Job 31:5–6, 9–10, 13–17, 24–30, 33–34 comment (0)
June 29, 2006
By Doug Wilson
Related Scripture: Job 31:5–6, 9–10, 13–17, 24–30, 33–34
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Analyze Your Actions
Job 31:5–6, 9–10, 13–17, 24–30, 33–34
A person’s worldview, his or her understanding of what is real, affects everything in life. Beliefs are controlled by the individual’s sense of reality. His values also are affected — what is good and what is bad. Worldview also shapes personal behavior. My belief in the reality and personal accountability of God who is both transcendent and intimate will lead me to a different course of activity than the belief system of someone who holds that the material universe is all that exists. Because I am answerable to the God of the universe, I must evaluate my actions and confess, repent and forsake sinful behavior. The standard for my values must remain God’s Word.
This week’s passage indicates Job was giving serious thought to his ethical behavior.
Am I Unfaithful? (5–6, 9–10)
Integrity, purity and faithfulness: these three are the characteristics Job claims for himself in this passage. He uses the analogy of scales in claiming honesty, stating that God would weigh him and find him honest. Likewise Job makes the bold statement that if he has been unfaithful to his wife, then another man should be entitled to Job’s wife. By stating this, Job was challenging anyone to claim him to be dishonest or unfaithful.
During that time when King David was hiding his sin of adultery and conspiracy of murder, he knew he was guilty. Only after he was confronted and repented did he have the privilege to say again, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me” (Ps. 139:23–24a). Where we have failed the Lord in the areas of honesty and faithfulness, we must confess and forsake our sins.
Am I Arrogant? (13–17)
Do I consider myself greater than my servants? Job considered neither the poor nor widows nor the fatherless nor the needy less than himself. Once again, he proclaims his innocence. In this section, he claims that he had a proper attitude for others who had been less fortunate. Arrogance is a youthful indulgence, which some never outgrow. Decisions which we have made and attitudes held in the spontaneity of our adolescence or young adulthood must not be perpetuated as we mature in our walk with God. As believers, we must recognize the dignity of all humanity and think of others more highly than ourselves.
Have I Turned to Materialism? (24–28)
Job makes it clear that he has not placed his confidence in gold or in the worship of stargazing. The fact that Job did not despair when all his worldly possessions were lost demonstrates his trust in the Lord rather than wealth. His heart is not enticed by the greatness of the sun or the splendor of the moon to follow after them in secret worship.
These are but objects, created objects, under the lordship of the Creator. Elsewhere God warns the Israelites through Moses that they must not forget Him. After giving the great Shema (Deut. 6:4), he gives the great command and its application at the family level. Then the warning comes to not be enslaved to thoughts of the house, the property and the possessions so that they forget that God had set them free from the bondage of pharaoh.
It is essential that Christians heed this warning. Jesus did not start a new religion so that we could build bigger barns; He called us into a relationship with Himself and warned against the bigger-barn attitude. We must not allow the materialism to blind us, seduce us or lead us astray from following the Lord.
Am I Gloating Over Others? (29–30, 33–34)
Gloating never becomes anyone. As Job evaluates his own behavior and ethics, he recognizes that celebrating the downfall of another honors neither God nor the person. His testimony before others is that they know he is kind to strangers and to the hungry.
In every way that Job evaluates his behavior, he demonstrates his innocence of wrongdoing. As he addresses his attitudes, he is likewise blameless. Why, then, is he suffering? What Job has yet to learn is that God is greater than him, his circumstances and everything he has ever considered.