Job 31:5–10, 13–17, 24–28, 29–34 comment (0)
June 27, 2013
By Douglas K. Wilson Jr.
Related Scripture: Job 31:5–10, 13–17, 24–28, 29–34
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Dean, School of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Job 31:5–10, 13–17, 24–28, 29–34
Job 31 is this week’s focal passage. Here we read Job’s testimony of a life reflecting a relationship with God. After weeks of witnessing the serve and volley, the parry and thrust, the accusations and responses between Job and his companions, we now observe Job’s assertions of faithfulness, fairness and focus. Whatever ethical standard to which he adheres is governed by God. He acknowledges here that he is accountable to God alone, who will judge him rightly.
As you read through this lesson and practice living by godly ethical standards, keep in mind that good works are the fruit of salvation. Each of these action steps must be borne out of a relationship with the living God.
Be Honest and Faithful (5–10)
Job asserts his integrity throughout his dealings. He is honest in his business transactions. His wife has no reason to doubt his faithfulness to her. Through a series of conditional statements, Job invites God’s judgment upon him if he has been anything other than honest and faithful.
Jesus clearly teaches His disciples to let our yes be yes and our no, no (Matt. 5:33–37). In addition, He warns us to be faithful in the commitments we make. As a reflection of the character of God, we are to speak truth and keep our promises. If we are unwilling to do so, we invite judgment upon ourselves.
Be Fair and Merciful (13–17)
As a recipient of God’s mercy, Job claims to demonstrate mercy to those in need: servants, the poor, the widow, the orphaned (fatherless), those in need of clothes and warmth. Once again, he communicates in conditional statements, confessing that a lack of compassion leads to judgment.
Job’s description is similar to references in the Law to caring for the poor, the fatherless, the widow and the alien. Further, James points to demonstrable religion as living faith (James 1:27; 2:15–17). Mercy received leads to mercy expressed.
Be Focused on God (24–28)
Crime and punishment: Job surmises that idolatry of the handiwork of man or of God, is a crime comparable to denying God and is worthy of judgment. He has no confidence in gold or in accumulated wealth, fully aware of their fleeting nature from his own personal experience. Job is not guilty of surveying the celestial bodies to seek the future or idolizing them as sources of power or wisdom.
American Christians — young and old, rich and poor, native and immigrant — face great temptations that deter us from God. As residents in an affluent culture, we have more distractions than ever to waste our lives on idols made by hands, idols made by celebrity and idols made by fantasy. Christians, let us fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:3).
Be Compassionate and Understanding (29–34)
Caring for others is part of Job’s lifestyle. In this passage, Job offers a series of questions to which no one responds. The questions are meant to be an indictment upon his companions, who systematically accuse him of every kind of sin they can imagine. Basically, he is calling for actual witnesses against him, knowing there are none to be found.
Jesus demonstrated compassion throughout the course of His ministry. Jew or Samaritan, Roman or Greek, Jesus empathized with the least of these who were wandering through life. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd, as crowds in need of a meal and as grain to be harvested. He saw them as men and women, boys and girls. He saw them as His brethren.
This passage points to a man who understands that a relationship with God is displayed by interaction with people. Jesus often pointed to the link between loving God (Deut. 6:5) and loving others (Lev. 19:18, 34). Compassion for others demonstrates our love for God, whether it is across the street or around the world.