Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 31

Job 31

-At every point in this last chapter of Job’s long discourse, he asserts his integrity with a model for how man ought to live. Let us take a closer look at these noble attributes. First, he made a covenant with his eyes not to gaze with lust on the beautiful-young virgins. Next, he was seeking the LORD’s portion from above and on high. He was not taking credit for all that he had as if he’d earned anything. He absolutely acknowledged God’s provision of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). He knew that calamity was more for the unjust than the just, and that disaster was for those who work iniquity. He acknowledged that God sees everything about him and numbers all his steps (Job 31:1-4).

-Next, Job begins a long section of ifs. He says, “If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened after deceit, let Him weigh me with accurate scales, and let God know my integrity.” He then says that if his step has turned from the righteous way or if his heart followed his lustful eyes or if any sinful spot has stuck to his human hands, let another eat what he has sown and his crops uprooted. Next, he deals with his faithfulness to his wife. If his heart has been enticed by a woman or if he has lurked at his neighbor’s doorway to steal their partner, let his wife grind for another and let others kneel down over her (sorry for the graphic language here, but it’s in the Book). He knows that these types of things would be a “lustful crime” and an “iniquity punishable by judges.” He agrees with other Scriptural evidence that crimes of this nature would be “fire that consumes to Abaddon (destruction),” and would uproot all his increase (Job 31:5-12, Proverbs 6:24-28, Romans 13:13-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

-The ifs continue with Job asserting that he had treated his male and female slaves well, and that God would surely hold him accountable if he didn’t. God was the Creator of both slave and free, poor and rich. If he had kept the poor from their desire, had caused the eye of the widow to fail, or had eaten his morsel alone without sharing with the orphan, he would concede failure in God’s sight. But, he emphatically claims, “From my youth he (the orphan) grew up with me as with a father, and from my infancy I guided her (widow).” Job remembers thanksgiving given from those less fortunate as he warmed them with the fleece of his sheep. In fact, he plainly states that if he had at any time lifted his hand against the orphan in his time of power among the people, he was calling on God to, “Let my shoulder fall from the socket, and my arm be broken off at the elbow.” He truly feared the LORD as expressed by this next statement, “For calamity from God is a terror to me, and because of His majesty I can do nothing (Job 31:13-23).”

-In the next section of ifs, Job deals with his integrity in the area of wealth. He claims that he had not put his confidence and trust in gold. He had not gloated over his increase materially. He had also not committed idolatry by worshipping the creation, of which he mentions the sun and the moon. His heart was pure before the LORD. No enticement from other gods could make him throw a kiss from his mouth. “That too,” Job says, “would have been an iniquity calling for judgment, for I would have denied God above.” Then, Job defends the fact that he had not sought retribution and rejoiced over the extinction of his enemy. He never exulted when evil befell him. He demonstrates this with these words, “No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin by asking for his life in a curse.” He had treated people in a God-honoring manner. He’d feed his men, he’d housed the alien, he’d exposed his faults (unlike Adam in Genesis), and he’d been forthcoming and courageous. He longed for the Almighty to hear and respond. He’d signed his signature and just wanted to know what the indictment that was written by his adversary. This to me showed his spiritual awareness of the Satanic activity that was going on behind the scenes of the natural world. In Scripture, Satan is often referred to as the “adversary (diabolos- devil, adversary, accuser, 1 Chronicles 21:1, Job 1:6, Psalm 107:2, 1 Peter 5:8).” Job was ready, willing, and able to admit his mistakes and pay the price standing before the King of judgment. He makes one more stanza of ifs to lay out his case for justification. He’s been good to the land and totally upright in his business dealings. At this point, “The words of Job are ended (Job 31:24-40).”

-*Application* Sometimes, we are forced to make a defense for our position. In these times, life can seem like a great-big court of law. Making a strong case for our integrity is not always easy. Like in Job’s situation, the circumstances pointed to assumed conclusions from his audience that were not actually accurate, nor true. His appeal was to God, who knew all things concerning him, and eventually he was vindicated (Job 42:7-10). Job is the perfect example of “sticking it out” through adversity with his righteousness in the end shining as the sun (Matthew 13:43).

Verse to Memorize: Job 31:30

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