Hey guess what…you’re almost there! And if you’ve been waiting for the sun to peek through the clouds then get your sunglasses. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but we are about to turn a corner. The speeches are done (well, almost). Job’s friends are silent, and now Job is giving his final arguments with these three chapters. They are pretty basic in their make-up. Chapter 29 is all about Job remembering the blessings of the past, chapter 30 laments the sufferings of the present, and chapter 31 is Job’s challenge to God to vindicate him in the future. All three chapters are beneficial for us a modern day believers, believe it or not. Consider this…
Remembering the blessings of the past. Weirsbe writes that there is a huge spiritual ministry available to us when we use our memories to recall God’s blessings. Unfortunately, we are often too quick to lock away the moments of sorrow in the vaults of our memories instead of locking away the moments of blessing and joy. I realize there is a danger in living life in the shadow of the “good ol’ days”. It can cause us to miss out on the blessings of the now. But we must also be conscious of where God has brought us from and how his presence has sustained us through the years. Chapter 29 of Job is a good guideline if you are looking to look for God’s hand in your past.
Lamenting the suffering in the present. Again, there is danger here for the undisciplined believer. It can be easy to wallow in our present condition, but the exercise of lamenting needs to happen in conjunction with the exercise of remembering God’s faithfulness and blessing. The one fuels our ability to cope with the other. It is like saying: “I can endure this moment of sorrow because in 2002 God walked me through this other sorrow.” It is also important for us to share our lament with God. This might seem perfectly obvious, and the good Lord knows that we can all be good at complaining about life, but there is a difference between lamenting over our sorrows and sharing that lament with God, seeking his presence in the sorrow, understanding that he laments with us.
Finally, in chapter 30, Job puts himself under God’s judgement. God is the only source of vindication, forgiveness and justification in this universe. Job recognizes that if he is going to be defended in the eyes of his friends, who obviously think he is guilty, and have his reputation restored, then it must come at God’s hands. As you are reading through this chapter, notice the sixteen “if I have…” statements Job uses to go through his life and relationships to ask for God’s judgement. This whole chapter feels a bit like David’s plea at the end of Psalm 139 when he proclaims: “23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
All three of these things can be beneficial spiritual exercises for us, if used wisely and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: 32-34