Read Job 31
31 “I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.
2 For what is our lot from God above,
our heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,
disaster for those who do wrong?
4 Does he not see my ways
and count my every step?
5 “If I have walked with falsehood
or my foot has hurried after deceit—
6 let God weigh me in honest scales
and he will know that I am blameless—
7 if my steps have turned from the path,
if my heart has been led by my eyes,
or if my hands have been defiled,
8 then may others eat what I have sown,
and may my crops be uprooted.
9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
10 then may my wife grind another man’s grain,
and may other men sleep with her.
11 For that would have been wicked,
a sin to be judged.
12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction;
it would have uprooted my harvest.
13 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants,
whether male or female,
when they had a grievance against me,
14 what will I do when God confronts me?
What will I answer when called to account?
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?
16 “If I have denied the desires of the poor
or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
17 if I have kept my bread to myself,
not sharing it with the fatherless—
18 but from my youth I reared them as a father would,
and from my birth I guided the widow—
19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,
or the needy without garments,
20 and their hearts did not bless me
for warming them with the fleece from my sheep,
21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
knowing that I had influence in court,
22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
let it be broken off at the joint.
23 For I dreaded destruction from God,
and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.
24 “If I have put my trust in gold
or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’
25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth,
the fortune my hands had gained,
26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance
or the moon moving in splendor,
27 so that my heart was secretly enticed
and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,
28 then these also would be sins to be judged,
for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune
or gloated over the trouble that came to him—
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
by invoking a curse against their life—
31 if those of my household have never said,
‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’—
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,
for my door was always open to the traveler—
33 if I have concealed my sin as people do,
by hiding my guilt in my heart
34 because I so feared the crowd
and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
that I kept silent and would not go outside—
35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,
I would put it on like a crown.
37 I would give him an account of my every step;
I would present it to him as to a ruler.)—
38 “if my land cries out against me
and all its furrows are wet with tears,
39 if I have devoured its yield without payment
or broken the spirit of its tenants,
40 then let briers come up instead of wheat
and stinkweed instead of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.
In Job 31, Job tells his peers that his trials are not due to disobedience. He makes it clear that he fears the Lord. Job is also bold, explaining to his friends that if he has wronged God, he welcomes God’s judgment and justice.
However, a recurring theme throughout this chapter is Job’s adamance that he has not wronged the Lord, and he believes the Lord will find him blameless (v. 6). Job’s own peers have accused him of disobedience, claiming he deserves punishment. However, Job knows in his heart he has been obedient and faithful to the Lord. Even though Job’s life looks miserable and others view his suffering as punishment, Job cares most about God and His righteous judgment. He trusts God’s view of his life. Even though we don’t always understand what the Lord is doing in our lives, we should follow Job’s example and, even in the midst of suffering, seek the Lord and only Him—not the approval or commentary of others.
Job chooses to view his circumstances in an optimistic light, letting the Lord be in charge of his life and strengthen him, no matter what turmoil comes his way. Even as he declares his innocence, he does so with humility. He doesn’t take advantage of women or degrade and abuse his servants because he knows every human was created by God, and God doesn’t show partiality—God made Job just like He made everyone else (v. 15). In faith, Job surrenders to suffering even though he believes himself innocent. Similarly to Job, we can prepare to have our faith tested and our life stripped away for the Lord even if we don’t understand why. Instead of seeing pain as punishment, let’s allow trials to condition our hearts for faithful obedience to God as we seek His plan for our lives, not the plan we prefer or believe we deserve.
As we go into today, let’s pray for humility to endure suffering with faith, asking God to guide and strengthen our faith and devotion to Him. Let’s consider fasting from something we love or think we need, or spend more intentional time with the Lord in His word, seeking His instruction for us. Like Job, let’s worship God today, allowing our trials to make us more reliant on Him and more like Him.
- Do you normally associate trials and obstacles with disobedience? Why?
- If you are going through an obstacle, what good can you see in the situation?
- Do you think the Lord simply wants you to suffer, or do you believe He can redeem your suffering for His glory and your testimony?
By the Way
Pastor David Guzik’s Enduring Word commentary points out this observation about Job 31:
“Chapter 31 is Job’s Sermon on the Mount, for in it he touches on many of the same issues of spiritual ethics that Jesus covers in Matthew 5-7, including the relationship between lust and adultery (Job 31:1, 9-12), loving one’s neighbor as oneself (Job 31:13-15), almsgiving and social justice (Job 31:16-23), and the love of money and other idolatries (Job 31:24-28).”
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