burn with fever.
My lyre is used for mourning
and my flute for the sound of weeping.
Job Chapter 31
I have made a covenant with my eyes.
How then could I look at a young woman?
For what portion would I have from God above,
or what inheritance from the Almighty on high?
Doesn’t disaster come to the unjust
and misfortune to evildoers?
Does he not see my ways
and number all my steps?
If I have walked in falsehood
or my foot has rushed to deceit,
let God weigh me on accurate scales,
and he will recognize my integrity.
If my step has turned from the way,
my heart has followed my eyes,
or impurity has stained my hands,
let someone else eat what I have sown,
and let my crops be uprooted.
If my heart has gone astray over a woman
or I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
let my own wife grind grain for another man,
and let other men sleep with her.
For that would be a disgrace;
it would be an iniquity deserving punishment.
For it is a fire that consumes down to Abaddon;
it would destroy my entire harvest.
If I have dismissed the case of my male or female servants
when they made a complaint against me,
what could I do when God stands up to judge?
How should I answer him when he calls me to account?
Did not the one who made me in the womb also make them?
Did not the same God form us both in the womb?
Disaster From God Terrifies Me
If I have refused the wishes of the poor
or let the widow’s eyes go blind,
if I have eaten my few crumbs alone
without letting the fatherless eat any of it —
for from my youth, I raised him as his father,
and since the day I was born I guided the widow —
if I have seen anyone dying for lack of clothing
or a needy person without a cloak,
if he did not bless me
while warming himself with the fleece from my sheep,
if I ever cast my vote against a fatherless child
when I saw that I had support in the city gate,
then let my shoulder blade fall from my back,
and my arm be pulled from its socket.
For disaster from God terrifies me,
and because of his majesty I could not do these things.
If I placed my confidence in gold
or called fine gold my trust,
if I have rejoiced because my wealth is great
or because my own hand has acquired so much,
if I have gazed at the sun when it was shining
or at the moon moving in splendor,
so that my heart was secretly enticed
and I threw them a kiss,
this would also be an iniquity deserving punishment,
for I would have denied God above.
Have I rejoiced over my enemy’s distress,
or become excited when trouble came his way?
I have not allowed my mouth to sin
by asking for his life with a curse.
Haven’t the members of my household said,
“Who is there who has not had enough to eat at Job’s table?”
No stranger had to spend the night on the street,
for I opened my door to the traveler.
Let My Opponent Compose His Indictment
Have I covered my transgressions as others do
by hiding my iniquity in my heart
because I greatly feared the crowds
and because the contempt of the clans terrified me,
so I grew silent and would not go outside?
If only I had someone to hear my case!
Here is my signature; let the Almighty answer me.
Let my Opponent compose his indictment.
I would surely carry it on my shoulder
and wear it like a crown.
I would give him an account of all my steps;
I would approach him like a prince.
If my land cries out against me
and its furrows join in weeping,
if I have consumed its produce without payment
or shown contempt for its tenants,
then let thorns grow instead of wheat
and stinkweed instead of barley.
The words of Job are concluded.
This mournful lament by Job is heartbreaking. He has acted righteously; he has cared for those in need. Job needs so badly the comfort he has given to others in the past. He feels abandoned by God and everyone else. His soul pulls his flesh in opposite directions – one knows that God is good and the other cries, “Unfair!” Many have commented that Job’s greatest loss is his sense of closeness to God.
Chapter 31 crescendos as he itemizes every possible iniquity and dictates judgement on his own head. We are all inclined to do what Job is doing, aren’t we? Self-appointed judge, jury and executioner. We insist we know how God should dole out justice. I suggest we would do well to remember Isaiah 55:8-9:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
“For as heaven is higher than earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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